Friday, 19 August 2011

Seeing double with Engelbert Lap


Here is the print that I talked about buying in Sheffield with the same print but with a different colourway below. My photograph is too pale. The colours are richer than this. All the same it suggests the image must have sold well at the time to warrant a second edition. I haven't found any others that Lap approached in this way. Not that many Austrian and German printmakers went in for numbered editions at the time. I can't make out the title of the work and mine only has a signature. This suggests to me that it was the second version. Gerrie Caspers described the blue one as his best print and of the ones I have seen, I tend to agree. But then you need to see the work in front of you and in this country, at least, we don't get that much of an opportunity to see woodcuts by Lap. I was fortunate when I bought this. No one used to be able decipher the signatures of Austrian or German artists. In those days access to Thieme-Baecker,  with their list of monograms and signatures, was necessary to even identify someone like Carl Thiemann. I don't think you would even find one now.


  1. Thanks for posting both of these together.
    They are quite different works with the two color schemes and moods.
    They seem to be almost different works.

    I too, like the blue one better; it is much more dramatic and cool but the top one certainly catches the late-Summer, afternoon mood and light of the Dolomites or alps. It was a good purchase.

  2. Yes, he tried to create different moods, as you say, Andrew. Interesting, too, to see artists using the same medium in a wide variety of ways.

    Unfortunately, the lady I bought my print from was also a framer and chose a chestnut inner mount and mid-brown wooden frame and, although nicely done, it is too much. But it was a must-buy.


  3. Could the top one be a trial proof, perhaps signed at a later date?
    Adventures in the Print Trade mentioned you the other day and I've just read all your posts back to back - really interesting, thank you!

  4. Gail, when readers say they do things like check out the whole blog, it makes it all worthwhile. (Well, you're the only person who has told me they did). I'm pleased it didn't disappoint!

    As to your suggestion, as it happens I was considering a post about editions and proofs. But it's a huge subject and I don't know enough about German and Austrian practice. If it had been a British artist in the twenties, it would have been marked trial proof or something like that but I think that was more to do with the etchings market.

    Quite honestly, I have never come across an Austrian doing that. I think that it may be to do with the way woodblocks and linoblocks are printed. The Thomas Austen Brown woodcuts I featured recently are dodgy proofs from his studio and were never intended for publication.

    Signatures should be an indicator but not always. Many years ago a friend was given some unsigned proofs by Mrs Ian Cheyne but one was gladly accepted by the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford.

    Sunday's post will be about Cheyne and Ian Fleming, with what looks like a flexible approach to editions on the part of Fleming. It's all part of the stew.