Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Stephan Krotowski, forgotten Berlin poster artist

My research into an almost forgotten but wonderful Berlin painter (who happened to find in a 1930 exhibition catalogue in Berlin) so far had not been very successful. But I feel lucky it has nevertheless lead me recently to: 

 Krotowski, Stephan Samuel 
(Berlin 26-01-1881 – 1948 London). 
Jewish (fashion) illustrator, poster and bookcover (“Buchschmuck”) designer.
Teacher at the Reimann School in Berlin  

He studied in Munich (I'ld like to know with whom ......) returned and worked in Berlin from the early 1910's as a graphic artist, fashion drawer and painter. As an illustrator he worked for “Ulk” magazine published by “Ullstein Verlag” in Berlin and as fashion drawer for “Fashion” magazine and “Lebenskunst” a gentlemens magazine. 

Harry Walden (Berlin 1875-1921 Berlin) was a very popular theater actor and had a short but intensive career as an early film maker and movie star. He also worked all over the world as a business man and later also performed as an actor even in America. He returned to Berlin and started in 1912 a movie production company. He died, addicted to morphine by suicide  

Krotowski also taught fashion-drawing at the Berlin “Schule Reimannand thus was a colleague of Julius Klinger (read below) who, unlike Stephan Krotowski, who stayed relatively unknown,  rose to great fame later in Vienna as an iconic poster and advertising artist. 

Alexander Roda Roda (Moravia 1872-1945 New York) was an alias for Sandor Friedrich Rosenfeld, a very popular Austrian playwright and satirical publicist. He worked for "Simplizissimus magazine and lived in Berlin 1920-1933. 

The "Wintergarten" of Hotel Central in Berlin Friedrichstrasse 1881. 

Krotowski is also notable for his fashion prints for the men's clothing store PKZ (founded by Paul Kehl in 1881), based in Zurich. His family and relatives suffered greatly from Nazi persecution. It is estimated not more then 1% of the 160.000 Jews of Berlin survived the Holocaust. 
Unlike Julius Klinger, Krotowski managed to escape the Nazi regime, probably around 1938, becoming a British citizen in 1948 but sadly died very shortly after. What follows gives a interesting view (within the limits of this humble Blog) on the Arts and Crafts Education world of Berlin 1880-1930 and may explain possibly why he came to London. 
I also found these portraits of celebrities of the time: Opera singer Enrico Carosu (1873-1921), Composer Richard Strauss, (1864-1949), Pianist and director of the Berlin Hochschule für Musik Eugene d'Albert (1864-1932) and conductor Arthur Nikisch (1855-1922 leading the London, Boston and Berliner Philharmonic Orchestra.


Reimann Schule and Albert Reimann
(Posen 1874 – 1976 London)
Jewish sculptor, arts and crafts artist medailleur and art educator.
Private school owner and leader.  

Albert and Clara (possibly 1875-1955, I found a Clara Reimann in a British census) Reimann founded and lead the “Schule Reimann” 1902-1935. I t was a private Arts and Crafts School („Schülerwerkstätten für Kleinplastik“) also training its own teachers. In 1909 a poster design class was added and in 1910 the “Höhere Fachschule für Dekorationskunst“ was incorporated. 
In 1911 Julius Klinger (1876-1942) was appointed teacher in the “Fachwerkstatt für Plakatkunst” in Reimann’s school and was the artistic leader 1912-1915 of the the joined “Höhere Fachschule für Dekorationskunst.

In 1927, 31 teachers taught 1000 students in 33 classes. In 1931 he had the schoolbuildings modernized and a photography section added but because of his Jewish roots and anti Jewish laws and harassement from 1933 onwards was steadily forced to sell and close his school, the last remnants, his artist supply shop was demolished in the “Reichspogromsnacht” (“Kristallnacht”) november 9/10th 1938. 

December 17th Reimann immigrated to London where his son Heinz Reimann, beginning of 1937 had esthablished the Reimann School and Studios (follow the Link) in Regency street its innovative methods and concepts were enthousiastically received and it had a significant  influence on British art and design schools and institutions. The London school closed 1941 because of the "Blitz" and finally was destroyed by bombing in 1944.
Albert Reimann received the “Bundesverdienstkreuz” from Bundespresident Theodor Heutz in 1958.From 1903 the location of the newly build school was at Berlins perimeter in Schöneberg at the corner of Landshuter Straße 38 and Hohenstauffenstraße” in the direct vicinity of the buildings of the Lette Verein


Julius Klinger 
(Dornbach near Vienna 22-05-1876 – murdered 1942 Minsk)
Jewish drawer, illustrator, typographer, writer and graphic artist. 

Studied in the “Technologischen Gerwerbemuseum” in Vienna and later with Koloman Moser (1868-1918). Started his career 1895 working for magazines “Wiener Mode” (meeting Kolo Moser) and “Meggendorfer Blätter”
He moved to Munich in 1896 and worked 1897-1902 at weekly magazine “Jugend”. He moved to Berlin in 1897 and stayed there until 1915, but after WWI he opened a studio in the Schellingstrasse in Vienna. 
Beginning in 1918, Klinger designed a comprehensive and noted campaign promoting the "Tabu" company's cigarette rolling paper, that was advertised all over Vienna in 1918/19. Klinger devised a promotional strategy, spanning from small-sized newspaper advertisements to billboards and painted firewalls, construction site fences and winterized fountain paneling were used as advertising space, too. 
Max Lieberman 
His last poster for Jewish “Ankerbrot-Werke” was created in 1938, just before that company also was seized by the Nazis. As a Jew Klinger was seized, “abgemeldet” 02-06-1942, deported and murdered in Minsk concentration camp probably upon arrival.

Lette Verein:

founded in 1866 by Wilhelm Adolf Lette (1799-1868) a social politician and lawyer and under the protection and financial support of princes-royal Viktoria von Preußen (1840-1901) daughter Queen Victoria of Great Brittain. 

The “Verein” was a member of the “Bund Deutscher Frauenvereine” and was esthablished to create a public school and training facilities for young women to learn a profession, have a career and earn a living (being independant) because acces to the academies was still impossible (until 1919). It started as “Verein zur Förderung der Erwerbsfähigkeit des weiblichen Geschlechts” but after Lette’s death two years later it was renamed “Letteverein” . The school was and still is located in Victoria Luise Platz 6. The entrance building at the right, between the two towered corners.  

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

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Carlos Grethe and Martin van Waning III/IIII

Today the reason for sharing this recent postings on Dutch sculptor, painter, etcher Martin van Waning. Not recognizing at the time but with a faint sense of "familiarity" I stumbled over this etching by van Waning some years ago.  
And then some years later this very large "harbor scene" with the two characteristic twin steam freighters crossed my path: Hamburg. Obviously. 
Recognizing the pictures in the Studio 1904(!) Magazine from Hans W. Singers praising article on Carlos Grethe lead to my recent researching this matter.   
It would be interesting to know the history of how Carlos Grethe's sketch became van Wanings etching. I was not able to find a painting in oil by Grethe after his own sketch. 
What van Waning possibly did not know was that Grethe depicted the sister ships owned by  his friend and maecenas Woermann, the Alexandra Woermann and the Lucy Woermann. The three-master was used to transport coal to the company's depots in West-African ports. 
It could be van Waning knew the Studio article but knowing his history in Wiesbaden (near Frankfurt where Carlos taught) a more direct or even personal knowledge of Grethe's sketch is also quite possible. And I also think he was in Hamburg harbor in person but this must have been 1911-1913, so much later. 
I think, following Grethe's sketch so closely, he of course should have mentioned the original artist ("after Carlos Grethe's original sketch") to avoid suggestions of plagiarism later. Also because he used the idea/original composition in several other paintings and etchings. These are the ones I know of. 
There's no clue when van Waning created his etching(s). And he did not mention (did he avoid ?) the location, which is somewhat suspect.  
Van Waning was an artist who borrowed and copied styles and even designs from his colleagues openly, and he did little trouble to hide. In texts Marius Bauer is mentioned and his admiration for Rembrandt, that being of course an "open door": who hasn't ?
An educated guess is he used/followed the picture in the 1904 Studio Magazine. A copy or copy's of the magazine will have circulated in Wiesbaden/Frankfurt. Carlos Grethe died unexpectedly around the same time the young van Waning returned to the Netherland in 1913. The etching(s) and paintings could be from much later (after the article should be forgotten ?).  
Not mentioning the original artist/designer increases (besides being "unethical") the risk of being accused of plagiarism later. But what would be the chance of some-one discovering (there's only a sketch, probably not a painting ) and (so) what if ?   
These last examples that show besides borrowing ideas and work by his colleagues he also was an original artist and a fine drawer/etcher. 

All pictures borrowed freely from the Internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only (please do not sue).  

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Martin van Waning and Philipp Modrow

In a limited edition booklet (reprint of 1959) which accompanied an exhibition on Martin van Waning in 1978, his friendship with and the influence on his sculptural work by Philipp Modrow in Wiesbaden is mentioned. Here’s what I was able to find on this short lived German forgotten sculptor.

Modrow, Philipp
(Frankfurt - Oberursel 08-05-1882 – 06-12-1928 Davos)
German sculptor working in Wiesbaden around 1910. 

He had been a student of sculptor Emil Cauer (1867-1946) and had moved with his family (his wife's name is Elfriede) to Davos in Switzerland, probably after WWI because of his lung disease (probably Tuberculosis, consumption) living and working in a small house behind Hotel Buol. 

Here he created sculptures like: “die Qual” (the Ailment), memorial sculptures (“der Atmer”, the Breather) and  portrait bustes (of friends and other tuberculosis patients in Davos).

He had great thoughts of founding an international “Frauen-Hochschule” (University for women) in Davos with Esperanto as the official language in 1921. The idea was dismissed by the city council. However, the university actually was established and opening in the year of his death, the inaugural speaker was: Albert Einstein (1879-1955).
I found this possible biographical clue to a Frankfurt/Oberursel  Modrow family. In 1876-77 in the former “Wiemersmüle” in Oberursel (near Frankfurt) a chicken farm was started by a Philipp Modrow, possibly his father. Later “Moterenwerke Oberursel” later was established here.

- “Der Kunstwanderer” 1922, “Mitteilungnen von Frau Elfriede Modrow Berlin”. 
- Reinhardt Michel (b.1917): Philipp Kurt Modrow in “Heft 50 (2011) der Oberurseler Mitteilungen des Geschichtsvereins”. I wonder if a reader will be able to obtain copies of this article for me. 


"Das Wissen” placed on the façade  of Pressehaus des Wiesbadener Kuriers”, Langgasse 21 in Wiesbaden build in 1904 in the “Jugenstil”.

“Salomé” with the head of John the Baptist (beheaded by King Herod II after he had condemned the marriage with his brothers widow, and Salomé’s mother).

”der Dornauszieher” (Boy with thorn, the Thorn picker/puller, "Spinaro") in Palmenhaus (Stadtpark Mainz)  Marmor, 0,84 cm.
Schenkung aus den Familienbesitz von Louisa von Rautenkranz und Konsul Ernesto Schneider. Ursprunglicher Standort im Grüngürtlel am St.-Vincenz – Krankenhaus 1974 und 1975 mutwillig beschädigt.
The Thorn-picker is a classic Hellinistic sculpture motif. I could not find a picture of Modrows statue but it will look like these examples above by: classic Hellinistic artist and Gustav Eberlein (1879-1926). 

Portrait buste of author and poet "Klabund", alias of Alfred Georg Hermann Henschke (Crossen/Oder 1890 -1928 Davos). The statue later was placed in the aula of Klabunds school in his birthplace Crossen. He had been married to Charlotte Neher (Munich 1990 – 1942 Sol-llezk Soviet-Union) actrice in Berthold Brechts Drie grosschen Oper” and convinced communist later "sentenced 10 years imprisonment in Siberia. She died in miserable conditions. Emil Orlik drew his portrait, Rudolf Schlichter (1890-1955) her painting. I could not find Modrows buste.  

“Der Atmer”, 1923 memorial in Davos for Dr. Alexander Spengler (1827-1901), pioneer tuberculosis specialist who discovered the beneficial properties of height and clean air in patients with lung disease and established a sanatorium (health spa, “Kurort”) for patients in Davos.


Cauer, Emil 
(Bad Kreuznach 06-08-1867 – 13-02-1946 Gersfeld/Hessen)
 sculptor and Philipp Modrows teacher. 

Son of sculptor Karl Cauer (1828-1885 and Elisabeth Magdalena Smidt. Grandson of sculptor Emil Cauer (1800-1867). Student of his father and his uncle Robert Cauer (1831-1893) in Rome and from 1888 student of Otto Lessing (1846-1912) in Berlins Unterrichtsanstalt des Kunstgewerbemuseums”. His marble “Wasserschöpferin” was exhibited in the 1903 “Großen Berliner Kunstausstellung” and was personally bought by Kaiser (Emperor) Wilhelm II (1859-1941): a classic case of good taste. It is now in Berlins National Gallery. The sculpture is created/inspired by the classic Hellinistic "Venus Crouching" a very popular and much copied and imitated classic Greeck marble statue. 

This one probably the most famous, the Lely Venus (see the link) in the British Museum.


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

All pictures mouse-clickable to embiggen.