Friday, 22 September 2017

Henriette Grimm and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Last week I found this book in an antiquarian bookshop: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 

"Meisterwerke der Druckgraphik" 

"Nirgends lernt man einen Künstler besser kennen als in sein Druckgraphik"
(Ernst Ludwig Kirchner) 

Kirchner (1880-1938) was busy, pioneering with (color) woodblock printmaking in Dresden as early as 1904 when he was captain of "Die Brücke" (active 1904-1913) expressionist artist group. He absorbed influences techniques and examples by many artists like Felix Valloton, at first almost copying styles and subjects.   

Also more traditional subjects by first generation German printmakers had his interest: Heine Rath, Siegfried Berndt and Emil Orlik no doubt.  

And then in those early years of his stormy and tumultuous career one can see his own interests, his feelings and emotions developing into his printmaking. 

Browsing through the book, 340 pages of joy, meeting, enjoying and revisiting many known, lesser and unknown prints by Kirchner there was this déjà-vu encounter.

I have no idea why Kirchners expressive 1904(!) "Burg bei Chemnitz" and Henriette's not dated Italian "San Fruttuoso" print share so many similarities, in composition, execution and in color. Kirchner lived near Dresden, visited and later lived in Switzerland, Henriette was born in Switzerland and later lived near Dresden. But something tells me there's a connection. Somewhere.

Henriette Grimm is mentioned in correspondence in the estate of well known Swiss childrens and fairy-tale book illustrator and graphic artist Ernst Kreidolf (1863-1956). In 1933 a dissapointing exhibition was held in Bern (Sw.) showing the works by Kirchner. Only 1100 visitors attended while in the before exposition 13.000 people visited Ernst Kreidolf’s exposition. Kreidolf was acquainted with both Kirchner and Henriette Grimm.  

Again a great Thank You for reader Hannelore who discovered the location of Henriette's print and pointed me to possible link between Ernst Kreidolf, Kirchner and Henriette Grimm. 
All pictures borrowed freely from the Internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Henriette Grimm: Abazzia San Fruttuoso, Liguria, Italy

Puzzle solved ! Reader Hannelore from Austria succeeded, like a modern day  Miss Marple (see before posting) in solving the mystery and puzzle: where and what is this building depicted by unknown printmaker Henriette Grimm ? It proves the incredible powers of combining the human braincell-computer with interconnected modern digital possibilities: powerful, friendly and future possibilities beyond imagination and limitless.  

The other day I read an article how online modern internet gamers are "used" to solve medical and mathematical problems, DNA amino-acid sequencing and other extremely complex puzzles, dilemma's, mathematical and environmental  problems. Just incredible, read here (link)*    

From the armchair in 2017 it is possible, without much effort, to reconstruct this  small part of the visit of Henriette, of whom we still know so very little, to the monastery of San Fruttuoso hidden deep in a lagune on the Ligurian coast of Italy some 20 km. south of Genova. It can only be reached oversea by boat departing from the fishing village of Camogli. Henriette was one of the many woman artists that I am researching who visited Italy. (Henriëtte will appear among the some 300 short biographies of forgotten pioneering German women printmakers published soon). 

Enjoy !

Camogli, Liguria, It. 

And with a birds-eye view:

And from historical photographs it can even be determined when approximately Henriette visited San Fruttuoso to sketch the buildings for later rendering them into a print: after 1903 and probably just before 1915. After the small top building (3 windows) was added and before it was enlarged (+ 2 windows, arrow) . 

The historic and picturesque site, today is almost unchanged by time, below shown in the 1950's and although "discovered an exploited": almost untouched by modern tourisme. 

Thank you Hannelore !!

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

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Henriëtte Grimm: Summers Puzzle

Last week Austrian reader Hannelore Greinecker-Morocutti, herself an illustrator and artist send me a piece of last month's "Summer Puzzle". 
Above an example of Hannelore's work, a print reminding me strongly of the image of British actress Joan Hickson (1906-1998) in her role as Miss Marple. 
Mrs. Hickson, in later, life resembling in looks and in posture closely my dear late mother in law. 

Joan Hickson played Agathe Christies (1890-1976) detective in full color for many years after legendary Dame Margaret Rutherford (1892-1972) did for years in the age of black & white. 

As it happens Henriette Grimm illustrated a 1924 book: "Tanz, Jugend, Gluck" (Dance, Youth, Happiness) with "original" lithographic prints and etchings, it would be interesting to know what exactly is inside the book.  

And Googling I even managed to find some more examples of Henriëttes art. 


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

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Peyraud en Ardèche.

Hans van Eck
(b. Haarlem 07-04-1941)
Dutch contemporary artist and printmaker 

I do not think Johannes Cornelis ("Hans") van Eck eventually saw a career in linocut printmaking: I only know of two examples of his printmaking endeavors. The signature, and monogram V.E., gave me some headache to solve, but this print, showing rooftops in Peyraud en Ardêche and dated 1969 drew my immediate attention, since I drove by Peyraud only last week and saw the same rooftops half a century later on our way home from a short visit to my sister in law who happens to live in this remote but very beautiful region of France. 

The incredible possibilities of the Internet providing pictures and context to create a posting for sharing and enjoyment.

The small community of Peyraud is situated between two important bridges spanning river Rhône giving acces to the North-Ardêche: at Serrieres and at Andance, some 100 Km. south of Lyon. 

They both give acces to the North Ardêche a scarcely populated district: 1000 meter high hills sloping to the east from the Massif Central towards the Rhône valley with a harsh climate: hot summers and long cold winters.

Once, from medieval times, every plot on the south-facing slopes and hills from the "Massif Central" which was blessed with a well was worked on, on terraces. The water flowing from the many wells is said to have been transported over thousands of years from the Alps in the East through geological layers crossing deep underneath river Rhône.

My sister in law's property is since ages named "Micoulaux" (Fr. mille +  couler - a thousand streams) and indeed the water is pouring from the ground in several places at alt. 900, where morning coffee can be enjoyed like this. 

Today the area is less and less populated, communities, villages and cities in decline, although the southern part, with river Ardêche and it's spectacular "Gorges de l'Ardêche" (the Grand Canyon Light experience) are an immensely popular holliday destination: cano, raft and naturist. 

The once so important production terraces, constructed and claimed by centuries of self-supporting farmers and communities are gradually reclaimed by nature as inhabitants seek work elsewhere and are eventually used for modern forestry growing Douglas firs. 

The region's products are pure as they can be, it's markets as markets should be, it's views spectacular, the silence deafening and it's nights, lit by the Milky Way, so stunning one gets out of bed to enjoy in awe and wonder in the middle of the night. 

This is the only other example by Hans van Eck that I happened to know from my archive: maybe its location (France ?) will be revealed one day. 


All pictures to illustrate this posting are borrowed freely from the internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only.       

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Elly Proempeler: what's in a name ?

Elly Proempeler-Ebeling
(05-01-1883 – 25-05-1972 Osnabrück)

Author of “Kriegsgefangen quer durch Afrika”
(“POW through the heart of Africa”)
published in 1918 (Otto Elsner Verlag, Berlin).

Feluccas  on river Nile, Egypt, signed L. Zimmermann 1913. 
Finding a name of a previous owner written on the back of a framed work of art that has been cherished for a century is always intriguing. It is mostly very difficult for the untrained to read German Sütterlin. The script ("Fraktur") was introduced in 1915, became the official German script in 1935 but was banned by Hitler himself six years later. 

Even to modern Germans Sütterlin or "Fraktur" writings (signatures, titles, specifications) are often described: "unleserlich" (eligible). 

Reader Mathias send me a picture of a print signed “L. Zimmermann” with moored feluccas, traditional (North) African sailing vessels, suggesting the printmaker visited Egypt and river Nile. The other two prints (above) are also by the same printmaker. I could tell you one or two things about L. Zimmermann here but that must wait for the book. Emil Orlik (1870-1932), working and teaching in Berlin also traveled Egypt and Sudan, in 1912, and in later years published several works like this "Feluke" and river Nile .

It would also be interesting to know in which exact year (between 1911-1920) Helene Tüpke-Grande (1871-1946) travelled to Egypt (below).   


However: this contribution is not supposed to be about prints and printmakers but about Elly Proempeler probably the first owner of the print. 

The name (partly in Sütterlin ?) was enciphered by Frankfurt Enigma Machine Wolfgang as Elly Proempeler.

Elly (for Elisabeth ?) was the daughter of N.N. Ebeling and Johanna Strick (12-10-1854 – 15-06-1928 Osnabruck) and married to lieutenant Karl Proempeler (born around 1878 in Schweppenhausen near Frankfurt). Their names could fit Proempeler und Frau” found on the ships passengers list of Woermann shipping company (“Reichs Post Dampfer”) “SS Admiral” departing 21-04-1914 from Hamburg. They are mentioned in the Namibian (German West-Africa) “Lüderitzbuchter Zeitung”.

SS Admiral and Woermann sister ships: depart from Hamburg (river Elbe) and arrival in SW- Africa.

The Proempelers, assuming they are Karl and Elly, could be returning from a leave to Africa because a 1913 photograph shows Elly Proempeler on the steps of a building in Tabora in German East-Africa (later Rhodesia now Tanzania). Karl Proempeler was appointed “Kaiserliche Bozirksamtmann”, an imperial colonial government official. 

The colony of German East Africa was ruled (1912-1918) by its last governor Heinrich Schnee (1871-1949) who after WWI became a member of the “Reichstag”, the German parliament (below).

With the outbreak of WWI the colony became involved in hostilities with the Belgian and British forces although it was mutually agreed not to “fight over the colonies” by all parties in the mondial conflict. 

The region was considered by both the Germans and British very promising and important for the cultivation of rubber trees. Eventually the complex situation, the disagreement of Schnee with his military commander “Afrika-General” Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck (1870-1964) lead to the remarkable situation German forces kept fighting a succesfull guerrilla war with the allied (British, Belgian and Portugese and native) forces under command of von Lettow.

The famous general happens to be the older brother of Berlin printmaker Christa von Lettow-Vorbeck (1881-1945) (below). 

With 2000 men he kept busy an army of 100.000 and managed to stay undefeated. Von Lettow used the dismantled guns of German cruiser SMS Königsberg which was scuttled by the British Royal Navy 11-06-1915 at Rufiji River. 

When von Lettow, who was a hero even to his enemies and like Schnee a later Reichstag member, was offered an ambassadorship by Adolf Hitler he calmly and politely told Hitler to “go fuck off" and got away with it simply nobody had the balls to arrest him. He was declared an enemy to the State and was denied his pension which I suppose will not have posed him a big problem.

Lieutenant Karl Proempeler, commanding a German military party, fell at the Battle of Saissi, defending a hill near Jericho Farm in Tabora 05-07-1915. 

His wife Elly later was taken POW and deported by the Belgian forces forced to march to Congo across the African continent (“quer durch Africa”) in a heroic journey. The graves of the fallen German soldiers at Saissi were later opened by British forces to find large amounts of ammunition thought to be hidden and used later by returning German forces.

From Congo Elly Proempeler was taken on a ship with other POW’s to be interned in London their convoy hunted by German U-boats near Gibraltar. Surviving also that part of her journey she in London she was permitted to walk free. London at that time was bombed and terrorized by German Zeppelins.

She then was send with a transport from England to a POW camp in Espalion near Toulouse in the South of France. In 1917 with the aid of the Red Cross she was enabled to return home through Switzerland to Osnabrück to learn her father had died and her only brother fell in Flanders trenches. All along her journey she was permitted to keep her camera and together with the book published in 1918 she gave an eye-witness account of her ordeal and the events of 1914-1917.

Elly Ebeling later remarried Ernst Regula (1875-1942) who had a career as a high ranking railway official (“Oberreichsbahnrat”). She was buried with her mother and husband in Osnabrück.


Danish Karen Blixen, barones von Blixen-Finecke, (1885-1972) married in 1914 and travelled to a life on a farm in neighboring Kenia. The story of her life later became world famous with the movie “Out of Africa” and was based on her 1937 book, published some 20 years after Eli Proempelers account.

An Otto Proempeler travelled 1913 between Lüderitzbucht and Swakopmund (German West Africa now Namibia) and returned to Hamburg with RPD SS “Kronprinz” the same year. His name is amongst those citizens receiving a German Iron Cross medal in German West-Africa.

Namesake Elisabeth Ebeling (1825-1905) from a merchants family was an extremely prolific German writer of children and fairy tale literature and a libretto (opera) and song writer. She travelled extensively through Turkey, Egypt, Tunesia and Spain.

All information on this Proempeler–Ebeling family is welcomed as are offers of a copy of Elly Proempeler's book which must be interesting reading.  


Although besides this contribution I cannot withhold this great 1981 drawing "Feluken" by one of my favorite modern and more contemporary German sculptors and printmakers Heinz Theuerjahr (1913-1991).  

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