Sunday, 30 October 2016

More Japan from Rome.

Orlik self portrait
Meeting Charlotte Popert in Rome in last posting I wondered where she could have picked up her interest in Japanese subjects. Emil Orlik wasn't a bad gamble. 

In the 1890 however Max Klinger (1857-1920), who shared with Orlik his early fascination for printmaking the Japanese way owned 1883-1893 a studio in Rome. Orlik etched and sketched his colleague and friend (above). 

Greiner by Klinger 
Otto Greiner (1869-1916) studied in Rome with Klinger and 1898-1915 worked in Klingers former studio. This Odysseus and the Sirens is one of my favorite paintings by Greiner, with the known powerful anatomical study's for this work. I do not know of the whereabouts of this painting today. 

And what about his dancing witches ...............

There obviously was a flourishing German artist community in Rome. When 1915 Italy joined France and England they were forced to leave and were expelled.


And then I discovered this wonderful etching ("Japanerin" created in Rome 1914) to my surprise by Greiners and Klingers friend Erich Wolfsfeld (1884-1956 London). He also lived and worked in Rome 1908-1909. And: from 1916 he taught (with Orlik !) in Berlin Gewerbemuseum School. 

He was a painter, etcher and studied 1904 at Berlin Academy of Arts drawing with Konrad Böse (1852-1938), a follower of Adolph von Menzel (1815-1905), and etching with Hans Meyer (1846-1919). 
Wolfsfeld selfportrait 
He completed his studies with Jules Lefèbvre (1834-1912) at the Académie Julian in Paris in 1906, and between 1908 and 1909 lived and worked in Rome, where he befriended other expatriate German artists such as Otto Greiner (1869-1916) and Max Klinger (1857-1920) producing a number of large etchings of nudes and Roman beggars.

He won a gold medal for an etching entitled The Archers in Berlin 1910 clearly showing what a great drawer he was and the influence of Klinger and Greiner. 

From 1916 he taught in Berlin “Staatlichen Unterrichtsanstalt des Kunstgewerbe museums“ and from 1920 as professor of painting and etching. In 1924 the school fused into “Vereinigten Staatsschulen für Freie und Angewandte Kunst” lead by Bruno Paul (1874-1968). Emil Orlik (1870-1932) was appointed in this school 1905 and worked there until his death !

There's much more to tell about Wolfsfeld, he married beautiful Illa Fackenheim (1914-2010), a dancer 30 years his younger. As Jews the managed to escape Nazi's persecution   and fled to England where he became a well known and respected portrait painter.

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


  1. The 'Odysseus' looks like Alma Tadema and Franz von Stuck who taught Thiemann at the Munich Academy (and presumably Orlik for the short time he was there). A lot of the nude studies are academic and remind me of the work of Alphonse Legros who would take holidays in Rome and spend his time copying a section of a fresco by Raphael. This was why they all went. The British had a school there and were still sending artists to Rome every year well into the 1920s as I am sure you know. So this is a fascinating if confusing glimpse of what it was like as an international meeting place. Rapallo was another place where both artists and writers hung out into the twenties. Are there any books available that you know of?

    1. I have no idea about any books. I did not come across any. This is all put together with bits and pieces following the lives of the first generation of German women printmakers. Many (most) of them, one way or the other worked with Orliks guidance and knowledge. Fascinating times. Funny you mention Tadema, his big international exhibition just opened only 25 km. from here in Leeuwarden, capital of Friesland.