Tuesday 15 February 2011

A mystery print from Germany

Klaus Voigt has sent me a colour woodcut by an artist he has been unable to identify and he is hopeful that readers may be able to help. The image is of a blackbird (we think) feeding on the berries of a mountain ash or rowan tree (sorbus decora). There are no identification marks at all. He has assumed that it is by an Austrian - Klaus lives in southern Germany - but I was put in mind of William Morris' famous textile design of 1883 called 'Strawberry Thief'. I've included a close-up of the bird and a section of Morris' textile design, which is also a blackbird although you would be forgiven for thinking it was a bit of a parrot. What I am saying is the artist's sense of accuracy strikes me as telling. But I am not going to prejudice the case and shall hand over to avid readers to say what they think. And for Klaus himself to reply.


  1. Charles,

    it is interesting to compare my print to the design by William Morris, and I do see some simlarities - for example, the foliage on my woodblock has a kind of ornamental character, too. However, the woodblock seems much more naturalistic, don't you think?
    Anyway, judging from what you are writing, you seem to have an idea about the origin of my print. Do you think it was produced in England? But maybe you're right, perhaps it's better to wait and see what the other experts and print-maniacs have to say (if they have to say anything at all...)

    thanks again!


  2. It strikes me as too bold and decorative to be English but may be a Secessionst who was aware of English arts & crafts. The yellowy-gold is a Siccard Redl favourite - and she was vey painterly - but her cutting is more expressive than this. Her subjects were alot wider than either Bresslern Roth and Jungnickel and it isn't masterly enough for him.

    Do you think it's a professional artist? It's the play of light on the breast that interests me.

    Having said all that, perhaps someone will come along and prove me wrong.

  3. It's a very lovely print but of a very common shrub or tree: rowan, or mountain ashe. And the bird that mainly feeds on the berries a thrush. A garden scene. But what a lovely and skilled print. How very odd the maker didn't leave any markings or is recognizable by other examples. Sorry: no idea.

  4. I agree a thrush not a blackbird (Morris's bird is also a thrush, though the two are part of the same family so it's not a big issue), but sadly can't offer any further suggestion on the artist. Nice image, though.

  5. It's by a printmakers with signature J. Prescher. Prints with this name often show up in (auctions in) America. I know of only half a dozen others .