Godron, Richard | 15 Musterblätter für Naturzeichnen und Malen

  • A fabulous and very rare portfolio of fifteen poichoir prints of plants and animals in the Art Nouveau style. WorldCat locates a single institutional set, at the Wissenschaftliche Stadtbibliothek in Mainz, and only one appears in auction records, at Hauff and Auvermann in 2011.

    The remarkable plates in this portfolio are described in the title as “sample sheets” for nature drawing and painting, presumably for designers, though they would certainly have been useful to students and amateurs. Of particular interest are the subjects depicted. While the usual ornamental plants, fruit, butterflies, and beetles are present, Godron has chosen to depict animals that are less traditionally decorative: a hoopoe, woodpecker, salamander, crayfish, and some decidedly un-ornamental fish. Most of the plates sport multiple designs, sometimes as a vignette including several species and in other cases as specimen sheets. One plate, for instance, offers the salamander, crayfish, and tree frog each repeated in different presentations. There is also a plate of mock-up commercial designs featuring animals: a bird on a cherry branch for kirsch and a pelican by spilled paint for “Pelikan Farben”, which supports the idea that this portfolio was intended for graphic designers or design students. A few plates feature a single image; among the most striking being a large and brooding magpie.

    There is little documentation of this portfolio or its creator in the historical record. It is cited in R. Fischer’s 1907 book on art pedagogy, Erziehung und naturgefühl ein beitrag zur kunsterziehung, and also the 1992 bibliography Illustration und Illustratoren des Kinder- und Jugendbuchs im Deutschsprachigen Raum 1871-1914, by Hans Ries and Theodor Brüggemann. One reference source, Die Entwicklung des Vegetabilen Ornaments in Deutschland vor dem Jugendstil, published in 1988 by Sabine Thümmler, simply states “life details uknown” for Godron. Some contemporary sources in Google Books, however, may indicate that he was an art professor. This is certainly supported by his four publications, two of which were designed for teaching or beginners: Modern-Stilisierte Blumen und Ornamente: Zwanzig Tafeln nach der Natur (Flowers and Ornaments in the Modern Style: Twenty Plates from Nature); Mal- und Zeichenbuch für die Jugend (Colouring and Drawing Book for Young People); Farbige Flachornamente: Dreissig Vorlageblätter für den Anfangsunterricht (Colored Flat Ornaments: Thirty Template Sheets for the Beginner Class); and Neuzeitliche Vorlagen für das Linearzeichnen (Modern Templates for Linear Drawing).

  • Hannover & Vienna: Günther Wagner, 1906.

    15 colour pochoir plates, together with title leaf. Housed loosely in a linen-backed card portfolio with colour title paste-on, cotton ties, and patterned endpapers. A little darkening around the edges of the plates, as well as some short splits, small chips, and creased areas. The portfolio a little worn and with some loss from the title, primarily the final letter of the word “Malen”, as well as bumps to the lower edges, with the left hand corners curved upward and slightly cracked. Very good condition.