Friday, 25 October 2013

Milking the days

Henri Gabriël Ibels

French painter, illustrator, 
poster and printmaker.

(left: portrait by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec)

was one of the first French artists to embrace and integrate the Japanese art and style of printmaking with his friend Count Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901). In the last decade of the 19th century. Ibels attended the Académie Julian in Paris meeting Pierre Bonnard en Eduard Vuillard and founding the group called les Nabis (the profets). Googling these artists and "Nabis" will definitely enlighten your day. Much has been published and written.

I stumbled over Ibels' lithographic drawing of a kissing peasant couple some  time ago and was immediately taken in by its great charm. And by it's warmth, simplicity, originality and its roots deep into Flemish history and tradition. All the way back to the 16th century Flemish Brueghel family (Pieter de Younger and his father Pieter the Elder)  
Looking at Ibels' designs the simple outlines of his figures making him a very recognizable artist. Hanging out in the many theaters, circus and bars of Paris with his close friend drawing many of the same scenes Toulouse Lautrec gained his to this day worldwide success and fame with. The inspiration for the kissing peasant couple probably came from this theatrical Pierrot scene Ibels used as an exclusive book illustration in 1895.

      In this journal cover the dramatic silence and compassion is tangible,  soldiers lead by an officer passing by on their way to certain death. "l'Escarmouche" or a small group of soldiers was send to the front to test enemy vigilance, common practice and tactics euphemistically called "a skirmish". Few ever returned. 

Some examples of Ibels' many brilliant designs and compositions but unlike Toulouse-Lautrec he never achieved the glorious status of his friend. 
 Left Ibels, right Toulouse-Lautrec

Very Flemish writer Felix Timmermans (1886-1947) wrote the very Flemish novel about Pallieter (publ. 1916), the life long role model of my late father in law. The immortal simpleton who falls in love with the daughter of his housekeeper, marries her and is rewarded triplet girls (the author fathered three girls). It is a glorious  account of one year in the Flemish countryside, enjoying, embracing, dancing and soaking up all simple and free earthly pleasures, the seasons, the warmth and the cold, the clouds and the landscape, the birds, sounds, smells, tastes ......... Reading this wonderful classic novel, will change you for ever, I promise. It's a tribute, a celebration and a hymn to nature and our short stay on planet Earth.

Timmermans created the word for it only known in Flemish and to those who've read the book: Dagmelker. Pallieter, the day milker. Enjoying the simple pleasures from every day life, the way you extract milk from a cow. It takes some time, some effort and willpower and some skill but being aware they are there ready to enjoy for we who knows how to milk the day is the message. Pallieter was cast in bronze in 1986 by Jan Alphons Keustermans (1940-) and he stands in Lierse, Timmerman's and Pallieters' hometown. 

And from the back of my mind these sculptures by Israeli artist Rony Ben-Nachum surfaced. I wonder if he knew the posters of Ibels or maybe read Timmermans' novel. 
I have no idea about the lifes of Pallieter and the love of his life Marieken or the triplets after that year in the country but Im confident they all lived happy and simple lives. I can't help thinking I've even seen a picture of Marieken later in life. Living in dairy country I enjoy collecting vintage images (photographs, paintings) of hand milking girls and farmers.

Marieken ?

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Walter Helfenbein: Birds from Dresden Zoo

Walter Helfenbein

German graphic artist, 
 woodblock printmaker, lithographer, ex-libris maker and etcher. 

Helfenbein started his career as a self taught artist but later was a student at the Kunstgewerbeschule (Arts and Crafts School) in Dresden.

In the past year or so several bird prints printed "a la manière de" Martin Erich Philipp (1887-1978) surfaced and have been auctioned and sold in German Ebay. There's no doubt he was more then just inspired by but learned the art (craft) from MEPH. When I saw the first one I even was under the impression Philipp may have created prints under a pseudonym. 

Maybe Walter was a close friend or they've met in the Arts and Craft School or possibly even at Dresden Zoo's Aviary where Helfenbein choose probably the same (group of) birds, in several of his prints like the above "Kardinäle" and "Webervögel" (Cardinals and Weaverbirds) but on the other hand Helfenbein was even more attracted to the more spectacular and extremely feathered species in Dresden Zoo Aviary. 

Besides their love for birds both men shared their skills as animal sketchers, and both were drawn towards drawing, etching the female nude in all glory as they were drawn towards printing erotic, you may say slightly pornographic scenes. In the end Helfenbein was best remembered for the numerous ex-libris he created. I will show examples of Helfenbein's other graphic work in a following posting.  

A species of Fork Tailed Hummingbird (Kolibri)

A species of Paradise Bird (Paradiesvogel)

"Prachtdrossel" (Pitta or Passerine bird) 

"Weidehopf" (Hoopu)

Comparing these birdprints I believe MEPH was the more artistic and original printmaker but technically their skills matched. Even Philipps wife Else Staps (I have no biographical data) joined the men in the Aviary and created several bird prints in her husbands specific style. I must remember to look up the species she choose one day. Although the birds look exotic the flowering trees seem to be "ordinary" Forsytia and a blossoming apple-tree (?) 

Else Staps also choose "common" birds from her garden, like her husband did, and printed this lovely titmouse with rose-hips in winter from 5 or 6 blocks. 

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

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Eduard David Einschlag

Eduard David Einschlag

German impressionist painter, etcher and printmaker 

(1879 - murdered 1943 in Treblinka)

Stumbling over a picture in the www. lead me to Neil's "Adventures in the print trade". As many times before Neil already investigated and covered this artist. 
But since he discussed just a single example, the one etching in which the artist  supposedly depicts his wife, I considered it a good idea looking somewhat deeper into the life and works of this obscured artist. Because he was of Polish-Jewish descent he, along with most of his family, wife and sisters, was deported to the Warsaw ghetto in 1938 and was murdered in the hell of Treblinka probably around 1943.
Eduard was born in Leipzig to the merchant ("Kaufmann") Joseph Einschlag and his wife Dorothea Armhaus. He had an older brother Martin (*1877, the only member of the Einschlag family to survive the holocaust) and two younger sisters Wanda (*1883) and Hedwig (*1890) who were like Eduard deported to Warsaw, perished, and killed around 1943, but nobody knows for sure. 
His artistic talent was recognized at an early age and young Eduard went to study in Munich under Peter (von) Halm (1854-1923) one of the leading 19th century German etchers and where at that time Vasily Kandinsky created an artistic revolution. Later he continued his studies in Berlin where the 3 celebrated impressionist painters Max Slevogt, Max Liebermann and Lovis Corinth were at the height of their careers and taught at the Berlin Art Akademie.

In London Eduard painted not only the Houses of Parliament but also Charles Dickens "Old Curiosity Shop" at Portsmouth Street. Many of Einschlag's works I found are collected in the local Leipzig Museum (Stadtgeschichtliches Museum).  
In Berlin, from 1901 onward, his teacher at the etching press was Karl Köpping  (1848-1915) the leading Rembrandt copyist and celebrated etcher. In 1912 Einschlag returned to Leipzig to settle and to marry Louise Victoria Croner (*1883)
This Rembrandt self portrait, attributed not to Rembrandt but to a "follower of"  is in the Leipzig Museum collections and Wilhelm von Bode, to whom this print was dedicated, at that time in 1915 was "Geheimrat". I think the honorary title,  is best translated as curator.
Of this Rembrandt copy (above), although I tried hard,  I failed to find its original. 

In 1910 he studied in Paris, where in the same year Pablo Picasso and George Braque revolutionized the Art World and from that time his admiration for Degas, the impressionist painter, also is eminent in this bathing girl. 
Einschlag was regarded the most celebrated artists of Leipzig in the 1920-30's and was intimately known and loved by the artistic and scolarly circles portraying many of its members in oil and etching.
He is regarded as an impressionist painter although he became mostly obscured and forgotten after the war, considered one of the best etchers of his time. 
And to my surprise he also tried at woodblock printmaking and recently I could not withstand buying this postings opening 1918 "woman at the window", an art-calender woodblock printed from the block, in the memory of this neglected artist. 

As a student of Karl Köpping his skills copying the old masters extended to the new masters also finding his etching of Degas' café scene that is now in the Musée Dorsay.
In Leipzig the Einschlags lived door to door in the same building to Rüdiger Berlit (1883-1939) a German expressionist painter and woodblock printmaker  and it was probably Berlit influencing and pursuading Einschlag to develop also in printmaking. And, can you believe it, I found this  photograph of the 1915  1915 Paper Fair in the Leipziger Peterstraße. Comparing it to the print he created you can see how good he'd become at it. Notice the banner of the The Lindstrom company.  

Much of Einschlags work was destroyed in and before the war when his art,  from 1933, was declared "entarted" or degenated. To be forbidden, publically ridiculed and destroyed by the same fanatics, insane and criminals that later killed 6 out of 7 (million !) Jews in occupied Europe.         

Some examples of work by Eduard Einschlag's graphics teachers in Munich and Berlin 

Peter (von) Halm (1854-1923)

Karl Köpping  (1848-1915)

Rüdiger Berlit (1883-1939)  

All pictures are mouse-clickable to embiggen.  

All information was scratched from the www. and reassembled and reshaped to this posting to the best of my abilities without any economical or  commercial purpose. With that in mindte contents should be judged likewise (GC).