Sunday, 4 September 2016

Carl Anton Reichel, early Vienna modern printmaker.

Until october 3th 2016 the great exhibition Color Woodcuts in Vienna around 1900 ("Kunst für Alle", Art for All) is held in Frankfurt. Besides discussing the importance of the Vienna woodcut to all later users of the technique, among all fine prints there was one in particular, by Carl Reichel that irresistibly drew my attention. By the way, there's a great catalogue accompanying the exhibition available, condensed, digitally (PDF) here.  

Researching I found Reichel, in the early years of woodblock printmaking like many others liked to experiment with the effect of colors.

Reichel, Carl Anton
(Wels, Upper Austria  06-04-1874 – 25-10-1944 Vienna)

Austrian painter, art collector, art dealer, graphic artist and printmaker. Son of notary Anton Reichel (1843-1884) and Carolin Rabl (1851-1914). Began as a self-taught artist studying in Prag (1894-1895), Munich, Vienna and Paris (medicin, psychiatry, psychology). Worked in Großmain, Salzburg, Heiligenkreuz in Austria. Living in Munich 1903-04 he met graphic artist and book illustrator Alfred Kubin (1877-1959).

He married Hilde Konstanze Dolmatoff (b. Riga) probably in 1905, they had three children but Reichel left his family in the 1920’s to live in Paris with his great-niece, a daughter of his mothers nephew anatomist Carl Rabl (1853-1917) who was married to Marie Virchow (b. 1891) a daughter of famous “father of modern pathology” Rudolf Virchow (1821-1902). Virchow, a very famous German indeed, in 1855 had stolen the work of his colleague Robert Remak, the grandfather of Jewish artist Fanny Remak. Fanny Remak  was discussed extensively in this blog last year. It is funny and interesting to experience how things are connected.

In 1933 Reichel married actress Tony van Eyck (1910-1988). Initially he created prints with woodblocks but later turned to etching. Several astonishing modern colour woodblock prints, mainly female nudes, were conceived around 1909.

After WW1 he became close friends with Bavarian crown prince Rupprecht von Bayern (1869-1955) leading on his behalf the negotiations concerning the prince's royal status with Adolf Hitler. Although Reichel was imprisoned in Buchenwald concentration camp after “der Anschluß“ (Austria joining Germany in war) in march 1938 he was released the same year, it is said because of his friendship with the Führer himself in who’s home a work of Reichel was shown in 1943.  Reichel is buried in Vienna “Zentralfriedhof” together with painter Rudolf Sternad (Reichenberg/Bohemia 02-09-1880 - 05-01-1944 Vienna ) although I have no idea why........ They both died in 1944.   

Reichel is mentioned in Hans W. Singer’s 1914 “Moderne Graphik” (page 228/229), as a former physician (“ehemals ein Artzt”). Singer (his 540 page book is a must have for print enthousiasts) is particularly lyrical in describing the prints of  1) “a kneeling nude girl leaning with her left elbow on a chair” and the use and combination of colors: “silk-soft skin tones, dark carmosin, gray browns and the greens of the chair”, of 2) a”kneeling on the floor nude girl” with “Bordeaux red, palebrown, and dark skin colors forming a benevolent  trinity” and 3) a third girl with “almost red brown skin against a blue background”. The first prints mentioned I failed to find yet but the others are shown here after some internet searching. 

Singer further states that in Reichels landscapes “the colors combined have an almost mother-of-pearl lustre”. Helas: I could find no examples of landscapes by Reichel.


  All pictures embiggen by mouse-click

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

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