Monday, 31 January 2011

A. de Jong-Blom: Hogebeintum

A. de Jong-Blom
(den Helder 1918- Langezwaag Fr. 1986)

Dutch amateur linoleum block printer

(new biographical data and some added examples of her work below: 
december 2011 from Mrs. de Jongs' son Titus) 

The linoleum print, below, a recent local flea market find. Mrs. de Jong, the most common name in Friesland ("Young") and in fact in the entire Netherlands. So there is no easy way finding out who she was. Maybe a Dutch reader recognizes. Maybe it was just made as an evening pass-time in 1962. People did, before television took over.

She choose to depict Hogebeintum (Hegebeintum) the highest (8+ meters) of man made mound or Tumulus (dutch: “Terp”) in the North Seas' tidal mudflats stretching from the Netherlands to Denmark. It’s located just 40 miles from my home. And 5 miles south of my beloved Island of Ameland. Now safely guarded behind modern Delta Dikes but once exposed to Nordic winds and floods blowing from as far as Greenland and the North Pole itself.

These mounds were build as refuge against the North Sea and were inhabited from about 800 BC. The first communities, later kingdoms sprang up from these mounts. Far before the Frisians and the Christian monasteries started building dikes, claiming new land and taming the sea.

The asterix must have been were Mrs. de Jong in 1962 choose her view of Hegebeintum.
Many were excavated and mined in XIX century for their fertile soils created by centuries of acumulating waste and dung. The linoleum print showing the scars on the remaming body of the mound. Without enough support these excavated mounds slowly slide away. In need of restoration and repairs. They yield up Roman and Scandinavian artifacts. The 13th century church and cemetery is but all what is left of this one, the mound Hogebeintum. But many are still intact. They are part of the Frisian history and legacy dominating the otherwise completely flat landscape.
This was as far North as the RomanEmpire grew on mainland Europe. Read Pliny's (Caius Plinius Secundus or , Pliny the elder, AD 23-79) great eye witness account on what he thought of this God forsaken land and its lamentable people "were the land rises from misty seas twice daily": After having seen Hogebeintum, leaving these worthless provinces unconquered Pliny died in action, giving yet another eye witness account of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in his native Italy in AD 79. A true frontline reporter.
Now these Northern provinces, produce (Frisian) cattle “from the best and richest land on earth”), dairy, potatoes and wheat to feed millions of Europeans and for export. And homeland of the proud never conquered Frisians, from Amsterdam to Hamburg to Kopenhagen. West Frisians, East Frisians, and North Frisians.

Visit and listen to the wind in Hogebeintum, Friesland, Netherlands

These new examples of prints by Mrs. de Jong were added december 10th 2011. They are typical products of amateur artist in the 1950-1960's when there was hardly television and people still created their personal Xmas cards. Both Mrs. and Mr. de Jong  were vicars and were called to Hogebeintum in 1958 and lived there until retirement. The second one is a new church seal for the parish of Ferwerd.  

Christmas cards  and a new church seal 

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Viktor Pirkhoff (IV) the flower bouquets

Viktor Pirkhoff
(Prag 1875-1962 Brno)

Part IV

The Flower Bouquet Prints
(Larger pictures by V. Pirkhoff, smaller ones for comparison)

I hope, from a woodblock enthousiast's (and flower prints in particular) viewpoint, I have kept the best for the last. Here they are !

Hugo Noske (1886-1960)
Martin Erich Philipp (1887-1978)

These first two prints I found last year in different auctions in the USA and became the start of these postings and the rediscovery of the Art of Viktor Pirkhoff

This above print is probably Pirkhoffs most impressive one. More then 15 blocks were used to create all colors. Using so many blocks created John Hall Thorpe's (1887-1975) fame as a woodblock printer in his 1922 "the Country Bunch" (below) and resulted in one of the most loved prints in the Art Deco Style.

John Hall Thorpe (1874-1947)

Hugo Noske (1886-1960)

Martin Erich Philipp (1887-1978)

As you can judge now for yourselfs I think it is fair to say that Viktor Pirkhoff could match the most renowned flower woodblock printers of the twentieth century. The way he was treated by the successive authorities and later becoming completely forgotten and obscured is very sad.
I hope through this postings Viktor Pirkhoff shall be known and appreciated again amongst the great European woodblock printers of the twentieth century.

Thank you Miroslav for trusting me with his legacy and creating this four postings.
Please, honor Viktor Pirkhoff with a comment on (one of) these postings .

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Viktor Pirkhoff (Part III) Cacti and Wildflowers

Viktor Pirkhoff
Part III
Cacti and wildflowers prints.
And some comparisons with contemporay artists.
Cactus prints
(the larger pictures by V. Pirkhoff)
Martin Erich Philipp (1887-1978)
Hugo Noske (1886-1960)

Sidonius von Schromm (1872-1948)

Wildflowers prints

Meryl Watts (1910-1992)

Ernst Rötteken (1882-1945)
Martin Erich Philipp(1887-1978)
Soon: Part IV: the Flower Bouquets by Viktor Pirkhoff.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Viktor Pirkhoff, Part II

Viktor Pirkhoff (Viktor Prikryl)

Forgotten and obscured Czech Artist

Part II

left: Pirkhoff flowering cactus, right: Stanley Bielen (American, 1957-

left: Pirkhoff (Oil) "Ara's", right Norbertine Bresslern-Roth (1891-1978)

Pirkhoff, despite his artistocratic appearance was of modest (farmers) origin. According to his relative Miroslav who send me a complete archive of works by his forgotten and obscured relative. Landscape paintings, animal, portrait and nude paintings.

Reclining nude in Hongarian style and color palet of the period.

Drawings, sketchbooks, woodcut prints and sheet music illustrations. As an artist and entrepreneur Viktor seemed to do well. He married Pauline Maria Axmann (born Veinna 1897, 24 years his younger) He received commissions by the influential, wealthy and even royal and imperial. He was appointment professor and is said to have exhibited worldwide.
Desiging sheet music covers (left, commisioned by famous Franz Léhar) will have been his bread and butter because many are known.

right: Pirkhoff, left Carl Rotky (1891-1977) oils, the Austrian province.

In almost a century this lovely spot and view of Hallstatt (Austria) never changed, not even the boat houses. A tree was cut. The perspective is so accurate that even the horizon of the sitting artist is somewhat lower than the standing photographer 90 years later. See the mountains behind rooftop in the middle were building and muntain range meet.

In the Austrian art scene he must have known and been acquainted with many important artist of the period. He was some 10-15 older as most artists that rose to great international fame later. In the times of Jugendstil, Art Deco and Wiener Seccession. Like Austrians Norbertine Bresslern Roth (1891-1978) Carl Rotky (1891-1977) and Emma Schlangenhausen (see Modern Printmakers Blog-posting of 19 Jan. !) and many others.

Drawings from Pirkhoffs sketch books.

Besides what I already discussed in the previous posting Viktor also studied in the Vienna Art School 1897-1899 and attended painting lessons.

Being a Jew in 1938 he was officially denied practicing as an artist in the Nazi Empire. His grandparents Solomon Kohn and Peppi Plaschkes, his mother Ann Kohnova. He fled Austria to his native and neighboring Slovakia. Sadly members of his family were murdered by the Nazi regime and he had to be in hiding. His sketchbooks show he kept drawing even during the war.
left: Pirkhoff, right Hélène Grand-Tupke (1871-1946) 
These prints (and the parrots) probably originating from the Schonbrunn Zoo in Vienna.
left: Pirkhoff, right: Norbertine Bresslern-Roth (1891-1978)
After the war ended Viktor was banned as an artist by the Communists now in power too. His printing equipment was confiscated and he was forbidden to travel from the East. He died in 1962 forgotten and poor in Brno. Until this week his name was hardly ever mentioned again besides an occasional print showing up in an auction and the signature not even recognized.
The little dog and cricket I found once mislabelled "Bresslern-Roth" in an old auction cataloque.

Comparing Pirkhoffs animal and dogs prints Elisabeth Norton (American 1887-1985) comes to mind too.
I am very grateful Miroslav trusted me in this effort rehabilitating Viktor Pirkhoff. In this Part II examples of his divers work and some thoughts and comparisons.
In Part III (soon) I will show you a selection of his many woodblock flower prints.
You are invited to leave a comment and send me any further facts you might know about Viktor Pirkhoff.