GLENN LONEY'S ARTS RAMBLES
Report from Nuremberg on Albrecht Dürer & Matthew Matthias Prechtl in 2012
Caricature of Glenn Loney by Sam Norkin.
Please click on " * " to skip to each subject in this index:
DÜRER ON DISPLAY IN HIS HOME TOWN! *
My Very Own Dürer Experience: Coming to War Torn Europe in the 1950s *
My Dear Late Friend: Matthew Matthias Prechtl *
TWO GREAT NUREMBERG ARTISTS:
MM PRECHTL & AL DÜRER…
While All the World knows Nuremberg’s Most Famous Product, Nürnberger Lebküchen—not to overlook its 1930s Affinity with the Annual Nazi Partei Tag, with Massed Banners, Massed Torches, & Masses of Masses of Wehrmacht & SS Troops—how many really Know the Masterworks of its Favorite Son: Albrecht Dürer?
Now—until 2 September 2012—an amazing Dürer Installation is on view at the Germanisches National Museum in Nuremberg.
But this is not a Dürer Retrospective: That would take an Entire Museum, not just a few Select Galleries…
No: this is The Early Dürer—the largest Dürer Exhibition in Germany in 40 Years!
Albrecht Dürer was already a Lehrling Goldsmith—an Art & Craft he learnt from his Father—when he decided to Apprentice himself to one of Nuremberg’s Master Painter Engravers.
As a Free Imperial City—a Reichstadt, under the Holy Roman Emperor—the Citizens of Medieval Nuremberg did not have to answer to a King, Duke, or Prince.
Instead, they were led by the Patrizer Familie—or Patrician Families—who set the Standards for Culture, Religion, Education, Invention, Entrepreneurship, & Trade.
Not only was Nuremberg the Now Legendary Home of Richard Wagner’s Meistersingers, it was also the Center of Innovations in Printing & Engraving.
Here, in 1493, was printed Hartmann Schedel’s Nürnberger Weltchronik, one of the Oldest Printed Books, with Fabulous Wood Block Prints of the Cities of the World.
Some of them as yet Unseen by Western Eyes…
From such Talented Artist Masters, Albrecht Dürer rapidly mastered himself all the Tricks of the Trade, soon exceeding all his Teachers to become the Pre eminent Artist of his Time.
But Dürer was not content with becoming a Master of Printed Images or of Strikingly Colorful Religious Scenes & Painted Portraits.
He also learned How To Market His Art—making him one of the Best & Most Widely Known Artists of the Early Renaissance.
In Addition, he became a Theoretician: A Master of Drawing The Human Form.
A Master of Composition, of Colors, of Narrative…
The Current Exhibition in Nuremburg offers more than 200 Major Dürers from some of the World’s Most Famous Museums.
Here, for example, is The Adoration of the Magi, on loan from Florence’s prestigious Uffizi Galleries.
From Vienna’s Albertina comes his Self Portrait at the Age of 13…
The Major Section of this astounding & handsomely designed Show is arranged in a kind of Chronological Art Labyrinth, doubling & curving back on itself.
When it is crowded with Eager Spectators—who must also Take Time to read the Extensive Captions & Explanatory Wall Texts—it’s No Wonder there’s always a Waiting Line.
It would be a Kunst Mitzvah if this cleverly designed Installation could be seen beyond Norimberga, but that’s not likely, given the extensive Loans.
But the Art Narrative Segment is not the only aspect of this Exhibition.
There’s also a "Peek behind the Scenes" in the Dürer Lab, showing recent Research Developments in studying Dürer Prints & Paintings.
Not to overlook the Kids Activity Room: AD: All About Dürer…
For an Excellent Overview of this Show, log on to the Germanisches National Museum Website. It has more Dazzling Illustrations than we can ever place in this Brief Report.
Of course, No Trip to Nürnberg would be Complete without a Visit to the Historic Dürer House, now with the Dürer Saal newly opened.
But how about Dürer’s Grave in the Sankt Johannis Friedhof?
The Tomb is surmounted by a Magnificent Brass, celebrating Dürer & His Accomplishments!
Nearby are similar Tombs & Brasses, celebrating the Masters who taught Dürer & who worked with him: such as Wilibald Pirckheimer!
But there is one Sad Brass nearby—in the same Style—that Recalls the Brief Life in Nuremberg of the Young Daughter of the US Consul: Appalachiacola Dunstan.
Who was this Young American Girl—who died so far from Home?
Vienna was divided into Four Sectors. One for the Soviets; One for the French; One for the British, & One for the Americans.
Fortunately for me, the Albertina was in the American Sector.
This Imperial Treasure House of Historic Sketches, Engravings, Etchings, & Prints was inaccessible to all but Bona Fide Scholars & Researchers.
As a Professor Doktor, however, I was welcome to study the Original Theatre Designs of Serlio & Quaglio for the Imperial Hofburg Theater & Oper.
Imagine My Surprise, however, when I came across an Acid Free Box, containing Original Dürer Drawings!
Gingerly drawing onto my hands Sterile Cotton Gloves, I withdrew Dürer’s famous Drawing of a Rabbit!
As for the Nürnberger Weltchronik: Stopping off in Barcelona in Summer 1956, I found an Intact Copy in the Libreria José Porter.
It was priced at a mere $250. But I was saving to buy a $1,200 Volkswagen Beetle…
Unfortunately, I didn’t know what the Nürnberger Weltchronik actually was: One of the First & Rarest of Printed Books!
It was printed only One Year after Columbus made that Famous Voyage—which ultimately resulted in The Knights of Columbus, among other Triumphs of Western Civilization.
I did pay a Couple of Pesos for the Privilege of Razoring Out the Two Page Spread Block Print of Medieval Venice from a formerly Intact Copy of the Weltchronik…
Visiting the Germanisches National Museum—where there is a Special Gallery of the Unusual Drawings & Engravings of Matthew Matthias Prechtl—I had hoped to be able to report on his Remarkable Artistry.
Unfortunately, the Entire Twentieth Century is Closed for Repairs—or something like that—so No Prechtls…
My Old Friend, MM Prechtl, was drafted into the Wehrmacht as a Teen Ager, to fight in Soviet Russia.
Taken Prisoner, he was put to work—Slave Labor—Breaking Stones in a Quarry for Six Long Years.
When he returned to his Native Nuremberg, he began his long & amazing Career as a Satiric Artist Caricaturist, capturing the Feuds, Fads, & Foibles of Post War Germany & its Horrific Nazi Past.
This did not make him Very Popular with his Fellow Nurembergers…
His Work is largely known—if at all—in America for his G. Schirmer’s Poster, featuring Musicians playing in Beethoven’s Bountiful Hair.
But he also provided OP ED Illustrations for the New York Times.
Prechtl had only one Exhibition in Manhattan: at Goethe Haus, opposite the Met Museum.
Few came, aside from Ethnic Germans & Germanophiles…
I was there, often—not only because I had known MM since the Late 1950s—but also because I have, over time, amassed the Largest Collection in the USA of Prechtl Posters & Satiric Prints.
In fact, when I was still writing for Opera News, I was able to enlist Prechtl for Two Covers: One of them featuring Richard Wagner in Venice, in a Gondola with a Voluptuous Nude, floating in the Hair of King Ludwig II of Bavaria.
The other Cover featured Alban Berg, on his Centenary, supported by Lulu & that Unfortunate Soldier, Wozzeck—who Murdered his Unfaithful Wife Marie…
Caricature of Glenn Loney in header is by Sam Norkin.
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