Monday, 28 February 2011

Maja Fjaestad, Swedish Spring

Kerstin Maria (Maja) Fjaestad (neé Hallén)
(1871 – 1961)

Swedish textile and graphic artist, (portrait) painter and woodblock printer

Spring in Sweden.

For a long time I’ve had a strong admiration for the flower prints of Swedish Maja Fjaestad. She is most and almost exclusively known and loved in here home country. To this day. Her prints wandering hardly out of Scandinavia.
Maja Hallén attended the Artists’ Association School in Landskrone in 1890–92 and exhibited for the first time in 1897. Later in London presenting her skills as a portrait painter.

She created a style very much of her own carving out the complete outline of the composition (all but the later blacks) from the block and colouring this background block "the Japanese way". With a wash of soft pastel colors. Secondly printing color components with additional blocks. This is why you never see two the same prints.

She didn’t number editions so a good guess is there must be hoards about. Very recognizable prints. Bread and butter prints. If you’ve seen one you’ll never miss another. She is most remembered by these simple but strong compositions high in emotional decorative value. In Sweden.

A promoter of fine craftsmanship, she helped found the Arvika Konsthantverk handicraft association.

On many occasions the wearing of the prints (or blocks) is showing. Probably she didn’t use very good quality paint or inks or printing papers. Many of the prints I've seen have faded dramatically. This maybe also due to domestic Swedish circumstances (the light, wood fires). Maybe a Swedish reader (there are !) can enlighten me.

This selection showing you end of winter and the international harbingers of spring. Besides the flower compositions (I collected some 50 different from old auction catalogues) the two bigger winter scenes and the titmouse print showing she was quite capable of rendering a landscape in a woodblock print.
Maja married Gustav Fjaestad (1868-1948), a loved and very respected Swedish painter of mostly classic winter landscapes. Gustav is represented in most Swedish museums.

I found this wonderful and idyllic picture of two amorous starlings (also a token of spring) attributed to her husband Gustav. It says mixed medium, but my guess is it is possibly also a print.
Owning one or two of these small flower prints by Maja Fjaestad is a long cherished wish (any one of these springflower prints will do just fine).

I'll happily comply with any readers request to do a follow up on the art of this Swedish couple. Just ask and leave a comment.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Arie Zonneveld (III)

Arie Zonneveld
Dutch woodblock and linoleum printer

I have the intension showing you Arie Zonneveld's woodblock and linoleum prints in episodes. Today episode III, his dune prints and grouped together the prints of a favourite landscape he made multiple prints of.

l: dune poplar, r: dunes

Above a copy of an oilpainting by Zonneveld mirrored 180*

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Hail Sweet Retirement


(and time on my hands)

Hail sweet retirement
Lead me to thy bower
Where fair content
Hath spread her loveliest flower
And let nougt break upon
The sacred hour
Save some true friend.

Robert Wilson Hyde (US, 1875-1951) designed the flowery surroundings and the poem with its wonderful paraphrasing of times ahead is attributed to Charles Frederick Eaton (US, 1842-1930). The book (edited 1906) is in the collections of LACMA (Los Angelos County Musuem of Art) and was revealed on Japonism on februari 6th )

The day I ended my professional career I read the Posting and the Poem. My expectations couldn't have been better put into words. Thank you Lotusgreen for this present and your unrelenting exposing things of beauty and wisdom.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Steven D. Schindler

Steven D. Schindler
Awarded American (childrens) book illustrator

How this wonderful Freesias woodblock "Artists Proof" print (note the bug on the leaf in the lower right) landed on Ebay puzzles me very much. It's very classic in design yet must have been made rather recently. Unless I am wrong about the identity. Googling I found an author Steven Schindler, and a sportsman Steve Schindler (1954) Both not likely candidates.
And there is the awarded childrens book illustrator. The more and most likely candidate. Was it his pass time achievement and how did it get on Ebay ? All I know he is as good at block printing in the old fashioned way as he is in modern illustration technics. I'm quite happy having his freesias but knowing what route it has taken to land on the other side of the world would make me even more content.

The Discovery documentary about the incredible cooperation between bird and humans finding honey to their mutual benefit I saw only the other week.

Are more examples of prints by Steven Schindler known to readers ?

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Josephine Siccard-Redl

Josephine Siccard-Redl
(1878-Austria -1938-South America)

Austrian printmaker

I grab the opportunity using this Blogposting to point to Charles' "Modern Printmakers" recent postings (febr. 2011 and nov. 2010) on this forgotten artist. By showing Josephine also did some flower prints which happens to be my addiction. And the reason for this Blog.

In "Modern Printmakers" Charles is showing her Italian prints, many different sailing boat prints, wintery Austrian landcapes and some farm idylle. And artistic and biographical facts and opinions about her life and work.


With thank to Lotusgreen (Japonisme Blog) were I saw the bouquet prints for the first time.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Two exquisite Japanese/Chinese screens

A while ago I found, roaming the Internet, these pictures of the most amazing Japanese (or re they Chinese?) screens: Winter and Spring. There are so many examples of wonderful screens but something as beautiful, exquisite and unforgettable like these two I've never come across. I think I'll do you a pleasure sharing them here.
To my shame and in my enthousiasme I forgot to make a note were exactly I found them. I haven't been able to trace them back yet. I wonder if there are a Summer and Autumn in exisitence. Not were I found these. They seem to me very royal in appearance so a quess is they are in a museum. If you know please let me know.
If you would like to have higher resulotion pictures don't hesitate emailing me.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Arie Zonneveld (II)

Arie Zonneveld
Dutch linoleum and woodblock Printmaker
It is very difficult adding dates to the lino and woodblock prints (he combined linoleum color blocks with a wood keyblock) of Arie Zonneveld. But there is no doubt in these 6 benevolence cards he was invited to make for the year 1931.

He was just 25 years when he made them. All of his creative output (some 50 prints) made between 1925 and 1941. There is a great tradition in the Netherlands for children selling house to house "Kinderkaarten" (Childrens Cards) and benevolence postage stamps. These were one of the first. They are not that easy to come by because card collectors of all disciplines want them.

In the same atmosphere Arie created these two prints, the reason I show them here.

All images are mouse clickable.

In preparation:

Landscape and Dutch scenery prints by Arie Zonneveld.

Flowers and Bouquets by Arie Zonneveld.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Arie Zonneveld (I)

Arie Zonneveld

Dutch linoleum and woodcut printer

Spring is in the air !

Arie’s blossoming tree printings.

The opening print showing one of the first signs of spring in Low Land Countries. Coltsfoot often flowering as soon as in Februari, here underneath typical Dutch pollard willows scenery.

I think this must have been a popular print because the first one showing considarable wear of the block comparing it with the one on the left.

Last year, through the wonderful and excellent Blogs of Clive (Art and the Aesthete) and Lily (Japonisme) I revealed a cross section of Dutch Arie Zonneveld’s printed art to you. Comparisons were made with great and famous printers: Frances Hammel Gearhardt (1869-1959) and William Seltzer Rice (1873-1963). I think Gustave Baumann (1881-1971) and Pedro de Lemos (1882-1945) should be added to the list (see below for linking to these posts). Baumann the grand and true master of printing blossoming trees.

There was a shared amazement concerning quality and originality of this remarkable but unknown and mostly forgotten Dutch printer’s creative output.
Could Arie have had knowledge of the works of his fellow American printers? On the European continent many printers were working but not in a style closely resembling his. On his flowers, maybe (I will show those in following postings).
Carl Rotky

Gustave Baumann

Color printing (landscape)artists like Carl Thieman (1881-1966) Hans and Leo Frank (1884-1959), Carl Rotky (1891-1977) and Hélène Mass (1871-) coming to mind. The Austrian- Hungarian printers developing an altogether different style. I can’t think of any English or France examples. Artists like Oscar Droege (1898-1982) showing a completely different approach to printing landscapes.

both examples by Gustave Baumann.

Earlier I pointed to the books by Pedro de Lemos. In the Netherlands there were simply no printers mastering the art of color printing combining linocut and wood-key block printing that could have been taught or shown to him. Although he visited Italy Arie was not a widely travelled man.

I think he figured it out mainly by himself which makes his achievements in color printing all the more amazing. In his short life he has shown a wonderful eye to the beauty around him and an amazing sensitivity and skillful ability to capture the world around and pass it down to us. Even two, three generations later.


to catch up on the art of Arie ZOnneveld.

To be continued soon !

All examples by Arie Zonneveld unless otherwise stated.