Friday, 27 December 2013

Mondnacht - Fritz Erler (1868-1940)

I came across this image whilst visiting a well known auction site -- click here to visit seller

"Mondnacht" by Fritz Erler (1868-1940)

Apparantly; this image was published in the magazine "Jugend" and as a reproduction of an original print c1903 by Fritz Erler. Both the image and the artist are unknown to me, althought I am sure I should know them. Everything about this picture appeals to my aesthete; beautiful presentation of an attractive girl, the subtle pastel colours of the woodblock print adding to the atmosphere of this moonlight scene and the Austrian Secessionist feel to the composition.

But who is this artist and what is the story that this picture is telling ??

"Mondnacht" -- prehaps a little bit difficult to translate literally into English --  the best I can try is "Night of the Moon" -- and in this instance probably relates to the popular German poem of the same title by the poet; Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff (1788-1857) and here is the anglocised version -

It was as though the heavens
Had silently kissed the earth,
Such that in the blossoms’ lustre
She was caught in dreams of them

The wind crossed through the fields,
And swayed the heads of grain
The forest softly rustled
How starry was the night

And my soul spread
Far its wings
And sailed o’er the hushed lands
As if gliding home.

Not sure? May be may be not -- any help ?

..... and the artist.

Fritz Erler was a German graphic art working c1900-1940. My guess-imation of an Austrian influence isn't quite correct; he trained at K√∂niglichen Kunstschule Breslau before further study in Paris at the renown Academie Julian between 1892-94. By 1895 he was living in Munich and making a living as a graphic artist, illustrator and interior designer. He is attributed as being among the founder of the "Jugend" magazine and this would explain the inclusion of this work in the magazine.

Early in his career he painted several portraits of prominent German celebrities, including the composer Richard Strauss (left) and the writer Gerhart Hauptmann (right). Later during the 1930's he, no doubt like many artists, was obliged to paint portraits of Adolf Hitler and other notable Nazi party members.

His graphic illustration has that striking hardness typical of Gemanic art, especially his work during WW1 and the later Nazi period.

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