Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Rembrandt: Chaumière au grand arbre.

Barn with large tree 

("Chaumière au grand arbre") 
(Cat. B.226) 

Some time ago I (a flying crow....) stumbled over this battered, glued and browned impression of an etching in a broken frame. As in before posting it had evoked a "deja vue": I was sure I'd seen this composition before. Besides falling in love instantly (as a romantic it happens to me all the time), the frame told it was fabricated in a well known, posh, shop and it held an old (auctioneers) price tag. But even without those indicators....................... 

It measures roughly 25 x 42 cm. and it is (part of) an interpretation (not a copy !) of Rembrandts "La chaumières au grand arbre" (the barn with the big tree), catalogued as B.226. It's roughly twice the size of the known original. The right side is missing (I think, or maybe it was left out....). But even so it's very decorative and I would dearly like to know who made it, and when.  

In 1640 Rembrandt made this drawing, below, an etching of Amsterdam (catalogued B.210). Small as it is (a tiny 11,3 x 15,5 cm.) it shows the city with church towers, the harbor with ships, and the landscape with mills surrounding the city seen from the north side of the Y. 

In 1641 he drew two separate landscapes with a farm: one to the left and one to the right of his earlier vantage point in an oblong (13 x 32 cm.) format. Put together they form a wide angle view or panorama of Amsterdam. (B.226 and B.225), something like this:

Master engraver Amand Durand (1831-1905) who was commissioned by the Louvre Museum director to restore its collection of worn Rembrandt plates used a revolutionary "reversed method" invention. A fine and original paper print was used to produce an etched image in a fresh copper plate with the help of an electric light: the Heliogravure. It could take up to 6 months to create an image. But then it was accurate within 1/100 of cm. to the lines drawn by the hand of Rembrandt himself. Needles to say these limited Durand (re)prints are highly sought after and recognizable from a red seal on the back. 

The Heliogravure technique, after Durands epic mission, was quickly abandoned: it had been used to prints stamps and it was so good it could also be used to forge paper money. 

After Charles rapid comment (thanks) I found this: William Baillie (1723-1810) known for his many "after" Rembrandt etchings................. 

All pictures borrowed freely from the Internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Marius Bauer: Susanna or Saskia ?

Recently I discovered this intriguing and charming etching in a fair. Going through a pile of other "stuff" this one stood out and since I could not find any new works created by my German woodblock printmaking ladies, I decided she was to be my fair consolation. 

What had caught my eye, and interest, was the Rembrandtesque light, the sketch like drawing and the slightly familiar interior and pose of the startled girl. See also the subtle slipper lower right. In both works ! 

It is obvious the artist was inspired by Rembrandts Susanna (but without the dirty old men euphemistically named.. "Elders"). 

And that she is actually situated in Rembrandts house (preparing and looking towards the bed) is maybe another a clue. This artist knew his Rembrandt (1606-1669) and showed his admiration in this "pastiche".
Rembrandt drew his love Saskia in the "box" bed. And she may also have been model to the most lovely, intimate and spontaneous nude drawings I know.

Even during his life Rembrandts sketches probably were inspiration for others. I can't help suspecting Rubens was inspired by Rembrandt in his Susanna (1636-40), but I'm not an art historian. 

It is known, Rembrandt probably was on his way with Hendrikje, his later wife, to visit her parents that Rembrandt stayed in the city of Amersfoort in the early 1650's. Here lived  his colleague Paulus Bor  (1601-1669). This location, the Westersingel, very near the place where I learned to play the piano. 300 years later.. 

Paulus Bor, sitting nude  ------------------

There has been a signature, obviously, but it looks like it has been clumsily erased. Why ? After some research I found this etching listed in the catalogue raisonée of one of the most important (consider by experts "the best") Dutch 1880-1930 etchers and "orientalist" Marius Bauer (1867-1932) and there it is titled "Saskia". 

The residue of the erased signature however resembling the signature seen in etchings by Etienne Bosch (1863-1933). Sadly the print has no margins. Another clue why the erased signature, was within it's borders ........A clue but not an answer. 

Etienne Bosch had been a class mate and friend of Marius Bauer in the Hague Art Academie (studying there 1880-85, yes Bauer entered aged 12 !). Like Bauer, Bosch probably shared the same teachers and thus also had been a student of controversial George Breitner (1857-1923) a most celebrated post-impressionist and early photographer who had once claimed Vincent van Gogh paintings were: "Art for Eskimo's"................ I think this was not ment to be an advice hanging Vincents colorful paintings in an Greenland iglo. It had to do with the colors Breitner could not approve of.  

 Bauer and Breitner, student and master.
Both considered controversial in the Hague's Academy. Both left.  

Who knows, Bosch "cheated" with Bauers copper plate and changed his mind later. There can be multiple explanations. As long there's no copy of the etching with Bauers actual signature I'll stay doubtful about the attribution. The original plate, but without makers markings or signature is said to have been found together with 50 others (by Bauer) and is now kept in Bauers reference collection. But "found together" is no proof either. 

Both men were involved in the "Nederlandse Etsclub" (Dutch Etching Club 1885-1896) and consisted of some 28 leading Dutch graphic artists publishing and promoting their work and organizing exhibitions showing the international graphic works of contemporary colleagues: Degas, Whistler, Rops, Pissarro and many others.  

All pictures borrowed freely from the Internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only. 

Monday, 18 April 2016

Margarete Donath, quest for a forgotten Dresden painter & printmaker (3/3)

Margarete Donath (3/3) 
Hermann-strasse 2 (renamed Lauritzerstrasse in 1922) 
Weißer Hirsch, Loschwitz, Dresden 

Only recently I discovered these 4 postcard drawings by Margarete Donath. They depict historic sites in Augustusburg, not far from Dresden and only miles away from her (I think) ancestral 19th century family seat: Bärenstein/Annaberg.

Augustusburg is where Duke August (1526-1586) ruler (King) of Saxonia had build his "Jagdschloß", a hunting castle. He was married to Anna (1532-1582) the daughter of King Christian III of Denmark. They were nicknamed "Vater August" and "Mutter Anna" and were married for 37 years. 

His portrait by Lucas Cranach the younger (1515-1586)


Today the I shall try to sketch the world of the (a) Donath family in Dresded Loschwitz from the 19th into the 20th century, altough I have no hard evidence, no genealogical data or mentioning in any of the artists lexicons concerning her artistic studies that she belonged to this family.

In 1863 Carl Christian Rinaldo Donath (born Bärenstein near Annaberg, 70 km south east of Dresden on the Czech border 1823-1897 Dresden) a sculptor and inn-keeper in 1863 bought the esthablishment “Goethesgarten” in Dresden- Blasewitz which he eventually sold in 1872.  It was located at the crossroads leading to the entrance of the new “Loschwitzer Brücke” (“Das Blaue Wunder, completed 1893”) spanning river Elbe. 

Rinaldo Donath was also involved in the manufacturing of canned and preserved fruits. In 1875 he was joined by his brother Christian Hermann Donath (Bärenstein 1833–1909 Dresden) a woodturner (“Dreschler”), painter and early photographer. 

The brothers have been awarded a streetname: “Donathstraße” in Laubegast.

I could not find any evidence of Rinaldo being married but Hermann Donath married in 1855. With Mathilde Wilhelmine Estel a clothing adornment and lace worker and seemstress (“Posamentennäherin, Spitzenklöpplerin and Schneiderin”). They lived Laubegast, Hauptstraße no. 5. In 1921 it was renamed  “Östereicherstraße”.  The couple had 8 childrenAlbert (1863–1935) and Emil (1868-1945) who also studied in Dresden “Kunstakademie”, a sister Helene (1870-1974) never married, she is buried with her parents in Dresden and (I think): 

Max Oswald Donath (b. 1865) who started “Donaths Bäckerei” in 1897. This bakery still exists and today is run by his great-granddaughters Ute and Elke Donath and is still located at Königsbrücker Landstraße 69 in Dresden

Two brothers are said to have emigrated to America (Cincinatti) which leaves two unidentified children. I suspect that Margarete Donath, the painter/printmaker, might be one of them.

In 1875 the brothers Rinaldo and Hermann Donath were partners in buying the old “Tolkewitzer Gasthof” in  Laubegast, Tolkewitz near Dresden. It was also known as “Donaths Neue Welt”. They build and added attractions, a mini Zoo, playground for children, miniature Alps build from papier-mâché which were lightened in the evenings for a spectacular effect ("Alpenglühen"). 

It’s restaurant, dancing facility and beer garden etc. were a very popular outing for Dresden inhabitants. The Donath family owned the facilities until 1893. The Dance Hall burned down in 2004 and was not rebuild. The plot houses now a mall with a bio-food shop named “Donath’s Ganz Neue Welt”.  


Brothers Emil and Albert Donath, were the founders of a health food company (“Reformwarenfirma”) the Firm Donath & Co. established in 1893 in Unterföhring near Munich manufacturing alcohol free and “biologic” fruit juices and in the same year started a business in Unterlockwitzgrund near Dresden winning a gold medal in 1906 in the “Internationalen Gartenbauausstellung”. 

Their interest and business in health food co-incides with the Health Spa business (rest, exercise, clean air, good organic food and fruit-juices) and its propagation (and invention) of Müsli by Maximillian Bircher-Benner (1867-1939) in Switzerland and Cornflakes by John Harvey Kellogg (1852-1943) in America. Also Brands existing to this day.  

This branch of the Donath familie in Dresden from then has built an imperium of organic fruit juice and wine manufacturing “Kellerei Lockwitzgrund”. 

The firm, although not in the same location is to this day in existence. The health food producers had come to the attention of and had led to some form of co-operation with Dr. Heinrich Lahmann (1860-1905) the health-spa owner and health food "guru". The Donath family lend their name to “Kurpension Donath” in “Weisser Hirsch”. (See part 1/3).

All pictures borrowed freely from the Internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only. 

With the help of readers and passers-by I hope these Blog articles my lead to reveal more about the life and art of Margarete Donath.

email: gerbrandcaspers@icloud.com

Friday, 15 April 2016

Margarete Donath, quest for a forgotten Dresden painter & printmaker (2/3)

Margarete Donath (II) 
Hermann-strasse 2 (renamed Lauritzerstrasse in 1922) 
Weißer Hirsch, Loschwitz, Dresden 

The Loschwitz neighbors:

Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980) 

A few streets away lived and worked for several years 1916-1919 modernist/expressionist Oskar Kokoschka gathering a circle of artists around him in Hotel Felsenburg. He was  recovering from his war injuries and was a professor in Dresden Kunstakadamie 1919-1924.

Rosa Petzel (1831-1912)

At the Rißweg in “Weisser Hirsch” at Villa “Sonnenleite” lived Rosa Petzel  with her two artist sisters Marie and Minna. She is considered one of Germany’s first professional woman (portrait) painters.

Oskar Pletsch (1830-1888)

a popular genre painter and books illustrator had lived nearby generation earlier.

Oskar Zwintscher (1870-1916)

symbolist painter and with Koskoschka professor in Dresden "Kunstakademie”. He taught one of Germanys best known printmakers Martin Erich Philip (1887-1978) who settled  later in nearby Dölszschen, west of Dresden.

Hans Kallmeyer (1882-1961) 

lived in Loschwitz and later moved to Königsberg and Nidden and was knicknamed “der Elchmaler” (the moose-painter). Like so many German artists Kallmeyer he lost all his belonging in bombing (of Königsberg)

Rose Friedrich (1867-1953)

Painter and printmaker who studied in Dresden Kunstakademie but also with Max Liebermann, Max Slevogt, Lovis Corinth and in Paris with Claude Monet. She lived Loschwitz, Schevenstrasse 2 in Villa "Te Deum Laudamus" near the river. 

Neumann, (most probably not Hermann Fritz Neumann (1858-1920 Dresden Loschwitz) as often claimed or stated by sellers, auction houses etc..

Still unidentified graphic artist, known for his animal (dog) etchings. Which is remarkable since the quantity and quality of his work. Neumann has been the focus of research by several print collectors but to this day without proper result. All help, knowledge etc.. is welcomed. 
Please contact me or Christian Mahnke (c.mahnke@gmail.com) and/or Wolfgang Barina (post@wolfgang-barina.de

(Added note april 2019: There is still controversy, mistaken identities and mix up with the biographical dates of painter Hermann Fritz Neumann who is obviously not the printmaker Neumann creating mainly colour etchings of animals and active almost certain after 1920, the year of death of Hermann Fritz N.) 


More artists involved in  early printmaking lived in Dresden centre, Elisabeth AndraeDoris am Ende expressionist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (until 1911) and in nearby Radebeul lived the illustrious (deaf mute) artist Käthe (Kathi) Kuntze from a prosperous Dresden bankers family .

Siegfried Berndt 

who was trained in and later taught at Dresden Kunstakademie lived Wittenbergerstrasse 51 near the entrance of the Loschwitz-Brücke (Blaue Wunder). He was with Orlik one Germany's pioneers of Japanese style printmaking introducing and spreading the gospel of this new craft to his colleagues in Dresden academy, possibly even to Oscar Zwintscher and Martin Erich Philipp (above). 

All pictures borrowed freely from the Internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only. 

Next: the Donath family: working, business and living in the area.