Wednesday, 23 February 2011

LH Jungnickel & stencil or schablonenspritztechnik



I know I am giving alot of space to those Vienna secessionist dilettantes but I have found something today it was just impossible for me to ignore, a work that may be LH Jungnickel's earliest signed graphic production. It uses the technique discussed in 'LH Jungnickel: two new animal prints'. One of them is not a print at all but a stencil. In German it is Schablonenspritztechnik, the English equivilant being stencil spray. The work itself is called 'Sonnenstrahlen im Tannenwald', quite a mouthful, that translates as 'Sunrays in the pinewood'.



This stencil is coming up for auction on 3rd March at Palais Dorotheum in Vienna and they give the date as 1903. The previous year Jungnickel had left his job as graphics designer at the Stollwerck chocolate factory to enroll at the Kunstgewerbeschule under the seminal designer Alfred Roller (1864 - 1935). I include the poster Roller produced for the 1902 Secession exhibition (that centred round Max Klinger's sculpture of Beethoven) because it gives an idea what students gained from his work. (Emma Schlangenhausen was also to benefit from Roller's example soon afterwards). Jungnickel hasn't only borrowed the dimensions, he came up with a subtle variation on Roller's overall patterning. (He must also have seen Klimt's landscapes.) Without doubt his basic inspiration was Japanese katagami - bamboo dyer's stencils - but according to the British magazine The Studio Jungnickel invented this particular technique of (I think) applying ink through a gauze plate laid over a stencil. Modern German children use a toothbrush but of course Banksy uses an aerosol. What LHJ used, I don't know, but I offer a close up of his woodland along with the Macaque monkeys form the previous post.



You can see the combination of stencil and spraying in both works. I assume the monkeys are later where he appears to have sprayed the whole coloured area. It is specially interesting to see an artist responding to a course of study and in fact publishing these works (at a time when novelty was at a premium) apparently represented his breakthrough. As work, they are probably more interesting than they are rewarding and I can see why he went on to develop his colour woodcuts. As a technique it has obvious restrictions. And I think this is how the stencils need to be seen - in the context of the rest of his graphic work: the posters, the postcards for the Wiener Werkstaette (see 'Yours truly, LH Jungnickel') and his designs for Josef Hoffmann.


As a postscript I should add that I think I used to own something using a technique like this. I sincerely hope it wasn't by Jungnickel because I gave it to a friend! As a PPS, Dorotheum are expecting something in the region of 2,000 € for the stencil even though it is damaged. Just so that you know. As modern graphics go, this makes it pretty interesting.



12 comments:

  1. Really interesting blog and has given me an idea for my Graphics work thanks!!!

    http://talkinggadget.blogspot.com/

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  2. You know, I posted this as much for graphic artists as anyone so I'm very pleased to have your comment.

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  3. Fascinating Charles, and of course withe the images, it is completely obvious but I wouldn't have immediately considered it until reading your posting. Fascinating stuff, you're having a long love affair with Mr. Jungnickel.

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  4. He fits the bill. And there is more...

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  5. Well, it's very beautiful, so it's probably worth the money. And it's interesting, too, though I don't fully understand the technique - something akin to pochoir and in advance of screenprint. It's the spraying aspect I don't get. How was that achieved?

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  6. It may mean spray effect rather than actual spraying because I believe the ink was applied through the gauze plate with a brush. But I'm not sure about this. No doubt the article in The Studio would make things clear.

    As for prices, this kind of graphic work by Jungnickel (including his colour woodcuts) doesn't seem to come up very often. The estimate must also reflect its rarity.

    The preparatory work for his woodcut of the Schoenbrunn that I posted in 'LH Jungnickel: the colour woodcuts' realised 6,000 € at Kinsky. In the Albertina now?

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  7. Is it possible that this technique is also similar to the bauhaus style that was popular during the Weimar period with spray glazing on top of stencils? I think the Germans and Austrians actually mastered this technique very early on in the 20's with ceramics, it makes sense that it was used in other mediums. It also seems to be a fascinating process that creates a tactile aspect to the work, and also helpes in creating movement. I think it is an interesting supposition and I think that you are on to something Charles.

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  8. Jungnickel's stencils must date from before the first war because the maccaque monkeys are in his earlier secessionist manner. But your very interesting remark jogged my memory. I used to have a thirties moderne jug - it was actually moulded plaster - which was first painted then sprayed. I think there were simple stencilled shapes which had been sprayed round as well. Looking back, it may well have been German but saying Bauhaus would be pushing it.

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  9. Well I am thinking of a collection of Bauhaus ceramics my parents had, that they collected over forty years. They were included in an exhibition and the spritzdekor style was not specifically Bauhaus, but the Bauhaus movement popularized it, and made it accessible and broadly popular. Prior to that it was used and very much a utilitarian decorative style that was used prior to mechanization of design and art, but that could be nevertheless mass-produced. It began in the Art Nouveau period, and stopped when the Nazis came to power. Because of this the technique can be fairly accurately dated. Anyway, with the close up images it is clear that the technique you write about is the one used in these works. I think there is something deeper and more revealing however, in that the technique was a precursor to screen-printing in print making and transfer design on ceramics. Anyway it is very interesting.

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  10. I was being flippant about the jug (it was Czech) but I shall certainly try and incorporate what you say here into today's post because I think you are getting closer to the heart of the subject than I am.

    From what I know about the Burleigh Pottery in Staffordshire, transfer on ceramics was C19th but on a wider level all these techniques - woodcut, screenprint, lino, stencil spray, pochoir - were part of the trend towards using the techniques of cheap production in fine art even though part of the aim was to do away with those kinds of distinction.

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  11. http://books.google.com/books?id=SaEaAAAAYAAJ&dq=jungnickel++%22the+studio%22+1907+stencil&q=stencil#v=snippet&q=stencil&f=false

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  12. This "Spritztechnick" was taught also in Germany to elementary students in the 50s by using a sieve and toothbrush nebst ink. You could lay any object on the paper and then spray around it for effect by fist put ink on the brush and then rub the brush over the sieve.

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