Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration #18


Continuing the delve into back numbers of Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration, the German periodical of art and decoration. There’s yet another frustrating jump in the numbers here, from volume 16 to volume 18 which covers the period from April to September 1906. Inside there’s more rectilinear interior design from the Wiener Werkstätte (above) as well as a great deal of less interesting interior design from elsewhere. The most notable feature of this edition is the article on the illustration work of Marcus Behmer, a member of Adolf Brand’s pioneering gay rights circle in Berlin whose drawings from this volume were featured in an earlier post.

As usual, anyone wishing to see these samples in greater detail is advised to download the entire number at the Internet Archive. There’ll be more DK&D next week.



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Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration #1


Last year saw an exploration here of the fecund pages of Jugend magazine so in the same spirit I’m embarking on a serial delve into Jugend‘s more serious contemporary Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration. I’ve made a couple of posts in this direction already but these were done before I’d had a chance to look properly through the editions at the Internet Archive, the first thirty of which form a collection which comprises some 7500 pages. Since few people would want to download and sort through that mountain these posts can serve as a select guide to the contents.


Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration was published by Alexander Koch in Darmstadt and the first volume is dated October 1897–March 1898. Jugend was a humour magazine so the contents tend to be frivolous and lighthearted, Koch’s title by contrast was a guide to the best of German contemporary art and design and has the advantage of featuring furniture and architectural designs as well as graphic material. The content of this first edition is relatively sedate compared to some of the later numbers when the Art Nouveau style builds up a head of steam. There’s some astonishing design work in subsequent issues, as well as further illustration discoveries like Marcus Behmer. Watch this space.

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The art of Marcus Behmer, 1879–1958


Salomé: Der Wunsch.

Back in March I wrote something about Alex Koch’s art periodical, Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration, a guide to German arts, crafts and architecture founded in Darmstadt in 1897. The Internet Archive has a nearly complete run of these and I’ve recently been working my way through their scans, a process which takes a while as there’s more than 10,000 pages to be looked at. When I find the time I’ll be posting some of the finds from this wonderful publication, the early issues of which are devoted to the best examples of the Art Nouveau style in Germany and elsewhere.


Salomé: Die Erfüllung.

For now, however, I can’t resist posting these pictures from volume 18 (April–Spetember 1906) which form part of a feature about German illustrator Marcus Behmer. I’ve only seen one or two of Behmer’s drawings before and they didn’t really show him at his best. What’s immediately apparent is the great debt his work owed at this point to Aubrey Beardsley, right down to the treatment of foliage and a deliberately grotesque approach to character. It’s also good to find another treatment of the Salomé theme in black-and-white, and the pictures here are credited as being based on Wilde’s play.


Salomé: Das Opfer.

Wikipedia has a page about the artist but it’s all in German, unfortunately, so a crude translation has to suffice. As with Beardsley, the grotesquerie extended to the sexual sphere and it would be nice to know more about the byways of Behmer’s career if only to see where his curious erotic drawings pieces come from. Wikipedia notes that “Behmer was already since 1903 member in the first homosexual organization of the world in Berlin” so I assume that means he was part of Adolf Brand’s circle, and may have contributed to Brand’s publication Der Eigene. A few examples of the erotic work can be found here and here. Further examples from Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration follow.
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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