Samstag, 29. November 2014

Gerlach's Jugendbücherei: Ignaz Taschners Illustrationen zu Grimms Märchen, Part 1

Ignatius (Ignaz) Taschner (1871 - 1913) war ein deutscher Bildhauer, Medailleur, Grafiker und Illustrator.
Doch seine Karriere gestaltete sich schwierig. Er arbeitete zwar eifrig: schuf Skulpturen, zeichnete, malte - ohne jedoch etwas verkaufen zu können und war 1901 von unerträglichen Kopfschmerzen geplagt. Die Zeit der Selbstzweifel und Entbehrungen endete als der Jugendstil die Welt zu erobern beginnt. Zu Zeiten der Sezession hatte Taschner einen klangvollen Namen in München, Wien und Berlin. 1903 unterrichtete Taschner als Dozent an der Königlichen Akademie in Breslau. Es war die Zeit, als er mit Ludwig Thoma Freundschaft schloss. Das Dachauer Land wurde zum verbindenden Faktor zwischen den beiden Charakteren und vieles, was Taschner hier entdeckte, fand Einzug in seine Werke und in die Illustrationen für Thomas Texte. Seine Illustrationen zeigen eine kraftvolle, holzschnittartige Bildsprache. Die subtile Farbgebung und die gleichzeitig dem Jugendstil und der Volkskunst angelehnten Formen machen seinen persönlichen Stil aus.

Ignatius (Ignaz) Taschner (1871 - 1913) was a German sculptor, commercial artist, medallist, and a illustrator. The beginning of his carrier was not brilliant. He worked hard: He created sculptures, drew, painted - but he couldn't sell anything, and during 1910 he was suffering from unbearable headaches. The time of self-doubt and privations was ending, when the Jugendstil was conquering the world. During the time of Secession Taschner's name was famous in Munich, Vienna and Berlin. 1903 he was a lecturer at the Königliche Akademie in Breslau. At this time he made friends with Ludwig Thoma. The country of Dachau became the link beween these two characters, and many things which Taschner discovered here have entered into his works and the illustrations for Thoma's writings. His illustrations show a powerful style like woodcarvings. The subtle colouring and his forms which follow the Jugendstil and the folk art are characteristic for his personal style.

The Valiant Taylor (Das tapfere Schneiderlein)

Iron Hans (Der Eisenhans)

Donnerstag, 27. November 2014

Aesop's Fables with Illustrations by Arthur Rackham

The first edition of Aesop's Fables with Illustrations by Arthur Rackham appeared in 1912.

A Hare was one day making fun of a Tortoise for being so slow upon his feet. "Wait a bit," said the Tortoise; "I'll run a race with you, and I'll wager that I win." "Oh, well," replied the Hare, who was much amused at the idea, "let's try and see"; and it was soon agreed that the fox should set a course for them, and be the judge. When the time came both started off together, but the Hare was soon so far ahead that he thought he might as well have a rest: so down he lay and fell fast asleep. Meanwhile the Tortoise kept plodding on, and in time reached the goal. At last the Hare woke up with a start, and dashed on at his fastest, but only to find that the Tortoise had already won the race.

The Moon once begged her Mother to make her a gown. "How can I?" replied she; "there's no fitting your figure. At one time you're a New Moon, and at another you're a Full Moon; and between whiles you're neither one nor the other."

A Fir-tree was boasting to a Bramble, and said, somewhat contemptuously, "You poor creature, you are of no use whatever. Now, look at me: I am useful for all sorts of things, particularly when men build houses; they can't do without me then." But the Bramble replied, "Ah, that's all very well: but you wait till they come with axes and saws to cut you down, and then you'll wish you were a Bramble and not a Fir."

This picture is actually a self-portrait of Arthur Rackham. If you pay attention you will find the artist in several illustrations.

An Old Crab said to her son, "Why do you walk sideways like that, my son? You ought to walk straight." The Young Crab replied, "Show me how, dear mother, and I'll follow your example." The Old Crab tried, but tried in vain, and then saw how foolish she had been to find fault with her child.
Example is better than precept.

A Man once bought an Ethiopian slave, who had a black skin like all Ethiopians; but his new master thought his colour was due to his late owner's having neglected him, and that all he wanted was a good scrubbing. So he set to work with plenty of soap and hot water, and rubbed away at him with a will, but all to no purpose: his skin remained as black as ever, while the poor wretch all but died from the cold he caught.

Once upon a time a Frog came forth from his home in the marshes and proclaimed to all the world that he was a learned physician, skilled in drugs and able to cure all diseases. Among the crowd was a Fox, who called out, "You a doctor! Why, how can you set up to heal others when you cannot even cure your own lame legs and blotched and wrinkled skin?"

Physician, heal thyself.

A Shipwrecked Man cast up on the beach fell asleep after his struggle with the waves. When he woke up, he bitterly reproached the Sea for its treachery in enticing men with its smooth and smiling surface, and then, when they were well embarked, turning in fury upon them and sending both ship and sailors to destruction. The Sea arose in the form of a woman, and replied, "Lay not the blame on me, O sailor, but on the Winds. By nature I am as calm and safe as the land itself

Two Pots, one of earthenware and the other of brass, were carried away down a river in flood. The Brazen Pot urged his companion to keep close by his side, and he would protect him. The other thanked him, but begged him not to come near him on any account: "For that," he said, "is just what I am most afraid of. One touch from you and I should be broken in pieces."
Equals make the best friends.

A Cat fell in love with a handsome young man, and begged the goddess Venus to change her into a woman. Venus was very gracious about it, and changed her at once into a beautiful maiden, whom the young man fell in love with at first sight and shortly afterwards married. One day Venus thought she would like to see whether the Cat had changed her habits as well as her form; so she let a mouse run loose in the room where they were. Forgetting everything, the young woman had no sooner seen the mouse than up she jumped and was after it like a shot: at which the goddess was so disgusted that she changed her back again into a Cat.

Two Travellers were walking along a bare and dusty road in the heat of a summer's day. Coming presently to a Plane-tree, they joyfully turned aside to shelter from the burning rays of the sun in the deep shade of its spreading branches. As they rested, looking up into the tree, one of them remarked to his companion, "What a useless tree the Plane is! It bears no fruit and is of no service to man at all." The Plane-tree interrupted him with indignation. "You ungrateful creature!" it cried: "you come and take shelter under me from the scorching sun, and then, in the very act of enjoying the cool shade of my foliage, you abuse me and call me good for nothing!"
Many a service is met with ingratitude.

A Woodman went into the forest and begged of the Trees the favour of a handle for his Axe. The principal Trees at once agreed to so modest a request, and unhesitatingly gave him a young ash sapling, out of which he fashioned the handle he desired. No sooner had he done so than he set to work to fell the noblest Trees in the wood. When they saw the use to which he was putting their gift, they cried, "Alas! alas! We are undone, but we are ourselves to blame. The little we gave has cost us all: had we not sacrificed the rights of the ash, we might ourselves have stood for ages."

The Lion, for all his size and strength, and his sharp teeth and claws, is a coward in one thing: he can't bear the sound of a cock crowing, and runs away whenever he hears it. He complained bitterly to Jupiter for making him like that; but Jupiter said it wasn't his fault: he had done the best he could for him, and, considering this was his only failing, he ought to be well content. The Lion, however, wouldn't be comforted, and was so ashamed of his timidity that he wished he might die. In this state of mind, he met the Elephant and had a talk with him. He noticed that the great beast cocked up his ears all the time, as if he were listening for something, and he asked him why he did so. Just then a gnat came humming by, and the Elephant said, "Do you see that wretched little buzzing insect? I'm terribly afraid of its getting into my ear: if it once gets in, I'm dead and done for." The Lion's spirits rose at once when he heard this: "For," he said to himself, "if the Elephant, huge as he is, is afraid of a gnat, I needn't be so much ashamed of being afraid of a cock, who is ten thousand times bigger than a gnat."

A Gnat once went up to a Lion and said, "I am not in the least afraid of you: I don't even allow that you are a match for me in strength. What does your strength amount to after all? That you can scratch with your claws and bite with your teeth—just like a woman in a temper—and nothing more. But I'm stronger than you: if you don't believe it, let us fight and see." So saying, the Gnat sounded his horn, and darted in and bit the Lion on the nose. When the Lion felt the sting, in his haste to crush him he scratched his nose badly, and made it bleed, but failed altogether to hurt the Gnat, which buzzed off in triumph, elated by its victory. Presently, however, it got entangled in a spider's web, and was caught and eaten by the spider, thus falling a prey to an insignificant insect after having triumphed over the King of the Beasts.