Sunday 30 December 2012

Carl Thiemann and some Dachau colleagues

To all readers:
Best Wishes for 2013

In this last posting of 2012 I'd intended writing a report of my virtual visit to Dachau (where I met Carl Olof Petersén discusssed in before posting) and of course running inevitably into printmaker Carl Thiemann (1881-1966).

Since this blog is not meant to be about world famous printmakers and other artists who already have been subject of more scholarly investigation I have been seriously in doubt whether to continue with todays posting. 

Thiemann upper, Ludwig Dill lower 

Adding something worthwhile reading (and sharing rarely seen prints) to the web that wasn’t previously there, or presenting some new context  is one of the rules and criteria I try to maintain after I've started this Blog following my personal discoveries.

Clockwise: Carl Thiemann, Ludwig Dill, Adolf Hölzel and Arthur Langhammer: Dachau moor and birches. The compositional meaning of every bend in the water and in the tree trunks has been subject of some kind of professional discussion. 

In the beginning, before Thiemann and Walter Klemm arrived in 1908 there was this trio of friends, painting and teaching in Dachau: the colorist Arthur Langhammer (1854-1901) who died young, theorist and later abstract artist  Adolf Hölzel (1853-1934) who left in 1905 and Ludwig Dill (1848-1940) who was never to leave and rediscovered the Dachau landscape. 
Thiemann and Ludwig Dill

Langhammer and Hölzel were very influenced after visiting Claude Monet (1840-1926) in Paris but it was Dill, a master of light and shadow, who came closest to Monet (poplars and haystacks) and van Gogh (cypresses and pines) concerning the series of outdoor created paintings of Dachau moor and its birches. Hölzel returning every summer to teach in his New Dachau Painting School.
Thiemann and Carl Moll (1861-1945) who worked in Vienna at the time

Reading about the art colony in Dachau and its painter-teachers and looking up their paintings I think it is nice to see and compare the things that awoke my curiosity trying to figure out how these artist and the landscape may have influenced each other and later students.

"Alte Kanalbrücke Dachauer moor", woodblock and painting by Carl Thiemann etching by Carl Felber (1880-1932). Felber, a painter etcher, shared the same teachers as Thiemann and also settled in Dachau and worked along the Mediteranian and Adriatic sea coast where teachers artists and students from Dachau and München moved to in summer. Felbers work of Dachau moors I intend showing   soon. 
Workmens houses along the canal by Carl Felbers.

There was Ferdinand Mirwald (1872-1948), an artist who also moved with his young family permanently to Dachau, arriving at the same time as Thiemann and Klemm in 1908. He was famed for his color woodblock prints although most of his work was lost and surviving prints are extremely rare. 
Left Mirwald, right Thiemann: Dachau, and Dachau moor canal.

Although the landscape around Dachau, its moors and waterways obviously had the same attraction to all painting artists todays availability and easy access of the internet of so many pictures makes it tempting to try and compare them.
 In later years the use of color changed dramatically in Thiemann's prints.

In the case of the printmaker Carl Thiemann it is astonishing to see how he was able to keep up with his painting colleagues and teachers in capturing the atmosphere of the place and its surroundings even with the limitations presented by the medium of the multi colored woodblock print. 
Carl Thiemann (1881-1966)

 Carl Johne (1887-1959)

Thiemann's birches obviously were an inspiration to Dutch printmaker Piet Rackwitz (1892-1968) whom I shall present in due time.

All pictures borrowed freely from the internet for friendly non commercial use only.  

Sunday 23 December 2012

Happy Christmas 2012

Martin Erich Philipp (1887—1978), Poinsettia in Chinese vase, multi color woodblock print M55, 1936. Image size 34 x 47 cm.
Poinsettia (named after Joel Robert Poinsett (1779-1851), botanist and American Minister of Mexico (ambassadors weren’t appointed until 1896) beginning of the 19th century who imported the plant into the US. 

And in 1804 Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), explorer and botanist, brought the plant to Europe.

Latin: Euphorbia pulcherrima, Christmas flower or  Christmas rose, Atatürk flower, Aztek: Cuitla-xochitl, Mexican: Flores de Noche Buena.

A Mexican legend says the child Pepita, too poor to buy a proper gift, instead picked a bouquet of field flowers as a gift to Jesus. Given in humility and love God rewarded it with a miracle: in the church one of the plants flowered red and green on Christmas.
Arie Zonneveld (1905-1941), Poinsettia. 
See also:

Recently I've obtained a second copy of MEPH's Poinsettias. It's on offer for swapping.

Friday 21 December 2012

Carl Olof Petersn, a Swede in Dachau

Carl Olof Petersen

Swedish painter, writer, illustrator and printmaker.

When Carl Olof Petersen (left: 1905) heard the enthusiastic reports of Swedish painter Ernst Norlind (1877-1952) returning from Dachau, Bavaria, he decided quitting his job as a grocer in Malmö and set sail to the old German market town near Munich determined becoming an artist after receiving his initial training in Sweden.
While Norlind is mostly remembered for his many paintings and etchings of stork and the iconic 1914 Baltic exposition poster, Petersén on the other hand  is best known for his humorous, political and satirical illustrations for Magazines like Jugend and Simplissimus.

(right and above, painting, poster and etching by Ernst Norlind, below a moving "Springtime" by Petersén )

Petersen, 23, arrived in Dachau in 1903 when the  popularity of the artist colony was already established and rising. Already popular among artists earlier in the 19th century it's colony status was initiated with the arrival  of artists like my favourite German painters Lovis Corinth (1858-1945) and Max Liebermann (1847-1935) and the village thrived as an artist colony until the outbreak of the Great War in 1914. Many young residential artists were called for duty but never to return.

In Dachau young Carl Olof rented rooms and a studio with Joseph Wittmann, a local flour merchant located in his families centuries old bakery. A business which he'd cleverly expanded selling artist materials, canvases, papers and paint to the hords of artist living and working in Dachau. And renting artist studios build in the attic. Petersén became close friends with the Wittmann family, who are to this day art and book dealers in Dachau.
Turkey: Carl Olof Petersén and Walter Klemm.

Although Petersen was buried in his native Sweden he was to stay in Dachau until 1937, the year of his death. After WWI, Dachau, the venerable and beautiful medieval market town in the marshy foothills of the Alps again drew many artists but slowly it lost it’s former glory as an important gathering of artists and painting School. 

"After the hunt" (oil painting). 
The upcoming militairy ammunition industry took over and eventually the name of this picturesque medieval village, once the playground of Bavarian Kings and Queens, would be synonymous with the atrocities and horrors of Nazi Germany. 
Turkey by Carl Olof Petersen and by Walter Klemm.

Around 1910 in Dachau the artist:citizen ratio, Petersen wrote, was 1:10. Among them the young artists and printmaking friends Walter Klemm (1883-1957) and Carl Theodor Thiemann (1881-1966). Both originating from the city of Karlsbad and having studied and been "in business" together in Prag arrived in Dachau in 1908. Klemm, when appointed professor in Weimar, left before the outbreak of war in 1913 but Thiemann, like Petersén, stayed all his life. A line of artistic influence can be distinguished from Petersén, through Thiemann and Klemm back to printmaking pioneer Emil Orlik (1870-1932) who, returned from Japan in 1902, before in Vienna encouraged (and instructed?) Walter Klemm in printmaking (see links below !).  
Storks by Walter Klemm (left) and Carl Thiemann (right).

Besides quite famous as an illustrator Petersen was also a skilled woodblock printmaker as you can judge for yourself by the examples I’ve been able to dig up from the depths of the internet. 

"Fighting Roosters" by Petersén (left) and one by Vienna printmaker Ludwig Jungnickel (1881-1965) (right):

“Angorakatzen” from an auction cataloque, sadly in a very low resolution but reminding of prints by the illustrious Norbertine Bresslern-Roth’s (1891-1978) who'd studied in nearby Munich and later created several print on this feline species (below).

The Hooded Crow (Corvinus cornix, Nebelkrähe (Germ.), Grâkråka (Sw.) a typical Scandinavian and Russian subspecies of the common crow was also depicted by Ernst Norlind (etching lower right). 

And I've found a dozen or so lovely childrens book illustrations by Petersén. Comparing the image of the turkey to the works above is particularly interesting. In Dachau Petersen (like most artists of any importance who once lived in the village) was honoured with a street name. 

See for some more scolarly further reading Charles' "Modern Printmakers": Carl Thiemann*, Walter Klemm* and Emil Orlik*. (link*)

All pictures embiggen by mouse click and are borrowed freely from the Internet for friendly and educational use only.