Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Adoration of the Magi: An Old Master in Friesland

Peter Paul Rubens and Hans Witdoeck

Flemish Masters 

The property millionaire and racehorse owner Major Alfred Ernest Allnatt (1889-1969) bought this version The Adoration of the Magi by Flemish Master Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) at Sotheby’s in 1959 for a then world-record price of £250,000 from the estate of the Duke of Westminster. 

Two years later, in 1961 he offered the painting to King’s College, Cambridge. King’s College accepted “this munificent gift” with the intention of displaying the painting in the chapel, possibly as an altarpiece.

This version (he did 4) of The Adoration of the Magi was originally painted by Rubens in 1634 for the Convent of the White Nuns at Louvain in Belgium. It measures 4.2 metres high by 3.2 metres wide. In June 1974, the painting was damaged by vandals who used a coin to scratch the initials “IRA” in 2-foot-high (0.61 m) letters across the front.

The Chapel of King’s College is one of the most popular tourists attractions in Cambridge, and is known throughout the world for the Christmas Eve Service of Nine Lessons and Carols.

Hans Witdouck (Witdoek, Witdouc) (1605 – prob. around 1642) was an engraver and a student of Rubens, the two artists working closely together in Rubens Antwerp studio. Witdouck devoted his short life copying the Old Masters and Rubens in particular. It is suggested he died shortly after his marriage in 1642 because all traces of his stay on our planet end. The  engraved, and mirrored copy is dated 1638 so created very shortly after the painting was finished. 

This engraving (32 x 46 cm.) found its way to me not long ago. It looks almost new and very fresh and my first idea was it was a "Facsimile", or replica, using the original plate or maybe even digitally produced. But I could not find any examples of prints by Witdouck/Rubens produced in modern times or information about the whereabouts of the original plates used by Hans Witdouck. Many of his spectacular and very fine prints, admired in his life time engravings, can be found Googling, but not  this particular version of Rubens “Adoration”.

Closely examing the borders of the sheet and the indentation the plate left when it was pressed into the paper it is not showing the “grid” as in hand pulled sheets of papers of the period, another suggestion came to mind. Could the original print be professionally restored to its former glory and the original  paper “doubled” ? 

It is nice to see Witdouck stayed very close to the original but was allowed (by Rubens probably) to use a free hand making the best of Witdoecks extraordinary skills turning a color painting in a black and white tones engraving. 

I have no expertise in these old Matters & Masters but I love a good story and, a romantic by heart, I cherish this Old Master engraving now in my humble possesion until someone comes along who can tell me more, end the dream, or might be interested in trading or exchanging. If it has undergone restauration it must have been a costly affair ordered by someone who loved the engraving and/or knew its “value or importance". The old frame suggesting it may be done in the late 1970's.

This print has probably been in the possesion of Belgian Jesuit priest Jan Daeleman (Turnhout 1922 - 2014 Heverlee-Leuven). His name is related to several publications concerning Congo linguistic studies in the 1960-70's). Heverlee (B.) is the seat of the Evangelical Theological Faculty. 

From todays posting onward occasionally interesting prints may appear that may be available for suggestions of friendly exchange. The decision has been finally made to reduce my collection to works by German woman printmakers born in the 19th century. They are also the subject of the upcoming publication: some 400 short biographies of pioneering German women printmakers active 1900-1940. 


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

All pictures embiggen by mouse-click. 

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Heinrich Carl, unknown American printmaker

Every now and then a complete unknown printmakers emerges from the past. Recently some prints by one Heinrich Carl surfaced in American Ebay. They all seem to be in not to good condition, all suffering from severe cases of spotting: "foxing", due to cheap paper and/or mold. 

Other then his very German name, Heinrich Carl, there's nothing biographical to be found in the Internet. So maybe sharing all prints I was able to find in the Internet and asking the help of readers of this Blog will shed some light on this printmaker. 

Did he learn to make prints like this in Germany or in America ? Was he a native American or an immigrant ? 

I have a hunch he learned printmaking from Pedro the Lemos (above) who I discussed in the earlier years (2011) of this Blog (follow the label). His books after a century are still a must for every print enthousiast and are easily and cheaply available and obtainable (use:  

For the occasion and display I corrected the perspective distortions of the auction pictures, made color and exposure improvements with Photoshop and I removed the brown spots of one of the nicest, the three crows on ice.

He was able to create prints using different techniques but, personally, I like the penguins and crows best. 

Winslow Homer ?

Please send all information on Heinrich Carl for sharing. 

All pictures embiggen by mouse-click

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

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Demeter Koko: in the aviary

Demeter Koko
post impressionist painter 
(German: "spät impressionist Maler") 
(Linz Austria 1891 - 1929 Linz)

I always thought by deciding Emil Pottner (1872-1942) as my favorite bird (poultry) artist  that this choice would be final. He was just the most wonderful and charming painter/drawer who happened also to be one be of the finest printmakers that ever lived.  

But last week during my daily rounds of research I stumbled over another wonderful artist who loved to paint poultry. He died very young of "consumption". Tuberculosis wearing the patient so down, this horrible desease seemed for early observers and diagnosis to "consume" the patient from the inside, lending the common name to the desease. We live in a truly wonderful and blessed age 100 years later tuberculosis is in our modern world almost eradicated and curable.  

Demeter Koko was trained in the painting school of Bertha von Tarnoczy (1846-1936) in Linz and then went to study in Heinrich Knirr's (1862-1944) painting school in Munich and also with  celebrated animal painter Heinrich von Zügel (1850-1941). He has a wonderful light and brilliant pallet.

He worked from the the end of WW1 untill his untimely death as a painter of animals in Linz and was during his short life famous for his paintings and drawings of poultry. Just like Emil Pottner who also originated from Austria (Salzburg) but had settled in Petzow near Berlin. Potter was murdered in the Holocaust.

Demeter Koko had an artistic sister Sophie Koko but I have not been able to find much about her life or career. Her portrait was painted by her brother while his  portrait was painted by Karl Hauk (1898-1974). 

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

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Fryklund, Gunhild Maria: Swedish printmaker

(Stora Kil Värmland 02-01-1892 – 1970)

Several years ago I shared the flower woodblock prints by Swedish printmaker  Maja Fjaested (1873-1961), today I share the prints I was able to find in the Internet by a student off her husband, but I have reasons to believe (below) she may have been more inspired by Maja in her printmaking.     

Swedish artist and printmaker. Daughter of arts & crafts artist Gustaf Fryklund en Josefina Nilsdotter. Studied 1911 with Otto Hesselblom (1848-1913), in Göteborg Valand art academy and with Gustaf Fjæstad (1868-1948).

Solo exhibitions in Gummeson art galery in Stockholm in 1925 en 1940 and together with Thor Fagerkvist (1884-1960) and Paul Grundmark (1887-1972) in the New Museum in 1929 and at Liljeval “Kunsthal” she was represented with 22 works. 

She created landscapes, interiors, portraits in oil and was a woodblock printmaker. Her work is collected in the Värmland and  Halmstad museums.

She is mentioned in several Scandinavian artists lexicons and this last print showed up recently in an online auction site. 


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

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Rosa Paul: Schweinfurt printmaker

A fortnight ago I introduced miss Rosa Paul from Schweinfurt (here, or follow the label below) in this Blog. For a century nobody but the director of the St. Gallen Museum knew about this forgotten printmaker shared in his Martha Cunz exhibition catalogue "Faszination Farbholzschnitt".

With some help and armchair research in the historic adress books found in the public website "Mein Schweinfurt" and some serious puzzling some more light can now be thrown upon this unknown painter and printmaker. Research in local historic archives, some serious genealogical research and perhaps an article in a local newspaper on this undeservedly forgotten artistic daughter of Schweinfurt will no doubt lead to a renewed interest and respect. 

Stars: Rossmarkt 1 & 3, Postplatz 2. Arrow towards the Firewatch tower

Here's what I deduced from the facts found in the Website records and with the help of readers Wolfgang in Frankfurt and Dorothea in Mittelfranken. 

Rossmarkt buildings with shared roof and before floors were added (before 1912) 

When widowed Lisette Paul-Wagner, probably with her two  daughters Rosa (1884-1936) and Margarethe (1880-1962), moved to Rossmarkt nr. 1 somewhere between 1896 and  1904 she had moved from nearby "Postplatz 2"  formerly known as "an der Fleischbank 2")  where her husband Gottlob Paul had been Inn keeper, at "Weinstube Paul" and where she will have worked and lived with her family until the new owners took over the business.  
In 1890 the old "Fleischbank" (meat market) was demolished to make room for the new post office. The square, formerly known as "an der Fleischbank" was renamed Postplatz.  

The building with the "Fachwerk" upper left is probably the Inn: Gaststätte/Weinstube Paul.

Before Gottlob Paul the Inn was owned by Wolfgang Paul: let us for or now assume he was Gottlob's father, Rosa' grandfather. Wolfgang Paul is mentioned from the records the owner of Weinstube Paul in 1846 and 1856. In 1886 he is recorded as retired living at "An der Fleischmarkt nr. 4". Gottlob is mentioned as the owner in 1886 and 1895. Somewhere between 1895 and 1904 he will have died. In 1904-1921 the Inn was owned by Johann Michael Paul and in 1925 by Elise Paul (is she, could she be identical with Lisette ??). From 1925 also "GastwirtKarl Paul and his wife ("Stütze"" Helene Paul are mentioned living here. 

It is said the Inn was run by the Paul family until 1932 and then changed ownership. It would be logical to think Johann was the son of Gottlob, and thus brother of Rosa. But if Gottlob and Lisette had no boy (old enough) as successor it could also be Johann succeeded the business as a nephew. The only other "Paul" mentioned in the 19th century Schweinfurt adress books is Leander Paul a "Maschinenschlosser" (engine fitter). His relationship to the before mentioned is speculation. But Leander could very well be Gottlob's brother. From here on genealogical research by a local interested person or historian will no doubt reveal family connections. 

In this photo both buildings, the ancestral Postplatz Inn and the later Rossmarkt home of Rosa Paul can be seen
Rossmarkt 1/3

Entire south facade composed from two photo's (2 stories added Rossmarkt 1-3) as Rosa would have known it. She lived in one of the floors in the second from left house next to "Weinstube zur Traube".  

As only adult citizens (house owners and main occupants) were recorded in the adress books (it was not a census) the widowed Lisette (= Elisabeth = Elise?) is recorded in Rossmarkt 1 in 1904, 1908 (at nr. 3) and 1913 (at nr. 1). She is not mentioned in the 1921 address book.

Weinwirtschaft "zur Traube" obviously survived WW2 bombing damage (1950's VW beetle model) and the entrance was changed. Today it is replaced by the Rossmarkt Apotheke (see below) 

 Cafe ........... (sign in the window) ..... Rosa Paul ??

1925: Rosa & Margaretha Paul are living at nr. 3.

Margaretha lives her until 1938 and them moves to Frankengasse 25.

View from one of the floors of Rossmarkt 1, possibly from Rosa's home. 
Before 1907: fire watch tower at the end of the Mang-gasse is not yet restored. 

From here on following only the information from the adress books is speculation: some proper investigation on the spot is required. After 1967/68 no Paul family members are found in the Schweinfurt telephone books.  

Rossmarkt destructions after allied bombing 1943-45, Weinstube zur Traube (later restored) and nr. 1-3 still standing but ruined. The Bauschenhaus, direct hit, almost disappeared.  

Since the house Rossmarkt 1-3 is mentioned to be owned by one Emil Hofmann and later by Babette Hoffmann (widdow) I think we can assume the building with nr. 1 (and 3) is not the corner building "Gasthaus und Weinstube zur Traube" because this building has recorded different ownership. Somewhere between 1900 and 1912 two stories were added to the building 1-3. Some 13 different people are registered living here. Among them a Wilhelm Wagner (possibly related to Lisette Paul-Wagner).

Rebuild Rossmarkt Schweinfurt 

After 18 months of bombing raids (targeting the strategic ball-bearing factories) half the houses of Schweinfurt were damaged and/or lost. Today "Weinstube zur Traube" houses the Rossmarkt Apotheke and nr. 1-3 is replaced by modern shopping buildings. The fire watch, also heavily damaged by bombs was eventually torn down in the 1950's.  
Former Weinstube "zur Traube",  Rossmarkt 1-3 now united with the former Bauschhaus. 


I invite any interested party to follow-up on our preliminary investigations with further investigations, comments, corrections and suggestions.  

With many thanks to Wolfgang in Frankfurt, Theodora in Mittelfranken, Dr. Daniel Studer in Sankt Gallen and Schweinfurt Historical Website coordinator Peter Hofmann in Schweinfurt. Most historic photo's were found in this website

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