Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Käthe Kuntze: Forgotten Dresden artist (Part 3)

It could well be Käthe also participated in a 1906 Arts and Crafts exposition in Dresden because this poster sized document ("Plakat") was also found in the bundle of material. It is by Dresden graphic artist Georg Erler (1871-1951) of whom also other works were in Käthe's possession suggesting a friendly and/or professional connection.

What I know about Käthe's family follows here. Biographically it is less information then in many short biographies, but keep in mind it is far more then a lot of others too. In this case it may be due to the fact of the near total destruction of Dresden in 1945, historical or artistical neglect, and sometimes  families die out for natural or catastrophic (Holocaust) reasons. Along my years of research I've met examples of all these causes and possibilities. It may also be because certain families may have shielded personal or genealogical information from the internet for privacy reasons. Which shall be respected. 

"Blühende Flieder", 1917.
For instance I do not know when Käthe died (latest mentioning is in 1930 "Dresslers Kunsthandbuch", she is not in the before 1921 edition), nor the name of her mother and other family members, did she have brothers and sisters ? Hopefully these articles and the books publication will bring more to light eventually. My research (women artists born 1850-1900) has learned Käthe  families social status is at the top end of what is more or less "common" for artistic women born and, more importantly, bred in the second half of the 19th century. This is however not an exception.

Käthe was the deaf-mute daughter of Albert Kuntze a banker in the Dresden firm of Albert Kuntze & Co. founded by his father Friedrich Albert Kuntze (born around 1820 - 1892). In 1857 Albert sr. had bought Haus Albertsberg in Radebeul, Niederlößnitz near Dresden and had it refurbished to his wishes. It is a beautiful region just North of Dresden on the slopes of river Elbe with many vineyards, old wine houses, health Spa's and luxurious estates and villas. 

Albert Kuntze must have done very well because after his death his 4 children commissioned celebrated Dresden architect Oskar Menzel (1873-1958) to design, build and rebuild their villas in Radebeul.

1  1) Aunt Thekla, inherited her fathers Haus Albertsberg and had it rebuild and restored into a Barok villa. 

2) Aunt Frida (d.1945) married gymnasium teacher Karl Sommer (he died in 1899) and they commissioned “Villa Sommer” (build 1899/1900) at Radebeul, Oberlößnitz, Augustusweg 44 and within sight of her former parents and now her sisters "Haus Albertsberg", Frida Sommer-Kuntze lived there as a widow with a son, (Käthes nephew) after her husband died before the house was even ready. After WW-II the house became neglected but recently it was restored in a 5 year during restoration into its former glory and splendor. 

3) Uncle Max (Friedrich Albert Maximilian) Kuntze (1846-1917), banker in Albert Kuntze & Co, “Kommerzielrat” (honorary titel), member of Parliament and owner of  the “Ersten Kulmbacher Exportbier-Brauerei”, director in the "Dresden Papierfabrik", owner of several building companies and “Elbsandstein” industry. He build Villa Max Kuntze (build 1898-99): Radebeul, Niederlößnitz, Jagdweg 6 (below upper right).

4) Albert Jr., Käthe's father, banker (Albert Kuntze & Co.) build Villa Albert Kuntze, (1899/1901, Radebeul, Lößnitz, Hohenzollernstrasse (renamed Obere Bergstraße 14) with keepers lodge (see first posting) at its entrance, where is said lived and worked Käthe.

Villa Albert Kuntze and lodge at entrance (red roof)  

Now look back at the woodblock "Blühende Flieder" (Flowering elderberry) with which I started this posting. It gives such great pleasure and satisfaction, 100 years later being able to determine were exactly it was created. 

In the collection was also this watercolor. It shows her father Alberts dog "Lupin" (written on the back in pencil). It is moving to see where Käthe and Lupin once were so at home. 

In the meantime if you have any information about Käthe's family, know works by her or otherwise: please contact me. I also would love to know how this collection travelled from Dresden to Hamburg.  

Many more spectacular and surprising examples of Käthe Kuntze's art and her "Konvolut" will follow soon.


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

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