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Vintage German Illustrators, part 2

Updated on November 16, 2014

Famous German Illustrators

We have already presented several famous German illustrators of fairy tales.

Now we will continue with more masterpieces from second half of 19 th and beginning of 20 century. All presented illustrators are dead more then 70 years, what makes their illustrations public domain in most countries.

As we can expect, vintage German illustration is closely related with famous fairy tales written by Bechstein, Grimms, Hoffmann, Hauff and other famous authors and collectors.

Let's take a look at work which still inspires illustrators of fables, fairy tales and stories for children.

Intro image: scene from Brother and Sister by Paul Meyerheim.

Bechstein's Fairy Tales Book
Bechstein's Fairy Tales Book

Adolf Erhardt

(1813-1899)

Adolf Ehrhardt was born as Karl Ludwig Adolf Ehrhardt. He studied painting at Art Academies at Berlin, Dusseldorf and Dresden.

When he became an assistant to historical painter Eduard Bendemann, they cooperated at many decorative projects at royal palace. Ehrhardt later became a professor himself.

Adolf Ehrhardt was also portraitist (oil painting were his speciallity, he had actually written sort of manual for oil painters), worked on many projects in different churches and we have to mention illustrations in different books.

On the right we can see the title cover of famous Ludwig Bechstein's The German Fairy-Tale Book.

Below are some scenes from the collection of German Ballades.

Book of German Ballades - illustrated by Adolf Erhardt

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Self portrait
Self portrait

Albert Weisgerber

(1878-1915)

Despite his early death Albert Weisgerber was very prolific painter who experimented in several styles.

He was studying in Frankfurt and Munich but maybe even more important were his visits to France and Italy. French impressionism with Cezanne, Toulouse-Lautrec and others had great influence on him for several years.

Weisgerber was pretty successful with his portraits but after getting in contact with so called Quattrocento (early Renaiscance style in Italy with Boticelli, da Vinci and others) he started painting more religious themes like the painting of David and Goliath below.

David and Goliath
David and Goliath

Albert Weisgerber was killed in World War. As interesting trivia we can add he served in the same regiment as Adolf Hitler. Weisgerber's works were later confiscated by Nazi regime and sold in auctions.

After the war Weisgerber's widow got financial compensation for this confiscation but probably even more important is the fact one of most prestigious rewards in Germany for visual artists is now named by Alert Weisgerber.

In next two galleries we can check his dark vision of some less known (with the exception of Hansel and Gretel) fairy tales by Grimms.

Grimms' Household Tales - illustrated by Weisgerber

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Foundling Bird 1Foundling Bird 2Hansel and Gretel 1Hansel and Gretel 2Seven Ravens 1Seven Ravens 2The Death of the Little Hen 1The Death of the Little Hen 1
Foundling Bird 1
Foundling Bird 1
Foundling Bird 2
Foundling Bird 2
Hansel and Gretel 1
Hansel and Gretel 1
Hansel and Gretel 2
Hansel and Gretel 2
Seven Ravens 1
Seven Ravens 1
Seven Ravens 2
Seven Ravens 2
The Death of the Little Hen 1
The Death of the Little Hen 1
The Death of the Little Hen 1
The Death of the Little Hen 1

Grimm's Household Tales (cont.) - illustrated by Weisgerber

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The Devil and his Grandmother 1The Devil and his Grandmother 2The Devil's Sooty Brother 1The Devil's Sooty Brother 2The Seven Swabians 1The Seven Swabians 2The Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was 1The Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was 2
The Devil and his Grandmother 1
The Devil and his Grandmother 1
The Devil and his Grandmother 2
The Devil and his Grandmother 2
The Devil's Sooty Brother 1
The Devil's Sooty Brother 1
The Devil's Sooty Brother 2
The Devil's Sooty Brother 2
The Seven Swabians 1
The Seven Swabians 1
The Seven Swabians 2
The Seven Swabians 2
The Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was 1
The Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was 1
The Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was 2
The Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was 2
Heinrich Hoffmann by Eugen Klimsch
Heinrich Hoffmann by Eugen Klimsch

Eugen Klimsch

(1839-1896)

Eugen Johann Georg Klimsch was son of a lithographer, older brother of two painters and father of a sculptor. His life was surrounded with art and he had tried himself in many areas.

Eugen Klimsch was formally trained in Frankfurt and Munich, and illustrated and designed everything from decorative borders of official documents and playing cards to postcards and decorations of rooms in ships.

He mastered several old styles in painting and preferred them using in his work. Klimsch also got several prestigious awards for his miniatures on parchment.

He illustrated several books for kids and youth. On the right we can see Klimsch's portrait of Heinrich Hoffmann, one of the fathers of picture books.

Below is a gallery with illustrations from 50 fables by Wilhelm Hey.

50 fables by Wilhelm Hey - illustrated by Klimsch

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Gustav Sus - (1823-1881)

Hedgehog and Hare
Hedgehog and Hare

His full name was actually Konrad Gustav Sus. He studied art in Kassel and Frankfurt. To earn enough money he started writing stories for children which he also illustrated. These stories, especially series about a hedgehog and a hare (image above) became quite popular and were even translated in several languages.

After studies Gustav Sus moved to Dusseldorf where he lived and worked until his death. His paintings were often humorous and his speciality was drawing all sorts of poultry what we can see in next gallery of illustrations too.

Stories for children by Wiesemann - illustrated by sus

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Hermann Vogel

(1854-1921)

Hermann Vogel was son of an architect who at first studied law, after a year moved to Art Academy in Dresden, where he was one of the students of Ludwig Richter, but didn't finish the studies. Despite that fact he became one of most famous German illustrators from the beginning of 20 th century.

As very good observer he became a self taught illustrator for publishing company, so he had a chance of illustrating many beautiful books for children, including Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales, German Folk Tales by Johann Karl August Musaeus and many adventure stories as presented in mini gallery below.

Vogel's illustrations of adventure books

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Afraja by Theodor MuggeNick of the Woods by Robert Montgomery BirdErich Randal by Theodor Mugge
Afraja by Theodor Mugge
Afraja by Theodor Mugge
Nick of the Woods by Robert Montgomery Bird
Nick of the Woods by Robert Montgomery Bird
Erich Randal by Theodor Mugge
Erich Randal by Theodor Mugge
The Sleeping Beauty
The Sleeping Beauty


Hermann Vogel's style in his prime can be classified as late romantic and as most of German illustrators he couldn't say no to the collection of brothers Grimm.

In these illustrations we can feel Hermann Vogel's love to nature (he was not very happy about development at any cost, especially at the cost of destroying a nature) which was also presented through the poems he was writing.

In Vogel's illustrations we can feel his gentle sense of humor too.

Vogel became pretty famous illustrator and was eventually entitled as professor.

In the picture on the right we can enjoy the famous scene from Sleeping Beauty and there are more illustrations from the list of classic fairy tales in next series of illustrations.

Grimm's Fairy Tales - illustrated by Hermann vogel

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CinderellaGoose GirlHansel and GretelBrother and SisterSnow White and Rose Red
Cinderella
Cinderella
Goose Girl
Goose Girl
Hansel and Gretel
Hansel and Gretel
Brother and Sister
Brother and Sister
Snow White and Rose Red
Snow White and Rose Red
Illustration from Golden Children'sWorld
Illustration from Golden Children'sWorld

Oscar Pletsch

(1830-1888)

Oscar (sometimes Oskar) Pletsch is another painter with painting in genes. His father was a lithographer and teacher of drawing. Oscar studied at Art Academy in Dresden and was one of students of Adrian Ludwig Richter.

Very early developed style uitable for children illustrations and they made him famous as illustrator and woodcutter not only in Germany but internationally, including USA.

At the age of 47 he was awarded with a title professor by a Saxon King. In the next series (Child Land) we can clearly see how powerful was Pletsch at presentation of scenes from everyday's life.

Child Land - illustrated by Oscar Pletsch

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Meyerheim's portrait by Ludwig Loffler
Meyerheim's portrait by Ludwig Loffler

Paul Meyerheim

(1842-1915)

Paul Friedrich Meyerheim was a brother and a son of a painter. His father's brothers were painters too, so visual arts were in his blood.

Paul's father was his first teacher, then he studied in Berlin, travel to Austria, Belgium, France, Netherlands and Switzerland, where he didn't only learned but was soon recognized as a great potential.

Paul Meyerheim became one of most famous painter of his time. He made woodcuts, lithographies and - what else - illustrations for several books of famous German authors, as Goethe and brothers Grimm.

The Life Story of Locomotive

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One of Paul Meyerheim's most memorable works is a cycle of seven paintings on copper plates named »The Life Story of Locomotive«, exhibited in 1912 (above) but his biggest love was painting of animals.

This can be clearly seen on all presented illustrations in next gallery of illustrations from the Grimms' collection (1893) where animals play very different roles, from main characters (The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids), enemies (Little Red Riding Hood), side characters (Goose Girl), objects (Hans in Luck), friends (Cinderella), partners (Frog King) and on and on...

Grimm's Fairy Tales for Children - illustrated by Meyerheim

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CinderellaFrog KingGoose GirlHansel and GretelHans in LuckRed riding hoodSnow WhiteThe Clever Little TailorTown Musicians of BremenWolf and Seven Kids
Cinderella
Cinderella
Frog King
Frog King
Goose Girl
Goose Girl
Hansel and Gretel
Hansel and Gretel
Hans in Luck
Hans in Luck
Red riding hood
Red riding hood
Snow White
Snow White
The Clever Little Tailor
The Clever Little Tailor
Town Musicians of Bremen
Town Musicians of Bremen
Wolf and Seven Kids
Wolf and Seven Kids

Grimm's Fairy Tales illustrated by Paul Meyerheim

Sometimes we hear about a certain book: it is a classic. Well, this is the one. If you want to know anything about fairy tales, you should read Grimms' Fairy Tales.

Kinder- und Hausmärchen (German Edition)
Kinder- und Hausmärchen (German Edition)

Most popular fairy tales in their politically incorrect undiluted versions with real fears, real passion, real life...

And with fabulous illustrations by master Paul Friedrich Meyerheim.

This should be the faithful copy of 1923 edition which should not be too different from 1893 edition used in this presentation of Meyerheim's work.

 
Hansel and Gretel by Hosemann
Hansel and Gretel by Hosemann

Theodor Hosemann

(1807-1875)

Painter, caricaturist, illustrator, cartoonis, draftsmen and litographer with full name Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Theodor Hosemann became an apprentice in lithography workshop in Dusseldorf at 15 years. Few years later he became a draftsmen and at the same time he studied in Art Academy in Dusseldorf.

When he became a private tutor of Carl von Bruhl's kids many doors to higher circles opened to Hosemann who portrayed many affluent citizens and became a sort of city chronologist. His illustrating legacy is rich too. Theodor Hosemann illustrated numerous books for children, including Andersen's Fairy Tales, E.T. A. Hoffmann's collected writings, Grimms' Fairy Tales (the image on the right is from Hansel and Gretel) and Adventures of Baron Munchausen (mini gallery below).

Baron Munchausen - illustrated by Hosemann

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Your favorite vintage German illustrator on this page

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Your thoughts on vintage German illustrators and their illustartions - Do you prefer color or black and white pieces?

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    • TolovajWordsmith profile image
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      Tolovaj Publishing House 2 years ago from Ljubljana

      He is one of the greatest masters of his time, that's for sure, KevinVuong:)

    • profile image

      KevinVuong 2 years ago

      I adore Hermann Vogel's illustrations soooooooooo much!!!!!!!

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image
      Author

      Tolovaj Publishing House 3 years ago from Ljubljana

      @WriterJanis2: You are always welcome.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 3 years ago

      It's been awhile since I have visited this lens. It's just as enjoyable as the first time.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image
      Author

      Tolovaj Publishing House 4 years ago from Ljubljana

      @Felicitas: They are both beautiful and actually two different media each with specific laws...

    • Felicitas profile image

      Felicitas 4 years ago

      I think it depends very much on the specific image. If there is little detail, black and white can be much more dramatic. But, with some of the more intricate illustrations, color creates more realism.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image
      Author

      Tolovaj Publishing House 4 years ago from Ljubljana

      @kabbalah lm: Sometimes lack of colors really add specific dimension. Thanks!

    • kabbalah lm profile image

      kabbalah lm 4 years ago

      I always find B&W more interesting, even in photography. Blessings again

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image
      Author

      Tolovaj Publishing House 4 years ago from Ljubljana

      @anonymous: You are too kind!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Fantastic feature on the subject!

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image
      Author

      Tolovaj Publishing House 4 years ago from Ljubljana

      @anonymous: :)

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I just had to find this after visiting part 1 and you've continued the wonders of wonderful illustrators and I gave up on trying to pick just one favorite. The more you look at an illustration, the more drawn into a story you would be. Your teaching gift came alive once again with this two part series!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I just had to find this after visiting part 1 and you've continued the wonders of wonderful illustrators and I gave up on trying to pick just one favorite. The more you look at an illustration, the more drawn into a story you would be. Your teaching gift came alive once again with this two part series!

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image
      Author

      Tolovaj Publishing House 4 years ago from Ljubljana

      @Ninche: :)

    • Ninche profile image

      Ninche 4 years ago

      Another great lens from you! Love it.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image
      Author

      Tolovaj Publishing House 4 years ago from Ljubljana

      @captainj88: Thanks for your comment!

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 4 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      Not sure which I prefer; I guess it depends on the story. I think this is a really interesting lens topic and I'm glad you put these together.