Friday, 27 December 2013

Mondnacht - Fritz Erler (1868-1940)

I came across this image whilst visiting a well known auction site -- click here to visit seller

"Mondnacht" by Fritz Erler (1868-1940)

Apparantly; this image was published in the magazine "Jugend" and as a reproduction of an original print c1903 by Fritz Erler. Both the image and the artist are unknown to me, althought I am sure I should know them. Everything about this picture appeals to my aesthete; beautiful presentation of an attractive girl, the subtle pastel colours of the woodblock print adding to the atmosphere of this moonlight scene and the Austrian Secessionist feel to the composition.

But who is this artist and what is the story that this picture is telling ??

"Mondnacht" -- prehaps a little bit difficult to translate literally into English --  the best I can try is "Night of the Moon" -- and in this instance probably relates to the popular German poem of the same title by the poet; Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff (1788-1857) and here is the anglocised version -

It was as though the heavens
Had silently kissed the earth,
Such that in the blossoms’ lustre
She was caught in dreams of them

The wind crossed through the fields,
And swayed the heads of grain
The forest softly rustled
How starry was the night

And my soul spread
Far its wings
And sailed o’er the hushed lands
As if gliding home.

Not sure? May be may be not -- any help ?

..... and the artist.

Fritz Erler was a German graphic art working c1900-1940. My guess-imation of an Austrian influence isn't quite correct; he trained at Königlichen Kunstschule Breslau before further study in Paris at the renown Academie Julian between 1892-94. By 1895 he was living in Munich and making a living as a graphic artist, illustrator and interior designer. He is attributed as being among the founder of the "Jugend" magazine and this would explain the inclusion of this work in the magazine.

Early in his career he painted several portraits of prominent German celebrities, including the composer Richard Strauss (left) and the writer Gerhart Hauptmann (right). Later during the 1930's he, no doubt like many artists, was obliged to paint portraits of Adolf Hitler and other notable Nazi party members.

His graphic illustration has that striking hardness typical of Gemanic art, especially his work during WW1 and the later Nazi period.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Etienne Drian - more French Boudoir Art

Here is an artist that until now, I had dismissed as some minor name who created a few pleasant but derivative works in the boudoir art style of Louis Icart. Now.... I know differently !!

This etching is typical of many created in the mid 1920's, having the pretty girls, parrots and an oval format. In fact very similar to those by the artist Jean Hardy and before reading the signature, that would have been my guess. However, it's not signed Hardy or by any of the more familiar boudoir artists but signed "Drian"

The signature belongs to the French artist Etienne Drian (1885-1961) who is sometimes referred to as Adrien.(probably incorrectly). He was a talented artist; essentially a painter of women and renowned for that, also he depicted figures, portraits, still-lifes and was a water-colourist, etcher, illustrator and theatre designer as well as creating more commercial art as illustrations for magazines such as the Gazette du Bon Ton and Vogue.

He depicted fashions for magazines and portrayed the fashionable beauties of the era,– including the stylish actresses Cecile Sorel and the flamboyant but doomed Gaby Deslys (who numbered King Manuel II of Portugal amongst her lovers) with evocative flair.

He had exquisite taste, converting an old mill complex in the countryside outside Paris which was so chic that the Duke and Duchess of Windsor eventually acquired it as their beloved pied a campagne. ref - Hamish Bowles

See the etched portrait on the left; Lady (Gaby Deslys) Looking over her Shoulder and the two below. All these, have an Edwardian feel, more the style of Helleu or early Maurice Milliere than the later Art Deco of the opening image.

Sold £3250 Christies 2007

I can't trace any reference to his early artistic training, although it is known that he worked with several theatre revues, in 1931 he designed the costumes and décor for the theatrical spectacular Le Casino de Paris. Early in his career he established a reputation as an illustrator, initially; from 1914 for La Gazette du Bon Ton and then Fémina. His illustrations could also be found in; L’Illustration, Le Journal des Dames et des Modes and Flirt together with fashion magazines aimed at the woman who needed to know exactly what to wear and when to where it. Illustrations with titles such as “La Femme à la Eventail”, “Robe de Linon”, “La dernière rose: robe d’après-midi de Redfern”, can be found.

He seems to have signed all his work simply "Drian" whether an illustration or a finished oil painting. Here are a few examples;

..... of all the pictures seen, what follows is my favourite, the most evocative and sensual. I am sure this would be a easy picture to sell and probably one of the more higher price of his etched works. I guess there must be one out there somewhere?

..... so perhaps now a few more of us will appreciate the art of Etienne Drian. I do and will be looking for more of his pictures.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Dounat - Boudoir Art

Demure, doe-eyed and in love !! A typical boudoir art composition

.. and signed ?? C Dounat ??

Does anyone know more about this artist ??

Friday, 13 December 2013

Florence Higgs - Printmaker

It is amazing where you can find a new artist. There I was today standing in a queue in our local post office waiting to post a Urushibara woodcut to Australia, when I looked at there notice board. "For Sale" - 1950's Linocut of "Limpsfield Church and Surroundings" by Australian artist Florence Higgs !!

Wow - how bizarre !! -- Sadly I can't post a photo of this linocut as I just couldn't photograph the advert clear enough...... and even more bizarre is the fact that she was born in the State of Victoria which was the address on my parcel !!

I just had to find more information.... firstly here are few pictures from the collection of the National Gallery of Australia. Both are catalogued as linocuts dating to the 1950's. I particularly like the Seagulls.

She was born 1918 in Victoria, Australian and worked as printmaker during the 1950's & 60's both in the UK (c1960) and in her Native Australia. She was known as "Torchy" to her friends, I wonder why ?

Her exhibition record confirms that she was a Melbourne based art, as many of her shows were titled "The Melbourne Graphic Artists". These events included venues such as; Peter Bray Gallery (1956), Australian Galleries(1958) and the Macquarie Galleries (1961). I assume she was a member of the "The Melbourne Graphic Artists", a group of Australian printmakers, that included the artist Leonard French (b1928)

She was an influencial artist inspiring the then developing artist Leslie Van Der Sluys (1939-2010) to linocuts and "by Sydney relief printmaker Florence Higgs who through the example of her own work introduced him to the rich formal and decorative potential of the Australian flora" (link) - see left

Her works can be found in several gallery collections in Australia including; in the National Gallery of Australia (20), National Gallery of Victoria (5) and the Centre for Australian Art.

Not much information, it must be out there, probably in some dusty Australian archive, she may still be alive. A retrospective exhibition and monograph publication should be commissioned. Disappointingly her name does not appear on auction result site, so I do not know current popularity or resale values. So for now, here are a few more linocuts.

For more works by this artist try -


Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Anet - Boudoir Art

In my continuing series of posting about "Boudoir Art" etchings and the artists that created them, I have set myself the task of discovering the identity of the artist responsible for etchings signed "Anet"

She's lovely - an original pencil signed dry point/aquatint etching, not one of those more recent faux etching like prints that seem to be every where on eBay. Very demure, simply and charming. Not the quality of Louis Icart or Milliere; but certainly comparable to the works of Jean Hardy or Jean Gilles.

I have read the signature as "Anet" but i could easily be any thing from Emit to even Dimet ?? Any suggestions. I assume that this is not a one off "lucky creation" by an untraceable amateur but by an artist who created other similar works.

Do you have one ?? and do you know anything about this artist ??

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Blair Mystery Solved ??

... further to my earlier posting "J Blair - Art Pottery Figures"

I think I might have a lead to the identity of the artist.

Today I headed of to the monthly fleamarket at the Maltings in Farnham. Years, ago this event was a "must go" buying opportunity with many antique stall, coupled with another market across the road it was always worth a look. Mainly minor items but the occassional "big find". However, like so many the little market has gone and the Malting's is only a shadow of it's former antiques self. Today, mainly crafts, vintage, new and "vintage crafts" together with a few antiquey stall.

Anyway, not much to report -- but on my way home I stopped at the Bourne Antique Centre to have a look round, which like the  fleamarket has trended away from just antiques and now includes the "vintage look". In amongst the items I spotted this studio pottery vase, quite unremarkable as much studio pottery is but always worth a look just in case it's a lost Hans Coper or Bernard Leech.

... and as you can see it is signed "Jean M Blair" - is this our mystery artist ? and who is she ?

A quick bit of googling revealed this watercolour painting -- With this decription - "Barns at Long Sutton' dated 1984 and signed lower right Jean M. Blair ( British artist based in Farnham, Surrey. Exhibited widely for many years)"

May be our artist ? although I can't quite see the connection between the studio pot, the watercolour or the figure; other than a quite naive style. Mystery not yet solved but a possible line for more investigation.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

EMD - Scottish Painted Pottery Mystery

This attractive hand painted art pottery vase was recently purchased on a gut feeling and for it's look. I was immediately drawn to this, even though it was tucked away in a dusty corner of a "collector's" centre. From the moment I saw it, I knew it was by the Scottish pottery decorating concern, "Mak'Merry" - imagine my surprise when I saw the mark - so much for my expert knowledge.

This is so much like a another bottle I sold a few years ago that their must be a connection - but what ?? Who was EMD ?

The shape of the bottle looks to confirm a Scottish original as I have found two other examples of painted pottery using the blank. One was marked Bough and the other MakMerry !! - which doesn't really help as it suggests that the two largest studios bought blanks from the same source. Is our mystery EMD a decorator at either or another artist who also buys blanks from this source ??

Bough on left is dated 1924 and Mak'Merry dated 1923 on right.
same bottle as our mystery ?

Do the decorators marks help ?? Yes and No - the bowl illustrated below has similar the initials of CMD marked on the bottom and the webmaster as remarks "A Large dish painted with different fruits, the reverse with leaves, mark CMD, and a leaf, possibly related to Dolly Watson and Elizabeth Amour ?" (Link) The Armour's are the Bough connection and Dolly was the artist at "Leaf Pottery" 

---- So, in conclusion -- still a mystery -- Can you help ??


Monday, 21 October 2013

Dorothy Blackham (1896-1975)

These two hand coloured woodcut prints appeared whilst I was searching auction catalogues for stock. Although not quite "for me", I thought I would share them with my fellower print enthusiasts. The Catalogue description is - Dorothy Blackham (1896-1975) - Two Irish hand-coloured woodblock prints, 'Connemara Hillside', 12 x 20 cm and 'Sugarloaf from the Scalp Wood', 17 x 16.5 cm, both pencil signed and titled to margins. On sale at Andrew Smith & Son - Fine Art, Antiques and Interiors - Lot 72 est £100-150.

The technique looks basic - black line key block with handpainted colours. Auctioneers' listed these as woodblock print, but look more likely to be linocuts. Just as labour intensive as multiple blocks but easier to create, no need to worry over the register of each colour.

Dorothy Isabel Blackham was born in Dublin and trained at the Royal Hibernian Academy, The Metropolitan School of Art, and Goldsmith's College, London, from 1921 to 1922. After completing her training she taught art as well as exhibiting her art. She was awarded medals at the Tailteann Festivals of 1928 and 1932. 

a woodcut type illustration to accompany a poem by WH Letts.

From 1939 until 1945 she worked in Gibraltar among refugees before returning to Ireland when she married. She moved to Donaghadee, County Down, where she continued to paint under her maiden name, in oils, water-colours and tempera. She worked as a commercial artist, designing posters, Christmas cards and producing drawings for The Bell and other magazines.  Her subjects are usually, the Irish landscape, views of mountains with stone cottages and rural life.

She exhibited widely at the Royal Academy, the Ulster Women Artists' Group, the Royal Hibernian Academy, the Royal Society of British Artists, the Ulster Academy, the Watercolour Society of Ireland, and the Arts and Crafts Society of Ireland. Examples of her work are in the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery, Dublin.

Her works regularly come up for sale at auction with prices ranging from $236 for a print up to $2785 for an oil painting titled "Rua-Achill-Sound". I do not know what the Irish art market is currently like, probably not as hot as a few years ago, never the less, I am sure these two prints will sell and probably for more that the estimate.

Here is an example of her signature - one of those that is easy to read if you know what it's meant to spell !

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Pierre Poisson (1876-1953) - Medals

Pierre-Marie Poisson (1876-1953)
Artist - Sculptor - Medallist

Pierre-Marie Possion is another French artist who created some spectacular medals during the 1930's. His name cropped up whilst researching Albert Pommier and as the name was vaguely familiar I search my own archive of medals to find the "Le Harve" design at the top. The quality of this motivated me to explore the internet to find more medals and biographical detail.

The little I can find about Pierre is limited to his artist training and career, although he appears to have names variously listed as and including; "Auguste" "Marie" "Pierre" Poisson. So perhaps his early live is listed under a different variation. 

What I could established was that he studied sculpture at the École des Beaux-Arts, Toulouse before, like Albert Pommier, travelling to Algiers to study at the Villa Abn-el-Tif. Whilst there he was awarded the prestigous; Prix Abd-el-Tif in 1907: Pommier went on to win it in 1914.

He exhibited both in France and internationally including showing a bronze sculpure titled "Eve" at the Salon des Tuileries in 1949 (shown right) - His style of classicism with a hint of art deco, might have seemed a little passé by the late 1940's, however technically excellent. Also he exhibited in the UK showing 2 works at the Royal Scottish Academy.

Perhaps his greatest monument were the large sculptures in the round he created for the 1937 Paris, L'Exposition Universelle and which are now to be found near the Eiffel Tower.

His medals are usually signed PM.Poisson, which confirms that his "artistic" name as Pierre-Marie Poisson

other designs include;