Sunday, 26 February 2012

Lucien Levy-Dhurmer

Lucien Levy-Dhurmer
French painter, pastellist and illustrator.

René Lorrain
French etcher

Recently, observant reader Huib van Marle, pointed me to this colour etching in the files of Neil's Adventures in the Print trade Blog (see "my Bloglist" on the right) and his Idburry Prints. It is a color etching by René Lorrain (b.1873) after a pastel by Lucien Levy-Dhurmer which shows great  similarities with the  St. Jacques print in my first Antwerp School posting. Lucien Levy-Dhurmer is showing 10th century Bruges' Cathedral. 
The unknown printmaker of St. Jacques in Antwerp, with initials A. vd J., still veiled in obscurity. Googling Levy-Dhurmer you'll be astonished by the number and quality of paintings and drawings by this artist. From the great many I'll show you two of my favorite ones here. Neil wrote about the technical aspects of Lorrain's unique printmaking here and you'll find some more examples of his work in his shop.
This portrait above (in the Museé Dorsay) may be hinting at Levy-Dhurmers  admiration for James MacNeill-Whistler (and his mother)
 as well as at Hans Holbein (the younger: 1497-1543):
but would I like to know who modelled for this great heroic and academic yet very delicately rendered torso.

Thank you Huib !

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Some more snow !

Kamisaka Sekka 1866-1942
Some more Snow !

Continuing from last posting showing Jan Boon's Brueghel's winter print lets go out and meet some other artists who were inspired making similar prints. And then say goodbye to winter! Today februari 22th at 07h the blackbird for the first time this year announced the coming of spring 2012 with his song. 

The above print, "Oud Münster" is by Jan Boon around 1922 a few years after  Robert Gibbings' (1889-1956) 1918 "Dublin under Snow". Gibbings is well known for his fascination reducing sun and shade, black and white to an almost abstract level of composition. Jan Boon also did several more, experimenting with composition and the ultimate harmonic and easthetic distribution of black and white. 

Obviously the first to explore the possibillities of this theme were the Japanese printmakers but there are so many to choose from. That's why this great and relatively unknown (detail of) "Hotsprings of Hatashita" by Kawase Hasui (1883-1957) will have to represent this group because: 
it's the European Modern Printmakers I want to show here like British  Bernard Rice (1900-1998) in Bosnia and Giovanni Giacometti (1868-1933) in Italy:

and in Norway John Savio (1902-1938), from Sami descent, humorously and brilliantly adding the wandering cat on a cold white roof to his snowy rooftops print. 

By an unidentified German printmaker (r.). Is there some-one who recognizes  the monogram ?

Fritz Bleyl (Germ. 1880-1966) shows he was able to create very tastefully and effectively a wintery atmosphere with minimalistic means.
Although winter and cold can be rendered even more minimalistic as shown by his friend and Brücke (1905-1913) colleague Karl Schmidt-Rotluff (1884-1976) (Because Schmidt is such a common name even among German printmakers, a second name, often place of birth, was added to distinguish  but in the end creating a lot of confusion because often these were in turn abbreviated. A posting is planned clearing this matter up

Rather deviant from all his other (and not widely known) woodblock prints here's a very nice example by contemporary printmaking American Walt Padgett (I have  a posting planned introducing and showing the work of this very extra-ordinairy American artist).
George Gustav Adomeit (1879-1967) born in Germany but who   immigrated at the age of 4 to America becoming a celebrated  painter and (Provincetown) print maker shows these city dwellings in snow.  

And last but not least a recent acquisition from my own collection: Wim Abeleven (Dutch, 1903-1967) this 1938 serene and snow covered village in the province of Zealand.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Jan Boon, printmaker

Jan Boon 

Dutch painter, portraitist, book illustrator, etcher and printmaker. 

One of my favorite art books is "Themes and Variations, five centuries of master copies and interpretations" by K. E. Maison, edited by Thames and Hudson, London in 1960. It's a huge monument of a book in red cloth and although half a century old still unexcelled. If you ever stumble upon it donot hesitate: it's one of those must have books. Or try your local second hand bookshop or

And one of my favorite paintings is "Winter" (also named "Return from the hunt"), by Jan Brueghel the elder (1568-1625). I believe it to be the perfect winter painting. 
I think, after Jan Boon experimented with format, design and the distribution of black and white in similar prints, this great woodblock print "Winter in Traunkirchen" (Ger.) should have been included in K.E. Maison's book. This theme, snowy roofs, was also inspirational to many printmaking artists from Finland to Japan. Fascinated by the  artistic possibilities of the black and white rythm and geometry of snowy roofs. 

Belgian painter Valerius Saedeleer (1867-1941) painted much of his fantastic wintery work in the very best of Breughels tradition:

I'll show you and compare a good many of them in next posting. But first here's another great example of printmaking by Jan Boon. It's also one of my favorite prints of Amsterdam. Showing a famous spot hardly changed in centuries: the 17th century junction of the Keizers"canal" and the Reguliers"canal". Boon had been taught by Jacobus Gerardus Veldheer (1866-1954) one of the leading and internationally renowned Dutch wood engraving printmakers. 

Postcard around 1905
This historic location leading to this painting by George Hendrik Breitner (1857-1923), important Dutch impressionist painter and early photographer of daily city life.
The book "Themes and Variations" in mind I'm quite certain, in a glimpse, I've met this lady with the characteristic veil, hat and fur lined shawl in Amsterdam before.
G.H. Breitner:  Singel-bridge crossing, Palace street.

It could be Breitners' model Geesje who sat for his kimono paintings or it could also be Marie Jordan (1866-1948) who also posed for him and whom he married in 1901. Besides his many Amsterdam paintings and photographs Breitner is most famous for his paintings of women dressed in Kimono as well as Marie in various intimate paintings in her most natural costume.

A thank you to Eddy Habben-Jansen for borrowing his pictures. Visiting his Website dedicated to the life and works of Jan Boon is recommended.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Ice !

Making and using ice, without leaving behind any ecological footprint, for centuries was not only a luxury to the rich but also a very clever and sustainable way of survival we should not forget and try to remember with great respect. 
Walter Klemm (1883-1957)

Besides cooling wine in summer, fishmongers and bakeries and probably many more enterprises and industries depended on harvesting and storing ice. Ice that lasted as long as a year in cleverly constructed isolated cellars. 
Karl Friedrich Zähringer (Sw.) (1886-1933) "Eisbrecher"
Giovanni Giacometti (It.) 1868-1933
It's hard to imagine when we open our refrigerator door the activities shown by these artists were once a common sight not a century ago. As these pictures show: in Italy, Holland, Germany and Switserland.
Harvesting ice in Amsterdam 1917
If readers have knowledge of more examples of icemaking and harvesting please send them for sharing.
  Bernard Rice (Br.) (1900-1998), thank you Charles.

(2003) Clara Lieu (US)

Speaking of the wonderful and versatile Walter Klemm (read here) I found two more prints that should have been in the recent Fanny Psicha posting. But along this self educational path I follow and the information on the Internet expanding  every day, these things happen. For following readers I show them here and also add them to the original posting for new readers.