Friday, 23 February 2018

Brussels construction works around 1915 by not identified artist.

This etching, possibly of historic importance and in very good condition definitely is showing Brussels, its Town Hall ("Hôtel de Ville" at the Groote Markt) dominating in the centre clearly visible under a 45* angle and a large wood supported construction site the obvious subject of this great composition in the best French tradition.     

Although I searched I have not been able to find any photographs of a fitting similar construction site in Brussels around this date (1900-1915).

The artist shows construction work of a viaduct in a direction parallel with the front the Town Hall. It could very well show the building of Viaduct Rue Gray in the Rue Couronne (Kroonstraat), a double traverse of both the road and (in a second smaller and lower bridge) the railway from and towards central station. As seen by the artist from approximately the Zwemkunststraat (quartier Elsene). 

I invite readers and passers-by and all who know better to identify the signature, and monogram TV or RV (Vande......)

This etching, a great diagonal composition, is with many more fine graphic works available for swapping and trading to further my collection of German women printmakers in a friendly way.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Anna Bähker, printmaker in "das Altes Land".

Anna Bähker 

Still unidentified etcher and printmaker.
 Living in Berlin 1921-30, member of the VdBK.
 Probably living for some time in the artist colony of Nidden.  

Anna Bähker is one of the artists who, in spite of all my efforts remains to this day a very unknown artist: I still have no idea who she actually was. Although I discovered the identity of so many obscured artists over the past years (all revealed in the book) Anna Bähker is still an enigma although her prints regularly show up in Ebay and other auctions. But gathering all small pieces one day will be successful and helpful in clearing her from obscurity. 

She is best known for the half a dozen prints showing (Baltic) fishing boats (more about these prints and their location in a later posting). She has been obviously working and/or staying in Nidden where printmaker Daniel Staschus and his wife lived. It is situated on the Curonian-Spit an ice age remnant, a long sandy stretch of dunes situated in Prussia's Baltic sea, now Kaliningrad/Königsberg-Lithuania)  

Recently and shortly after each other I found these two etchings (German :"Radierung") they are the first examples I ever saw other then her woodblock prints. Unlike many other printmakers I've never seen an oil painting by her. 

The first is said to be (possibly) showing "Worpswede" which is a picturesque village and artist "colony" near Bremen. The title is "Am Kanal" (at the canal). She possibly visited Worpswede artist colony because it is not far from her woodblock print titled "Altenländer Fleet" (canal Altes Land) 

"Das Altes Land" is however the region situated on the west bank of river Elbe, north-west of Hamburg. The old country, "laid dry" centuries before (since 12th century) by Dutch settlers and today Germanys fruits and vegetables garden.  

The other one (very small only 6 x 8 cm) is highly interesting because it is a mirrored version of her best known woodblock print "Stadttor" (town gate) which I would very much like to find and have one day. And of course finding out where this gate is located would be even better.

I can offer many fine works (in every international discipline) for swapping or trade if you happen to have or know a decent copy of this print that is on my wishlist for my collection of German Women Printmakers. 


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


Sunday, 28 January 2018

Jacques Jeichienus Ottens: What's in a name ?

My book on German women printmakers born 1850-1900 is in its final stages  and almost ready for subscription: 300 pages (text only) of short biographies treating German women printmakers born in the 19th century who were  involved in woodblock printmaking 1900-1935. It is written in the English language. A last moments decision was: to add a chapter with contemporary Dutch printmaking sisters. 

This impulsive initiative resulted in three extra pages: there were just so few women  artists to compare which made me curious enough to decide writing and adding a complete Dutch printmakers (born in the 19th century) section instead. Together these odd 100 extra short biographies in 30 pages are indispensable for anyone who is collecting or is interested in Dutch (relief) printmaking and printmakers 1900-1940. There's also a Baltic section, a Russian section and a Scandinavian section. I was informed a (possibly the) final book on British printmakers is expected to appear soon.   

From this "extra" section I today share this forgotten short-lived printmaker and his short biography. 

Jacques Jeichienus Ottens

(Bellingwolde 15-10-1895 – 22-11-1930 Bellingwolde)
Dutch painter, graphic artist, poster designer and printmaker.    

Jacques and Martha Ottens-Hüfler

Son of merchant Hendrik Ottens (1859-1952) and Sophia Sachs (1861-1917). His mother was from local provincial Jewish descent. His grandparents were Jan Ottens (1820-1890) married to Jeichien Suichies (1827-1916), and Jacques Loëhman Sachs (1825-1911) married to Rebekka de Jonge (1821-1902) explaining his highly unusual first names. He had a sister  Bertha Ottens and a brother Jan Ottens. He married Martha Margaretha Hüfler (1896-1985), daughter of Dr. Ernst Emil Hüfler (1863-1927) of whom I know nothing. Since no records of any artistic education, study or training are known I assume he was mainly a self taught artist.  

In 1919 he is mentioned in a secret-service report of people with "communist sympathies" living with his brother Jan in Bellingwolde and also having an apartment in the Hague. Designed posters for the NSDAP (Dutch national socialist labour party). 

Known for woodblock portraits of NSDAP leader Pieter Jelles Troelstra (1860-1930) and of Karl Marx (1818-1883) 

His bathing nude print was obviously inspired by Felix Valloton's (1865-1925) 1894 well known print “Trois Baigneuses” (collected in New-York MOMA and Amsterdam van Gogh Museum).


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

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Mart de Niet: Dutch dunes and sea side inspiration for 2018

Before continuing discussing and sharing vintage woodblock prints and forgotten printmakers from the past with this first posting of 2018 I keep my promiss to  printmaker Mart de Niet (1952), a retired mathematics teacher and amateur painter to share some of his recent sea side and dunes prints which I happened to discover last year. 

Living walking distance from the beach and the dunes in the Hague (NL) Mart has never to travel far for inspiration. These prints show that after recently following a summer course in printmaking (in Groningen Academy) lead by professional contemporary Frisian etcher Reinder Homan (1950) and well known woodblock printmaker Siemen Dijkstra (1968) the first results can be quite good.

Experimenting with paint, different inks and colors and practicing cutting and printing skills these prints also show the joy of printmaking and an inspiration for 2018 to many readers of this humble Blog I sincerely hope.  


Friday, 29 December 2017

Corrie Koot: last find in 2017

This print is probably my last irresistible junk shop acquisition of 2017 found this last week of the year. The signature reads Corrie Koot, a not common not uncommon name. Not a "listed" artist either. It is dated 1978, and showing the Arnheim Rhine bridge a few years after its  completion in 1937. It is numbered 2/8 and large (sheet 50 x 75 cm.)

First result of my initial research into the printmaker: 
1) Corrie Koot (born around 1931) who was a professional Yogo teacher living in the Hague in the 1960-70's. 
2) Corrie Koot, a religious person or non. There is a relation to the Egmond monastery workshops: which was the base of Lioba Michel who produced prints on similar paper, in similar XXL size and in similar execution. Follow the link to an earlier post.  

Rhine bridge 1937 
And 3) Corrie Koot who was a pastor(resse) in Arnhem in the 1990's (which is the location of subject of the print).
It could well be Corrie Koot 1, 2 and 3 are one and the same person.   

Lioba Michel: Marseille harbour
What I'm quite certain about: it was made after this 1937 photograph showing the Rhine Bridge (today named John Frost Bridge, destroyed after disastrous allied forces Operation Market Garden by the Germans and rebuild soon after WW-II.

Rebuilding the Rhine Bridge at Arnheim


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

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Dorry Kahn, Lago Maggiore and some related things....

Dora (Dorry) Kahn-Weyl
Dutch painter and mannequin

In a local sale I stumbled over this undated pastel signed Dorry Kahn. It could well be showing cloud shrouded Lago Maggiore in Italy. It certainly is not the Netherlands. 

In a 1970 news paper article the artist, Dorry Kahn, claimed she had been painting for 30 years but I found an earlier article (below, 1941) stating she had been successfully exhibiting in 1940 (maybe at Hirsch's). In 1970 she also explains being fascinated and occupied with monotype printmaking "with glas plate and Japanese papers". 

Sylvain Kahn
Dorry Kahn, the daughter of a Jewish diamond cutter, was the elegant wife of Henri René Kahn (1888-1970), the later heir of posh Hirsch & Cie, elite fashion house founded 1882 by his father Sylvain Kahn (1857-1927) (above). Sylvain Kahn's partner in Hirsch (and also his brother im law), Sally Berg (1857-1924) never married. 

The beautiful newly erected Hirsch building (1912) to this day is proudly situated at Amsterdam Leidseplein. In the decades before the two business partners bought all the surrounding old buildings around their growing and highly successful enterprise. The fashion house is no more, but the monumental building is. Although the building, the owners and the business survived WW-II many Jewish workers, and customer, did not. The firm never recovered to its former glory, the decline obvious in a dramatically changed world. The final end came in 1976.

 In 2012  the Apple store moved into the listed building. The times are a'changing. 

Dorry Kahn and her family survived Nazi persecution. In 1927 her elegant portrait was painted by famous modernist Jan Sluyters (1881-1957). He was very attracted by the world of beautiful women, clients and models, surrounded by the colorful elegance at Hirsch's. 

His clientèle for a portrait will have been the same as Hirsch's. In the 1990's  Dorry was mentioned in the memories of lesbian Frieda Belinfante (1904-1995) having an affair. (In Toni Bouman: "Een schitterend vergeten leven" a glorious forgotten life). 

Bellinfante, daughter of Jewish pianist Aron Belinfante (1870-1924) and active during WW-II in the Dutch resistance later became known as the worlds first female conductor of a professional symphony orchestra (she immigrated after WW-II to America): the Orange County Philharmonic Orchestra (Los Angeles USA).

Since 1900 Sluyters "old school" Amsterdam impressionist colleague Isaac Israels (1864-1934) painted also at Hirsch's: the studios, the models, the workers and the clients. In 1916 he painted the twins Ippy and Gertie Wehman (b. 1895) internationally well known and Hirsch fashion models.

In 1916 Israels painted the portrait of Greetje Zelle (1877-1917) better known as Mata Hari, femme fatale, mistress, Frysian lassie growing up in Leeuwarden. 

Her tumultuous life ended executed as a spy by a French firing squad a year later in 1917. It is said Mata Hari was offered a modeling job by Kahn. She shopped at Hirsch' as did our Queen Emma. 

In the immense building besides all the departments, the fashion workers also were situated the studios of Jacob Merckelbach (1877-1942) the best known Dutch society and royalty photographer. 

In 1941 Dorry was photographed (below) by Julius Guggenheimer (1885-1943) a Jewish refugee, fled 1938 from Memmingen in Bavaria to Amsterdam for a newspaper article. The article mentions a successful exhibition "a year ago" so probably before the summer of 1940 when the Nazis occupied the Netherlands. It was probably taken in their home in posh De Laraisse-straat.  
Guggenheim's two children survived the Holocaust by fleeing to London, Julius and his wife Nellie did not. 

Although they were granted visa for Honduras, they were arrested, deported and murdered in Sobibor 1943. Guggenheimer, his work and talent recently rediscovered, was awarded an exhibition in his native Memmingen last year (2016) see here *


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