Sunday, 23 April 2017

Margarethe Havemann: Spring in Hamburg - Ühlenhorster Fährhaus Terasse

This wonderful and iconic print was in eBay ................ for almost two years. I showed it in this Blog 2015 when I first found it. It is a Max Liebermann painting executed in relief print. I loved it then, I love it today. Too expensive ? Not good enough ? Not a good or well known artist ? I often wonder why some prints end in a buyers frenzy and others linger in auction shelves as "shop daughters" (an old Dutch expression for over-date, unloved and unsold articles). My problem: just not enough funds. Never enough funds. 

All you see here is what made our (great)-grand-parents lives worthwhile was consumed by "Operation Gomorrah" in the warm summer of 1943: the Anglo-American carpet bombing killing 40.000 people and wiping Hamburg from the face of the earth. Hamburg eventually was rebuild but the Fährhaus location was not. It is to this day an empty plot, a place to jog and, according to recent maps, to walk and relief the dog (it's quite true: "Hunde Auslaufzone").  

Max Liebermann (1847-1935) was in Hamburg to paint and he choose another (the other) popular view with roughly the same entourage: a tree covered shaded terrace ("Restaurant Jacob Linden-terasse") not overlooking the Alster but always busy majestic river Elbe.

Recently I sold (I let go) another great and iconic Hamburg print by Ernst Odefey (1882-1964) to travel to America to be part of a serious museum collection. Momentarily "well to do" it was not difficult to chose what was to replace the empty space Odefey left and befitting my collection of works by German woman printmakers. (All suggestions for swapping/trading male/female prints from this day are welcomed). 

Margaretha Braumuller-Havemann (1877-1955 ?) had been student of Ernst Neumann (1871-1954) in Munich and as an artist she is not very well known, by only a few examples although she was represented with 11 (!) woodblock prints in Reinhardt Pipers 1904 Munich catalogue of graphic artists. Making her one of the god-mothers of European Modern Printmaking (with Martha Cunz, Norbertine Bresslern, Emma Bormann and of course Emil Orlik)   

Margarethe married painter and graphic artist Georg Braumüller (1870-1927) and lived (1921 -30) at Hamburg, Uhlenhorst-straße nr. 3 not very far from the "Ühlenhorst Fährhaus" (Ferryhouse) she depicted. This "Cloth-line" is  one of the very few examples I was able to find and locate, and is from un unsigned 1905 edition. 

The Ühlenhorst Fährhaus was a popular location to spend a Sundays afternoon, a nice terrace, the Alster waterfront, ferry boats, sailing boats , elegant swans and a great panoramic view over the city of Hamburg with its iconic church- and town hall towers dominating the skyline.
Hamburg painter Gustav Burkhardt (1890-1970) 
Paul Peaschke (1875-1943) one of my favorite German etchers, showed the "Fährhaus" in an etching with an Armada of boats:

Walter Zeising (1876-1933) choose almost the same point of vantage as Margarethe in this lively and fine etching.

In my efforts to assemble some more biography of Margarethe Havemann I was able to find some interesting facts about her family: she had a sister Hedwig who was an illustrator and a brother Richard who was in his days a famous trainer of wild and exotic animals. He did not recover from a bear attack he'd raised as a cub. More about Margarethe's life in the upcoming book. 

In 1913, commissioned and invited by director of Hamburg Kunsthalle Alfred Lichtwark, French impressionist Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) visited Hamburg and also chose this iconic terrace now lost in history. And since people having memories have long since died, all we have are these works of art and old photographs.  


Hugo Vogel (1855-1934): Fire-works at Ühlenhorster Fährhaus,
seen from the terrace.

PS: Reframing the Ühlenhorster Fährhaus print the old backing board showed signs of earlier use. It was used in participating the “Schwarz-Weiss Ausstellung” (or department) of an exhibition held in Berlin and Munich 1905 (Nr. 370: “Alte Frau, Schwarz-Weiss Zeichnung. 100 M., Frau M. Havemann, Hamburg, Hofweg 7). It may be an indication this particular print once has been in the possession or estate of the artist Margarethe Havemann. Hofweg 7 is very near Uhlenhorsterweg 3, Margarethes' address in 1921-1930 according to Dresslers Kunsthandbuch. 

Please send other examples of Margarethe Havemann prints and all biographical facts you might know, for sharing.


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

Friday, 14 April 2017

Happy Easter

Happy Easter boss !

Just kidding, 
this great  
The artist supposedly was read Jan Mümmelmann by the seller of this print ...........................

But Jan Mümmelman happens to be the German equivalent of the Easter hare (so in fact a cousin to Bugs Bunny, maybe he even was: in a way related). Bugs  was  born in  1940: his father: American Leon Schlesinger (1884 - 1949). 

Jam Mümmelmann was an invention of "Heimatkünstler" (home town, or near home  artist) and writer Hermann Löns (1866-1914).  A rather interesting figure who was killed in the beginning of WW-I. Read his biography in Wikipedia (follow the link).   

It is the signature that keeps bugging me ......... Hisg. ....mann     '23 ?? 

Researching the German (women) printmakers of this era (1910-1940) I'm always amazed by the sheer number of fine artists. Nevertheless I have nu clue as to who made or could have made this print. Wonderful it is and I challenge readers to cracking the signature or any other suggestions: please.  

As always: all help is much appreciated, before I shall continue with the legacy of Käthe Kuntze. 

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

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Käthe Kuntze: Forgotten Dresden artist (part 4)

Käthe Kuntze
(Part 4)

I have this "feeling", a hunch, the bundle of prints, documents and drawings once may have been in the possession of Käthe: things she kept for herself. There are notes to her printer with detailed requests for altering the plate of one of her etchings. Some have scribbled "Eigen" (own or personal) in a corner and several prints seem (to me) or at least could have had a personal meaning and significance. Besides, who else would have had a reason to keep this mixed and varied lot together besides herself or a close relative ? 
Farbholzschnitt, color woodblock print: Pianistin 

Any way, let's continue with sharing some more works I've discovered and in the meantime did my best conserving because they have been suffering from long time neglect although most of them were in pretty good condition.

To begin with: it is remarkable there are several prints with musicians. Remarkable because Käthe was deaf mute and was therefore just an "eye witness". All of these works show great intimacy. 

Portraits, a house concert (recital) and a pianist. Could the young violinist be a relative, a brother or nephew and the pianist her sister or a niece ? Pure speculation of course. Hopefully we'll know the answer one day.  I've notified the local Radebeul Museum/Gallery of my treasure. All reactions will be shared.   

The room in the 1915 house concert/recital etching (without title) has two more interesting features. The windows are "similar" to the windows in her aunts house (I agree this is purest speculation) Haus Albertsberg (see before posting). Could it be ?

And secondly closely examining the audience: the men in the audience facing us are probably wounded soldiers ("Kriegsopfer"), the sitting man holding a crutch. This is obviously a charity concert. This would fit very well to the social status of the Kuntze family, "noblesse oblige" after all.

In the bundle were several other works showing Käthe's personal and social commitment and her keen eye observing children. I particularly like this 1915 lithographic drawing above titled "Kriegsopfer", Casualties of War. The composition (it reminds me of Felix Valloton) is brilliant and has several layers of interest, a message build like stage. Käthe who was deaf and mute is obviously trying to tell us something here in something much stronger then words: a haunting image that is carved in the soul inviting to commit oneself to some serious reflection. 

And maybe it is also to demonstrate a statement opposing war glorifying pictures like the drawings by propaganda artist Curt Schulz-Steglitz.  

The family in the foreground: a young mother with head bend and looking worried, deep in her own thoughts, the boy looking up at his mother (and uncle/father ?). An older women (a mother ?) on the right who could be in mourning. The company sitting in a shaded terrace in a busy street (Dresden ?), the men (the young man with iconic spiked helmet on leave from the front ?) observing the scene on the pavement, in the distance, but nearby just on the other side of the street: a girl offering flowers to a soldier who lost his leg in Flanders trenches. 1915. Closely examining this is a heart breaking and strong political message from a young women in the middle of an atrocious war. And what to think about the horse entering the composition on the right.....? Knowing more about the Kuntze family possibly can tell us also more about her personal involvement with this and other scenes. 

In these also created in 1915 large lithographic drawings, she shows, confronts us with "Soldaten spielende Kinder": Children playing soldier. Children do, but should they ?

This also counts for (above) "Kriegstrumpfstricken" children knitting soldiers socks as a war effort, the coordinated mobilization of society's resources. And below: "Abschied". Very powerful and at the same time moving images. 

Abschied, Adieu, Farewell !  

And there's more to come. When you find these postings on Käthe Kuntze: please comment or contact me with more known works by Käthe and if possible biographical facts concerning the Kuntze family in Dresden-Radebeul for sharing. 

PS: Thank you Wolfgang in Frankfurt for translating the always difficult to read written in "Sütterlin"script titles. 

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Käthe Kuntze: Forgotten Dresden artist (Part 3)

It could well be Käthe also participated in a 1906 Arts and Crafts exposition in Dresden because this poster sized document ("Plakat") was also found in the bundle of material. It is by Dresden graphic artist Georg Erler (1871-1951) of whom also other works were in Käthe's possession suggesting a friendly and/or professional connection.

What I know about Käthe's family follows here. Biographically it is less information then in many short biographies, but keep in mind it is far more then a lot of others too. In this case it may be due to the fact of the near total destruction of Dresden in 1945, historical or artistical neglect, and sometimes  families die out for natural or catastrophic (Holocaust) reasons. Along my years of research I've met examples of all these causes and possibilities. It may also be because certain families may have shielded personal or genealogical information from the internet for privacy reasons. Which shall be respected. 

"Blühende Flieder", 1917.
For instance I do not know when Käthe died (latest mentioning is in 1930 "Dresslers Kunsthandbuch", she is not in the before 1921 edition), nor the name of her mother and other family members, did she have brothers and sisters ? Hopefully these articles and the books publication will bring more to light eventually. My research (women artists born 1850-1900) has learned Käthe  families social status is at the top end of what is more or less "common" for artistic women born and, more importantly, bred in the second half of the 19th century. This is however not an exception.

Käthe was the deaf-mute daughter of Albert Kuntze a banker in the Dresden firm of Albert Kuntze & Co. founded by his father Friedrich Albert Kuntze (born around 1820 - 1892). In 1857 Albert sr. had bought Haus Albertsberg in Radebeul, Niederlößnitz near Dresden and had it refurbished to his wishes. It is a beautiful region just North of Dresden on the slopes of river Elbe with many vineyards, old wine houses, health Spa's and luxurious estates and villas. 

Albert Kuntze must have done very well because after his death his 4 children commissioned celebrated Dresden architect Oskar Menzel (1873-1958) to design, build and rebuild their villas in Radebeul.

1  1) Aunt Thekla, inherited her fathers Haus Albertsberg and had it rebuild and restored into a Barok villa. 

2) Aunt Frida (d.1945) married gymnasium teacher Karl Sommer (he died in 1899) and they commissioned “Villa Sommer” (build 1899/1900) at Radebeul, Oberlößnitz, Augustusweg 44 and within sight of her former parents and now her sisters "Haus Albertsberg", Frida Sommer-Kuntze lived there as a widow with a son, (Käthes nephew) after her husband died before the house was even ready. After WW-II the house became neglected but recently it was restored in a 5 year during restoration into its former glory and splendor. 

3) Uncle Max (Friedrich Albert Maximilian) Kuntze (1846-1917), banker in Albert Kuntze & Co, “Kommerzielrat” (honorary titel), member of Parliament and owner of  the “Ersten Kulmbacher Exportbier-Brauerei”, director in the "Dresden Papierfabrik", owner of several building companies and “Elbsandstein” industry. He build Villa Max Kuntze (build 1898-99): Radebeul, Niederlößnitz, Jagdweg 6 (below upper right).

4) Albert Jr., Käthe's father, banker (Albert Kuntze & Co.) build Villa Albert Kuntze, (1899/1901, Radebeul, Lößnitz, Hohenzollernstrasse (renamed Obere Bergstraße 14) with keepers lodge (see first posting) at its entrance, where is said lived and worked Käthe.

Villa Albert Kuntze and lodge at entrance (red roof)  

Now look back at the woodblock "Blühende Flieder" (Flowering elderberry) with which I started this posting. It gives such great pleasure and satisfaction, 100 years later being able to determine were exactly it was created. 

In the collection was also this watercolor. It shows her father Alberts dog "Lupin" (written on the back in pencil). It is moving to see where Käthe and Lupin once were so at home. 

In the meantime if you have any information about Käthe's family, know works by her or otherwise: please contact me. I also would love to know how this collection travelled from Dresden to Hamburg.  

Many more spectacular and surprising examples of Käthe Kuntze's art and her "Konvolut" will follow soon.


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

Monday, 3 April 2017

Käthe Kuntze: Forgotten Dresden artist (Part 2)

After last posts introduction I shall continue with sharing what I came to know about Dresden artist Käthe Kuntze. Her short-biography is one of the 400 I composed and will be revealed in an upcoming publication. Käthe was until recently represented in my artists archive files with only one print offered in Frankfurt Fachs Galery 2012 catalogue. Recently however I was able to acquire an artists "port folio" or rather a bunch of "mixed material" (german: "Konvolut") which, so it strongly seems, once belonged to Käthe: etchings, lithographic and pencil drawings, sketches, posters and woodblock prints. It also contained several works by fellow Dresden "Künstlergruppe Chemnitz" artists. It was found in a house clearing in Hamburg and I will share its contents, which I think might be of considerable art historic significance in a series of blog articles. 

According to this large Jugenstil document found in the bundle Käthe (31) took part in a nearby (local) 1909 Arts and Crafts exposition (may 22th - june 28th) winning a bronze medal with an oil painting. Her address: Hohenzollernstrasse (later renamed Obere Bergweg 14), where a house was build by her father. She still lived there in 1930.

The official and beautifully decorated document as well as the exhibitions posters and logo were designed by Swedish illustrator and graphic artist Carl Andreas Lindeberg (1876-1961) who lived 1907-1945 nearby in “Villa Lindeberg” in Radebeul neighbouring “Villa Shatterhand” owned by writer Karl May (1842-1912). 

May's villa "Shatterhand" is left (arrow) and Lindeberg's home is right (arrow). The star in the background points to Bilz Sanatorium which was Käthe's grandfather Albert's view from the back garden and villa (a palace) Haus Albertsberg, later owned by her aunt Thekla. 

All her family (next posting) lived in these hills seen in the background and we'll meet them in next posting. Lindeberg gained worldfame for his illustrations of Karl May’s books of Winnetou and Old Shatterhand.

Please send any information on Käthe Kuntze for sharing. 

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