Monday, 30 November 2015

Thea Spangenberg, unknown Bauhaus student & printmaker

Spangenberg, Thea 
(probably Dorothea)  
  (b. ? - d. after 1935)

Painter, graphic artist and script/typographic designer. 
"Heraklen a.d. Brucke".
(Heracleum Sphondylium: "Bärenklau", Hogweed)

Thea Spangenberg is known to me by one colour woodblock (above Hogweed and Bridge) print in my collection and a  woodblock print titled “Rhodos 1935 that I've found in an old auction announcement which is strikingly similar, although simpler, in design to Emma Bormann’s (1887-1974) “Constantinopel” print. 

And there's this gouache titled “Winternacht, Erinnerung an Walpurgis 1909".

Walpurgisnacht: 30 April, so called because it is the eve of the feast day of Saint Walpurga, an 8th-century abbess in Germania. In Germanic folklore Walpurgisnacht is also called “Hexennacht”).     

The Weimar Bauhaus School’s archives has in its records a student Thea Spangenberg in 1919-1920. No further biographical details are known. Several typographical articles/ essays by Thea Spangenberg were published around 1930.

A 1922 woodblock calendar (and typographical proof ?) by Thea Spangenberg (similar to the “Wiener Werkstätte” calender designs) is in the LACMA (Los Angelos County Museum of Art, USA) collections.

Die zeitgemäße Schrift: Heft 14 (1930), “einführung in die Schrift”  (Thea Spangenberg, Düsseldorf); Heft 19, 1931“neue Wege zur Schrift ”. Edited by: Heinze und Blanckert, Berlin/Leipzig.


I suspect a possible family relationship (Greece and Walpurgis) with Berlin Acadamy painters Louis Spangenberg and his brother professor Gustav Adolph Spangenberg.

L. Spangenberg exhibited in the “Grafik und Aquarellen” division in the 1905 “Grossen Kunstausstellung” in Berlin. This, most probably, will be Louis Spangenberg (Hamburg 1824 - 1893 Berlin) an architectural painter living and working in Berlin who in 1857 had followed his brother Gustav Adolph Spangenberg  (Hamburg 1828 - 1891 Berlin) to Berlin and was also a painter and taught as professor in “Berlin Kunstakademie”. Their stepbrother Wilhelm Spangenberg (Hamburg 1819 – 1892 Hameln) was a politician. Of Louis Spangenberg it is known he travelled to England, France, Italy and Greece (*). Their grandmother was Dorothea Magdalena Sibeth (married to Peter Ludolph Spangenberg).

A family tie of these three brothers with a third painter active in Berlin, Paul Spangenberg (Güstrow 1843-1918 Berlin) is suspected. 

A woodcut (xylographic copy) of five witches on their way to the sabbat, titled “Hexenritt” [the Witches Ride] is known. It is dated 1870 and is a copy of an original drawing by Gustav Adolf Spangenberg (1828-91). In 1862 Gustav Spangenberg produced a large painting titled Walpurgisnacht” which is  in the collections of the Hamburger Kunstmuseum which  houses a large part of the paintings collection by these brothers father: Georg August Spangenberg  a doctor in Hamburg who had also lived for years in Rome.

This concludes or sums up about all I was able to collect on printmaker Thea Spangenberg. Maybe this contribution in future will help to bring some more information to light. If you happen to stumble over this Blog article and have any further information about Thea and the Berlin/Hamburg Spangenberg family I suspect she belonged to, please contact me. Any help is much appreciated. 

All pictures borrowed freely from the Internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only.  

All pictures embiggen by mouse-click. 

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