Frenzel & Pfau / Ludwig Bechstein

Frontispiece: H. Holbein inv. G. Pfau fec: aq.fort. Frenzel termin: & direx: Dresd: 1830
Frontispiece:

Frenzel published this portfolio in 1830. The portfolio consists of 48 engravings plus the frontispiece (to the left), and thus includes all 49 scenes from the editions of Holbein's dance between 1547-1554 except for the little boys (putti).

As is typical for this era, nothing is told about the creators except for what we can read below the frontispiece: »H. Holbein inv. G. Pfau fec: aq.fort. Frenzel termin: & direx: Dresd: 1830«. That is: Holbein designed the images, G. Pfau created the etchings with "aqua fortis" (nitric acid), and Frenzel finished the plates and functioned as head of the workshop.

Johann Gottfried Abraham Frenzel (1782 - 1855) was the head of the royal gallery of copperplates and drawings in Dresden. In 1825 he wrote an article in Morgenblatt für gebildete Stände / Kunstblatt about Hans Lützelburger and Holbein's dance of death alphabet. In this article he described a sheet with so-called "proofs" of the entire alphabet, i.e. the very same sheet that Heinrich Lödel copied in 1842.

Gustav Pfau was a pupil of Frenzel and had for a time served on the staff of the gallery. His poor eyesight prevented him from becoming a first rank artist, and because of this and because of his Lutheran faith he migrated to the United States as part of the Saxon Lutheran immigration of 1838-39.

Pfau moved from Dresden, Germany, and settled down in Dresden, Tennessee, at the age of 30. He soon gave up farming and moved around to New York, Boston and St. Louis. His last ten years were spent in Springfield, Illinois, where he died in 1884 at the age of 76 years.

Der Todtentanz, ein Gedicht
Bechstein, Der Todtentanz, ein Gedicht
Ludwig Bechstein Jr., the frog swim school
Bechstein, frog swim school

L udwig Bechstein (1801-1860) was a prolific author and collector of folk fairy tales. His German fairy tale book was even more popular than the Brothers Grimm's collection.(1)

He was the father of eight children, one of whom — also named Ludwig — was a prolific illustrator of fairy tales and other kiddie cartoons like the "frog swim school" to the right.(2)

Frenzel and Pfau's 1830-portfolio is hard to find today, so evidently it didn't sell well. It seems that the 1831-edition where the etchings were combined with Bechstein's poems was a far greater success — when judging by the number of extant copies.

 

Frenzel's outlines are detailed, but delicate, and must be viewed in full size. This is definitely not a book you will enjoy on Google Books.

Resources

Title
Bechstein holbein-bechstein.htm: Title
Creation
Bechstein 1831: Creation
The Fall
Bechstein 1831: The Fall
Expulsion
Bechstein 1831: Expulsion
After the Fall
Bechstein 1831: After the Fall
Bones of All Men
Bechstein 1831: Bones of All Men
The Pope
Bechstein 1831: The Pope
Emperor
Bechstein 1831: Emperor
King
Bechstein 1831: King
Cardinal
Bechstein 1831: Cardinal
Empress
Bechstein 1831: Empress
Queen
Bechstein 1831: Queen
Bishop
Bechstein 1831: Bishop
Duke
Bechstein 1831: Duke
Abbot
Bechstein 1831: Abbot
Abbess
Bechstein 1831: Abbess
Nobleman
Bechstein 1831: Nobleman
Canon
Bechstein 1831: Canon
Judge
Bechstein 1831: Judge
Lawyer
Bechstein 1831: Lawyer
Senator
Bechstein 1831: Senator
Preacher
Bechstein 1831: Preacher
Priest
Bechstein 1831: Priest
Monk
Bechstein 1831: Monk
Nun
Bechstein 1831: Nun
Old woman
Bechstein 1831: Old woman
Physician
Bechstein 1831: Physician
Astrologer
Bechstein 1831: Astrologer
Rich man
Bechstein 1831: Rich man
Merchant
Bechstein 1831: Merchant
Sailor
Bechstein 1831: Sailor
Knight
Bechstein 1831: Knight
Count
Bechstein 1831: Count
Old man
Bechstein 1831: Old man
Countess
Bechstein 1831: Countess
Noblewoman
Bechstein 1831: Noblewoman
Duchess
Bechstein 1831: Duchess
Peddler
Bechstein 1831: Peddler
Peasant
Bechstein 1831: Peasant
Child
Bechstein 1831: Child
Judgement Day
Bechstein 1831: Judgement Day
The escutcheon
Bechstein 1831: The escutcheon
Soldier
Bechstein 1831: Soldier
Waggoner
Bechstein 1831: Waggoner
Gambler
Bechstein 1831: Gambler
Robber
Bechstein 1831: Robber
Blind man
Bechstein 1831: Blind man
Beggar
Bechstein 1831: Beggar
Drunkard
Bechstein 1831: Drunkard
Fool
Bechstein 1831: Fool

Other interpreters of Holbein's dance of death

Artists/publishers:

Hans Holbein (1526) - so-called proofs
Hans Holbein (1538) - the originals
Heinrich Aldegrever (1541)
Heinrich Vogtherr (1544)
Vincenzo Valgrisi (1545)
Arnold Birckmann (1555)
Juan de Icíar (1555)
Valentin Wagner (1557)
Jiří Melantrich (1563)
Georg Scharffenberg (1576)
Leonhart Straub (1581)
David Chytraeus (1590)
Peter Paul Rubens (ca. 1590)
Fabio Glissenti (1596)
Eberhard Kieser (1617)
Rudolf and Conrad Meyer (1650)
Wenceslaus Hollar (1651)
De doodt vermaskert (1654)
Thomas Neale (1657)
Johann Weichard von Valvasor (1682)
Erbaulicher Sterb-Spiegel (1704)
Salomon van Rusting (1707)
T. Nieuhoff Piccard (1720)
Christian de Mechel (1780)
David Deuchar (1788)
John Bewick (1789)
Alexander Anderson (1810)
Wenceslaus Hollar (1816)
"Mr. Bewick" (1825)
→ Ludwig Bechstein (1831) ←
Joseph Schlotthauer (1832)
Francis Douce (1833)
Carl Helmuth (1836)
Francis Douce (1858, 2. edition)
Henri Léon Curmer (1858)
Tindall Wildridge (1887)

Footnotes: (1) (2)

This fact is from English Wikipedia, who cite "Rapunzel and other Magic Fairy Tales" by Anthea Bell, 2006, p. 157.

For this book, Anthea Bell chose Bechstein's version of Hansel and Gretel, rather than Grimm's.

For a long time I thought they were the same person, until I found a better scan of the "swim school", and couldn't understand why it was signed "L. Bechstein 88", when Bechstein died in 1860.

I still think the drawing is too charming not to use.