Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Rudolf Köhl (1896-1966)

This posting had previously been published as  "Today's mystery print - Köhne - Linolschnitt" asking for help identifying the linocut shown below, which is annotated "origin linolschnitt handdruck" and signed in pencil "Köhne" ?? At least that is how I read the signature.

Another one of those Austrian/German prints that has found it's way to us in the UK. Sadly during it's journey the artist has become a mystery. I have run the usual google searches but have found nothing similiar. There was an Ida Köhne (1907-2005), but this does not look like her style.

Thanks to The Linosaurus ( who suggested the signature should read as Köhl. He clearly knows his subject as the signature does read Köhl and relates the Austrian graphic artist Rudolf Köhl (1896-1966).

There is some biographical information to be found but his lasting legacy seems to be the numerous books that he illustrated. Rudolf was born in Vienna in 1896 the son of Joseph , an architect and builder. He servied in the army during WW1 on both the Eastern and Western fronts and as a prisoner. After, in 1919 he began an apprenticeship in graphic design at the School of Applied Art in Vienna.

I assume he successfully completed his study as he went to work as a commercial designer, illustrating books, posters, brochures, company stationary and product design. He also; must have found time to create the linocut and ex libris plates illustrated here. Perhaps outside his normal commercial duties.

Here is a book illustrated by Rudolf and a plate from another publication. The "ex libris" plate below is signed in pencil just like my original linocut. - Mystery solved. 

And another coloured picture. 

All these pictures above are forsale at;jsessionid

Internet references

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Prints that Travel

An interesting conundrum was highlighted in a comment by The Linosaurus on my Sidonius Schrom posting. He wondered "how these very typical Austrian prints came to the UK" whilst they are "very sought after and highly collectable in Austria"

In my travels I come across quite a few small scale pictures of Alpine and Tyrolean views including woodblocks and linocuts, although not always by artists that currently have a following or a commercial value. I think these must have been a superior grade of tourist souvenir and possibly the reason they are now sought after locally is that so many were taken out of their home region that they are now rarely seen in their area of origin. 

I guess these works of art came from a period when such travels were costly and only the wealthy could afford the expense. Perhaps these wealthy travellers were unlikely to be satisfied with usual tourist trivia such as a postcard or a doll in traditonal dress ?? So bought affordable art to remind them of their holiday.

Also perhaps the same is true for artists that had a local market but a limited export or wider international following. If a large proportion of works were sold locally and remained locally then it would perhaps follow that there would be little local interest as they are common, which would in turn restrict their values. I would suggest an artist like Ernst Rotteken as an example. Plenty of excellent woodblock prints still to be found for sale in his home Detmold area.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Sidonius Schrom

I thought I would share this picture with you.

I bought this a few months ago at an antiques market after being attracted to the light and colour and sense of space, a bit like Engelbert Lap or Paul Leschorn. It was not too expensive but I still had some reservations about buying it. By that time I had not bought a thing and wondered whether I was having a "must buy something" moment. Also; I could not read the signature and the only visible signature was on a paper mount ! was the print signed ?

So - I bought it and took it back home to start the research. The first plus was that I found another signature on the print, that was a relief, but I just could not decipher the signature - Schramm, Schranm, Schrumm and so on - no luck. So to Google Images for a try - German Woodblock Tyrol Lap, you know all the usual key words

- and there he was Sidonius Schrom (1902-1960) or more correctly Sidonius von Schromm. - see comments.

There does not seem to be much information about his life and works, but what there is can be found on the blog Art and the Aesthete @

Monday, 22 August 2011

Print Techniques Thesaurus

We all search the internet trying to find rare and interesting prints to look at and buy.  However, I have often failed to trace the non-anglo artists because I do not know the French, German or Dutch technical names for the various printing methods.

So, here is your opportunity to help me with your advise on the names of printing methods.

English German French Dutch Italian
Intaglio Printing aquatint aquateint
dry point point-seche droge naald
engraving gravure gravure
etching gravure
mezzotint mezzoteint
Relief Printing collagraph collographie
linocut Linolschnitt linosnede
colour linocut Farblinolschnitt kleuren linosnede
woodblock Holzschnitt houtsnede
woodcut Holzschnitt houtsnede
colour woodcut Farbholzschnitt kleuren houtsnede
wood engraving hout gravure
Lithograph Lithografie Lithographie lithographie Litografica
Silkscreen Siebdrucke zeefdruk
Serigraph serigraphie
Stencils pochoir stencil

There many other variation on these techniques, some almost personal to the artists and without universal or established names. Some printed works do not fall within the usual perception of "the print", that of creating multiple copies of basically the same composition. Methods such as monotypes and monoprints create unique printed images and should be considered with original paintings.

So here is your chance to help - please let me know your translations, suggestion or corrections for the British term listed. I will update when new terms are confirmed.

Thanks to Gerrie The Linosaurus for his assistance.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Mary Macrae White

Today's offering is fine wood block print of horses with natives against a north african ? landscape. My immediate reaction when first seeing this at a market was Mabel Royds. No, it is signed Mary Macrae White.

Sadly there is little information out there on this artist, although some recent research has raised more questions than answer ? more of that later. First of all what we do know. She was born in Aberdeen as Mary Macrae and was married to James Martin White (1857-1928), a Liberal Party politician from 1898 until 1912. The references books list her as a figure painter living variously in London, Dundee and Edenbridge in Kent from c1910. She exhibited from 1893 until 1919 including works at Glasgow Institute of the Fine Art (1 work), International Society (1), London Salon (3), Nottingham City Art Gallery (1), Royal Society of British Artists (2) and at the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (1).

The wikipedia listing for her husband states that after their divorce (his infidelity) Mary went on to became a successful artist in America but does not provide any detail. I was able to trace a touching letter by commercial artist Antonio Petruccelli, one of her former students in whilst she taught ? at Greenwich House, New York in which he describes her as a "not-too-well-known-painter" (click on the letter to enlarge and read). Greenwich House was and still is a charitable organisation with the mission "to help individuals and families lead more fulfilling lives by offering social and health services, cultural and educational programs, and opportunities for civic involvement to New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds."

Antonio Petruccelli was a talented commerical artist and illustrator, whose was responsible for many of the front cover artwork used by the Fortune magazine. Here are a few to illustrate his talent.

As I often find myself saying - these artists lead complicated lives !

Here is an odd twist - if I have interpreted the article correctly. There is an eBook available to read online of Poems by Henry Bryan Binns (1873-1923) titled The Wanderer and other Poems, published in 1910. In which there are two poems under the title "For two pictures by Mary Macrae White". Amazing not only has she inspired people to paint; her pictures have inspired poetry. Below are the poems - I wonder where these pictures are now.

Henry Bryan Binns is described as Fruit grower, poet, author, founding force of Letchworth Garden City. Wrote biography of Abraham Lincoln for Everyman series and for sometime lived in Kent. Which is 2 miles up the road from Edenbridge, where Mary lived before moving to New York

The Clearing

CLEAR me a little space among the trees,
April will brim it up with primroses.
Nay, as with ruthless axe you pluck adown
This coppice, silver-grey and purple-brown,
Ere yet the January sun hath found
Time to evoke a new leaf from the ground,
Even already then, your clearing fills
With blossom delicate as the blue hills
And sweet as the wild wisdom that distils
Among the old leaves sodden in tlie mire, —
— The wayward smoke of the woodcutter's fire.

The Gipsy's Looking-Glass.

For you, it is a pool among the trees
That you could scoop (almost) between your hands,
A little black pool, bordered with green grass :
But some who look upon it as they pass,
And how it opens inward and expands
Wizardly, — cross themselves : for unto these
It hath a magic mightier than the sea's,
Old witchcrafts manier than the moonlit sands.
And it is called " The Gipsy's Looking-Glass."

As you can see, I have struggled to find any other photos to illustrate this posting - I thought I had when an old auction listing came up - Mary Macrae, Watercolour, inscribed artist's label verso, "Water Daisies, Staffhurst Wood" , sadly it dated back to 1996 and no photo. Staffhurst Wood  ? amazing; Turn right at the end of my road and I'm there. I run through the wood most days and it is not too far from Edenbridge.

A few twists and turn in this little bit of research - Scotland to New York to Home ?

Monday, 15 August 2011

more Austen Brown

Here a little more ........ to tease and may be to buy.

You may have notices in my original posting I included a picture of a page titled "A Bit of Chelsea" ten original lithographs by T Austen Brown published by The Macrae Gallery, 16 Fulham Road, SW3. This is also the address given for The Colour Woodcut Society whose contact was Mrs Elizabeth Christie Austen Brown. I wonder what the connection was?

The Colour Woodcut Society seems to have been established in 1920 by Frank Morley Fletcher and others? to promote the Japanese woodcut method of printing.They held selling exhibitions of work by such artists as John Hall Thorpe, John Edgar Platt, Ian Cheyne (1895-1955), Eric Hesketh Hubbard, Marion Gill (1879-1959), Jean Armitage, Ada Louise Collier (1870-1948), Kenneth Broad (president)  with the exhibitions being held at various locations including above a Japanese restaurant in Cavendish Square (1923)

I can't find out what the connection to the Brown's was, perhaps they were member and that year she was their secretary ?

This was a bit of an aside to the real reason for this posting. I meant to feature the publication "Bits of Chelsea ten original lithographs by T Austen Brown, text by A MacCallum Scot MP" Published by The Macrae Gallery, 16 Fulham Raod, SW3 c 1920. 

This appears to be a folio/book published as an "Edition de Luxe" with 75 signed and number copies, which in addition to the 10 lithograph contains one signed original colour woodcut of  the "River Thames at Battersea"

There are several copies for sale about the web with very different price tags, including at; with photograph of the woodcut and at - direct link

Another edition by Thomas Austen Brown and the Macrae Gallery that contain signed original prints is Etaples published 1920.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Mr & Mrs Austen-Brown Printmakers

Those of you who are both woodblock print fans and eBayers, may have noticed that seller art****636 has listed several unsigned prints by Thomas Austen-Brown. This reminded me of a stunning print I sold some time ago by his wife Mrs Elizabeth Christie Austen-Brown and now having seen her husbands work - what a team !

I have always liked this picture and regret ever selling it, you can't keep them all. It had so much light and atmosphere, especially for a scene that is probably in late evening light ! I also regret not buying another print by her, some years after this purchase. I had one of those days - you know when you see something you like, vaguely recall the name, but can't quite remember, only to remember a few days later and you guessed right - it had sold !!

So who were they ?

The woodblock print above is signed E C A Brown and mark "imp" to indicate that was printed by the artist. Mrs Elizabeth Christie Austen-Brown (1869-1942) is listed as a painter and linocut artist who exhibited from 1903 until 1931 who was married to the artist Thomas Austen Brown. She exhibited widely including at; Goupil Gallery 1 work, International Society 1, Walker Gallery 11, Nottingham Art Gallery 11, Royal Society of British Artists 23, Redfern Gallery 3, Ridley Art Club 1, Royal Institute of Oil Painters1 and Royal Scottish Academy 2 works. She was a full member of the Royal Society of British Artists from 1926.

There are works by her in several public collections, including; The British Council (and Thomas). Her work also appeared in The Studio magazine with a wood engraving titled "The Shepard and his Flock" used to illustrated a 1910 article written by William Lee Hankey called "The Society of Gravure Printers in Colour". She also ran The Colour Wood-cut Society c1925 with a contact address of 16 Fulham Road, London.

Thomas Austen Brown (1857-1924) seems to be more documented. We know he was born in Edinburgh and studied at Royal Scottish Academy schools and travelled extensively including Trepied and Etaples, France. Again like his wife there is an extensive history of exhibited work including at; Agnew's 1, Royal Society of Artists 8, Fine Art Society 42, Grosvenor Gallery 11, Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts 34, Goupil Gallery 4, International Society 11, Walker Gallery 46, Leicester Gallery 56, Manchester City Art Gallery 17, Nottingham Gallery 19, Royal Society of Portrait Painters 5, Royal Academy 31, Royal Hiberian Academy 1, Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 13, Royal Institute of Oil Painters 9 and Royal Scottish Academy 99. That is a lot of pictures, so I assume that he was successful. He also exhibited abroad winning prizes and class medals at print exhibitions in Munich, Dresden, Barcelona and Budapest from 1896-1911.

He seems to have worked in oil, watercolour, etching and woodblock. His subjects include landscapes and portraits. Although most of his larger scale oils were "genre" subjects. The rural idyll much loved in the late Victorian era. Lots of farmers and milk maids with cows, beautiful but sadly now fallen out of favour. A multi talented artist.

His wood block prints are excellent, great composition, good colour, full of light and space. See for more pictures and the ones below are the unsigned proofs being sold on ebay.

I have assumed these two were married to each other, I seem to recall that after I sold her print that I was contacted by a collector who confirmed my original assumption.

NOTE - Soon after completing this posting, I realised I had been beaten to it !! See for his view on the subject.

Internet references;

Friday, 12 August 2011

Elsie Garrett Rice - Printmaker

Back from my trip into the applied art of the British Arts and Crafts movement to more familiar ground - woodblock prints and printmakers.

This print is a recent purchase at a popular antiques market on the south west corner of London. I spotted this leaning against the side of a van turning to Candice I enquire "what do you think, like it?" eerrr well its faded, look like its foggy !! Well it is titled "Misty Morning" -- so turning to the seller "what der yer know about it mate" - "well, its signed, chinese I think" (she may have meant japanese) -- "but its signed Janet Rice!" -- after a bit more negotiations I paid a price and was happy with my purchase, except - who was the artist?

Before you correct me, I could see it was actually signed E Garrett Rice, who is listed as Mrs E Garrett Rice of Coventry and who exhibited in the 1920's including 3 works at the Royal Society of Artists, Birmingham and 6 works at the Walker Gallery, Liverpool. What else can we find ??

I think I have found a possible - Elsie Garret Rice (1869-1959), she was listed in the 1891 census as an artist living as a visitor in Epsom, Surrey. She had studied at the Slade School of Art, London before teaching at Bedales. She and her twin brother had been born in Elton, Derbyshire and she went to school in West Bromwich. In 1901 she is recorded as living Hampstead and later in South Africa where she illustrated "Wild Flowers of the Cape of Good Hope" written by Robert Harold Compton.

Luckily I was able to find a photo of the front cover of the book which was illustrated and more importantly signed by Elsie. See right - confirmation that I have found the correct artist. Some of the illustrations from this book were reproduced by the Medici Society as a series of postcards - "Medici Wild Flower Series (South Africa) c1954
And a photograph of her in later life. 

Annex Galleries have another woodcut titled "Woodloes Manor" for sale. That one is dated 1931, signed in pencil but without an edition size. Woodloes House is in Warwickshire and shown in the photo below.

She also wrote articles on art education including one titled "Child Artist. By Mrs. E. Garrett Rice" found in an 1902 edition of the "Parent's Review - A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture"

More information has arrived - courtesy of her grandchildren. She also illustrated the field guide "Common Succulents" by Harry Hall (1906-86) published by Longman in 1953. She spent her later years in South Africa.

Internet references;

Monday, 1 August 2011

Mystery Print #4

I bought this at the weekend whilst out and about searching for stock. I saw this and loved the image with the children, a very commercial subject. It came in it's original frame and under glass. Although I thought it was a woodblock print, there was  the possibility that it was just a book plate. This combined with the fact that I did not recognise the monogram meant that I was taking a small risk. I loved it, so I bought it anyway !!

I was almost certain it was an original woodblock print, that brushed colours were the clue, but you never can be sure, I have opened these up only to find a page number and printed words or even worse a calender !! I was not disappointed this time, as you can see from the picture below it has been printed on a fine paper and laid down on card. I was hoping a pencil signature was hiding under the mount or some other notes that would help with attribution. No such luck.

Which brings me to the problem ? who was the artist and when was it created ? Any ideas. Does anyone recognise the monogram of M within a box or the style. The pictures below are the framers label and an address found on the backing board. Note that there is not a telephone number, which suggests and early date. It is tiny only 8cm by 8cm.

Click on pictures to enlarge.