Saturday, 19 November 2011

Ernst Rötteken, rarest prints (I)

Ernst Rötteken (I)

German painter and printmaker

(< self portrait as a young man 1902)
The colors in this print below, "Echinopsis", make a nice bridge to continue after the colorful world of Matt Underwood's prints in last posting. Today I make a start sharing some very rare and probably never before shown or published flower prints by Ernst Rötteken (1882-1945).
I have so many nice things to share and show I'm afraid it will have to be in two separate postings. The above print, probably a proof, showing all (15 !) hues used, proving Rötteken, like Matt and Kandinsky, knew too. About the Japanese colors and hues.
Rötteken was a local printmaker in the Province of Lippe, living in Detmold the  provincial capital of the once souvereign Princedom of Lippe (Westphalen) in the hills and mountains of the Teutoburger Forest, were in AD 9, fierce Germanic tribes beat and stopped the advance of the Roman Legions. Rötteken produced his prints with the philosophy that by creating woodblock prints of his flower compositions the affordability put Good and Aesthetic Art into the reach and houses of the middle classe people of Lippe. 
Judging by their popularity and numbers of (unnumbered) prints many if not every middle class house in the province Lippe region was decorated with one or more of his prints. He was a well loved and respected artist, who experienced that prints of locally unknown and exotic plants like "Kamelie" didn't sell. 
It was "Goldregen, Roter Kaktus, Osterblumen, Sonnenblumen, Apfelblüten und Enzian" the Detmolders understood and wanted. So pernickety they were that prints like "Osterblumen" (Easterflowers) were not displayed in winter.  
See for these most and well known prints by Rötteken the Linosaurus Bazaar/Shop section following “German Printmakers” and you'll find a reference to these prints. Follow the button above or this use this link.
But these very unknown and rare prints however I enjoyed and photographed at my friend Hubert in Detmold when I visited him last spring. He is the greatest expert on painter & printmaker Ernst Rötteken and was one of the initiators of an exhibition of Röttekens work some years ago in Detmold. 
These are his early prints as well as experiments with form, design and color. Like in these three different prints of "Euphorbie".
Rötteken, relying for his bread and butter on his painting and printmaking had a small, 20 pages, cataloque made and installed at the regional better art and design shops and frame makers. It is sometimes on Ebay and holds 36 of his popular prints (to be ordered) and mentions 14 more prints in preparation (but some were never executed). In 1:4 miniature.  

.................To be continued ..............

It takes a lot of time and research composing these articles. Leaving a comment, corrections or suggestions after reading therefore is always very much appreciated.
Some postings have been visited and consulted (borrowed and used !) over 900 times. Without leaving a single notice.
If I wasn't convinced you were probably very busy and forgot to, it could easily be interpreted as not very polite.
(Please consider that borrowing and using these unique pictures makes one very traceable.)


  1. Wow. Thanks for sharing these; another unknown (well, to me anyway) artist whose work I wish I had known about earlier.
    The cactus print is just phenomenal. I think the addition of the color squares that chronicle the printing sequence and color choices is a real help to historians and us aspiring printmakers.
    Hope to peruse these more in the future and I look forward to the future posts/images.

  2. Thanks for stopping by Andrew. Rötteken is one of my favorite printakers from neighbouring Germany. You can still find many of his prints for relatively little money. I suppose its safer hanging on the wall than placed in the bank nowadays. Interest in terms of pleasure is much higher. There will be more revalations soon.

  3. Thank you Gerrie, for at last posting on one of my favourite flower printmakers - his works are, to me, far more interesting and pleasing to the eye than the more widely known Hall Thorpe. Perhaps Ernst will now take his place amongst the valued and sort after artists. I have managed to sell a few of his prints in the UK, but often only after a lot of work convincing clients that these are worthy works of art. His time is coming !!! I can't wait to see the others - more Berg Blumen perhaps.

  4. Hello Steven, I think these rare prints will convince the British print lovers that Rötteken is the kind of printmaker England never had. I have quite a few of his prints collected and I enjoy them every day. They are still very affordable, veryu Arts and Craft and not that difficult to find. It's the real aesthetic that recognizes the quality. Thanks.