The art of Melchior Lechter, 1865–1937


The first issue of yesterday’s arts and crafts magazine Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration includes an article about Melchior Lechter, a German artist and designer whose illustration work I knew from books by gay poet Stefan George but who seems unjustly neglected by fin de siècle art histories. The reminder prompted me to search a bit more actively and doing so turned up another Internet Archive document, Melchior Lechter, a monograph from 1904 by Maximilian Rapsilber. These are Google scans and the quality is very good for once, with a collection of impressive graphic works in Lechter’s religious Art Nouveau style, as well as photos of his furniture and stained glass window designs. I can’t say much more about artist since all the available documentation is in German but the visuals in Rapsilber’s book make me wish we could see more of his work.

(Note: if you want to download the full PDF, do so here.)








Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrators archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration

Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration


Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration (1897) by Joseph Rudolf Witzel.

One of the discoveries made by following leads from the back issues of Jugend magazine was the unearthing of another cache of German periodicals at the Internet Archive. Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration (German Art & Decoration) was founded by Alex Koch in 1897 and the early editions are heavily advertised in the back pages of Jugend. Koch’s journal covers similar ground to the art magazine Pan which was running at the same time but includes additional features on furniture, architecture and interior design. Given the period, all the early issues are heavily biased towards Art Nouveau as the following samples demonstrate. I’m not sure what the figures in Joseph Rudolf Witzel’s poster are supposed to represent. Jugend means “youth”, and most of the Art Nouveau artists and designers were relatively young so it’s possible to see the boy as representative of this. In which case the woman would have to be a muse since it’s only as muse figures (or goddesses, like the picture of Athena below) that women are allowed much of an active role in art of this period.


The Internet Archive has 50 volumes of Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration covering 1898 to 1922. I’ve barely begun to look at these, and I’ve already found more journals along similar lines so expect this to be a recurrent theme for a while. The following graphics are samples from the first volume, a series of designs for posters and bookplates.







Previously on { feuilleton }
Jugend, 1896
Jugend Magazine revisited
The Great God Pan
Jugend Magazine