Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Karl Hentschel: German printmaker & ceramist in Holland.

Hentschel, Karl Franz Gustav
           (Dessau, Sachsen-Anhalt 01-12-1884 – 08-05-1859 Tittmoning, Lower Bavaria)

Painter, graphic artist, printmaker and ceramist. Son of Karl Hentschel and Louise Wolf. Studied at Dresden “Königliche Kunstakademie” under Eugen Bracht (1842-1921). Hentschels presence in the Netherlands is recorded from 1909 (when he was 25), living and working in several places in the Netherlands (Egmond aan Zee, Alkmaar, Amsterdam, Heerlen, Schoorl etc..). He married in 1918 Helena Catharina (Lena) Block (born Amsterdam 1891).

In the years he lived in Holland Hentschel is known to have taught woodblock printmaking techniques to Dutch printmaker Jo Bezaan(1894-1952). He  returned to Germany in 1923, settling in Dresden, with an address living in Groß Schönau. Today he seems largely forgotten and obscured, I happened to stumble over a postcard print by him in a local auctions site selling old postcards and decided to investigate.    

Het huis 't Sluisje" in the historic inner city of Amersfoort. A medieval city palace.
Where I (the author) spend a good deal of my late teens with my best friend JW who happened to live here. 

Lithographic print by artist Jo Bezaan.  

This house is probably the best known historic landmark of old-Amersfoort. Numerous artists have created paintings, etching, prints, photos etc.. of this spot.     
In the late 1930 when Hentschel was forbidden to work as a painter (“Berufsverbot”), being of the Jewish faith, he turned to ceramics and became a respected and well-known potter and ceramic artist.

Besides his pottery, collectable and regularly offered in auctions, Hentschel is remembered by his monochrome woodblock prints published as postcards showing picturesque Dutch scenes (Amsterdam & Dordrecht are the only two examples I found so far) published by W. Nederkoorn in Alkmaar (above), and an iconic 1919 poster for Amsterdam warehouse “de Bijenkorf”. 

After his death the potter’s studio in Tittmoning on the Austrian border was continued by potter Erna Leitner(b. 1919) in 1959. It produced some really  nice pottery, simple straight forward design and a joy for for every day use. 


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

Sunday, 7 October 2018

German Drawing: lithographic nude - Of Matisse, Picasso & the Inkwell Press

Without any hesitation the hand that drew the outlines of this sketch created body, volume and even transferred the almost tangible softness and warmth of the lovely model onto the paper. In 1962, with the eyes of Matisse and the hand of Picasso. Or visa-versa because both men were great observers, fine drawers and into old age under the influence of female, form and mystery. 

The signature and identity of the probably German artist are a puzzle: H.W.

Speaking of Matisse, muzes, nudes and lovely models: these woodblock prints by American Vincent Torre are inspired by Matisse' drawings, reducing the original works by Matisse to the essential (out) lines.

Torre (1930) was (is?) an American artist who created handprinted and handbound books, in the beginning (early 1950's) on Navy equipment while serving in the US Navy stationed on USS Orion, a submarine tender. 

Later Torre acquired an old VanderCook press printing his books in (very) small editions. The  Matisse interpretations are from his 1978 "Forty Four Woodcuts of the Nude" in an edition of 100 published by his "The Inkwell Press" in New York. He is known to have created some 100 books in 50 years.

Besides 5 prints after Matisse the book(let) includes his own designs and this nude after a drawing in the German "Expressionist way" pointing to the many nudes drawn by German Expressionists Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938) and Otto Mueller (1974-1930).

Although rare, unique and highly collectable books obviously sometimes are broken up for profit. Individual prints, offered for $150 up, occasionally show up in Internet stores and auctions. 


Any help or suggestions to identify the artists signature are welcomed.

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

Monday, 1 October 2018

Wilhelm Christens: Düsseldorf Sunflowers and Bachante

Wilhelm Christens 

Wilhelm Christens was a Dusseldorf academically trained and based painter and printmaker. He is known for his landscapes, portraits and still-life painting, was an etcher and lithographer and worked as art restorer. I'd never heard of him until last week when this large "Farbholzschnitt" showed up. 

Created in the classic way, nice composition, fresh, modern and using a wonderful colour palette. Although not dated it was probably created around 1950-60 so at the end of his long artistic life, like the 1963 painting (above). Why did he try at woodblock printmaking so late in life, or did I miss something? 

I found several of his "classic" elaborate flower stillifes in auctions passed, this academic 1909 nude and Schloss Benrath a well known castle and gardens in his Düsseldorf.

There is a mentioning Christens himself considered a work (a painting ?) titled "Bachantin" and dated 1906 his best, his Opus Magnus. I could not find a painting fitting its description but I did find this portrait with grapes and vines   (probably by the not so educated guessing auctioneer) "Pomona", but: no apples . 

The subject obviously is not Pomona, the Roman goddess of Abundance, flowering orchard and orchard fruits, but a BachantePomona is usually depicted holding an apple not grapes: L: Pomum = Orchard, orchard fruits  (Fr. Pomme = Apple). 

< Aristide Maillol's "Pomona" at the Louvre in Paris 

Bachante or Menaeds (German "Bachantin") however were companions, nymphs, servants to the Greek God of wine Dionysos. His Roman alter ego is known as: Bacchus.

Perhaps Friedrich von Kaulbachs (1850-1920) 1897 "Bachantin" was Wilhelms inspiration. Kaulbach was an important portrait painter who tried all his life to match his great example Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/98 - 1543) 400 years earlier. Although Holbein is not known to have drawn a nymphs portrait. 

Many artists painted a, or several Bachante but I think I like Lovis Corinth  happy version best. 

And although I do not think Swiss Frank Behrens (1883 - 1945) meant showing Pomona there is of course a nice reason why he was chosen to witness these lovely creatures in the apple  and chestnut trees. Helas, no matter how hard I try ...... 

A nice co-incidence is Behrens obviously painted Bachante.....Perhaps even portrayed his wife Nanny, who died in 1925 and was well known breeder of Swiss Berner-Sennen dogs. But that is an altogether other story.

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