Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Frieda Mentz-Kessel: Successful identification in 2014 and Best Wishes for 2015

A happy New Year &
Best Wishes for 2015 !

Thanks to reader Archimandrill this identification problem of a print commemorating a 25th anniversary in what looks like (or could be) a circus tent print is solved. It is by Frieda Mentz-Kessel (Graz, Austria 1878 -1969 Jena) she was working as a linocut printmaker in Jena (near Weimar). There's not much to be revealed in the Internet about her life or work. She was married to history professor Georg Hugo Mentz (1870-1942) and exhibiting in the 1930's wilt fellow women artists in the "Jena Kunstlerinnen Verein" announcements found in newspaper and she was actively involved in the Womens Rights Movement.

Among them I found Dachau painter and printmaker Paula Wimmer (1876-1971). Besides her bathing boys (a theme after Max Liebermann) she is best remembered by her prints that are often also located in a circus tent. I will show more of her work soon. 

Frieda's print was in an auction and, when it was sold, the Internet connections obviously were deleted. I just was lucky to stumble over it in this short window of opportunity. 

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

Monday, 29 December 2014

Gertrud Fabian: revisiting and an attempt to identify.

Gertrud Fabian

German printmaker from Neuwedell

Gertrud Fabian was the last and 7th child that was born and baptised in Neuwedell August 10th 1885 to (rag and bone) merchant Meir Fabian (1842-1904) and Hermine Rosenberg (1854-1936). Neuwedell is a small provincial village (now called Drawno) situated near a small lake in what was then West-Prussia and is now Poland. Some 150 km. east of Berlin.

The Jewish Fabian and Rosenberg families descending in generations before from Jewish communities in Neuwedell (Drawno) and nearby Kallies (Kallisz) in this part of West-Prussia from the mid 18th century. Jewish life flourished in the 19th century in Prussia, many left however for the West in the second half and beginning of the 20th century to be erased almost completely by the Nazis before the end of the WWII. 

In 1883 Meir Fabian’s younger brother and also merchant Oscar Fabian (1850-1942) after working for the founders took over in Berlin the established firm of Cohn & Caro dealing in ”Posamentier und Kurzwaaren” (a drapery shop). He was then living in the Gutenbergstrasse in Charlottenburg
Berlin Charlottenburg around 1900
Business flourished because five years later in 1889 brother Albert Fabian (1856-1925) joined while Meir Fabian had also moved his family to Berlin around 1886/87. In Berlin Meir Fabian's family grew with another 4 or 5 mouths to feed. The brothers widowed mother Johanna Salinger (b.1818), Gertrud's grand-mother, also came to Berlin, she died there in 1891 and it could well be more Fabian family members had moved to Berlin. Meir Fabian died in 1904 in Grosse Frankfurterstrasse 122. Maybe this was the location of his business that will have looked similar to his son Martin Fabian's (b.1889) shop in Hamburg on Steindamm 102 before he fled to England (below).

According to Alexander Watson, Meir Fabian's great-grandson (through Gertrud’s elder sister Heika (1880-1951) and now living near Lyon in France, Gertrud Fabian and her younger sister Margarethe Fabian (b.1891) until around 1918 lived in the Pestalozzistraße in Berlin Charlottenburg, by 1935 they were living in the Brettschneiderstraße nr. 9, where their mother Hermine died in 1936 (aged 82): she did not have to witness the atrocities her family would have to endure. 
Mother Hermine Fabian-Rosenberg with Gertrud and brothers Hans (fled to London) and Bruno (died in exile in  Shanghai 1943).
In the first 2 years of the war and persecution the sisters were possibly expelled from their flat to live in Mommenstraße 44. Eventually on march 1th 1943 the Nazis knocked on their door and they were deported the same day with “Osttransport no.31” (the Nazis meticulously kept book of their perverted system of efficiently solving the “Juden-Problem”). The women were probably murdered on arrival in Auschwitz.

With Gertrud and Margarethe many Fabian family members were murdered in the Holocaust, but some managed to survive by fleeing in time to England, Australia and Argentina. Oldest brother Max Fabian's wife and two sons perished and brother Bruno Fabian the first child to be born in Berlin, died in in exile in 1943 in Shanghai (read here*) of disease. The faith of brothers Siegfried Fabian (born 1878) and Georg Fabian (born 1883) until this day remains unknown and is of great concern to descendent Alexander Watson who with a nephew is trying desperately to reconstruct the Fabians of Neuwedell genealogy.

The printmaker signing Gertrud Fabian could very well be identical with the Gertrud Fabian described above, but without records to prove this is just an assumption. Berlin was a very large city and there were more Fabian families living at the time but so far only three Gertrud Fabian are “known”, the other two were married and known by  their husbands family or married name.

The story about this particular print is worth mentioning too. It is the only example I know of by an artist signing Gertrud Fabian. It appeared in German Ebay in 2013 and it went to a lucky, and more persistent, bidder in England. However: it is now in my humble collection and it could not be in a better place. Thanks to reader Shaun who agreed on a friendly exchange of prints improving collections on both sides of the British Channel. Last year I did a posting with this print and was amazed by the similarities with painter and teacher Walter Leistikow's (1865-1908) summerhouse in Denmark (above) and compared it with prints by Hélène Mass (b. 1871) about we also know so little. But both were also born in Prussia by the way.

Gertrud Fabian is not mentioned in the archives of the "Verein der Berliner Künstlerinnen (VdBK)" but I’m convinced she attended Emil Orliks classes and she defenitely deserves renewed attention and an attempt to create something of a biography and recognition. 

As said: in Berlin at the time of Gertrud’s life were living more, several Fabian families in Berlin. Among them was painter and graphic artist Max Fabian (1873-1926) who besides being an active artist and working in the times and circles of the great Max Liebermann also ran a private painting school in Berlin and taught at the painting school of the Verein der Berliner Künstlerinnen (VdBK).

"An der Spree" in Berlin.

He married a student (not known by name) and their son Erwin Fabian (b.1915) became an artist too: in England and later in Australia. He and his mother in time had fled to England. The irony is that garding her husbands  work and bringing it with her to London all was lost in a German bombing in 1941/42.

To all who find, stumble upon and read this posting I ask on behalve of Alexander to send in all information on Gertrud Fabian and all the other members of the Berlin-Neuwedell Fabian family.

All facts concerning the Fabian family are published here with permission of Alexander Watson

Thursday, 25 December 2014

NOID: Identification of prints.

During Christmass time I can see Blog visits rising, and now having the extra attention this is a fine opportunity to ask readers and visitors to help identify some printmakers and solve some puzzles.

To start with: I've found this picture of a very nice woodblock print somewhere in the Internet, safed it but so far was unable to find it again. The signature could read F. Mentz Kaßsel. But I have never found a printmaker by that name. It seems to me a 25 year anniversary of some kind (a choir singing). 

Same goes for these two Internet found "said to be Russian" (are they ?) wintery and snowy prints. They are (very) reminding of Paul Leschorn's (1876-1951) speciality (below). And I don't know if they are by the same printmaker.

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

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Elbe seen from Blankenese and Mount Sullberg

Hamburg and River Elbe
some paintings and views  

In before posting Hamburg and the Elbe river from Finkenwerder Island were shown because of Louise Steinbach-Weinholdts reprinted woodblock view. Today we look at river Elbe from the opposite bank.  

The village of Blankenese was formed around and below ice-age formed mount Süllberg. It was originally a fishing community, later sea going captains retired here in the twentieth century followed by wealthy Hamburg merchants, artists  and well-to-do people settled here. It is now a very beautiful place, renowned for its wonderful views, grand villas and estates, its restaurants, river beaches and holiday and weekend lea sure 

And of course a place visited by hords of painters and other artists trying to capture what indeed is one of the worlds great panorama's. Below is a painting by an anonymous painter, sold in a German Auction site not long ago, hard to believe the artist is unknown: it's my favorite !

Here are some more by known (Hamburg) painters, a personal choice, from many more examples. 

1: Facing upstream from Blankenese.
Claus Richters (1813-1994)

Albert Feser (1901-1993)

Albert Feser (1901-1993)

    2 Facing downstream from Blankenese:

Ernst Eitner (1867-1955) 

Friedrich Kallmorgen (1856-1926) 

Ivo Hauptmann (1886-1973) 

Hans Porwoll (1898-1984)

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

All pictures are mouse-clickable to embiggen. 

Monday, 22 December 2014

Christmas card 2014 Monogram: PBH = Paul Burty Haviland

Reader Tom within 24 hours solved the mystery of the Monogram in my Christmas card. It was designed by Paul Lewis for Paul Burty Haviland (link*) (1880-1950) the son and heir of the french china manufacturer Haviland & Co. in Limoges Charles Edward Haviland and Madeleine Burty. 

He was an early 19th century photographer and close of friend Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946), and married to Renée Lalique's daughter Suzanne Lalique (1892-1989), the famous french Art Nouveau Glass designer. 

Suzanne was an artist too and besides a creative artist and painter she created besides her own a marriage between the Haviland Limoges china porcelain and Lalique's artist-icy. Just "dots and open space" but: Beautiful !

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

Saturday, 20 December 2014

A Happy Christmas 2014 and Best Wishes

And my special thanks and wishes for all the nice fellow print enthousiasts and print collectors, friendly Blog-article observers and commentors, reasonable print sellers and even more reasonable print exchangers, hard working "German-pioneering-Women-Woodblock-Printmakers-born-before-1900" out-there-in-the-field Scouts, enthousiastic and professional text editors and correctors, important and vital information and new picture senders, always cooperative museum and other email-answering archival correspondents, friendly car-boot and flee-market sellers, unselfish charity shop owners.

it is now time for a rest:    

And in person I would like to thank: Wolfgang Barina, James Barnes, Heert Burgers, Michelle Bos, Bill Carl, Tom Clemens, Charles Haji-Baba, Clive Christy-Hazell, Lily Lotus Green, Ortwin Danckert, Wim Eilander, Hans von Döhren, Ed Ogul, Erik (El-Vivio) Korbeek, Felicity Naylor, Holger Paul, Steven Muzy, Hubert Fricke, Karen Charbonneau, Klaus Ohlig, Klaus Voigt, Markus Wehner, Vlatko Milosevski, Cees Oorthuijs, Peter Weidlich, Auke Boorsma, Neil Philip, Sergei Prodolnov, Shaun D'Arcy-Burt, Henk Spruit, Stephen Bishop, Steve Deniss, Thomas Treibig and all their loved ones who helped making 2014 an unforgettable year. 

And to all deer persons "out there" I might have forgotten to mention. 

These two card/examples by printmaker Arthur Allen Lewis  (Mobile, Alabama, 1873 - New York City, 1957). I'm wondering: who was CBH ?? (or PBH)  (the surprising answer is given by reader Tom in next posting).  

The Newspaper reading dad found at:

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

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Louise Steinbach-Weinhold: Pollards on the isle of Finkenwerder.

Steinbach-Weinhold, Louise (Lise)

      (Dresden 1879-1971 Hamburg) 

Visiting Hamburg and enjoying the city and river Elbe in last postings this is a  good opportunity to show this print that showed up in German Ebay recently. To my knowledge (but that is not a way of measuring) the second example of a print by this forgotten printmaker. It is a limited (12/50) copy printed in 1990 from the original 1909 blocks. I do not have a clue who printed them, where and why, and if the original was at hand to determine and choose colors. (If it wasn't for the horizon it could easily be mistaken for a view of Provincetown Mass. USA)

It's titled "Kopfweiden" (Pollard Willows) in "Finkenwerder": an island in river Elbe just south of the great city. An idyllic place, a fishing community, around 1900 but 100 years later hardly recognizable by "progress': it's todays centre of the German Airbus industry. The sad thing about progress is it cannot be stopped. 

Louise's Pollards: although it's not 100 years old, as it should be, I loved it the moment I saw it. Just three color blocks (blue, green and purple) and a key block were used but it is how the eye is drawn into the composition and the great suggestion of depth (the purple roof top placed under the horizon) by overlooking the broad river from the heights of the moraine, a wall created by friction from the glaciers advancing from the North in successive ice-ages (350.000-150.000 years ago). When they retreated and melted the river bed of todays tidal river Elbe was formed.  

The traditional Elbe "Fischkutter" fleet is/was marked HF (Hamburg Finkenwerder) below by Thomas Herbst. The nearby (opposite) Blankenese fleet SB (Schleswig-Holstein Blankenese).  

Visiting Hamburg and Blankenese, the picturesque village on the opposing Elbe bank, and using the unique Hamburg water taxi service we enjoyed similar views from the other side, the North Bank, overlooking Finkenwerder and the bustling river with endless rows of cargo ships, fishing boats, tugboats and ocean steamers entering and leaving majestic Hamburg harbor. It created an everlasting impression in my memory. As it did on many artists who came here to paint and sketch 100 years before. A selection will be shown in next posting.

Louise, who had been a student of Lovis Corinth (1858-1925) in Berlin's Art Academy, was trained a painter but for most women artists that was to have a career as teacher, what she actually was for a while at a drawing school in her native Dresden. While studying in Berlin she will have learned that new way of Printmaking-the-Japanese-way from Emil Orlik (1870-1932) who was appointed to teach the craft (or is it an art ?) in Berlins "Kunstgewerbe Museum Schule" in 1905. 

Friedrich Schaper: Sommertag in Finkenwerder 1895.

Louise was married to painter and professor Eduard Steinbach (Hamburg 1878-1939) who taught at the Academies of Berlin, Leipzig, Karlsruhe and Hamburg and together leading a private painting school in Hamburg. They lived and worked in Berlin and Hamburg (below: camping along the river  by Eduard Steinbach).

She exhibited in the Berlin Secession 1909/10 and was close friends with painter/printmakers Arthur Illies (1870-1952), who also taught at the Hamburg Arts and Craft (Kunstgewerbe) school and that wonderful but short-lived Friedrich Lissmann (1880-1915) who appeared earlier in this Blog (do follow the label below to read more !)
Willy Dammasch (1887- ?), The Elbe seen from Finkenwerder.

Willy Tiedjen (1881-1950), Elbe impression and Hamburg skyline from Finkenwerder.  

Eduard and Louise worked (and possibly lived) on the Isle of Finkenwerder from 1901-1919 where a small artist colony had emerged frequented in summer by famous impressionist painters like Thomas Herbst (1848-1915) and Friedrich Schaper (1859-1956) but many other artists, local Hamburg painters and the lesser gods, will have payed a visit to this idyllic place with flowering fruit trees, haymaking and its traditional islanders, the inviting "Gasthausen" and fishing fleet.

Gretchen Wohlwill: Heu-ernte auf Finkenwerder.

Rolf Diener (1906-1988) Finkenwerder  

Gretchen Wohlwill (1878-1962), was here, the Jewish painter-printmaker who was befriended with painter, printmaker and Finkenwerder born Eduard Bargheer (1901-1979) (below). 

Printmaker Luigi Kazimir (1879-1937) visiting Hamburg also halted on Finkerwerder Island overlooking the Elbe and Hamburgs skyline on a gloomy day, obviously inspired by Emil Nolde's "Elbe Schlepper" (Elbe tug boat). 

Emil Nolde (1867-1956) 1910: "Elbe Schlepper" 

Hamburg printmaker Hans Förster (1885-1966), a shamefully neglected artist, but one of the earliest (1905-06) and a brilliant student of Emil Orlik in Berlin, immortalized the fishing village individuals of Finkerwerder making him a nice candidate to appear next in the Linosaurus. 

All pictures are mouse-clickable to embiggen.

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