Thursday, 21 January 2016

A.T. = Angela Treu and some considerations.

Angela Treu 


Cleaning up and arranging picture files for the publication of my German Women Artists, born 1850-1900, involved in modern color woodblock printmaking Lexicon (I agree: a mouthful to cover the contents. Suggestions for an appropriate but shorter title welcomed)*. 

Somewhere(?), sometime (nov. 2012) I found the picture (not the print) of this toucan monogrammed A.T. and somehow(?) scribbled the name Angela Treu, but never was able to find an artist by that name. 

The only artist (I know of) befitting these inititials is August Trummer (b.1946 -) from Graz.   But I doubt he's the one (above left). As a printmaker he wrote the catalogue-raisonné on  Carl Rotky's (1891-1977) prints and obviously was influenced a lot by the master from Graz (above right). Lovely prints with lovely Rotky pastel colors.   

The artist A.T. must have had access to a Zoo (Tiergarten/Tierpark) nearby: Dresden, Berlin, Graz ?

Dresden printmaker Martin Erich Philipp (1887-1978) saw his family of "Pfeffer-fresser" (species of South American toucan family) no doubt in Dresden Zoo. He created his first print in 1909 (cat. D7) and decided to  do it again in 1924 (cat. D17).

Dutch printmaker Ed Jeska, artist name of Jan Staats Kiewiet (1899-1977) will have seen his toekan-bird in Artis ZOO in Amsterdam and so will have  Willem Hendrik van den Berg (1886-1970) a not widely known painter and printmaker and director of Amsterdam Rijks-Academie 1938-1953.  

Samuel Jesserun de Mesquita (1868-1944) -above- was a regular visitor of Artis ZOO and was even named the "Master of Artis" which did not prevent him being murdered in Auschwitz. Today there is a renewed interest in his wonderful woodblocks and in 2005 a monograph  (380 pages) was published. 


(*) a Title

(Friedrich Fabrizius Max Karl Freiherr) or short: Fritz von Ostini  (1861-1927) -left- was an influential German editor, author humorist and lyric. He wrote the monograph's of a dozen or so contemporary painters (many famous and all male). He is most renowned for his "verdict" on woman painters calling them  "Malweibchen" in 1914. I think "painting bitches" comes close as to describe the contempt he held for women-art and women artists. Not very humorous, not a nice man. Women artist had suffered greatly to reach to the levels and positions they'd earned in 1914 and still not being admitted or allowed in the Academies. After the death of Anton von Werner (1943-1915) who had been in charge of the Berlin "Hochschule für Bildende Künste" from 1875(!) and personally stood between admittance of women in the Academy it became only possible for women to enter the Academie in 1919 after WW1 had ended.  

Datei:Edmundhellmer.jpgSome teachers, like Vienna professor sculptor Edmund Ritter von Hellmer (1850-1935) -right- declared openly it to be "a waste of time educating women as artists since they married anyway". Despite chauvinist pigs like Ostini and von Hellmer there were women who by sheer perseverance managed to have a career. Discovering this new technique and creating the most fantastic woodblock prints (and other works of art of course) never surpassed in originality and quality in the history of Art to this day.

"Druckweiber" (printmaking galls ?) would be a "fun" title, with historical meaning and relevance, but of course could easily be explained as inappropriate. Many of the women artists (most of them Ladies) involved in early printmaking, let us say from the start of Orlik's Berlin training classes, from 1905 onwards, were not "galls" but accomplished artists  already in their 40's and 50's when attending. 

Orliks 1905 poster (although it says 1895 when Orlik still was in Munich, for the "Verein der Berliner Künstlerinnen". A welcome gift to the  Berlin colleagues and sisters he would soon co-operate with, in the year of his appointment in Berlin? Or more probable: commissioned by its director Margarethe Hoenerbach 1848-1924).

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


  1. You asked for suggestions for a shorter title - how about putting some of the information in a sub-title, for example "Women artists and colour woodblock printing: a lexicon of German women artists born 1850-1900". Or, to take this to the extreme, "Women and woodblocks: a lexicon of German women artists born 1850-1900 involved in colour woodblock printmaking".

  2. Thank you for your suggestion Margaret: great idea !