Monday, 18 April 2016

Margarete Donath, quest for a forgotten Dresden painter & printmaker (3/3)

Margarete Donath (3/3) 
Hermann-strasse 2 (renamed Lauritzerstrasse in 1922) 
Weißer Hirsch, Loschwitz, Dresden 

Only recently I discovered these 4 postcard drawings by Margarete Donath. They depict historic sites in Augustusburg, not far from Dresden and only miles away from her (I think) ancestral 19th century family seat: Bärenstein/Annaberg.

Augustusburg is where Duke August (1526-1586) ruler (King) of Saxonia had build his "Jagdschloß", a hunting castle. He was married to Anna (1532-1582) the daughter of King Christian III of Denmark. They were nicknamed "Vater August" and "Mutter Anna" and were married for 37 years. 

His portrait by Lucas Cranach the younger (1515-1586)


Today the I shall try to sketch the world of the (a) Donath family in Dresded Loschwitz from the 19th into the 20th century, altough I have no hard evidence, no genealogical data or mentioning in any of the artists lexicons concerning her artistic studies that she belonged to this family.

In 1863 Carl Christian Rinaldo Donath (born Bärenstein near Annaberg, 70 km south east of Dresden on the Czech border 1823-1897 Dresden) a sculptor and inn-keeper in 1863 bought the esthablishment “Goethesgarten” in Dresden- Blasewitz which he eventually sold in 1872.  It was located at the crossroads leading to the entrance of the new “Loschwitzer Brücke” (“Das Blaue Wunder, completed 1893”) spanning river Elbe. 

Rinaldo Donath was also involved in the manufacturing of canned and preserved fruits. In 1875 he was joined by his brother Christian Hermann Donath (Bärenstein 1833–1909 Dresden) a woodturner (“Dreschler”), painter and early photographer. 

The brothers have been awarded a streetname: “Donathstraße” in Laubegast.

I could not find any evidence of Rinaldo being married but Hermann Donath married in 1855. With Mathilde Wilhelmine Estel a clothing adornment and lace worker and seemstress (“Posamentennäherin, Spitzenklöpplerin and Schneiderin”). They lived Laubegast, Hauptstraße no. 5. In 1921 it was renamed  “Östereicherstraße”.  The couple had 8 childrenAlbert (1863–1935) and Emil (1868-1945) who also studied in Dresden “Kunstakademie”, a sister Helene (1870-1974) never married, she is buried with her parents in Dresden and (I think): 

Max Oswald Donath (b. 1865) who started “Donaths Bäckerei” in 1897. This bakery still exists and today is run by his great-granddaughters Ute and Elke Donath and is still located at Königsbrücker Landstraße 69 in Dresden

Two brothers are said to have emigrated to America (Cincinatti) which leaves two unidentified children. I suspect that Margarete Donath, the painter/printmaker, might be one of them.

In 1875 the brothers Rinaldo and Hermann Donath were partners in buying the old “Tolkewitzer Gasthof” in  Laubegast, Tolkewitz near Dresden. It was also known as “Donaths Neue Welt”. They build and added attractions, a mini Zoo, playground for children, miniature Alps build from papier-mâché which were lightened in the evenings for a spectacular effect ("Alpenglühen"). 

It’s restaurant, dancing facility and beer garden etc. were a very popular outing for Dresden inhabitants. The Donath family owned the facilities until 1893. The Dance Hall burned down in 2004 and was not rebuild. The plot houses now a mall with a bio-food shop named “Donath’s Ganz Neue Welt”.  


Brothers Emil and Albert Donath, were the founders of a health food company (“Reformwarenfirma”) the Firm Donath & Co. established in 1893 in Unterföhring near Munich manufacturing alcohol free and “biologic” fruit juices and in the same year started a business in Unterlockwitzgrund near Dresden winning a gold medal in 1906 in the “Internationalen Gartenbauausstellung”. 

Their interest and business in health food co-incides with the Health Spa business (rest, exercise, clean air, good organic food and fruit-juices) and its propagation (and invention) of Müsli by Maximillian Bircher-Benner (1867-1939) in Switzerland and Cornflakes by John Harvey Kellogg (1852-1943) in America. Also Brands existing to this day.  

This branch of the Donath familie in Dresden from then has built an imperium of organic fruit juice and wine manufacturing “Kellerei Lockwitzgrund”. 

The firm, although not in the same location is to this day in existence. The health food producers had come to the attention of and had led to some form of co-operation with Dr. Heinrich Lahmann (1860-1905) the health-spa owner and health food "guru". The Donath family lend their name to “Kurpension Donath” in “Weisser Hirsch”. (See part 1/3).

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

With the help of readers and passers-by I hope these Blog articles my lead to reveal more about the life and art of Margarete Donath.


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