Saturday, 31 March 2012

NOID, Sparrows and help requested

(Passer domesticus, passer montanus, スズメ)

Reader Michael in Germany asked my to help him identify the maker of this nice woodblock print. Because I love sparrows (who doesn't ?) and couldn't read the signature nor recognized the artist the  help of readers would be much appreciated. It's a German, "original Holzschnitt" and titled "Spassen" (sparrows). 
Because of the clearly visible cheek-spot this subspecies is actually called Passer montanus, or Tree sparrow (ger. Feldsperling).

This is a good opportunity, the above print obviously created influenced by Japanese printmaking, in return sharing some not every day examples of common sparrows by Japanese printmakers. There are ofcourse also by European printmakers but by far the majority and most decorative are the Japanese. Often printed not on the usual sheet of paper but on paper scrolls. 
L: Sessai (1755-1820)
R: Rosetsu Nagasawa (1754-1799)
Kono Barei (1844-1895) 
L: Kano Eisen (1730-1790)
R: unidentified artist.
Sawa Takeshi (?)
both by Rakusan Tsuchiya (1896-1976)

 Hiroshige (1797-1858)
from a scroll by Nakazawa Ikkyo, active 1920/30

Tsuchia Koitsu (1879-1949)

Surely the list could be much longer but these are my favorite ones by Japanese printmakers. Some of which I borrowed freely from the Dr. Ross Walker's great collection and Ohmi Gallery   

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Emil Ganso: Bathers (Badende) (1/3)

Emil Ganso
American painter and woodcut printmaker,
 woodengraver, lithographer, etcher.   

Like Tor Otto Fredlin (1890-1950) in last posting, Emil Ganso wasn't predestined becoming an artist. He started his career as a baker in Germany, worked on board of the Germany-America Shipping Line and became, on the outbreak of WW1 an American citizen in 1914. Besides a self taught artist Ganso had to bake bread until 1924 when finally he could live of his art. Here's a good biography on the artist.  
A few weeks ago his print, "Bathers", was on offer at Ebay. It is a print uniquely made for "the Colophon", an American Art and Collectors Magazine in  februari 1933. It's executed in the wood engraving technigue and printed on mulberry paper. The Ebay offer went unnoticed and cheap. It however made me curious enough looking for more examples of Ganso's work and so  becoming aware of his fascination for bathing women. And ofcourse, he wasn't the only one.  
Besides famous for his still lifes, his interpretations of the female nude are highly praised. Besides in mine, I'm proud to say the Bathers print is also in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. 
Left: "Hilda" by Emil Ganso and right a great unexpected etching by Martin Erich Philipp (1887-1978) who besides his fascination for the macaws in Dresden Zoo that made him famous even in America and being a good etcher evidently had a similar aesthetic eye for the female back.

For centuries bathing women have been an inspiration to artists from ancient Greece to Rembrandt, Rubens and Picasso. Lower left ofcourse the famous pastel by French impressionist Pierre August Renoir. This Blog more or less following my stream of consciousness (or "monologue interieur") I've discoverd so many closely related and often unknown works of art I've decided dedicating one or two more posting to this theme. A theme that magicaly seems to turn ordinary(?) women into mythologic creatures, graces and nymphs. 

But first here are some more of Emil Ganso's graces and nymphs. Bathing, reclining, resting women executed in different mediums (oil, pastel, etching and woodcuts) and when seen together they share the natural, relaxed and at leasure almost dreamlike atmosphere. Also completely unaware of any artist or observer in bathroom, boudoir or lakeside. Quite differently from, for example, the direct and far more confronting photographic style of Anders Zorn whom's nevertheless great and astonishing etchings of bathing women I discussed recently in the Blog (here). 
Ganso's women have much more in common with the women of Felix Valloton (1865-1925) (above) 
Next:  more bathing women, graces and nymphs.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Tor Otto Fredlin: a Swedish colorist

Tor Otto Fredlin
(1890 Härnösand - 1955 Lund)

Swedish painter of animals, mainly common birds.
Book illustrator and birdwatcher.

Tor Fredlin's wwweb biography (in Swedish only) telling us he tried many occupations like taxidermist, animal breeder etc., before entering in Stockholm’s Athins Art Academy (painter school) in 1910, later continuing his artistic education in France. 
He travelled to Germany and France from 1924 and exhibited extensively in Sweden between 1915-1924 later working as an illustrator for many classic and well known (Scandinavian) children’s books and a Swedish version of the famous "Brehm's Tierleben" encyclopdia.
What I like most about Fredlin’s paintings are his keen observations of our commonest of garden guests: Robin, Blue Tit, Titmouse, Linnet etc. Always showing their natural behaviour, movement and surroundings. The many different and often difficult perspectives, I'm convinced, can only be observed and sketched by a trained and very loving eye. 
So, Tor Fredlin has much in common with those two German bird loving artists Emil Pottner (1872-1942) and Friedrich Lissmann (1880-1915) whom I showed to you earlier in the Blog (use the Blogs search option or the links). Fredlin also always staying faithful to his subjects, never cheating, bending or placing them into more easy drawing postures. His birds seem totally careless, unaware, absorbed, busy and blended into natural surroundings. Behaving the way they normaly do making them so true and easily recognizable. 
The combination of his subjects and his very appealing, fresh and original color pallet is turning each and every one of his paintings into a little gem.  Fredlin could be described as a Scandinavian colorist and even after a century his bird paintings are quite irresistible, comforting and a joy to study. His  paintings hardly ever show up outside Sweden.
 (All pictures are mouse clickable: You should !)
I searched the www. and selected this compilation for sharing and hope you’ll enjoy them as much.    

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Recommended !

Here's a little secret for all Linosaurus followers. In the Museumshop of Schloss  Moyland Museum (Castle Moyland) in Germany, home of the famous and mentioned in the Blog before "Hans and Franz Joseph van der Grinten collections" here are some great books and true bargains for you.
This monumental, 400+ pages, heavily sponsored luxury book treating  Rembrandt and the English-painter-Etchers. A 100€ book now in a special offer for an incredible 10€ only. Bilingual, English and German, 160 de luxe color reproductions with professional commentaries on each print and artists biographies. A most precious book. 
While you hurry putting the book in the shopping basket do continue shopping and consider grabbing this classic standard on Modern Printmaking: "die Frühzeit des Modernen Holzschnitts. 20€ and it'll be send to you combined for the same 8 € postage (European mainland, ask if otherwise): 360 pages and 450 early European prints discussed, many full page and in full color + artists biographies. A "must have" book. 
And while ordering check some other museum editions: if you are interested in German Expressionist woodblocks see this 400 pages and 700 illustrations edition. Same publication format as the above and on the luxe printing paper.

Follow the links or go to: and choose (left): Publikationen (publications), then Ausstellungskatalogen (exhibition catalogues).

On page 1  you 'll find the Frühzeit woodblocks book.
On page 2 the German Expressionist woodblocks book.
On page 3 the fabulous Rembrandt and the English Painter-Etchers book.

The very friendly and helpful Museum and shop staff eager to help you. 

Botany and update

Observant reader Shaun recently send me corrections in a comment, again proving the combined powers of Blogreaders. Last june I posted: Surfinia's ! about this nice flower woodblock print. After some internet digging I came up with a possible brand of flowers: Surfinia's. Last week Shaun set right the matter: they are actually a Dahlia variety. One of the oldest in the world named "Union Jack" also known as "Star of Denmark. In contrast to the Surfinia's variety these have the distinct yellow hart. Shaun even grows them.

Left Surfinia var. Rosa Veine and right Dahlia var. Star of Denmark.

Now, after having solved the botanical question I ask readers again helping me with reading the signature  identifying the (German) maker. I'm convinced one day that will be solved also. Thank you Shaun.