Lorenz Frølich

Mountain man
Lorenz Frølich

Lorenz Frølich (1820-1908) was a Danish painter, illustrator, and etcher. He studied in Copenhagen, Dresden and Paris, and it is said that his works on childrens' books in Paris were so successful that the term for a children's' book for a while was "un froelich".(1)

Much of Frølich's earlier work was for various calendars in Leipzig and Dresden. In 1845 he came to Dresden and in 1846 he wrote to his friends in Florence and Copenhagen that he had had plans of designing a new dance of death: »… then I had begun a death's dance for woodcuts, but I got hung up on some cursed philosophical ideas, upon which the whole was stuck; after that I have designed around hundred major and minor drawings for Wigand's bookshop in Leipzig to illustrate a 'Jugend-Calendar', which has received much applause …«.

Part of the story about the unfinished dance of death is that Frølich in 1845 sent one of the designs home to his father who passed it on to the young woodcutter, Hans Christian Henneberg (1826-1893). In January 1846 the father could return a print of Henneberg's woodcut. Shortly after, Henneberg traveled to Dresden and started working on one more scene.

All in all it seems Frølich only finished 6 designs, which today reside in Dresden's Kupferstichkabinett. Two of those are cut by Henneberg, viz. the mountain dweller carrying Death on his back (picture to the right), and the skipper of the river craft with Death blowing the horn. Henneberg has signed the mountain man with his mark, HCH, in the bottom right corner, and supposedly he also signed the skipper, although I cannot see it.

The cuts are presented within a frame and at the bottom is a small dance frieze, which is a copy of Holbein's dagger sheath.

Sources

The 1848 calendar kan be seen here: Sächsischer Volkskalender : für das Jahr 1848. The woodcuts are on pages 145-150.

The calendar just states that all the prints are by local talent: »Holzschnitte nach Originalzeichnungen von Dresdner und Münchner Künstlern«.

The story behind Frølich and his dance of death can be read in Danish in the periodical Bogvennen from 1920: Oplysninger om tidlige Illustrationer af Lorenz Frølich. The story is on pages 13-16.


Frølich
Frølich 1848: Frølich
Frølich
Frølich 1848: Frølich
Frølich
Frølich 1848: Frølich
Frølich
Frølich 1848: Frølich
Frølich
Frølich 1848: Frølich
Frølich
Frølich 1848: Frølich

Further information

Footnotes: (1)

un froelich . . .: This factoid is often repeated, but the truth is that a Google search finds more pages repeating the fact than actual examples.

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