June 10, 2014

Woodcuts by de Graag

        I recently came across some work by Julie de Graag (Netherlands, 1877-1924) that I found very pleasing.  De Graag was apparently not unknown in her own time and place, but seems to be quite obscure in mine.  Indeed, all the information I found about her is in Dutch, and while I think between my German and English I was able to glean the basics, I won’t be able to give you any deep insights into her oeuvre.  But then, there’s nothing wrong with letting the art speak for itself.
        I love this pair of owls.  They’re stylized, but still have plenty of personality; they’re a matching set but each an individual.  There’s no background, no tiny details or intricate textures, just a charming, bold, straight-forward design.
        This second example is even bolder and more stylized, and looks more like it might have been intended as graphic work more than “Fine Art."  It would bear repetition as a tile design or wallpaper border or a silk scarf.  I also found just a thumbnail of another flower with a similar look (though I particularly like 
the background of the nasturtiums).  I wonder how many other flower designs de Graag might have done in this style and color scheme.  I find them really attractive and love the use of color.
        I’m sorry I wasn’t able to find more about this artist, but I’m grateful that I found what I did - just remember that twenty years ago, without all the wonderful artwork posted on the internet, none of this would have been possible at all!

[Pictures: Twee uilen (Two Owls) woodcut by Julie de Graag, 1921;
Oost-Indische kers (Nasturtium) color woodcut by de Graag, 1919 (Images from Gemeente Museum den Haag);
Geranium, color woodcut by de Graag, 1918.]

1 comment:

Pax said...

Thanks for bring to our attention these "forgotten" artists. I'm enjoying seeing samples of their work and learning a bit about them Thanks!