Unknown and unidentified printmaker.
In my ongoing research into the life's of forgotten German women printmakers it is not often that I encounter a completely new (to me) "girl on the block". This small and monochrome, titled "Kleinbahn" print surfacing recently in German Ebay was a surprise. Although investing many hours since (auto-diagnosed as a mild disorder in the autistic spectrum) in trying to establish the identity of the maker Helene Pferdmenges it was without success so far. She is not to be found in any of the Artists Lexicions or Artist Address books, nor did I succeed in identifying an artist by this name after thorough Internet research. An artist by this name is nowhere mentioned.
A "Kleinbahn" was a tertiary railway track or system, not a main or secondary line. Under less strict rules, laws and regulations they were constructed in the later part of the 19th century often using existing roads connecting rural areas or industrial sites (mines and factories). Most of them were soon to be closed at the beginning of the age of the automobile.
Four of her prints are preserved in the Art Institute Chicago (Lois H. Culver Fund ?) in America, probably a bequest by a faithful visitor or supporter. I'm very curious to the American link of the donator with the Pferdmenges family. Maybe this would shed some light: a direct or indirect relative immigrating and in the possesion of these prints (?). One of them shows a street in Osterode in the Harz region (below left), the other ones could be also from here (Quedlinburg ?)
This (auctioned) 1934 portrait of "Helene Hertmanni, geb. Pferdmenges" by well known painter Adolf Münzer (1870-1952) who was also a professor in Düsseldorf Academy and an illustrator ("Jugend" magazine) shows a woman that cannot (I could not) be identified within the Internet free accessible genealogical sites. Her given dates are: born 1893- died 1962 (possibly taken from the frame?). I have not been able to find a Hertmanni-Pferdmenges partner by marriage (how many can there be with this combination ?) or a Helene Pferdmenges (1893-1962) other then:
Richard Hertmanni (1854-1948), merchant, married to Wilhelmina Emilia (Emilie) Pferdmenges (1856- 1939). She was the daughter of Johann Heinrich Pferdmenges (1836-1900) and Charlotte Wilhelmina (Minna) von der Heydt (1839-1870). Could the sitter (in her 30-40's ?) possibly have been their daughter and a mistake introduced by the auction catalogue text ?
The Pferdmenges family originates from centuries past from the Mönchengladbach (Reydt) region and several prosperous members were in the 19th century wool, cotton and textile industrials. Large families with many children and as was the custom often intermarried over the centuries with other regional industrial families, loom- and mill owners, weavers etc....
|Robert Pferdmenges and Konrad Adenauer|
Possibly the most known member was banker and member of parliament (Bundestag) Robert Pferdmenges (1880-1962), a personal friend of Konrad Adenauer, first Chancelor of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). Robert Pferdmenges is considered to have personally saved the jewish Sal. Oppenheim Bank during the Nazi regime. (He was a son of Wilhelm Albert Pferdmenges (b. 1844) and Helene Croon (1851-1930) (see below)
Thus my initial research ended up with several (too many !) persons with the name Helene Pferdmenges, either by birth or by marriage. Here is the result, an ultimate attempt to identify one of the candidates as the artist by name and period: roughly born between 1850-1900 and living into or after the 1930's. And I think I possibly may have overlooked one or two.
Finding Helene with the help of readers would be wonderful.
Candidate artists named Helene Pferdmenges:
Helene Clara Wilhelmine Engels (1860-1956) married Friedrich Wilhelm Pferdmenges (1851-1930). She was a daughter of Hermann Engels (1822) x Emma Clara Pferdmenges-Croon (b. 1834)
Helene Clara Wilhelmina Croon (1851-1930) daughter of Johann Theodor Croon (1793) textile baron married to Wilhelm Albert Pferdmenges (Mönchengladbach 1844) Kaufmann, textile baron. Mother of Robert Pferdmenges (above)
Helene Quack (1861-1936) married Johann Wilhelm Pferdmenges (Reydt 1853) a teacher. Their daughter Helene Pferdmenges (1891-1972)
Helene Klara Auguste Pferdmenges (1875-1925) daughter of Julius Pferdmenges (Viersen 1844) and Maria Elisabeth Panzer.
Helene Pferdmenges (1891-1972) daughter of Johann Wilhelm Pferdmenges (Reydt 1853), a teacher, and Helene Quack (1861-1936)
Helene Pferdmenges (1885-1909), daughter of Johann Heinrich Pferdmenges (Reydt 1847) x Eva Heymanns (Reydt 1854).
Helene Hildegard Pferdmenges (1903-1985), daughter of Johann Wilhelm Pferdmenges (Reydt 1875) x Adele Pott (b.1879)
Emma Christina Helene Pferdmenges (Hamburg 1878 – 1962) daughter of Johann Carl Pferdmenges (Viersen 1837-1921) and Christina Emma Elisabeth Dreyer (Bremen 1842-1911)
Helene Hertmanni- Pferdmenges (1893-1962). Unidentified person mentioned with the Adolf Münzer portrait.
This posting is a request to all who stumbles over it and who may have information about the printmaking artist Helene Pferdmenges and/or her family to share information. I plan to send an email to every Pferdmenges I can find the @ address of in a Google search.
All pictures borrowed freely from the Internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only.