Heinrich Zille, Part 1

Heinrich Zille’s work has begun to show up in the issues of Jugend from the first decade of the 20th century, although he is mostly known for his later Weimar Republic-era illustrations, much of which satirized inner city Berliners, particularly the poor residents of tenement buildings.  Children were a frequent subject (target?) of his sharp eye, and sans its satirical context many of these drawings come across as . . . problematic.

However, we must remember a few things as we approach these.  First, Zille’s work was generally intended to be humorous rather than erotic, although in some cases the line between them is blurred, and his sense of humor could be bawdy and even, on occasion, somewhat wicked.  (He did draw some blatantly erotic pieces, however, some of which are housed in Berlin’s Beate Uhse Erotic Museum.)  Second, the artist honestly recorded the conditions he saw around him, which were crowded and dirty, and given that he was dealing with the urban poor, it wasn’t uncommon for children to be ill-clothed.  Finally, we must take into account that the Weimar era was a fairly liberal point in the history of Germany.  The short-lived democratic state that took hold there in the period between the world wars allowed an unprecedented amount of artistic and cultural expression, and consequently many artists pushed the boundaries as far as they could.  Yet, it must be said that Zille’s naked and semi-naked kids began to populate his art well before the Weimar Republic.

Despite the fact that Zille tended to satirize them, the German commoners respected and admired him, for they saw him as a voice that communicated their plight in pictures to the rich and powerful.  He might’ve been a little crude, but that only made him all the more like them.  And these children, in their casually bared behinds or unconsciously flashed pantiless thighs, were seen as a reflection of the carefree spirit of the humble poor rather than as debased and immoral, part of the growing consciousness in and towards the working classes taking root throughout Western civilization.

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Heinrich Zille – Der späte Schlafbursche (1902) (1)

Heinrich Zille – Der späte Schlafbursche (1902) (2)

Heinrich Zille – Der späte Schlafbursche (1902) (2)

Heinrich Zille – Kindergruppe (1903)

Heinrich Zille – Kindergruppe (1903)

Heinrich Zille – Berliner Strandleben

Heinrich Zille – Berliner Strandleben

Heinrich Zille – Arbeiterwohnung

Heinrich Zille – Arbeiterwohnung

Heinrich Zille – Graphiker der Gegenwart

Heinrich Zille – Graphiker der Gegenwart

Heinrich Zille – Klein und Groß

Heinrich Zille – Klein und Groß

Heinrich Zille – Kindergruppe

Heinrich Zille – Kindergruppe

Heinrich Zille – Mein Milljöh

Heinrich Zille – Mein Milljöh

Heinrich Zille – Rotes Kreuz

Heinrich Zille – Rotes Kreuz

Heinrich Zille – Stehendes Mädchen mit Kind auf dem Arm

Heinrich Zille – Stehendes Mädchen mit Kind auf dem Arm

Heinrich Zille – Trockenwohner

Heinrich Zille – Trockenwohner

Heinrich Zille – (Title Unknown) (1)

Heinrich Zille – (Title Unknown) (1)

Heinrich Zille – (Title Unknown) (2)

Heinrich Zille – (Title Unknown) (2)

This drawing is particularly troublesome. One doesn’t immediately notice that the girls aren’t wearing any knickers, but it soon becomes apparent. No doubt this was one of Zille’s jokes, but in this case it does give a different impression of the girls than one would otherwise get. Given that they are otherwise fully dressed, it seems almost intentional. Child prostitution was, of course, not unheard of at the time; indeed, Berlin was a hotbed of it well into the 20th century. The word ‘Gören’ is an insulting term for girls, akin to the English word ‘brats’ but specifically feminine–could it have also had an alternate definition?

Heinrich Zille – Drei Berliner Gören (1910)

Heinrich Zille – Drei Berliner Gören (1910)

Heinrich Zille – Wet Nurses from Spreewald (1911)

Heinrich Zille – Wet Nurses from Spreewald (1911)

Wikipedia: Heinrich Zille

Laurens’s ‘Death of Saint Genevieve’

Wow!  This painting is epic.  While the little girl is not the focal point of this work, she certainly grabs your attention.  This was a commissioned work for the apse of the Panthéon in Paris, where many famous Frenchmen are buried, including Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Victor Hugo and Émile Zola. Actually this is not the full painting but only the Main (center) panel.  I’m not crazy about the little girl’s face—it seems to me that the artist used an adult as the model because the eyes are too small and the nose is all wrong, but overall it’s a magnificent painting.

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Jean-Paul Laurens – La mort de Sainte Geneviève (1877)

Jean-Paul Laurens – La mort de Sainte Geneviève (detail) (1877)

Jean-Paul Laurens – La mort de Sainte Geneviève (detail) (1877)

Wikipedia: Jean-Paul Laurens

Gottfried Hofer

One thing I’ve discovered in my quest for girl art is that there’s about a gazillion paintings of little girls in a field picking flowers. There are so many it actually borders on being nauseating.  But some are certainly better than others.  What I like about this particular one is how this curly-headed moppet has one sock off and one on. It’s endearing and adds a little extra oomph that makes the painting stand out from the crowd.

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Gottfried Hofer – Mädchen auf einer Blumenwiese (1911)

Comments:

From Reverend Benjamin M. Root IV on May 26, 2012
The one-sock thing is definitely the clincher here. Naughtiness and/or naivety, either way, shakes up the pristine idealism of Victorian childhood. It makes her alive, real.

I think that’s also why Bouguereau’s girls so often had bare feet. Sure, they may have been peasants who didn’t even own shoes, but I bet for the artist, it was about grounding them (pun definitely intended), making them real, flesh, earthly angels, not cherubs (what’s your term?).

In a genre where sexuality is still nonexistent for the subject/model (and taboo for the artist), a bare foot is a touch of the carnal. And not in any creepy euphemism way, but actual pure youthful aliveness.

Christian Landenberger

Two from Christian Landenberger.  In the first piece we can see the effects of wear where the edges of the frame meet the canvas, combined perhaps with some bad lighting.  I thought about fixing it in Photoshop but ultimately decided against it.  There’s a point at which correcting for things like that begins to change the original work, and so I try not to do it unless it is necessary.  I did, however, heighten the contrast and saturation level a bit to make it pop more.

Christian Landenberger – Mädchen mit Blumenstrauß (1913)

Christian Landenberger – Mädchen mit Blumenstrauß (1913)

Christian Landenberger – Mädchen am Fenster (1911)

Christian Landenberger – Mädchen am Fenster (1911)

Art Directory: Christian Landenberger

If you’re interested in art featuring boys, Landenberger also did several paintings of boys bathing at a lake.

Gabriel de Cool

This isn’t a Jugend artist, but I love this piece and wanted to post it anyway.  I’ve had a smaller version of this in my image collection for quite awhile, but on a lark I decided to search Google and see it I could find a larger one.  Lo and behold, I did!  It needed a lot of cleaning up though, as it had handwriting all over it and some speckling around the girl’s face and chest.  It took a little time but I think the results were worth it.  I might use this one again in the future, for a series I’m planning.  Anyway, I decided to post both versions of this.

gabriel-de-cool-le-tub-1

Gabriel de Cool – Le Tub (1910) (1)

Gabriel de Cool – Le Tub (1910) (2)

Gabriel de Cool – Le Tub (1910) (2)

Adrian Ludwig Richter

Although he preceded the jugendstil art movement, Richter’s work was featured in at least one issue of Jugend, around twenty years after he had passed away.  A longtime painter and illustrator of children’s books and fairy tales, he was considered a national treasure at that point. Heavily influenced by Romanticism, his style does come across as somewhat quaint today, but his compositions are detailed and masterful.

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Adrian Ludwig Richter – Brautzug im Frühling (Bridal Procession in Springtime) (1847)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – Heimkehr der Landleute nach Civitella (1867)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – Heimkehr der Landleute nach Civitella (1867)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – Hirtenlied (1871)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – Hirtenlied (1871)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – In the Summer

Adrian Ludwig Richter – In the Summer

Adrian Ludwig Richter – My Nest is the Best

Adrian Ludwig Richter – My Nest is the Best

Adrian Ludwig Richter – Rübezahl Appears to a Mother in the Form of a Charburner (1842)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – Rübezahl Appears to a Mother in the Form of a Charburner (1842)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – (Title Unknown) (1)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – (Title Unknown) (1)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – (Title Unknown) (2)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – (Title Unknown) (2)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – (Title Unknown) (3)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – (Title Unknown) (3)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – (Title Unknown) (4)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – (Title Unknown) (4)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – (Title Unknown) (5)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – (Title Unknown) (5)

Wikipedia: Adrian Ludwig Richter