Thursday, October 15, 2009


As you well may know, I come from German stock...& maybe cause it is in my blood, I gravitate towards German artists & crafts people for inspiration. When I was a child I remember my mother spending a lot of time painting on small wooden boxes my uncle sent from Germany...folk art flowers, love hearts..things to remind her of home...the following paintings are decorative works of art that incorporate "fraktur" which means broken letters. European artists would take a mechanically or hand printed piece & add hand drawn decoration. Many Pennsylvania Germans used this method to record important life events. From birth certificates, marriage certificates, religious text, etc. What appeals to me about these works is that they are not only decorative naive drawings, but links to the past. 

Birth and baptismal certificate for Catharina Hohwerther. Christian Beschler. Northumberland County, Pa., dated 1814. Hand-drawn, lettered, and colored on laid paper. H. 13-1/4, W. 16-1/2 in. Private collection. Text in translation reads, "Catharina Hohwerther was born the 30th of December, in the year of the Lord 1813, and was baptized by Pastor Hempton [Hemping] the 9th of January, 1814. The sponsors were the esteemed Mister Adam Hohwerther and his much loved house wife Catharina. The parent's names are the same. The esteemed mister Peter Hohwerther and his wife Elisabetha, nee Diehl. Made by CB 1814." Text in heart Reads: "All your life keep God before your eyes and in your heart." Catharina Hohwerther lived on a 130-acre farm near Howerter's Church in Upper Mahanoy Township with her parents, Johann Peter Hohwerther (1772-1862) and Elisabeth (1778-1860).14 Her parents and grandparents are buried in the cemetery at Howerter's Church.

Birth and baptismal certificate for Johannes Kreniger, Christian Beschler. Northumberland County, Pa., dated 1798. Hand-drawn, lettered, and colored on laid paper. H. 13, W. 16-1/2 inches Winterthur Museum. Text in translation reads: "Johannes was born the 26th of June 1798 in the year of Christ and baptized by Pastor Moeller. The sponsors were Wilhelm Heim and his wife Barbara and the parents were Heinrich Kreniger and his wife Anna Maria." Johannes Kreniger was baptized at Himmel's church on August 12, 1798.

"George Washington"

Drawing done by Pennsylvania German artists in a style reminiscent of medieval illuminated manuscript art. The painter who created this portrait of Washington is not known by name; art historians refer to him as the "Washington-Sussel Artist" because his work was first studied by a collector of that name.

some images & information from here


Anonymous said...

Schmookie: Great to run across another person who loves Fraktur and Pennsylvania German design. Check out my blog.

schmookie said...

Hi Ken,
Thanks for visiting my blog...I had a look at your blog and website...So beautiful...I really dig your pouches...I'll keep posted on your new designs...

Ana Drăgan said...

People knew how to beautify their lives...Very interesting post! Congratulations