Thursday, 15 March 2018

Clara Telge (Part V) China and Hamburg

Bernard Telge traded (import/export) in metals (iron), colonial ware, machinery for mining and printing, building and contracting of railways and bridges, steam engines, railway locomotives etc.. He also took an interest in coal mines.  

Tientsin (Tianjin) concessions (Austrian bridge) around 1900.
I found several business partners who joined Telges China-Hamburg trading house and businesses (1860-1900) and about some of them more details were found then on the life of Bernard Telge himself. Telge was appointed consul for Belgium in 1892. In 1890 a partner Fritz (Friedrich) Sommer (b. Bremen 6-1-1868), joined and acted as consul for Norway from 1907.  
Tientsin-Tianjin trading harbor in 1874 
Herman Schroeter (see later) also joined the company in 1890 and became a partner in Telge & Schroeter in 1895. The firm would move up to Tientsin (Tianjin) another freeport and nearer to Being. It consisted of 9 foreign concessions granted by the emperor (Qing dynasty) in 1860. 
Somewhere between settling in Shanghai in 1860 and 1870 Bernard Telge will have found a wife (probably in Germany ?) because in 1870 Clara was born in Shanghai. It was mentioned she had a sister or sisters. I have not been able to find anything more about Bernards family so far. For instance the name of his wife and other children. It could be Bernard died in 1898 (that is also when the company was taken over) but that has to be verified. 
Hamburg,  Maria Luisenstrasse 1915
I found Bernards widow ("Frau Bernhard Telge", Clara's mother who I sadly do not know by name yet), mentioned in an old address book living Hamburg Maria Luisenstrasse 4 which is near Hamburg Stadtpark, probably the location of this entrance gate by Hamburg printmaker Else Zinkeisen (Hamburg 1871 - died probably 1934) Her short-biography can be read in my book.   

Bernards brother Rudolph Telge's widow ("Frau Rudolph Telge") is Emma Telge-Oldermann (1834-1911). She lived Uhlandstrasse 38 and was the daughter of former merchant and "Dispacheur" Johannes Olderman (b.1800), Hamburgs official government legal expert on business damages. Judging the size of the dwellings in these posh Hamburg lanes Emma Telge and her sister-in-law seem to have been left very "well-off" by their successful merchant husbands.  

Hamburg Uhlandstrasse 

Anyway, in 1898 Bernard or his legal representatives left (part of ?) the firm to his nephew Rudolph Telge (1859-1914). As it happens he is one of the sons of Georg Telge (1827-1897) in Hamburg suggesting Bernard had no male successor to his international trading company. It is these small but significant bits of information that help to see the coherence and allowing to rebuild the past. 


Two of Bernard Telge's associates or partners are particularly intersesting to mention here.  

Hermann Schroeter
(born where ? 16-10-1857 - 24-06-1905 Shanghai ?) 

Some personal photographs were found and together with some research they tell a dramatic personal story maybe to be continued by readers in future. 

Here we see posing elegantly Hermann Schroeter and his wife Emilie Becker photographed in may 1896 in Shanghai in a horse and carriage with a Chinese servant. Emilie Telge-Becker was born (possibly in Lemgo near Detmold) on 11-08-1864. Following the dates with the photographs she is expectant of their first born son Albert (Shanghai 16-10-1896). Unaware of the dramatic events that were to follow the dates with the photo's tell she would die two weeks after she gave birth.   

Albert is photographed a year later with his grand-mother Becker in Lemgo, she is probably Emilie's mother (although it is possibly she is the mother of Hermann Schroeter). I suppose on that occasion Hermann married Emilie's younger sister Lulu (Luise) Becker born 1869 and returned to Shanghai where the couple had two more children, but then Hermann Schroeter would die in 1905. I wonder what has become of his family afterwards.  

In 1906 Arnold Berg (1874-1939) joined the firm and eventually in 1928 ended up as the owner of the entire company with an office at Hamburg Alsterdamm 7.

Hamburg: Alsterdamm and Jungfernstieg. 

Hermann Johann Mandl (Edler von Manden)
(Vienna 1856 – 1922 Vienna )

was in 1877 an adventurous Jewish young man who joined Bernard Telges’ firm and for several years worked deep in the interior China for the Telge company learning to speak Chinese fluently. He was to stay in China for 30 years. After some time he switched leading the British trading company of “Jardine, Matheson & Co” and in 1886 succeeded in founding his own trading company “J. Mandl & Co”, representing Ferdinand Krupp and Werner von Siemens products euphemistically described as “Kriegsmaterial” (guns and canons) and “Friedensmaterial” (railway and engineering equipment). He became an influential lobbyist, heavily depending on bribes, charm and a chest-full of imperial decorations. The conflicts, China being involved in several wars (Russian-Japanese and Chinese-Japanese) the successful trading and his Vienna charm made him extremely wealthy.

In 1900 Mandl competed in the Paris summer Olympics (the first of its kind and part of the World Fair) on several equestrian disciplines. In 1909 he returned to Vienna with a shipload ("a mountain") of art and treasures and was knighted (“Edler von Manden”). 
Paris 1900 World Exhibition. 
Married without children many of the Chinese artefacts and treasurus he brought home are now kept in Vienna Museums. Johann Mandl ranked nr. 250 on the 929 wealthiest people in Vienna 1910 which counted 2 million inhabitants and was the 7th largest city in the world. 
Readers and passer-by are invited to send additions and all they may know about the Hamburg families of brothers Bernard and Georg Telge helping to create a first short biography of forgotten Hamburg painter Clara Telge.

More to follow soon .....(work & research in progress)

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

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Clara Telge (part IV): starting business in China and an account of the events shortly before.

I am beginning to understand Clara Telge could well be one of the finest rediscovered ("retrouvé") artists among my private collection of mostly forgotten German woman artists. Today in this Part IV I share some more interesting findings of my research. Many small parts had to come deep from the Internet and puzzling them together is creating a truly fascinating story. 

The earliest mentioning of Clara's father Bernard Telge (of who I did not find any specifics in Hamburg yet other then I was able to confirm he had a merchant  brother Georg Jr. Telge and his family). I found Telges presence in Yokohama Japan in 1860 as "special agent" of the Hamburg trading firm of Pustau (more later) where he had been the subject of international diplomatic problems and worries which had to do with his "rude and uncivilized behavior" in Yokohama (in the late 1850's !). It has to be said diplomats had in overall rather negative view on all European traders in the Orient. It was reported Telge had "violated" hunting regulations...... Seeing the later succes of his businesses in China he either changed his attitude considerably or one can doubt the "tone" of the written reports.  Maybe the truth lies in the middle.   

Any way, the "problems, concerns and worries" he'd caused were discussed as far away as in London parliament and were also recorded by the leader of the German East-Asia expedition diplomat Friedrich Albrecht Baron zu Eulenburg (1815-1881) who, returned from his expedition to Japan, was to serve as Prussian minister of the Interior (1862-1878) 

Since the 16th  and 17th centuries several European countries traded with China and Japan but because the Japanese had enough of the constant attempts to convert Japan to Christianity it had limited foreign trading countries to the Dutch and Chinese.

America after annexing California had gained access to the Pacific and seeking trade and coal (bunker) harbors to the West had send two semi military expeditions to Japan to, if necessary with the use of military force, make Japan to open the island to trading. In the second Perry expedition of 1854/55 German/American artist William (Wilhelm) Heine (1827-1885) who was working in the Americas was assigned to the staff as an artist drawer.

Wilhelm Heine:  The second Perry expedition 1855 anchored in Yokohama 
How the Japanese saw the American and Europeans traders and settlers was also depicted in several woodblock prints. Prints like this were first seen publicly in the Paris World Exhibitions only one or two decades later starting European woodblock printmaking at the end of the 19th century.

On his return to Germany in the late 1850's Wilhelm Heine with his American expedition expertise was able to persuade the Prussian government to send a German-Prussian expedition claiming and securing "their share" of future business and to avoid monopoly by America and other trading countries. Thus the Prussian Eulenberg expedition was set up. Again the artist Wilhelm Heine travelled to Japan, China and Siam but now at the service of his native Germany.

The German ships of the 1859 East Asia Expedition.
On arrival one ship with its entire crew was lost in a typhoon.
A decade  before the first private trading mission from Germany to China ever was organized by Hamburg businessman Carl von Pustau (1820-1879). The operation was co-financed by Hamburg wealthiest banker Solomon Heine (1767-1844). He was the uncle, and benefactor, of Germans greatest Poet: Heinrich Heine (1797-1856). It was this firm that had send Bernard Telge as "special agent" from Hamburg to Japan probably in the late 1850s. 

Shanghai 1860: "the Bund" location of the foreign trading concessions.  
It was said Telge more or less fled from Japan to China in 1860, his position in Japan grown intolerable and impossible. Diplomats described the foreign traders in Yokohama as "scum of the earth". In Shanghai things probably came to rest and obviously Bernard Telge soon started for himself as the Telge (and later Telge & Schroeter) Company is known since then. 

Shanghai: the Bund
He would build an office at "the Bund" a strip of land, a concession along river Huangpu where foreign countries were allowed to establish businesses (and living communities, clubs, schools, hospitals etc..): Shanghai's freeport after the Chinese emperor signed and ratified the treaty in 1860. Bernard Telge would lead one of the most successful international businesses, the Shanghai-Hamburg import & export, contracting, mining and building & construction firm for the next 40 years.
Shanghai: the firm of Bernard Telge (& Schroeter) in the late 19th century 
Telge & Schroeter: possibly Bernard Telge and Hermann Schroeter)  

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

More to follow soon. Readers and passers-by are invited to send all they might know about Clara Telge and her Hamburg (and possibly Berlin) relatives in an attempt to create a first short biography of Clara Telge.    

Monday, 12 March 2018

Clara Telge (part III): Hina Matsuri

Clara Telge
(1870 - 1942)

(Part III)

Co-incidence or serendipity ? 

This wonderful painting emerged in auction in the first week of March while I was still deeply involved in my research into the life of forgotten Hamburg painter Clara Telge. Sold: and although I tried, sadly not to me. I was too involved reading and discovering the 1922 remarks by Hungarian Fauvist  Vilmos Perlrott-Csaba (1880-1955) about the quality of Clara's work (see before posting). I think the quality in this painting is what he meant and was referring to. I'm not an expert on paintings but would it be far fetched to recognize the free and impressionist hand of her Berlin teacher Lovis Corinth (1858-1925) ?    

Lovis Corinth: portrait of an older lady
A double co-incidence because on first (European) glance it is "just" a painting of "some Chinese Dolls". The 4 puppets arranged and displayed before a mirrored mantelpiece, most likely in Clara's home and possesion, are actually showing  members of the imperial Japanese family. 

Detail of Clara Telge's painting.
The tradition setting up or installing a home altar with the beautifully dressed puppets the third day of the third month is deeply imbedded in Japanese culture and is called Hinamatsuri (Hina-matsuri, 雛祭り). It happens to co-incide or is also called "Girl-day" or Princess-day . Read here (follow the link) all about this history and tradition in Kyoto National Museum

Although Clara was born in Shanghai (in China) and her father had a long career and thriving business in China, the moment I discovered this painting I also found the link to Japan which I shall reveal in next episode and posting. 

As this "Hina-matsuri" is only the third example of an oil painting by Clara known to me I invite readers and passers-by sending other examples for sharing as well as details about her life and family helping me to compose her short biography.

Next: Part IV, Clara's father in the Orient  

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

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Clara Telge (part II): Hamburg & friends

Clara Telge (1870-1942) 


Hamburg & Friends

Clara Telge, here seen painting at the banks of river Elbe, probably just outside Klein Borstel (now part of Jork) and accompanied by one of the Meyer children, 6 km opposite and downstream Hamburg. She would like so many painting women stay unmarried and without children. 

Three weeks ago I had never heard of Clara Telge, just stumbling over her researching painter/printmaker Anna Baehker who obviously visited das Alte Land (Altenlande) near Hamburg. An etching proving she was there. As a "native" Hamburg painter Clara is only "mentioned by name" in some of the important Artist Lexicons, she has no entry in Wikipedia let alone a  monograph seems to exist. Works or pictures are very scarcely found in the Internet or auction catalogues: she seems, very undeservedly, to be almost completely forgotten and obscured. 

Pastor Meyer's St. Nicolaikirche in picturesque Klein Borstel 

We found however her talent was highly appreciated and recognized a century ago. Today a new episode and account of our research, a joined effort together with Hannelore in Austria to extract as much from the digital world to be able to  create and start her short-biography. The amazing discoveries we found about her and her family we intend to share and report in this Blog. If you've found these postings, please send all you may know about Clara and the Hamburg Telge family for sharing.   

In the booklets preface, reprinted in a strictly limited edition, it was mentioned colleague painters Gretchen Wohlwill and Alma del Banco also stayed in the Meyer residence (see Anna Telge part I). Gretchen (Grete) Wohlwill is known to have painted on the nearby Isle of Finkenwerder (now the International Airbus Assembling Works), and del Banco from the heights of Altona. 

Gretchen Wohlwill: "Heu-ernte" in Finkenwerder"
Alma del Banco: "Blick von Blankenese über die Elbe". Seen from where she lived 1938-1943     

* Borstel, ** Finkenwerder, *** Altona/Flottbeck 

Read about Finkenwerder and river Elbe in several older postings using the search function upper left (type "Finkenwerder") or follow the labels attached this post, meeting many fine artists and great paintings in Hamburg. 

30 years later in a 1942 Hamburg Adress books I found Clara, Alma and Gretchen mentioned in the same page. Clara then lived Baron Voghtstrasse in  "Klein Flottbeck", a posh quarter just outside the centre of Hamburg: the house seems to be still there. In 1930 she was mentioned (Dresslers Kunsthandbuch) living, like Gretchen Wohlwill, in Eppendorf north of the Alster basin and near the heart of Hamburg. Alma lived and worked in the heart of Hamburg at Theaterstrasse but moved to Blankenese in 1938 when her only brother died. 

She lived not far from Clara and not far from the Süllberg Terrace with Restaurant Jakob, where her Berlin teacher Max Liebermann also painted the view over river Elbe, before she took her own life in 1943, being Jewish and terrified of the Nazis.    

"Fräulein Telge und Fräulein Wohlwill" were mentioned together in 1922, their paintings recognized and admired as "talented and good" and recommended for buying, collecting or exhibition abroad by one of Matisse's first students Hungarian modernist and Fauvist ("wild ones") painter Csaba Vilmos Perlrott (1880-1955) ("Kunst ist Spiel und tiefer Ernst" by Anke Munster; 2003).

Garden and trees by Alma del Banco & Vilmos Perlrott

Nude drawings by Wohlwill & Vilmos Perlrott 

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

Next posting Clara Telge (part III): a surprise and meeting the family in China.   

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Wolfgang asks help of readers (solved)

(This puzzle was solved with the help of a reader). 

Hungarian Artist: László Dombrovszky (1894-1982)
Titel:  "Marseille, dock workers"

Read here about this Hungarian painter and graphic artist*. This painting above is titled "Dunapart". Which in Hungarian I suppose means "Danube Harbor" (+ Budapest skyline ?)   


After helping and solving many an identification problem (like "Lehe, Alte Kirche" in before posting in Wolfgang in Frankfurt asks the help of readers and passers by. 

This etching, with "illegible" (better: not yet recognized) signature was found in Budapest on one of his hunts. The look with wich the subject of this portrait addresses the drawer (and the viewer) is not to be forgotten. Great atmosphere and fine portrait.      

All help and suggestions are welcomed. 

The atmosphere the unknown artist creates reminds me of the prints by Dutch printmakers Hidde Dirks Nijland (1881-1955) who often choose the waterfront and its  (seated, sleeping) "inhabitants" who always seem to be in a state of "introspection": thoughts on life ? 

His seated "Indische Gasten", returned "home" pensioner planters from the Dutch Indies in the Hague leads me to Emil Orlik ..........