Thursday, 27 July 2017

Old Master Drawing

One can not live by woodblock prints alone so for a change today something very different: 

"Let them deliver it into the hand of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the LORD, and let them give it to the workmen who are in the house of the LORD to repair the damages of the house, to the carpenters and the builders and the masons and for buying timber and hewn stone to repair the house". (2 Kings 22:5-6)

I would like to ask the help of readers, visitors and all those who may stumble over this posting to establish which biblical theme is shown in this old (master) drawing (24x40 cm). People bringing goods (gifts ?) and Jesus (or King Joshua in the above passage ?) in a coordinating role pointing towards receiving builders/constructors. In the background a building is erected or repaired. I'm no scripture expert, not even religious or a believer, so please send better suggestions.    

Knowing also very little about old master drawings I guess the drawing is 17th maybe even 16th century, possibly Italian and  drawn with red chalk. There are signs of earlier/older repairs, the whole sheet has been probably "doubled" (an extra layer of supporting paper added) suggesting that a previous owner valued the drawing to a high extend. It is beautifully framed and its overall condition is "pretty good" considering its presumed age. 

There's a monogram in a cartouche on a stone, which reads possibly (W J v R)

Googling for information I stumbled over a drawing by Italian renaissance artist Andrea Schiavone (1510/15-1563) executed in a similar style and technique (red chalk, biblical theme, use of shadows and lining etc..) suggesting it's provenance (where was it made ?) and age....... Schiavones "The Last Supper" is in the collection of Spaightwoodgalleries in Upton (MA) USA. 

Andrea Schiavone (It.)
Last Supper
But all these old red chalk drawings look very much alike to the layman's eye. If you have clues, hints or suggestions (or questions) please let me know and drop an email:

All pictures embiggen by mouse-click, if you would like highest resolution pictures or other/more details do not hesitate asking.

(Follow the label (below) to another extraordinary old master drawing) 

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Käthe Kuntze: Forgotten Dresden artist (part 7)

Some more Käthe and some puzzling: 

In 1910 Käthe drew her parents at Hamburg St. Pauli "Landungsbrücke" the floating passenger quais in tidal river Elbe in those days used by ocean steamers and today in use as a busy station connecting Hamburgs mainland with its network of waterway's. It is also an important tourist destination.

It can be (it will be) a co-incidence but in that same year 1910 Emil Nolde (1867-1965) stayed and worked here in Hamburg harbour at this same location (above). 

It can also be seen this is the location where the ferries came and left so Mrs. and Mr. Kuntze and Käthe probably were boarding one of these ferries for a trip along the river, visiting downstream Blankenese, the giant  imperial docks where Germany's (war)ships were build, it's warfs and ships moored to and from all over the globe and its warehouses. 

We see Kathe's parents and their dog probably boarding a ship named "There......." (see the gangway of probably one of the harbour ferries). 


And then there's this lovely etching: "Strand-Idylle 1912" of a mother and three children and iconic beach chairs ("Strandkorben") my first impulse being: this might be Noordwijk on the Dutch North-sea coast. 

Noordwijk was Max Liebermann's summer retreat (the two drawings above).  He painted here every year between 1905-1913 and his many beach scenes and depictions of Noordwijks Lawn Tennisclub in etchings, drawings and oils are world famous. His friend, Berlin art dealer Paul Cassirer, owned a villa in Noordwijk overlooking the sea.  

The family believes Käthe's beach and dunes works were all created visiting the German North-sea or Ost-see coast. I ask readers to help identifying these locations.

The flag of Schleswick-Holstein (Blue-White-Red) the province north of Hamburg is faintly visible in some of her paintings while the Dutch flag is the opposite.

Schleswig-Holstein                                                Netherlands
But in Käthe's legacy is also this water color showing, unmistakable, a Dutch, Noordwijk (or nearby Katwijk) house and a local fisherman wearing wooden shoes suggesting she probably did visit the Dutch coast.

Käthe Kuntze: Noordwijk ?
Max Liebermann: Noordwijk.
Noordwijk: fishing village in the dunes 

All help identifying the locations of works in this posting + the possible name of the ship in Hamburg are much welcomed.

All pictures borrowed freely from the Internet (and with kind permission of the Kuntze family) for friendly, educational and non commercial use only.           

Friday, 21 July 2017

Käthe Kuntze: Forgotten Dresden artist (part 6) and Julie von Paul-Drowetzky.

Ginstersstrauss - Broom bouquet
Window overlooking Radebeul  
Busy organizing the works created by Käthe Kunze and made available for sharing by Käthe's relatives and working on her biography I recently stumbled over several drawings by a hardly known and equally obscured and forgotten artist. She also lived and worked in Dresden and may have travelled passed Käthe's house on her way to "Zum Pfeiffer" in Radebeul for a days sketching. 

"Zum Pfeiffer" was, and still is, a ***restaurant and popular panoramic weekend goal, to meet and enjoy a glass of local wine, a beer or a lunch on the terrace overlooking the many wine estates and river Elbe and enjoying the wonderful views. 

The restaurant is roughly situated at the same heights as the Küntze residence and maybe  600 meters away. So here are some more works by Käthe created in and near her house joined by Julie von Paul of whom I would love to know more. I share her biography scratched together from the few bits and pieces I was able to find.
"Andenkirsche, Peruanische Blasenkirsche, Judenkirsche"
Phylalis Peruviana

Like Käthe Julie von Paul found inspiration near her home and this "Hosterwitz" garden scene (below) is the only known other work by Julie von Paul. She is not mentioned in any artist lexicon. Hosterwitz is situated 6 km. upstream of Dresden, Radebeul 4 km. downstream.   

Julie Elisabeth (Elsbeth) von Paul-Droweztky

(Kimahlen estate near Goldingen in Kurland, Russia (now Latvia) 24-11-1864 – 1945 Hosterwitz near Dresden)
Painter and drawer. Studied in Dresden under Johann Walter-Kurau (1869-1932) and Georg Erler (1871-1950). Kurau also came from Latvia and ran a painting school in Dresden. He was of great influence and taught several other later well known printmakers. She is known from a port-folio with 8 drawings of panorama restaurant “Weinschänke zum Pfeiffer” in Radebeul Dresden situated not very far from the home of painter/printmaker Käthe Kuntze. Drowetzky is a not common Polish/Russian name. (In 1864 a miss Melanie Drowetzky in Mittau (Latvia) is mentioned donating one roebel to the church). 

Kimahlen is a Manor House near Goldingen (Kuldiga) in Latvia owned in the 1860-70’s by baron von Buchholtz and baroness von Offenberg suggesting Julie's father worked or was employed at the manor. In the later 19th century Kimahlen changed hands and was owned by several Baltic citizens of importance. Julie's known adresses:

Dresslers Kunsthandbuch 1921: Riga (Latvia), Artilleriestrasse 3. Member ADK, DrKG, VBK
Dresslers Kunsthandbuch 1930: Schloss Pillnitz (Hosterwitz) near Dresden. Member DrKG,VBK, RvbK.

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

NB: All works by Julie Elsbeth von Paul shown are currently offered by a Dresden art dealer in Ebay.      

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Käthe Kuntze: Forgotten Dresden artist (part 5)

Käthe Kuntze 


After finding a portfolio with mixed works (drawings, etchings, lithographic prints, watercolors and a collection of prints by her Dresden artist friends) by deaf Dresden artist Käthe Kuntze in an auction last winter I started sharing its contents in 4 postings with the results of my research March 31th. Two weeks ago, a surprised and pleased family member finding these postings contacted me and shared details on Käthe's life and her family updating her biography that will be included in the upcoming book. The family also allowed me to share and show some never before shown in public marvels by her hand that are safely in the private collection of Käthes relatives. 

And I am also happy to announce some very personal and unique works by Käthe from that portfolio once belonging to Käthe are now on the way home to her relatives taking care of and watching over her legacy. She had a very close relationship with her parents Albert (1842-1933) and Marie (1852-1941) who encouraged her artistically and probably watching over her and her career living in the keepers lodge of the Villa.  

Her father Albert was also a well known entomologist (insect expert and collector, at work above and drawn by Käthe) and keen painter. After receiving  Alberts portrait (detail) it was also possible to determine an etching from the portfolio, "Gartenrestaurant", also shows her parents.

This adventure started with finding a picture of her print "Sonnenflecken" in a Frankfurt catalogue. Besides the relationship with her parents she obviously was very attached to her homestead, her only sister Helene and her family, the beautiful villa of her parents build by her father, her studio and the lovely countryside. This part of Germany is the home of many wine estates, grand villas, health Spas, overlooking river Elbe.

"Sonnenflecken" was for a long time the only known example (known to me) by this neglected and obscured artist, the result of my research now resulting in opening a treasure cove. These new examples also prove as an artist (with a handicap) she needn't go far away for inspiration (although her father enabled and financed her traveling abroad with Dresden colleaque Martha Schrag (1870-1957).   

The Villa Albert Kuntze as it is generally known in Radebeul near Dresden was also called Villa Hohenberg by Käthe. It is also remarkable Käthe, her sister Helene and both parents all lived to very respectable age (89-91 years). 

More wonderful woodblock prints by Käthe to come in next posting !

All pictures shared with kind permission of the Kuntze family for friendly, educational and non commercial use only !      

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Marie Wippermann in Paris

These two (signed Paris, 1907 and 1908) and at first sight rather crudely executed and not very appealing or decorative prints recently surfaced. On   closer examination they potentially may add a new chapter to my investigations into the lives of pioneering with color woodblock printmaking artists. First of all: I've never come across any artist by this name:

Marie Wippermann.

And secondly: they are really "early" Modern prints. Assuming she was German (historically there are many French families with a German family name) I also know from experience her family with almost certainty must be found in the upper regions of society: academics, industrials, physicians, intiligentia etc.. But she is simply not mentioned in any of the lexicons or handbooks. In the  Internet I found some Wipperman families at the end of the 19th century but so far without any direct or indirect connection or indications to an artist. (Unless she was baptized 1884 Margarethe and used "Marie" in Paris).  

Finding a German woman artist named Marie Wippermann in 1907 in Paris must be related to the great numbers of well-to-do German young women encouraged by their parents and being able to study in one of the Paris private Academies admitting women in contrast to Germany where women only were welcome well after WW-I.

Let's start with the nicest of the two prints. What is most striking: it is thoroughly "Japanese". In composition, subject and in execution. Below: Kawase Hasui, but decades later.   

Even without a proper title here's also some neurological proof the location in the brain for memory of pictures is the same spot remembering names: while instinctively recognizing the location.......... having seen "millions" of pictures, I had to look up the name of the Paris bridge. 

I have never seen this in such an early European woodblock print but the use of the "Japonist" diagonal in composition was described for instance in this iconic and famous print by Eugen Kirchner (1865-1938). 

Several iconic and later considered Masters of Modern Printmaking were only just active and still in the early years of  their careers as free creating artists, professors and teachers: Orlik, Moser, Thiemann, Klemm, Gabriele Münter, Martha Cunz etc... 

1907 is the year that Urushibara (1888-1953) left Japan for Europe to stay until his departure and return in 1934. His Quai D'Orsay is probably of a later date but only a few years before, in 1902 Henri Rivière published his 36 views on Paris (Eiffel tower) in "Japanese style". 

So, after realizing what exactly Marie depicted in 1907 on the banks of river Seine and some happy Googling it was possible to determine the exact location where she stood sketching. 

She shows several small boats anchored on long poles along Quai de Bourbon  on Isle St. Louis looking upstream towards Pont Marie on her right. Visible at the top is the tip of the most outer of a row of "Bateaux Lavoir": moored in river Seine washer boats. They have disappeared all a long time ago but once crowded all the quais of Paris. Not withstanding their romantic appearance life inside must have been pretty harsh, reminding of rows of slaves on a Roman (or French) rowing galley. 

Eugene Atget (1857-1927) a famous early Paris photographer showed these exact same boats on several occasions.  

And one of the painters who stood her was Bernard Lachevre (1888-1950) "Peintre  officielle de la Marine". He is mainly known for his ships portraits.  

Fritz Thaulow (1846-1906). I know I will do a certain Boston reader a great pleasure showing this example of his painting of the bow sections of these same washer boats chained to Pont Marie crossing river Seine connecting Isle St. Louis to the Hotel de Ville district. Thaulow was maybe the finest artist to depict the surface of the water in all his works. He also was a great aquatint etcher. As was his colleague Tavik Frantisek Simon (1877-1942). He chose the same row of Bateau Lavoirs looking down from downstream Pont Louis Philippe. 

Albert Marquet (1875-1947) saw and painted these boats and the bridge from  a window or balcony high up the Quai Bourbon.  


And here is Marie Wippermann's Paris companion print. The previous owners managed to keep them together for 110 years ! I have no idea about this Paris location. It is an intriguing print most of all because of the dominating sky with towering  white (thunder ?) cloud. 

But most important: I would love to know more (all !) about Marie Wippermann and would like to give her the place among her sister artists she deserves. Not known before last week she now has just one line in the book: "Unknown (German ?) printmaker visiting Paris 1907-1908 known from two woodblock prints". So please, when you've stumbled over this posting Googling "Wippermann" share any information on this artist with me and the rest of the world. 

PS: in 1908 Dresden impressionist painter and printmaker Rose Friedrich (1877-1953) studied for a year in Paris with Claude Monet.

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