{ feuilleton }


• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


The art of Fritz Hegenbart, 1864–1943


Fritz Hegenbart was an Austrian artist some of whose work has appeared here before in posts about Jugend magazine. Hegenbart provided many illustrations and embellishments for Jugend and other journals circa 1900, the examples here being mostly from a feature in the collected Kunst und Handwerk for 1902/03, a magazine I was rifling through last week. Once you’ve been through Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration and others you find the same contents repeating themselves with slight variations; that’s no surprise when there was only a certain amount of news that any arts magazine could report for a given year.

Hegenbart’s work stands out for conjuring the slightly grotesque allegories I often like to see: The woman aiming an arrow from inside a serpent’s jaws represents Malice, while the woman being dragged under the water by a tentacled monstrosity is Art falling prey to Mammon. An updated version of that picture would have to show Mammon as a bloated and triumphant abomination. Hegenbart seemed to enjoy attaching wings to whatever women he was drawing; further down the page you’ll find a wingless woman being menaced by a particularly dopey-looking dragon.


There’s also the curious ink piece below showing the location of the artist’s home in Dachau, Bavaria, and what to our eyes is a supremely inappropriate skull-shaped container for his brushes. The shadow of two world wars always hangs heavily over these magazines (especially in the nationalistic Jugend) but the imagery is seldom as prescient as this.







Previously on { feuilleton }
The art of Sergius Hruby, 1869–1943
Der Orchideengarten illustrated



Posted in {art}, {fantasy}, {magazines}.

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4 comments or trackbacks

  1. #1 posted by Nick Hydra


    the Dragon is ‘borrowed’ from Friz Lang, or possibly the other way round…

  2. #2 posted by John


    Lang made Siegfried 20 years after that picture. I’d say he might have seen Hegenbart’s painting but German and Austrian art has a lot of dragons, many of them looking just as serpentine.

  3. #3 posted by Paul


    It always amazes me when I’m doing research on what I think of as an obscure subject or illustrator, I always eventually find myself here on your website. Thank you for years of awesome posts.

  4. #4 posted by John


    Ha, thanks, glad to be of service.






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