There are no golems in Morris Rosenfeld’s Songs of the Ghetto (1899), translated here by Berthold Feiwel for a German readership as Lieder des Ghetto (1902). But the Berlin edition does contain many superb full-page illustrations and embellishments by Ephraim Moses Lilien (1874–1925), a German artist whose work has featured here on a number of occasions. I’d seen a couple of these drawings before but hadn’t quite registered the pronounced Beardsley influence until now. Aubrey had only died four years before this book was published, and while Lilien’s style is strong enough to establish its own identity you can find a Beardsley-like quality not only in the heavy blacks and areas of white, but also in the border designs, the treatment of landscape and foliage, and even the jewellery on the demon figure below, details which resemble the similar jewellery on Beardsley’s title page for the story of Ali Baba. There’s more of Lilien’s work at this Flickr set while the rest of the book may be browsed or downloaded at the Internet Archive.
Continue reading “Ephraim Moses Lilien’s Lieder des Ghetto”
Thanks are due again to Mr Peacay at BibliOdyssey for drawing attention to this recent addition to the Internet Archive from the Smithsonian collection. Die Entwicklung der modernen Buchkunst in Deutschland (1901) is a compendium of German book illustration edited by Otto Grautoff, and its a particularly good anthology with a lot of content I haven’t seen repeated elsewhere. Many of the artists represented have been featured here already, not least because a number of them appeared regularly in Jugend magazine: Thomas Theodor Heine, Ephraim Moses Lilien, Heinrich Vogeler, and the most eccentric of all German artists of the period, the naturist and mystic known as Fidus (Hugo Höppener) whose drawings receive an entire chapter.
Heine’s depiction of “butterfly dancer” Loïe Fuller.
Continue reading “Die Entwicklung der modernen Buchkunst in Deutschland”
Continuing the series of posts about Ver Sacrum, the art journal of the Viennese Secession. After a somewhat lacklustre collection for 1900 the journal finds its vitality again, the painters of happy Teutonic peasants having been dropped in favour of more remarkable prints and graphics from Vienna’s finest. The contents for this year parallel some of the works being featured in Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration for the same period. Gustav Klimt is given a great deal of attention, beginning with the calendar piece below. There’s also work from the Symbolist sculptor George Minne and a feature on the Glasgow School artists Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret MacDonald. Throughout the year each issue tends to concentrate on a single artist or exhibition. There’s so much good stuff in this year it’s not possible to present more than a small sample. Those interested are encouraged to browse all 432 pages or download the entire volume here.
Continue reading “Ver Sacrum, 1901”
Ludwig von Hofmann was a German artist whose work has already appeared via the above example from Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration. Many of Hofmann’s drawings and paintings appeared in that magazine’s rival publication, Pan magazine, for which the artist also provided a cover design for the collected editions, and vignettes for the interiors.
Hofmann is also of note for those of us who search art history for potentially gay art or artists. A handful of his works turn up continually on forums where homoerotic artwork is posted even though I’ve yet to see any evidence that his desires ran in this direction. It’s true that many of Hofmann’s pictures focus exclusively on the naked male form, but it’s equally true that he painted and drew a large number of naked women. Males and females often appear together in Adam and Eve pictures, a theme which was so common in German art at this time it’s easy to assume that most artists were using the subject as the merest excuse to represent the unclothed figure.
Ganymede poster design from Pan (1895).
Biographical details state that Hofmann married his cousin in 1899 although he still may have been bisexual, of course. If I was making a case for a Uranian inclination in his art I’d point to his poster design on the Ganymede theme (a favourite among gay artists with its story of Zeus falling for a beautiful boy), his many drawings of bathing boys and naked riders on horseback (the latter seems an obsession), Thomas Mann’s admiration for his work, and at least one sketch of a boy from Capri, an island with a long history as a favourite holiday resort for the rich and famous homosexuals of Europe. Whatever the truth, many of Hofmann’s pictures remain homoerotic, intentionally or not, and a few further examples are posted here. I should note that two of the pictures have been cropped to focus on the male figures, and that many of them lack verifiable dates.
Continue reading “The art of Ludwig von Hofmann, 1861–1945”