The Passion of Collecting Academic Nudes

Join me as we explore my collection of Academic Nudes from the 18th, 19th, and Early 20th Centuries and serendipitous finds in the Museum, Art Auction, and Gallery world......examples from the Golden Age of the European Academie

Friday, January 6, 2023

Georg Jahn (1869 - 1940) Intaglio Print Titled: "Junge Reiter am Wasser". 1909 (Later edition titled : Pferdeschwemme - 1921)

                          Georg Jahn (1869 - 1940) The Artist in his Studio


Over the holidays I was doing my usual rambling around the halls of eBay Deutschland when I happened upon an intaglio print by Georg Jahn (1869 - 1940) titled "Pferdeschwemme," signed and dated 1921. I had a flashback to the first time I viewed this print in a museum sometime during my 10 years in New York City many moons ago. It's the kind of artwork that makes a definite impression because of the skill of the master graphic artist who created it. The asking price somewhat stretched the budget but I made the decision to bring it into my collection, that's how much I admired the print. There are apparently two versions of this print created at two different times in the artist's work life. The first edition of the print is titled "Junge Reiter am Wasser" (Young Riders by the Lake) and was created in 1909 by Georg Jahn. The second edition (dated 1921) was titled "Pferdeschemme" and is the particular print now in my collection. Here are illustrations of the two editions that my research on past auction results could find:

The First Edition Titled "Junge Reiter am Wasser".... 1909

Second Edition titled: "Pferdeschemme," signed and dated 1921. 

The Print is quite large at 22 inches by 18 inches.


As you can see the artist has made changes in the background of the composition on the middle right hand side. 

Here is some biographic information on the artist:

German artist Georg Jahn was one of the greatest etchers to hail from the Dresden region. His works, produced during the early 20th century, are impeccable examples of the delicate and skilful art of etching, as well as being indicative of the tensions arising in German art during this time between the classical and the modern.

Jahn’s artistic career began with a job in the Meissen Porcelain Factory, painting with painstaking detail the minuscule decoration upon the ceramics. He surely showed incredible skill, for his works earnt him a scholarship to study at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts. Jahn would begin his artistic education there, under renowned portrait painter Leon Pohle (1841-1908), before moving on to complete his studies at the Grand-Ducal Saxon Art School, under Max Thedy (1858-1924).
Perhaps both of these teachers bore an influence, for Jahn would christen his professional painting career with a tenure as a portrait painter himself, working in Berlin, Munich, and Leipzig. However, at this time he began to find an interest in etching and took lessons from his friend, Max Pietschmann. Soon enough, Jahn was fluent in all styles of etching. The seeds of artistic greatness had been sown, and from the soil began to bloom Jahn’s true artistic calling.

Etching has a strong connection with Germany. It was within the Germanic lands the medium first began to be developed. During Jahn’s time, it was becoming as much influenced by modern developments in art as any other medium. Indeed, Jahn became swept up in the tensions being wrought through the Dresden art scene between the traditional, classical school of art, and the modern, experimental avant-garde. Jahn himself settled more comfortably on the side of the modern pioneers, exhibiting numerous times with the Dresden Secession, an art group established in protest of the classical leanings of the art institutions. However, his art style found much more of a middle ground between both the classical and the modern.

Jahn paints with elegance and coherency of form much more aligned with the classical, traditional style. His nude women, who he so often depicted, are gloriously rendered. Their black and white presentation makes them appear as if marble statues, captured on paper. Yet he places them within freer, natural settings of lakes and rivers, beaches and bays. This was very much in tune with the ideology of Art Nouveau, which was interested in raw, expressive depictions of the natural world.
Jahn’s settings are so very often natural, and he utilises his accomplished skill to strike out across the page the many nooks and crannies of nature’s visage. Each tree branch ragged, each rockface cragged. Jahn was keen on depicting studies of everyday life, marrying nature’s beauty with his accomplished talent.

This carried forwards into his compositions. Jahn was uninterested in puzzling allegories which might keep the viewer guessing as to the meaning and message of his works. He offered up pieces with a clarity of form and communication.

Human subjects are set within their surroundings and connected in a harmony of composition which enables the viewer to read the scene clearly. Fishermen in the foreground lie along the same line of the canvas as the horizon of the sea to which they dedicate their days. A group of girls, knitting and nattering, are balanced neatly upon the paper with their hometown, both symbols of domestic, everyday life.

There is a simplicity to the storytelling in his works which does not squander their artistic value or sophistication. This composition joined with Jahn’s extremely evocative knack for depicting both human emotion and the flushes and rushes of nature, creates works both discerning and energised.
Jahn was much celebrated in his lifetime. His works were regularly exhibited within his homeland, and he won numerous awards, including a Saxon State Medal. He left approximately 300 works following his death in 1940. History has been a tough force against which Jahn’s memory has reckoned, however his work and his influence have been rediscovered and newly celebrated. Many today consider him one of the greatest German etchers of the 20th century.

And here are some additional illustrations of the print:



Here are examples of his other works:

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Else Fürst (1873 - 1943 im KZ Theresienstadt) Female nude and Sailor by the Sea

The days over the holidays have been very productive as far as new additions to my collection are concerned. I found this particular graphic image on eBay Germany and was captivated by the beautiful execution of the female form by Else Fürst (1873-1943), who is mostly known for her beautiful bronze sculptures. Need I point out the "golden mean" of this beautiful graphic work? I negotiated an offer with the seller well below his listed price and this work is now headed into my collection. Else Fürst was a German sculptor and medalist. There is scant biographical information on her but her parents were Doctors, Livius Fürst and Fanny Sidon. Her grandfather was the important orientalist Julius Fürst. Else Fürst studied under Adolf Jahn in his Berlin studio and in Paris at the Académie Julian. She was a master student under Denys Puech and then subsequently worked as a successful sculptor in Berlin during her limited career. She mainly created bronze sculptures, small animal sculptures and medals. She drew inspiration for her animal sculptures from the East Prussian farm Cadinen. She also used the pseudonym F. Keith when signing her early works. She had her work cast in Berlin at the Kraas art foundry and the Gladenbeck & Sohn bronze foundries. Else Fürst's medals are listed in the Berlin coin cabinet. She died in 1943 in the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp for the obvious crime of being Jewish! The fact that she was a very talented artist and most worthy of praise for her talent on it's own apparently escaped her Nazi tormentors. Enjoy!

Her is just a small sample of her other works:


Thursday, December 8, 2022

French School - XIX-XX Century - Intaglio Print - MACABRE SCENE .......What On Earth Is Going On?

When wandering around in the dark halls of eBay France after dark there is a real chance that you will stumble onto something that will either take your breath away by it's beauty or cause a brain seizure! Well this particular print, artist unknown, at least by the French seller, caused me to pause and scratch my head in a vain effort to figure out what on earth is going on with those people? Take a close look at the print and then decide what you think. A depiction of Dante's Inferno or some macabre depiction of what lies ahead for all of us if we stray from the narrow path in life? Well, after careful consideration I think I have finally figured it out.... It's obviously a scene from an American Divorce Court proceeding when the final judgement goes against the husband and madness results! Just kidding... or maybe not!