Over the past few days a number of readers have written in to express their astonishment at the price of the recent Eric Slater sale on ebay. A couple of days later there was further ado about the price fetched by Elizabeth Keith's ditzy fashion show of 1922, Kamakura, summer reflections. Ignore the hype and look elsewhere - and you could do worse than consider an artist who continues to be affordable despite making colour woodcuts to a standard well beyond the capability of Slater.
Hans Frank studied at the Vienna School of Applied arts between 1902 and 1906. This was a period when artists and designers of the calibre of Josef Hoffman, Koloman Moser, Alfred Roller and Hugo Henneberg were members of staff, so in buying an early colour woodcut by Frank like his three peacocks (above), by default you buy a piece of art history, hardly something you could say when you fork out £1725 on a Slater. You can tell by the date 04, this was designed during either his first or second year at the Kunstgewerbeschule. It may not have been printed then, but you can buy this on ebay today for a quarter of what you would pay for a Slater. This is nothing new. I once bought a Frank at auction for £6 and some time later was offered Slater's Martello tower for £60. I turned it down.
As we all know, ebay has its uses. But you will also know, ebay prices are consistently inflated. Frank's white peacock (above) sold in March, 2018, at Dorotheum in Vienna as little as 160 euros - and this was not a blip. The truth is Frank does not have the clout of Carl Thiemann or L.H. Jungnickel, but was such a prolific artist, there is still work available for everyone to buy. I am not a big fan of the landscapes, but the bird prints are another thing. And if peacocks are not to your taste, there are other birds, including his eagle from 1916 (below), cranes and seagulls.