Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Else Zinkeisen, II continued.

Else Zinkeisen
(Born 1871 Hamburg)

As promised and completing here’s the rest of Else Zinkeisen's woodblock prints. In her native Hamburg she choose the old Hammer Kirche. Originally build in 1692 and distroyed in the bombing and firestorms raging over the city in 1943.

And the places she probably visited during holidays. They are picturesque and historic places like "Werratalblick", View on Werra vale , probaly seen from the same panoramic photografic point called Krayenberg.  
"Burg Hanstein" (Hanstein Castle)

"Burg Fürstenstein" (Fürstenstein castle) 

The caracteristic twin towers of the 15th century Frauenkirche Cathedral is visible dominating over “der Englischer Garten” in Munich. Creation of  the 1000 acre garden (larger then Central Park) started in 1789 by Sir Benjamin Thomson and has an interesting history you can read here* 

Monday, 25 June 2012

Else Zinkeisen (I) River Elbe

Else Zinkeisen
(born 1871 Hamburg)
German woodblock printmaker. 

(I): River Elbe 

Today, again, an Ebay induced posting on a printmaker I’d never heard of before leading to some great discoveries and other fine artists. This above “Boote bei Sonnenuntergang” (Boats at sunset) undoubtedly are sailing in the Elbe estuary and came up for auction recently. 
"Fischer Boote auf der Elbe" and "Wolken über der Elbe". 

Other than the fact Else Zinkeisen was taught privately until 1899 and that she has been a member of the “Heikendorfer Künstlerkolonie” my research  turned   up absolutely nothing. But luckily a small but fine collection of her prints is kept in the “Künstlermuseum Heikendorf" at the Kieler Förde.  
Left: Else Zinkeisen, Right: Oscar Droege, (same?) dwellings along river Elbe.

The Kieler Förde, an inlet of the Baltic sea, North West of Hamburg in Germany's most Northern and beautiful province of Schleswick-Holstein. Sheltered and strategically situated along the busy trade route between North-Western Europe, Scandinavia, Denmark and the Baltic States. Not one of these prints I could locate outside this Museum: a well hidden treasure of prints of what has to be one of the earliest German Modern Printmakers.
 The Elbe River downstream North of Hamburg seen from the Ice-age,
glacier formed East bank ridge by Friedrich Kallmorgen (1856-1924)
Man made Elbe dikes by painter Friedrich Wilhelm Schwinge (1852-1913)

The artist colony sprang up in the 1920's around the house and studio of painter Heinrich Blunk (1891-1963) and it is one of the very few buildings remaining after WWII devastations. Kiel and its surroundings, like Hamburg in 1943, was almost completely destroyed by allied bombs because of its marine and submarine bases. The artists’ studios are gone but the House and Gardens survived, now housing the Museum.
Where we meet another great member of the colony: Oscar Droege (1898-1983) also born in Hamburg (but 25 years after Else Zinkeisen) and perhaps Germany’s most famous and certainly most prolific printmaker. Many of his (I count over a 100) prints featuring Hamburg and the river Elbe.

Painter Georg Burmester (1864-1936) was among them, very much influenced by Vincent van Gogh and  later to become a professor in Kassel art academie. He painted the surrounding  Schleswick land- and seascapes 

Along the North German coast, to the East the sister  "Niddener Künstkolonie" thrived. You can find similar prints of typical Baltic fishing and trading boats  by members Margarethe (L.E.M.) Gerhardt (1873-) and Daniel Stachsus (1872-1953). Max Pechstein and Lovis Corinth lived there.

This print by Else Zinkeisen is showing river fishing boats in the small tranquil  village and fishing  port of Altweder. Just opposite, on the other (West) side of river Elbe, of the mighty city of Hamburg. And situated in a wonderful ancient  and rural landscape. Below a photograph from about the time Else was there. 

A situation painted (below) by Friedrich Wilhelm Schwinge (1852-1913), my favorite  painter of the Frisian and Schleswick landscape (see also above).

And as it was recorded in one of the very last moments of it's existence (above) on photo. The fate that struck the village of Altweder has frightful similarities with the Dutch village of Blankenberg (50 years before) I wrote about in my earlier posting:  Blankenburg (link). It's the inevitabillity of progress: it can’t be stopped. It's all gone. Forever.

The Scottish sisters and artists Anna and Doris Zinkeisen are not (directly) related to Else. Anna Zinkeisen who designed several London Underground posters in the 1920-30’s and her Scottish family of timber traders have a 200 year Scottish history leading back to Silesian ancestry.

Next: some more prints and history by Else Zinkeisen.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Gerhardt Sy

Gerhardt Sy
German painter and printmaker.

Last week the occasion to research an interesting artist arose from Ebay. Two interesting monochrome woodblock prints came up together. Here's a summary of  what I've found:

I'd never heard of Gerhardt Sy before. Sadly, other then some very nice examples scraped from auction sites and the years of the beginning and ending of his 50 years on the planet nothing turned up. Readers are invited to add and send information because looking at these few examples of his work he definitly deserves some more attention.

The print showing a circular theater performance is quite charming and the light used in a way Rembrandt certainly would approve with a smile. The colourful children singing around the church organ is also very desirable. The gruff face looking so directly at me, the hidden face of the woman, the gloomy room with iconic lamp, well's making me think: a selfportrait, his parents, childhood memories ?  What a great portrait, what an intrigueing  print. 
Looking closer at these prints again I think I maybe should have tried a bit harder bidding. But although living in the more prosperous parts of the €-zone financing a luxury and afterall a hobby lately is affected by irresponsible money grabbing bankers and self imposed, pompous but hopelesly incompetent "investors" of entrusted community and pension deposits. 

"O fortunatas nimium, sua si bona norint, / agricolas!"

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Alfred Hartley, Silver moon

Alfred Hartley
British painter, etcher and portraitist

Sometimes there’s no real reason choosing an artist to research, just a fortuitous encounter will do, but in the case of Hartley’s atmospheric aquatints there is an actual (and probably more than one) explanation, a link to what has drawn my eye and attention in the first place.
It’s these "sheep and green poplars" I discovered first,  reminding me of this little woodblock print by Frank Morley Fletcher (1866-1949), printmaker, treated recently by Charles in Modern Printmakers.

As Charles correctly points out in an early comments (below) the probable influence of William Giles' (1872-1937) 1901 woodblock print "September Moon" on Hartley's aquatint print (of which I have no date) cannot be denied. The artists knew each other most probably through teacher Frank Short. William Giles featured in multiple posting in Charles' Modern Printmakers.

Alfred Hartley was taught engraving by Sir Frank Short (1857 - 1945) the great etcher, while in the Royal College of Art at South Kensington Art School. The influential and famous Frank Short was a great admirer of William Turner (1775-1851), certainly Englands and without any doubt one of the greatest painters the world ever saw, and studied his idol to great extent. 
Frank Short and Turner are on my list of heroes on Mount Olympus too. Malcolm Salaman dedicated an Album of the Studio’s Modern Masters of  Etching (Vol.5) to Sir Frank Short. An affordable copy is still  on my books searchlist.

Alfred Hartley was a painter of landscapes, etcher in line and aquatint and a notable portraitist and I now can see where his love for Nocturnes or moonscapes has originated. The genre, said to have been invented by James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) was a favorite of Frank Short too.
Here's Shorts' atmospheric 1914 “Orion over the Thames at Ranelagh (above) and this 2010 photograph of Orion over Thames by one Peter Meade I discovered and borrowed from the Internet. I love looking at the stars and  the  constellation of Orion only is to be seen in winter in our Northern hemisphere.
But the real inventor of this type of representations, even before Whistler,  probably was William Turner himself considering this “Moon over Millbanks” (above). Millbanks on River Thames, a mile upstream of the Houses of Parliament and two miles downstream of Lord Ranelagh’s Gardens and House.
William Holman Hunt (1827-1910) (above "the Thames at Chelsea") sat here too in 1853 as did Canaletto (1697-1768) 100 years before him although not under the moon but under full sun overlooking River Thames, Ranelaghs Gardens, The Royal Hospital and the Rotunda still situated at the rivers front. Where 9 year old Mozart played a few years later in 1765. The Rotunda was demolished in 1804 and the Chelsea Embankment build in 1867.

But see the pupil surpassing the master. Silver Night 1913, definitely is my favorite Hartley print. It is strikingly reminding of a view from one of my most treasured spots on the Island of Ameland. Looking at the distant sea pines, the dunes dropping into to the North Sea. Only a few weeks ago on a rainy day, still unaware of Alfred Hartley's print I turned my 2012 photograph into a genuine Hartley aquatint with the use of some simple Photoshop fiddling. I shall return on a moonlit night, with the sheep Alfred Hartley met grazing. Under the moon and in the dunes.
Hartley married 1896 fellow artist Leonora Locking (1856-1943) and the couple lived in St. Ives until 1931. Occasionally they travelled and painted in Italie and Switserland. Along they've obviously visited Switserland:

Le Chateau de Blonay in Switserland, etching by Alfred Hartley and a woodblock print I remembered by Isobel de Bohun Lockyer (1895-1980) and borrowed from Campbell Fine Art. She's featured in Charles' Modern Printmakers too.

Then in 1931 they moved to Wales. Alfred Hartley, who painted and portrayed many famous people of his time but also this sturdy St. Ives fisherman, died only two years later crippled with arthritis. 

New: have a look in my new Gallery-Sale room for exclusive prints