Saturday, 13 September 2014

Siegward Sprotte: Emil Orliks last student ?

Siegward Sprotte
(Potsdam 1913 - 2004 Isle of Sylt)

German painter and printmaker. 

Landing on the Isle of Sylt in before posting with Charlotte Hilmer I encountered Siegward Sprotte who moved to the island in 1945 to stay, living and working until his death 10 years ago in 2004. In a German auction house archive I've discovered a woodblock print by him. Uncomplicated but effectively showing of the islands' features, the high dunes, created in 1952 and another copy with I think, a by hand and not by block, added blue in 1953.

Sprotte had been studying in Berlin from 1920 as a student of Karl Hagemeier (1848-1933) whom's master student he became in 1932. A year later his teacher died. But I learned he'd also attended classes with Emil Orlik (1870-1933) in 1932. Within the year he would lose that teacher as well. 

Orlik in his career had seen many, many hundreds of students and Sprotte must have been among his last. Sprotte all his life painted his island, gradually shifting to a more and more very personal, abstract and colorful style. 

In the early twentieth century Sylt attracted many artists and among them was Emil Nolde (1867-1956). He finished this famous and much discussed and praised painting "Badende" (bathers) on the island in 1930 when he was in his 60's. 

Nolde lived close-by on the mainland in the Schleswick-Holstein village of Seebüll on the Danish border in summer, painting the flowers in his garden and so did Sprotte.  In winter Nolde, a much celebrated artist, resided in Berlin. 

Garden flowers by Sprotte and by Nolde.

In the same area, North of Hamburg, is living and working one of my contemporary printmaking heroes: Klaus Fussmann (b.1938) who was born when the men above already were accomplished artists. Fussmann's extraordinary prints (landscape and also flowers, like Nolde and Sprotte) and his more recent paintings will feature in postings to come but here're are examples of both media that I've found related to the seas surrounding province Schleswick (Ostsee/Baltic) and the isle of Sylt (Nordsee/Northsea) and the artist's garden.  


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

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Charlotte Hilmer: on the island of Sylt.

Hilmer-Wegel, Charlotte   

(Magdeburg 04-05-1909 – 07-05-1958 Hamburg)

Painter, bookplate and printmaker. 

(left: self-portrait)

Also known as Lotte Wegel, Charlotte Hilmer actually does not fit my proper field of research criteria: German pioneering printmaking women-artists born before 1900. But bending the rules sometimes can be irresistible and like in this case very rewarding. So here's her short biography by the bits and pieces I was able to find so far.

Sylt, Dunes

Illustrating this post by a choice of examples of her work. I stumbled upon her  four 1939 expressionist woodblock prints of the isle of Sylt (Germany's most Northern North-Sea island and holiday retreat) by chance. The were created  the year she (30) married artist Arnold Hilmer, maybe on her honeymoon.

Charlotte (Lotte) studied 1928/29 in the “Landeskunstschule Hamburg” with Eduard Steinbach (1878-1939), 1929/30 in the “Kunstakademie Königsberg” with Richard Pfeiffer (1878-1962) and 1930/33 in the “Akademie für Bildende Kunste Stuttgart” with Anton Kolig (1886-1950) and Robert Breyer (1866-1941) and there was influenced by the art of Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980).

Robert Breyer: Sylt 1941

Kokoschka: Stuttgart
At first Charlotte was mostly involved with nudes and later became interested in persons, portraits and still-life working in an expressionist style. 

Eve's posture, in Charlotte's Adam and Eve woodcut, reminded me of two Rembrandt women, a small etching in Teylers Museum and Susanna and the Elders from the Mauritshuis Museum collection, both in the Netherlands. Charlottes portraits and nudes resemble closely the works that her husband created, some of them are known to show  his wife (below).

From 1941 she painted mainly landscapes in watercolor and oil and made travels to Denmark, the Netherlands and Italy.

Works by Cahrlotte Hilmer are collected in the Kunsthalle Hamburg and in the Märkischen Museum in Witten. 

In 1939 she married painter, printmaker and sculptor Arnold Hilmer (1908-1993) who she’d known from her student years and who had studied in the same classes and institutions. The following works (below) by are by him. 

Besides the known portrait of his wife reading (above), some other works including this nude and sculpted portrait could also be very well showing Charlotte. He survived her by 35 years: Charlotte tragically committed suicide in 1958.

Hamburg: am Dom (at the fair)

Family on the beach: probably Sylt
All pictures borrowed freely from the Internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Bertha Schrader: mother of all women printmakers ?

Bertha Schrader
(Memel, Lithuania 1845 - 1920 Möckritz-Dresden) 

German painter and woodblock printmaker. 

In my ongoing research Bertha Schrader was possibly the oldest female artist-painter to try at woodblock printmaking. She will have been taught in Berlin by  Emil Orlik, but lived in Dresden at the time, where Martin Erich Philipp (1887-1978) was active with printmaking as early as 1908. She must have been in her early 60's, after having already a career as an accomplished and successful painter. I know of only two prints by her, monogrammed BS, and here's what I've been able to compose from the collected bits and pieces.

"Der Zwinger", the grand and impressive barok palace in Dresden, destroyed in WW2 but was restored to the museum complex it now houses. Build for the King of Poland, August the Strong (1670-1733) between 1710-1728.

Two other woodblock printmakers choose the Zwinger Palace as subject: Heine Rath (1873-1920 in the same year as Bertha Schrader) en Otto Westphal (1878-1975) also from Dresden. 

   Dutch Canal woodblock print and oil painting by Bertha Schrader, after her travels to neighboring Netherlands.  
Born in Memel (Lithuania) Bertha but spend her youth in St.Peterburg (Russia) and from 1854 was living in Dresden (1894, Sidoniënstraße 14). Landscape and interior painter and printmaker  working and living in Dresden. Student of Paul Greab (1842-1892) in Berlin and Paul Baum (1854-1932) in Dresden. Eventually she embraced an impressionist style of painting. Only two woodblock prints of her are known at this moment. She started her career in Berlin but moved to Dresden Mockritz on the Elbe river. Travels to the Northsea and Ostsee, the Netherlands, Switzerland. Denmark and the North of Italy. 
Exhibited in Berlin, Dresden, Hannover, Hamburg and Bremen. She was a member of the VdBK in Berlin 1882-1916 and exhibited there 1882, 1884, 1886, 1888, 1892, 1894, 1901. She was chairwoman of the Dresden Women Artists Association. 

And here are two of her finest paintings:
Bertha Schrader: "An der Elbe" an impressionist impression 

Claude Monet: "River Seine at Vetheuil" 

Emil Nolde: "Elbe Schlepper" 

Max Liebermann: "River Elbe"

Bertha Schrader: River Elbe near Möckritz-Dresden where she worked and lived. The Elbe flows all the way across Germany from Dresden to Hamburg on the North Sea.  

Rudolph Pöschmann (1878-1954), a local Dresden painter. 

In 1912 princess Mathilde of Saxony (1853-1933) opened a women artist exhibition in Dresden where a painting of Bertha Schrader was displayed. This was mentioned in the British 1912 Volume of the prestigious magazine "the Studio". See also "Mathilde Reuß, a royal printmaker ?" in this Blog by following the label below.  

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

All further information on Bertha Schrader would be very much welcomed. 

Monday, 25 August 2014

Katharine Maria Gericke: a revelation !

 Katharine Maria Gericke

(Vienna 1893 - 1974 Boston USA)
Thanks to American reader and collector Tom today the revelation of some never before made public prints by this forgotten German-American printmaker.

Katharine was the daughter of Wilhelm Gericke (1845-1925) and grew up surrounded by the art and music of Europe and America. Her father was an accomplished conductor of symphony orchestras and choral groups in Austria, and a close friend of many of the musical geniuses of the day. 
Drawing of Katharine, showing probably her father conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra. 
Her family traveled extensively to the cultural centers of Europe and, even as a young child, Katharine demonstrated an early talent for sketching the picturesque sites they visited. 

In Brian Hannon's collection (see below) I've found the sketch for this woodblock print 
In 1898, five-year-old Katharine was first introduced to American culture when her father became, for the second time, the conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The family returned to Austria in 1906 when Katharine was thirteen. Katharine enrolled in art school in Vienna in about 1910, but her art education was disrupted by financial difficulties brought on by the First World War. 

In 1925 Katharine’s father died in Vienna. His obituary in The New York Times mentioned his surviving “loving wife and talented daughter”. Katherine and her mother traveled throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s, visiting London and New York in 1932, but more often returning to the Renaissance villages of Italy, or places like Salzburg and other famous centers of their musical past. 

When the Nazis annexed Austria, Katharine immigrated to the U.S. and returned to Boston. She became a U.S citizen in 1946, and worked most of her life as an art conservator until 1968. She never married, and died in 1974 at the age of 81. Known for her drawings but also working with woodblock printmaking. 

Votive Church and rooftops in Katharine's birthplace Vienna
(biography with courtesy: Brian Hannon New-York Fine Art Inc. (link) where you can find many examples of Katharine's fine drawings and sketches).
All pictures are mouse-clickable to embiggen.
All pictures (and text) borrowed freely from the internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only.