Sunday, 27 March 2016

Carlos Grethe and Martin van Waning III/IIII

Today the reason for sharing this recent postings on Dutch sculptor, painter, etcher Martin van Waning. Not recognizing at the time but with a faint sense of "familiarity" I stumbled over this etching by van Waning some years ago.  
And then some years later this very large "harbor scene" with the two characteristic twin steam freighters crossed my path: Hamburg. Obviously. 
Recognizing the pictures in the Studio 1904(!) Magazine from Hans W. Singers praising article on Carlos Grethe lead to my recent researching this matter.   
It would be interesting to know the history of how Carlos Grethe's sketch became van Wanings etching. I was not able to find a painting in oil by Grethe after his own sketch. 
What van Waning possibly did not know was that Grethe depicted the sister ships owned by  his friend and maecenas Woermann, the Alexandra Woermann and the Lucy Woermann. The three-master was used to transport coal to the company's depots in West-African ports. 
It could be van Waning knew the Studio article but knowing his history in Wiesbaden (near Frankfurt where Carlos taught) a more direct or even personal knowledge of Grethe's sketch is also quite possible. And I also think he was in Hamburg harbor in person but this must have been 1911-1913, so much later. 
I think, following Grethe's sketch so closely, he of course should have mentioned the original artist ("after Carlos Grethe's original sketch") to avoid suggestions of plagiarism later. Also because he used the idea/original composition in several other paintings and etchings. These are the ones I know of. 
There's no clue when van Waning created his etching(s). And he did not mention (did he avoid ?) the location, which is somewhat suspect.  
Van Waning was an artist who borrowed and copied styles and even designs from his colleagues openly, and he did little trouble to hide. In texts Marius Bauer is mentioned and his admiration for Rembrandt, that being of course an "open door": who hasn't ?
An educated guess is he used/followed the picture in the 1904 Studio Magazine. A copy or copy's of the magazine will have circulated in Wiesbaden/Frankfurt. Carlos Grethe died unexpectedly around the same time the young van Waning returned to the Netherland in 1913. The etching(s) and paintings could be from much later (after the article should be forgotten ?).  
Not mentioning the original artist/designer increases (besides being "unethical") the risk of being accused of plagiarism later. But what would be the chance of some-one discovering (there's only a sketch, probably not a painting ) and (so) what if ?   
These last examples that show besides borrowing ideas and work by his colleagues he also was an original artist and a fine drawer/etcher. 

All pictures borrowed freely from the Internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only (please do not sue).  

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