Sunday 29 April 2012

Adam Bunsch: a Polish Allen Seaby

Adam Bunsch
(Krakau 1896-1969 Krakau)
Writer, Painter, Playwright, Printmaker
A Polish Soldier Artist (Poland, France, Britain).

His life was a mirror of the history of the first half of XXth century Poland. A painter, a designer of stained glass windows, mosaics and polychromes, a specialist in Japanese style wood engravings, a ceramist, a stage designer, a graphic artist, and a draughtsman. 

left: "Dzika kaczka" (1927) wild ducks by Adam Bunsch and right by Allen Seaby
Also playwright, an original thinker and a man of the deepest convictions and beliefs.
"Sikorki modre", Blue tits in cherry tree (1953)
It is not difficult to see who were Adam Bunsch’ printmaking heroes. Trying his best in the Japanese traditional printmaking way German Walter Klemm (1885-1957) and British Allen William Seaby (1867-1953) obviously a source of inspiration. Both in choise of subjects as in printing style. 
Goldfinches by Adam Bunch. he did many so I can't tell the year of creation  
and goldfinches by Allen Seaby 
The retrospective exhibition held a few months ago in London speaks of his actual presence in England as a war artist. This, I think, is a great opportunity asking my friend Charles of Modern Printmakers (M.P.) to let his expert light shine on the matter.
left: "Szczygly" 1962, right "Pszczoly", Bees on apple blossom (1946 
After my sheer coincidental encounter with Adam Bunsch I found and purchased his Catalogue Résumé in Poland, revealing some more use-able for the Linosaurus pictures of woodcuts with publishing dates. Which in the case of comparing Bunsch with Seaby is not a big help because Seaby didn’t leave notes on dates of his editions (acc. to Charles, M.P.)
Kingfishers (Zimorodki) on chestnut branch, Adam Bunsch 1931
and by Allen Seaby and  by Walther Klemm.
All written information in the booklet however is in Polish. What I could make up is Bunsch travelled Europe in 1928-29 (Paris, Rome, Florence, Venice and Vienna) and as a war artist was again actually in France, England and Scotland in 1940-45. 
"Piskleta" fledgelings (1936) and  right: "Bazanty", pheasants (probably 1963)
Between 1926 and his death in 1969 he produced some 88 woodcuts mostly of animals. Goldfinches (thistle finches) a favorite: he did several, like Seaby did several kingfishers. But also poultry, pheasants, ducks and fishes. Motives also choosen and loved by Walter Klemm. Dogs and cats also a favorite. I managed to find some 18 prints in colour that I'm showing here. Hopefully more examples will show up after this article/posting for all to enjoy. I've seen some pretty spectacular examples of roosters, birds of prey and owls but in black &amp white thumbnails.
left "Kot", cat (1951) right: "Bialy piesek" dog lying (1933)

The Japanese application and use of paint, like a watercolor wash, and blocks used for  background are also very reminding of printmaker Erna Fenkohl-Herzer (1882-1975) whom I rediscovered and showed her works in the Linosaurus: see here*.
 Adam Bunsch & Erna Fenkohl 

POSK, The Polish Catholic Mission of England & Wales and the Sikorski Institute and Museum have joined forces to present this joint retrospective exhibition of Bunsch's works in their possession to awaken the memory of a man who impacted on so many from the young Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II, to visitors of the Paris 1937 Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne Exhibition and the New York World's Fair in 1939 and many international dignitaries of his time (from the recent London 2012 cataloque).
Frantiszeck (Frances) Bunsch: an unequaled delicate portrait (1933) in woodblock print of Adam Bunsch' son Frances (1926), above, who followed in the footsteps of his father a career as a Polish artist and professor. 
left "Cyclamen" (1934),   right "Mlecz" (thistles) (1946)
left: "Cerkiew" (church) 1926, right: "Glowa" 1935 
I'm convinced showing together all these very original and rather unknown prints with such unexpected quality by this hardly known outside Poland Modern Printmaker will be the starting point of a renewed interest. Like earlier publications in the Linosaurus have proven before: Karl Johne, Erna Fenkohl, Viktor Pirkhoff, E. Meinshausen-Felsing  among others. 
view on Krakau, date unknown 

All examples shown are mouse-clickable

I know readers and occasional passers-by are all busy people but please: consider leaving a comment as a signal of appreciation or just out of politeness. Composing these postings takes a lot of time and effort. Finding my writings and "my" pictures used all over the internet without leaving a word, a reference or even something simple as a "hello" or comment is increasingly  frustrating and will, in the end, result in ending of sharing my new findings and closing the Linosaurus Blog alltogether. 

Monday 23 April 2012

Kanae Yamamoto

Kanae Yamamoto 
(山本鼎 1882-1946)

painter, founder of modern Japanese printmaking
(Sosaka Hanga), socialist and idealist. 
Theorist & Inventor of Craypas  pastel crayons.
Self portrait Kanae Yamamoto, 1915 & Vincent van Gogh, 1888 

In two of my last postings images by Kanae Yamamoto were used. I first read about this printmaker in Clives' Art end the Aesthete (here*). Then I stumbled over a picture used in Lillies Japonisme blog later finding, to my surprise, a "Brittany cow overlooking the sea" print for my Red Heads posting.  

Kanae educated and trained in woodengraving both privately and in Tokyo Art School started the movement of Sosako Hanga, simply said doing all the work on the carving and printing himself and not aided by staff. All started with this first print (Fisherman) in 1904. Pioneering and introducing a new way of printmaking without a black (tying the composition together) keyblock.

So, scattered over the internet there is information and are examples of Yamamoto's prints and paintings but nowhere the two are combined. There's an actual Yamamoto Museum in Japan but its digital museum/website (in Japanese) is hard to understand and  shows very few actual pictures. And there's the excellent biography by Dieter Wanczura (Artelino) you must read: (here*)
Compare Kanae Yamamoto's Brittany bathers with similar compositions by Paul Gauguin.  

From 1912 to 1916 Kanae was in France, studying in Paris in the Academie Julian (like Carl Moser (below) did before him) and working mostly in Brittany, sending home his prints to finance his stay obroad. So surprisingly we find Urushibara (arriving 1907) wasn't the only Japanese printmaker staying in Europe at the time. This may also explain the rather odd publishing dates of some of his prints. Created in France, they were send back and published later, some of them probably even when he was already back in Japan. 
Eugene Boudin (l) and Kanae Yamamoto (around 1914)
(It would be very rewarding finding which village Yamamoto is showing)

In Yamamoto's Brittany prints we'll find obvious influences by French impressionist artists. However most of them already history by the time he arrived. Vincent van Gogh (1853 died 1890), Paul Gauguin (1848 died 1903) Claude Monet and Eugène Boudin (1824 died 1884) the landscape, and famous for his cows, painter. 
 Paintings of haystacks by Claude Monet and Yamamoto

Bu surely many of their works will have echoed in the region and in Paris. But post impressionist painter Paul Serusier (1863-1927) I'm convinced he will have met. And possibly Maurice Denis (1870-1943). It is interesting comparing some of Yamamoto's Japanese prints with works of resemblance by his fellow artists and see how this earliest Modern Printmaker set the way the way for his colleagues
Kanae Yamamoto
Paul Serusier and Carl Moser

French (Paris) printmaker Henri Rivière (1864-1951) who stayed and worked in Brittany 1884 from 1916, so when Yamamoto was actually there, was probably the greatest artistic influence on the younger printmaker Yamamoto.
Kanae Yamamoto
 Carl Moser and Henri Rivière
painting by Maurice Denis (1870-1943), the Cow Girl 1893
Kanae Yamamoto
 Paul Gauguin and "the crashing wave"by  Henri Rivière

Austrian printmaker Carl Moser (who took woodcarving lessons from Emil Orlik) also spend the summer months and stayed and travelled Brittany between 1900-1907, the year Yamamoto arrived. Even back in Austria Moser  kept on making prints of Brittany girls, Britany bonnets and Brittany landscapes.
Breton girl: Kanae Yamamoto
 Breton girls Paul Gauguin and Paul Serusier

And ofcourse French printmaker Amadée Joyau (1872-1913) worked in Brittany at the time Yamamoto stayed there. I've shown him in the Linosaurus before (here*)

And Czech printmaker Frantisek Simon (1877-1942 when living and working in Paris from 1907-1913 also visited "la Bretagne" and etched her rugged coast. 
Two of his woodblocks probably published in Japan: left, in a combined cutting and engraving technique (click to see details !) a French provincial  village (which ?) and right a maybe Russian panorama considering the shape of the church towers. Yamamoto made his way home avoyding war troubled Europe in 1916 through Scandinavia and Russia. Note in both prints his soft and consistent use of a pastel pallet.  
Above two examples of Yamamoto's qualities as an oilpainter: a Brittany beach and a later Japanese beach scene showing he best fits the description being a Japoanese Post Impressionist painter.
 Paul Gauguin and Kanae Yamamoto

"On the deck" a print probably made when he just had returned in Japan. It is dated 1917 and is showing a Japanese Fisherman working his nets. This last example, the group fishermen at a beach at sunset (or rise), proof of his superior cutting skills. I couldn't find a date, but the way he created the different expressions, shades of gray and structures of cloth of the robes with a simple cutting tool is almost incredible.
Being a theorist and idealist Yamamoto also invented and created the first use and production of color pastels in 1925. Together with a course in drawing for children according to the theory of Jiyu-ga (Drawing without a Master) Perfected, these artist materials are in use world wide both as original Sakura Craypas pastels (read more here*) as dozens of brands worldwide.

This posting has been one my most elaborate sofar, trying to create something that wasn't there before. It's by no means meant as definitive, at best a starting point for further interest for others. 
Some pictures I borrowed and reblogged from "Japonism" and the "Blue Lantern".