Sunday, 27 February 2011

'Mowers' & other stencils by LH Jungnickel

It's in the nature of things on a blog that once a topic takes people's interest, new images and information begin to turn up. Here are the three stencil sprays or Schablonnenspritztechnik by LH Jungnickel that I have images of, plus a digest of comments made by both Neil and Clive. 'Mowers' above is especially interesting because Jungnickel produced few landscape prints and this is the only rural subject by him I have ever seen. The only comparable print on the blog is his woodcut of the Schoenbrunn. Anyway, it's a fine piece of work, probably the most complex of the three, and I begin to see the way these new techniques provided the challenge for him to make his first impressive prints.

I have found a reference to at least one other stencil spray, called 'Tennis players', and I am sure there must be others. Both Neil and Clive drew a paralell between this technique and screenprint where ink is applied through a silk screen with stencils being used to provide the image. Clive also drew a very interesting comparison with spritzdekor, which was commonly used for ceramic decoration in Germany and other central European countries between the wars. Woodcut, linocut, screenprint and pochoir were all popular or industrial techniques that were adapted for use by artists in their own work, starting with the revival of woodcut, and I don't think it's a coincidence that both Jungnickel and Andy Warhol first worked as graphic artists in industry.

I did suggest in the last post on this subject that Jungnickel must have drawn inspiration from Japanese dyer's stencils but in fact I have no exact idea about the nature of his sources. These are techniques that are little known in the UK and trying to find hard facts about the way Jungnickel (or any of them apart from Emil Orlik and Walther Klemm) began to make prints between 1898 and 1905 is difficult, to say the very least. Having gained these skills, Jungnickel made stencils from 1903 possibly untill he abandonned the secessionist manner, and also produced woodcuts between about 1908 and 1917. He was a graphic artist, first and foremost, who produced many drawings and watercolours that drew on both European and oriental styles. His work as printmaker and otherwise is important, innovative, even experimental, as we see here, but in the end it was secondary.


  1. I think you are getting to the heart of the matter, it's an area worthy of research and exploration.

  2. "Mowers" is a great piece of work. Assuming this is the entire print, the composition is quite interesting with the two mowers working one behind the other and the third, pausing to whet the blade or just rest has the top of his head lost to the paper margin. The speckling of the pigment a perfect technique to capture the dust and pollen and sweat and light of such an endeavor.
    Thanks for posting this for us to view.

  3. Clive, the help and feedback I've had on this subject has been important.

  4. Andrew, as you suspected, this print has been trimmed a little - certainly at the bottom. I did some careful comparison because of the missing head but I think it's more or less as it was found. Jungnickel's apparent editing gives the print a sense of immediacy but we really need a margin to see exactly what he was doing.

    I know alpine hay meadows quite well and it also strikes me as pretty authentic, apart from the mass of white flowers, chosen for the green and white composition. Ancient hay fields are alot more diverse than this but the height of the grass is correct.

  5. what stencilling was being done in the west before all this? fabric must have been stencilled, but given the timing and the population of artists who began to explore the technique, i'd assume that there was a japanese influence.

    it's all so interesting, charles. i'm pretty sure i've run that mowers image before but i must not have known the artist because i just recently updated all of my labels (which i definately should have done from the beginning), and it doesn't come up for the jungnickel label.

    i have an idea that if you want to do more research on this, look at researching ver sacrum rather than the individual artists.

  6. Lily, I shall have to type out the link before I do and I want to post tonight!

    In think fabric was woodblocked. I suppose pochoir was the closest thing but I know very little about it. Looking at Ver Sacrum is a good idea but I'm not sure how they would have reproduced work like this. I've tried traking down The Studio article without success.