Franz Kupka

Elves and fairies are frequently depicted in art as children or child-like beings, even if they are engaged in adult activities like romance. The illustration’s title translates as Elf Love, if you were wondering.

Franz Kupka, a Czech artist, is better known as František Kupka. He eventually gave up realism for abstract painting.

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Franz Kupka – Elfen-Liebe – Jugend No. 40 (1896)

Wikipedia: František Kupka

Comments:

From Ron on July 3, 2012
Graham Ovenden produced an excellent book called ‘Nymphets & Fairies’ which contains drawings of children as fairies. With respect to adult situations, it is interesting when children are cast as some kind of little people that are supposed to be venerable elves or whatever. This was done in ‘The Santa Clause’ and there is one interesting scene where the little girl/elf tells the new Santa that she is: “Seeing someone in gift wrapping.”

From pipstarr72 on July 3, 2012
Yeah, it was pretty common historically to depict these beings as children, and it is still occasionally done, although now they are stripped of their adult context, or else any references to “adult” behavior is done for comical effect, as in the film you mention.

Louis Legrand and Karl Fischer

Two illustrations from the same issue of Jugend but from different artists.

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Louis Legrand – In der Balletschule – Jugend No. 36 (1896)

Here is another grand example of jugendstil, and there’s also a tinge of the Pre-Raphaelite style here.

Karl Fischer – Die Tage der Rosen – Jugend No. 36 (1896)

Karl Fischer – Die Tage der Rosen – Jugend No. 36 (1896)

Wikipedia: Louis Legrand

Louis Legrand on Christopher Clark Fine Art

Feminine Youth Enthroned–The Nude Adolescent Girl in Art Nouveau

In many ways the nude feminine youth is the very symbol of the style called art nouveau or, more aptly, jugendstil, which literally means ‘youth style’. Nouveau is itself the French word for ‘novel’, something new, different and implicitly modern. What that something was was an idea. Jugendstil eschewed the staid and formal traditions of art represented by the cultural Old Guard.  It ditched the notion that art was something merely for the higher classes to enjoy. Art nouveau flip-flopped the standards of the time by both embracing “mere” decoration as art and by creating art for the masses rather than for the wealthy alone.  And it was steeped in social and political undertones aimed squarely at the Average Joe.  The beginning of the 20th century was revolutionary for poor and lower middle class working families throughout the West, although the revolutions manifested in different ways.  We could get into these but they are pretty far off-topic.  Suffice it to say, the nature of Western culture underwent tumultuous changes at this time, including in its art.  One could say that, as the poor were the least empowered class, so was the girl child the low man on the familial totem pole, and the identification and empowerment of the former could be effectively symbolized through the cultural identification and empowerment of the latter.

It’s also important to recognize that the history of Western art is in part the history of humanity itself, and the recognition of the import of its components. Classical art is primarily about the adult male, and not coincidentally, so was the time period. Women had few rights, children virtually none. As we move into the late Medieval and Renaissance eras we see women becoming more prominent as artistic subjects, and simultaneously the first inklings of women’s rights surface in politics and law. During the late Renaissance and Baroque eras young boys—mostly embodied, and symbolically empowered, in the form of cherubs, putti and amors—blossom in art, and we also get Rousseau’s On Education, a treatise on the natural child which, of course, focuses on the fictional boy Emile, setting aside a much smaller (and decidedly sexist) portion of the treatise for Emile’s fictional female counterpart Sophie at the end of the book, nearly an afterthought. It is not until the late Victorian and the Edwardian eras that girls become enshrined and recognized as legitimate both in art and in life. At last we as a society begin to really care about the fate of young girls, to the point where the publication of the first portion of W.T. Stead’s overblown muckraking piece on child prostitution A Maiden Tribute to Modern Babylon (more on that at another time) almost instigates a full-fledged riot and does nearly single-handedly result in the raising of England’s age of consent from 13 to 16.

And after this moral panic peaks and subsides, we finally begin to get a somewhat clear-eyed picture of the young girl, and to see her as both a symbol of the new humanity and as a well-rounded human being in her own right.  It is here–or rather slightly before–where jugendstil enters the picture.  While a lot of nonsense is still floating around about women and children at this time, there is a definite awakening to the charms and spiritual power of the girl, particularly the girl who stands on the cusp of womanhood.  There’s something seemingly magical and profound, at once organic and metaphysical, about the transition of the smallest and meekest of humans into the mysterious, devilish femme fatales and the majestic holy virgins being portrayed by the Symbolists, and it is this element which is best captured by the jugendstil artists.

This is the essence of art nouveau, the holistic adolescent girl, and it is no accident that she crops up so often in these magazines.  So here they are in their element: stripped of clothing and therefore of false notes and artificial cues . . .

Note how this first girl is cheerfully thumbing her nose at the grumpy old man in the  judge’s wig.  Symbolism, boys and girls!  Symbolism!

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H. R. Kaeser – Untitled – Jugend No. 16 (1896)

H. R. Kaeser – Maiblumen – Jugend No. 24 (1896)

H. R. Kaeser – Maiblumen – Jugend No. 24 (1896)

Max Barascudts – ‘Arkadisch frei sei unser Glück!’ – Jugend No. 49 (1896)

Max Barascudts – ‘Arkadisch frei sei unser Glück!’ – Jugend No. 49 (1896)

Wilhelm Schade – Untitled – Jugend No. 50 (1896)

Wilhelm Schade – Untitled – Jugend No. 50 (1896)

Fritz Rhein – Untitled – Jugend No. 5 (1897)

Fritz Rhein – Untitled – Jugend No. 5 (1897)

Hermann Moest – Untitled – Jugend No. 17 (1897)

Hermann Moest – Untitled – Jugend No. 17 (1897)

Fritz Erler – Maienkönigin – Jugend No. 18 (1897)

Fritz Erler – Maienkönigin – Jugend No. 18 (1897)

Hermann Moest – Geheime Antipathie – Jugend No. 23 (1897)

Hermann Moest – Geheime Antipathie – Jugend No. 23 (1897)

F. X. Weisheit – Untitled – Jugend No. 45 (1897)

F. X. Weisheit – Untitled – Jugend No. 45 (1897)

Havas – Untitled – Jugend No. 51 (1897)

Havas – Untitled – Jugend No. 51 (1897)

And here’s the juvenile Cupid and Psyche making an appearance:

Robert Anning-Bell – Keats ‘Poems’ – Jugend No. 1 (1898)

Robert Anning-Bell – Keats ‘Poems’ – Jugend No. 1 (1898)

Another symbolic confrontation between old and new:

Hermann Moest – Das Mädchen aus der Fremde – Jugend No. 2 (1898)

Hermann Moest – Das Mädchen aus der Fremde – Jugend No. 2 (1898)

Fernand Schulz-Wettel – Untitled – Jugend No. 11 (1898)

Fernand Schulz-Wettel – Untitled – Jugend No. 11 (1898)

Fritz Erler – Herbst-Reigen – Jugend No. 21 (1898) (1)

Fritz Erler – Herbst-Reigen – Jugend No. 21 (1898) (1)

Fritz Erler – Herbst-Reigen – Jugend No. 21 (1898) (2)

Fritz Erler – Herbst-Reigen – Jugend No. 21 (1898) (2)

Fritz Dannenberg – Untitled – Jugend No. 23 (1898)

Fritz Dannenberg – Untitled – Jugend No. 23 (1898)

Ephraim Moses Lilien was a Jewish artist who occasionally featured in the early issues of Jugend and even received an award from the magazine for his technically proficient photography. Later the magazine became increasingly anti-Semitic and generally racist (but in fairness they were far from the only German publication of the era that did) but it truly was on the cutting edge of culture and politics in the early years.

E. M. Lilien – Sonnenblume – Jugend No. 41 (1898)

E. M. Lilien – Sonnenblume – Jugend No. 41 (1898)

Karl Heiss – Metamorphosen – Jugend No. 41 (1898)

Karl Heiss – Metamorphosen – Jugend No. 41 (1898)

This last artist, Ernst Ewerbeck, would go on to become a noted Expressionist.

Ernst Ewerbeck – Abend-Akt – Jugend No. 45 (1898)

Ernst Ewerbeck – Abend-Akt – Jugend No. 45 (1898)

Wikipedia: Fritz Erler (painter)

Robert Anning Bell: Victorian Artist and Designer (Official Site)

Wikipedia: Robert Anning Bell

Wikipedia: E. M. Lilien

Comments:

From Dr Ram Nath dubey on July 14, 2012
what a similarity between Indian art and this one

Ludwig Fahrenkrog

A pair of Norse gods portrayed as a youthful couple in love, by Ludwig Fahrenkrog.  This is leading up to my next big post, which, barring any unforeseen interruptions, I will get to tonight.

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Ludwig Fahrenkrog – Erde und Sonne, Himmel und Erde, Baldur und Gerda (1921)

Wikipedia: Ludwig Fahrenkrog

Artur Halmi’s drawings in Jugend

Artur Lajos Halmi featured quite often in the early issues of Jugend.

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Artur Halmi – Untitled – Jugend No. 20 (1896)

Artur Halmi – Ferienkolonien – Jugend No. 34 (1896)

Artur Halmi – Ferienkolonien – Jugend No. 34 (1896)

These next two illustrations accompanied the same story.  The story seems to focus on a little girl who is part of a traveling circus family.  I like how pretty much just the girl’s hair is colorized in the second image; a neat visual trick since she is clearly the main protagonist of the story (its title translates to The Little Estrella).

Artur Halmi – Die kleine Estrella – Jugend No. 46 (1896) (1)

Artur Halmi – Die kleine Estrella – Jugend No. 46 (1896) (1)

Artur Halmi – Die kleine Estrella – Jugend No. 46 (1896) (2)

Artur Halmi – Die kleine Estrella – Jugend No. 46 (1896) (2)

The child in this next image may, in fact, be a little boy. How do I know that, you ask? Well, the clue comes from the title of the piece. ‘Sein’ is generally a masculine pronoun; ergo, the title is probably His Dog although it may also be Its Dog (‘It’ referring to a child of undetermined gender), but that’s unlikely. I posted this to point out that, prior to school age, very small children of both sexes were often dressed in clothing that we would consider very frilly and feminine today. Infant and toddler boys and girls both wore dresses, and there was a simple reason for this: they weren’t potty trained yet, and so it was functional to keep their bottoms fairly unencumbered and easily accessible to their mothers or nurses.

Artur Halmi – Sein Hund – Jugend No. 12 (1897)

Artur Halmi – Sein Hund – Jugend No. 12 (1897)

Artur Halmi – Untitled – Jugend No. 14 (1897)

Artur Halmi – Untitled – Jugend No. 14 (1897)

Peter Bauer

First, I would like to say that I intended to make several posts over the last two days, but I have had a lot of things come up that needed taking care of, one of which was a mini-crisis that is still up in the air.  Such is real life; it frequently interferes with my online life.  If only I had endless hours to do with as I please.

On the brighter side, I received my first troll here, which was inevitable I suppose.  I’m frankly surprised it took over a year for one to finally snipe at me, but anyway his posts were amusing to read.  I thought of letting them through, but as the guy used his real name and picture, from a Facebook account no less, I think I’ll extend him more courtesy than he really deserves and not give out his identity.  Besides, you never give a troll the soapbox if you can help it.  Anyway, it was the usual dumb shit–he accused me (not to mention Kurt Cobain) of being a criminal for being interested in nude art featuring children, and calling for me to be put to death.  Yawn.  Don’t you love ignorant people?

Okay, so on to the art.  Here are two illustrations from Peter Bauer.  I’m dedicating the first one to my troll friend.    By the way, if you can’t read German, the sign hanging from the tree says “Bathing Forbidden” hence the girls (and one boy, it seems) watching for the steamboat to pass so they can jump in the water.

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Peter Bauer – Am Starnberger See – Jugend No. 36 (1896)

A short note on this next image too: when you see large swaths of white space on these Jugend images, it is generally because there was text there.  I don’t like posting an image with a lot of text around it because it can be distracting, especially if the image is cropped to cut the bulk of the text off, so I generally just remove the text.  That is what I’ve done in this case.  Again, these two illustrations are superb examples of jugendstil.

Peter Bauer – Untitled – Jugend No. 15 (1898)

Peter Bauer – Untitled – Jugend No. 15 (1898)

Eugen von Baumgarten

Generally about half of any given issue of Jugend is devoted to cartoons, though usually they are more sketchy little vignettes than full-on cartoons like this one.

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E. von Baumgarten – Zur Monarchisten-Frage in Frankreich – Jugend No. 27 (1896)

Bildindex der Kunst und Architektur: Eugen von Baumgarten (Page is in German)

Arnold Böcklin

Arnold Böcklin was a Symbolist painter, which means I pretty much love him by default.  Did I mention Symbolism was my favorite art movement?  Probably a dozen times by now, but anyway . . .  Although I categorize everything in Jugend as illustration, this is actually a black and white reproduction of Böcklin’s painting The Honeymoon (retitled Spring) so this is a young married couple–very young, actually, considering the boy doesn’t have any facial hair yet.

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Arnold Böcklin – Frühling – Jugend No. 21 (1896)

Arnold Böcklin – The Honeymoon (1890)

Arnold Böcklin – The Honeymoon (1890)

Arnold Böcklin – The Complete Works

Wikipedia: Arnold Böcklin

Arpad Schmidhammer

One thing I like about Jugendstil and Art Nouveau illustration is that female putti (putti being traditionally either male or genderless) appear quite regularly, even if they are meant to serve a humorous purpose, as is the case with the drawing below. For a variety of reasons Jugendstil was about femininity, and it can be argued (as I intend to do in a large upcoming post) that the female youth—particularly the nude or classically dressed female youth—is the very symbol of this artistic movement, although generally the focus was on the adolescent girl rather than the prepubescent girl.

The artist here is Arpad Schmidhammer, an illustrator of Bohemian birth known mostly as a cartoonist and children’s book illustrator.

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Arpad Schmidhammer – Untitled – Jugend No. 11 (1896)

Comments:

From Hugh Z. on June 18, 2012
Ouch. It looks like the male putti is in serious pain – He’s being crushed and choked between a wedding ring and the female putti. Even worse- She seems to be enjoying this a little too much..
I would say this is a warning against being married…

From pipstarr72 on June 18, 2012
Yeah, I believe that was the gist of it, though clearly meant in a humorous vein. Still, men of the late 1800s and early 1900s could be quite schizophrenic with regard to females, so who knows?