Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Jugendstil bookplates

The bookplate or ex libris has put bread and butter on many an artist’s table, and over the course of time has developed into a flourishing art form all of its own. I don’t pretend to know very much about the history and development of ex libris, but seem to have acquired some anyway. I think this little group of Austrian, Czech and German bookplates of the Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) period are particularly charming. They come from the Vienna art revue Die Graphischen Künste, from the years 1911, 1912, and 1914.

Maximilian Liebenwein (Austrian, 1869-1926)
Ex libris Josef Kundrat
Lithograph, 1910

Maximilian Liebenwein
Ex libris Karl Stark
Lithograph, 1910

Maximilian Liebenwein
Ex libris der Verbindung von Wiener Kunstakademikern “Athenaia”
Lithograph, 1910

Alfred Cossmann (Austrian, 1870-1951)
Ex libris Arthur Graf
Etching, c.1912

Alfred Cossman
Ex libris Franz J. Kaiser
Etching. c.1912

Alois Kolb (Austrian, 1875-1942)
Ex libris Gertrud Kolb
Etching, c.1914

Rudolf Junk (Austrian, 1880-1943)
Ex libris Rudolf Junk
Lithograph, c.1914

Arnošt Hofbauer (Czech, 1869-1944)
Ex libris Leopold Heyrovsky
Lithograph, c.1914

Emil Orlik (Czech, 1870-1932)
Ex libris Martha Poensgen
Lithograph, c.1914

Martha Hofrichter (Czech, 1872-1960)
Ex libris Anna Boeck
Lithograph, c.1914

Otokar Štáfl (Czech, 1884-1947)
Ex libris Otokar Štáfl
Lithograph, c.1914

Felix Hollenberg (German, 1868-1945)
Ex libris Albert Gussmann
Etching, c.1914

Julius Diez (German, 1870-1957)
Ex libris Toni Stadler
Lithograph, c.1914


Lew Jaffe said...

Very nice selection.
Lew Jaffe

Neil said...

Thanks Lew. You found that fast! I've added a link to your interesting blog in the sidebar.

Kittie Howard said...

Fabulous collection. I especially liked the Ex libris by Anna Boeck. Thank you!

Neil said...

Kittie - Martha Hofrichter's bookplate for Anna Boeck is just about my favourite, too.

Jane Librizzi said...

The bookplate is a small rigid format but, like record covers, that seems a spur to artistry rather than a hindrance. Rudolf Junk and Martha Hofrichter seem to foreshadow the posters of David Lance Goines. Something about Art Nouveau is appealing to the eye. Do you have more, please?

Neil said...

Jane - The 1970s Danish journal International Grafik that I posted about before was edited by two ex libris enthusiasts, and one of the issues was completely devoted to ex libris - so there's certainly another post there that will make an interesting contrast to this one. Your point about the constraints of the size is well made, and it's true too that like record sleeves and posters a bookplate must find a pleasing balance between image and lettering. Actually one of the ex libris illustrated here, Alois Kolb's strikingly erotic etching for (and of?) his wife Gertrud, is far too big for practical use - nearly 7 inches by 7 inches!

r8r said...

are bookplates still being made? I'll say that even though I've drawn a number of them, for fun, no one's every approached me to design one for real.

and if not, surely there must be a modern equivalent...?

Neil said...

r8r - the short answer is, yes people are still commissioning bookplates. I would say that nowadays the original personal bookplate has become pretty well exclusively the preserve or wood engravers (such as Andy English, whose blog is linked to in the sidebar). Shops also sell pre-made bookplates for people to have fun with, but in terms of the bookplate as an artistic form, it seems to have settled into wood engraving. I don't think anyone is producing or commissioning etched or copper engraved or lithographed bookplates today.

Unknown said...

Wow! Very cool! I'm bookmarking your site so I can come back for more.

Neil said...

Thanks, Jessica.

Unknown said...

Are you sure the ex libris Heyrovsky dated 1914? In the National Gallery in Prague, this work isn't dated. I wanted to ask you if you can write me, where is this work dated?
Thank you very much!

Neil said...

Terka - I can't be sure of the date, only that it is not later than 1914, when it appeared in Die Graphischen Kunste - the actual date of execution might be earlier.