Saturday, 19 March 2016

Carlos Grethe and Martin van Waning: II/III

Waning, Martin 
(Gijsbertus Martinus Wilhelmus Franciscus

(the Hague 04-09-1889 – 07-07-1972 Dokkum)

Painter, sculptor, medailleur, and etcher.


Talented, his father was a good amateur and his uncle Cornelis Anthony (Kees) van Waning (1861-1929) was a well-known the-Hague painter, he was encouraged and allowed to study privately in his youth with well known “the-Hague school” painters Willem H.P.J de Zwart (1862-1931), Jan van Rhijnnen (1859-1927) and Charles Dankmeijer (1861-1923). 

After finishing his studies at Delft University graduating as a mechanical engineer he travelled to Paris to become a painter. His great talent recognized he was commissioned by art dealers Bernheim Jeune (Gallery 1910, Boulevard Madeleine et Rue Richpanse). 

He then, full of ambition, he moved to Wiesbaden in those days an international, artistic and mondaine centre where he was offered an old ballroom of posh Hotel Metropole  to use as his studio in return providing the hotel with large murals receiving many other commissions for sculpting and painting. He exhibited in 1911 (!) in the Museum of the Nassauischer Kunstverein Museum and soon after all over Germany.  
It is said here he met “grand duke Orloff” (Orlov)* who was impressed by and bought his work persuading him becoming his private secretary and traveling together through Europe visiting and painting in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and North-Africa. After the prince died in 1913(?) he settled in the village of Rees but the same year returned to the Netherlands. I would very much like to solve the mystery who had been this Russian Nobleman who also arranged an exhibition for him in St Petersburg and that sold out the day of its opening ! 


No doubt in Wiesbaden he had been acquainted with the students and teachers at nearby Karlsruhe “Kunstakademie” and thus with Carlos Grethe (1864-1913) but probably to many more German artists. He became one of the most promising European artists of his time, the 1910-30's, but fell back after the 1930's to the level of "Master of the second echelon".   

William Turner and van Waning 

After his return he moved around quite a lot working and living in several places for the next 20 years but visiting the small island of Schiermonnikoog in 1937 made him decided to stay which he did for the next 35 years. He was provided with the use of the former “Zeevaartschool” (Maritime Academy building) as his studio.
On the morning of 28 july 1943 returning from a mission over Germany, American bombers were intercepted by German fighter pilots. To escape them they accidentally dropped their bomb load over the island destroying van Wanings studio and all his paintings and sculptures and killing 7 people including his neighbors, the former mayor and his wife, van Waning barely surviving the disaster. The building was reclaimed by the island community after WWII and he then settles in a private studio on the small island.     
He is well known for his many paintings of the beautiful small island and the sea. Which is very much in line with the student groups around Carlos Grethe concentrating in Duhne near Cuxhaven (before post). His grafic work is compared with that of orientalist painter and etcher Marius Bauer (1867-1932).The use of light and dark betrays his admiration for Rembrandt and Turner and the great Dutch Golden Age painters. His friendship with and admiration for  a forgotten and obscured sculptor (of course not Rodin below !) I intend to discuss in a later posting.

Rodin and van Waning

His paintings and etchings bare evidence of how he absorbed the styles and techniques from many classic painters as well as from contemporary colleagues, not afraid "borrowing" designs and idea's.

Lovis Corinth (1858-1925) and Martin van Waning 

Paul Paeschke (1875-1943) and Martin van Waning 

Jan van Goyen (1596-1656) and Martin van Waning  

 Emil Pottner (1872-1942) and Martin van Waning  

The painter of Schiermonnikoog” is buried on the island. 

* The title "Grand Duke" is used for descendants (genetically related) to the Tzars of Russia. The name of prince Wladimir Orloff is mentioned. I have not been able to identify this noble Russian who died in 1913 in Germany yet. All help is welcomed.   

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

Next: III/III : A surprise from Hamburg 

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