Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Last day of summer


 Woodblock prints by Adolph Kunst (1883-1937
 Music by Nina Simone (1933-2003)

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Thea Gütmann-Voigt: Laburnum

Thea Gütmann
Personally finding this “Goldregen” print by illusive artist Thea Gütmann-Voigt hidden in an antiques shop in the medieval town of Lemgo near Detmold (province of Lippe, Germany) made my (holi)day. It is the homeland of Ernst Rötteken (1881-1945) one of my favorite printmakers of whom I will show a very rare collection of never before seen prints soon. This is just the second print known to me by Thea Gütmann. And believe me, I looked everywere.  In my early Blogging days I showed this (below) auction catalogue picture “Flieder” or Lilacs (Syringa vulgaris) by her.

artist impression
Thea Gütmann-Voigt

What Wisteria was to the Japanese printmakers Laburnum must be for the European. European printmakers tend to choose a more botanical approach when depicting blossoming Laburnum. 

Japanese artists (almost all but this print by Kamisaka Sekka (1866 - 1942) show blossoming Wisteria along with birds, buildings and city views. 

Creating a posting on Wisteria and the Japanese woodblock print might prove to be an impossible endeavour because of the countless prints dedicated to this beautiful flowering ornamental shrub.

So let me start showing the examples by European printmakers trying their best at the  European but yellow counterpart: Laburnum, Golden chain (or rain) (Engl.), Goldregen (Germ.), Gouden regen (Dutch),  L’aubour (French). Laburnum the name of the form of woodrot that easily occurs when pruning or cutting this native to Soutern Europe shrub.
H.J. van der Werf
(Dutch  ca. 1930)

Arie Zonneveld
(Dutch 1905-1941)
E. Meinshausen
-Felsing (German)
Ernst Rötteken (German 1882-1945)
Carl Thiemann
(German 1891-1966)
Comparing this last and rare Carl Theodoor Thiemann (1881-1966) composition with Mrs. Gütmann's "Goldregen" one or the other must have had knowledge of the other's work. Thieman made some great flowers prints, in very different styles, but his "Goldregen" came to my knowledge only recently. Mostly and best known for his city views, Venician sailing ships, trees, swans and landscape prints you can look forward to a collection of his lesser known flower prints soon.  

I would very much like to know more of both illusive Thea Gütmann-Voigt as well as Mrs. E. Meinshausen-Felsing, "tätig" (working) in  Kaiserslautern" is all I was able to find besides the bare pictures in the posting following the link. But I'll keep trying.

Closing this thematic posting here’s the nicest of illustrations (although rather   sweet) by British childrens book illustrator Cicely Mary Barker (1895-1973)  

Friday, 26 August 2011

NOID, help requested

On behalf of Thomas in Berlin today I ask readers to help identify this nice woodblock print. It is in the style and colors of Oscar Droege. I perticularly like the gulls and  the small detail of the blotch of yellow light shining from the bridge of the ship (and the reflection in the water) suggesting twilight. 

See for more harbour and fishing boat compositions the marine prints by American Todd Lindenmuth (click)

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Karl Heinz Kroll

Karl Heinz Kroll
unknown German printmaker
worked around the 1920's

Today a small posting with only two linocut prints printed on woven art paper and printed from the actual blocks.

These are the only works I could find after stumbling over these two. They were printed in Der Sturm (leading German modernist Art Magazine edited from 1910-1932) in 1925. Good enough to be taken in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (German expressionist department). Even the LACMA has no further data on who Karl Heinz was. 

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Schöne Dinge (revisited)

Today I pay a visit again to Thomas’ shop Schöne Dinge in Berlin. Three new acquisitions in his in shop are on offer and worth sharing:
To begin with an old acquaintance (treated in Clive's Blog): Erich Buchwald Zinnwald (1884-1972) this reasonably priced lonely alpine fir tree in good condition and a copy printed in wonderful colours.
Click !

A good opportunity showing here some of my favourite prints by this artist: his experiments with printing starry nights, winters solitude and a rare atmospheric city view:

Secondly for the specialist collector this (1920/30’s) sensitive black and white composition of mother and child by German printer Arnold Willings (1899-1987) who later turned to abstract work. His work is present in several German museums.
Here are two other examples of his work I scratched from the www.

And last your help is asked identifying this possibly Russian originated woodblock print (Nr.5 from 10) with some great details depicting a no doubt heroic construction site.
Click !

Click !
Any suggestions are very welcomed. I think there's a world of quality prints by Russian printers that are still very unknown "in the West" and awaiting discovery. Anna Ostroumova-Lebedeva (1871-1955) maybe one of the first and famous Russian academic woodblock printers but she can't be the only good and talented Russian printer ofcourse. 

Further information about these prints at: Thomas Treibig 

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Karl Johne, Czech (Bohemian) printmaker

Karl Johne
 (Kratzau, Bohemia 1887 – 1959) Czech (Bohemian) painter, graphic and woodcut artist, paintings restauration expert, bookcover and ex-libris designer, book illustrator.

Seeing this long list of skills and occupations together with the fine prints I am sharing with you today it is hard to believe so little, hardly anything, is to be found on the Internet on the life and works of this artist.
Reichenberg, Bohemia

It is thanks to the help of Ingeborg Schwarz born in Maffersdorf but like all German spoken inhabitants expelled after WWII sending me the biographical facts and data and three more examples of prints allowing me to make a beginning with this posting. At last, a first attempt showing the few works I found together, and in some form of context.     
Karl Johne descended from a Reichenberg family of teachers and was trained at the Reichenberg Teaching Institution (1907-1912). He later became a teacher in the Marine (Kriegsmarine) and later, from 1912 he taught mathematics and drawing in Reichenberg’s Knabenbürgerschule (High school for boys). To become headmaster of this school between 1936 and 1945. 
Titel unknown
Reichenberg (now Liberec) is situated roughly between Dresden and Prag on the Northern borders of what is now the Czech Republic but was known as Bohemia before 1918.
A very beautiful mountinous and rural area, with many rich and industrious cities, and with long traditions, history and culture. The population mainly German spoken during the centuries the borders of central Europe shifted with time and conflicts. Home of the Sudeten: Sudetenland.
Rauhreif über den Iserbergen

Winter im Isergebirge

Compare this very similar composition by printer Paul Leschhorn (1876-1952), surely more then a coincidence  although Leschhorn originated from the Alsace.

Paul Leschhorn

Frühlingstag (spring day)
Kratzau marketplace, a book illustration. 

It is known Johne restored over 400 paintings on request of the Governement.

See for more Karl Johne: here, and for more Paul Leschhorn: here

Please feel free sending me more examples to share and in honour of artist Karl Johne.

Thank you Ingeborg Schwarz, Thomas, Charles and Clive.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Ameland and the Linocut print

Recently I discovered some of my favourite places on the North-sea island of  Ameland appearing in contemporary linocut prints. I can say that I'm very lucky having lived on the island at one time. These prints are made by Dutch grafic artist and retired drawing teacher Nies den Engelsen (1945) who is also a frequent and very dedicated visitor to the island. His approach to linocut printing is a straight forward, simple and non romantical one.
Commanders house, Nes Ameland Anno1651

In the 17th and 18th century the island of Ameland was the centre of Spitsbergen and polarsea whaling and the focus of many expeditions. The many preserved captains (“commanders”) houses, build from rich profits from the hunt and trading attributing much to the wonderful authentic and historic atmosphere on the island. 
Commanders house Hollum 1751, now Sorgdragers museum 
Surrounded by beaches, dunes and a bewildering tidal sea mysteriously falling dry every twelve hours, the endless horizon and the exuberant marine and bird life are unequaled and truly unforgettable. The Wadden-sea, the shallow tidal-sea surrounding the strip of islands from the Netherlands through Northern Germany to Denmark was awarded World Heritage  status in 2010. 
Ameland Lighthouse, build 
1880 from cast-iron rings. 
 linocut  by Nies den 
It is most important as a nursery to uncountable species of marine life, Northsea fish, seals, birds and of vital importance to all Northern Europes migrating birds who pass by the millions every spring and fall.

Tames Oud
Native islander Tames Oud (1895-1945), painter and linocut printer, left the island for Brussels in 1914 to become a celebrated artist. Besides paintings in oil he created also some linocut prints with subjects from childhood memories. Showing lovingly and in a very distinct and personal style village people and island life.
"Travail" linocut by Tames Oud

Going out to sea, by Tames Oud

Some of his prints showing the age old, very local and mysterious fête of St. Nicolaas (Sûnneklaas).

When, during two evenings in the first week of December from sunset to midnight women are not allowed outdoors and all Island men over 16 ("of age") wander disguised and masked in groups from door to door checking curfew and “forcing” the women to dance with them on music and traditional hot drinks.

These two examples of prints depicting the cold and haunting atmosphere of an island community in winters' isolation in that particular week. Halloween may be the closest tradition to compare with.

Today islander Jeanet de Jong (1956) shows her cutting and printing skills in surprisingly confident and powerful prints and typical island scenes.
Farewell, linocut by Jeanet de Jong

Rowing out to sea the life boat. 
Launching the life boat.

This emotional drawing (below) by illustrator and bookcover artist Reint de Jonge (1931-1993) showing the brute power and brave heroism that goes with launching the lifeboat. Drawn, pulled and launched by 10 trained island working horses, farmers and villagers team up and man the now motorised lifeboat saving the lifes of hundreds of sailors in distress. In august 1979 eight horses tragically drowned launching the boat. An island catastrophe that made world news.  
Launching of the Life boat, drawing  by  artist Reint de Jonge
Postcard 1930's

Postcard 1960's
See more of this "strange land and its deprived people living on man-made mounts mysteriously rising from misty seas two times every day, like shipwrecked". After: Gaius Plinius Secundus (23-79 AD) or Pliny the Elder, who stood on Frisian shores around 50 AD, writing his eyewhitness account. Not used to the tides he was undecisive wether he saw "the seafloor rising or the land sinking into the seas". Storing rainwater from thatched roofs was also something the civilized Roman, used to running water and central heating, found very savage. He left this "Godforsaken country" reporting he saw no other use to the Empire for the land and its inhabitants other than forced labour and taxes. The fierce and proud Frisians beating the Romans later escaping slavery and Roman suppression. Plinius died in action standing on the beach whilst making his eye-whitness report of exploding Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD.

See: World Heritage Waddensea
See: Launching the last horse drawn lifeboat in the world: