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Belligerents and Participants
The Dresden artist Otto Dix enlisted as soon as the Great War broke out, and was assigned to the artillery. By 1915 he was transferred to a machine gun unit and saw fighting at the Battle of the Somme. He was wounded several times during the War, receiving a severe neck wound in Flanders that nearly killed him. He was discharged in September 1918 because of this injury. During the War he produced over 500 hand drawn postcards, which he mailed to friends and family. At this time he was influenced by futurism; so while these images represent the destructiveness of war, their mood is not antiwar. Dix also made many sketches at the front that were referenced in his paintings in later years. Some of his more haunting work can be found in the antiwar photo inspired portfolio of prints entitled Der Krieg that he made for the Art Dealer Karl Nierendorf in the early 1920’s. Though produced for profit rather than political aims, these works did not sell well in a climate of growing nationalism. These works are more likely to be found as modern art reproductions than contemporary postcards.
Erich R. Dobrich was a prolific illustrator of Continental size military postcards. While most of these seem like generic depictions of the German army out on maneuvers, most are dedicated to specific regiments, and some actually give the time and place of specific battles from World War One. He was one of the few artists that depicted colonial troops in foreign settings. Though Dobrich served in the Great War it is difficult to tell when these cards were made, which might have been in the postwar years.
Bernard J. Dondorf was a pioneer in lithographic printing, setting up his shop in Frankfurt in 1833. He made a name for himself by producing superb luxury plating card sets, but by the 1870’s the firm was largely producing card packs for various fortune telling games that had grown in popularity. They added fine chromolithographic artist signed postcards to the products they printed in the 1890’s. While they published military themed cards during the Great War, these utilized the tricolor process to cut cost.
Albert Ebner was a fine art printer from Munich. During World War One they produced both posters and postcards in varying quality that covered everything from battle scenes to propaganda.
the firm of Edler & Krische, founded in Hannover in the mid-1850’s, was a printer of a wide variety of products ranging from board games to bank notes, and by the 1890’s they were printing postcards. They produced a set of black & white cards depicting scale models of battlefront scenes from the First World War, though these may have been made in the postwar years.
Fritz W. Egger of Munich used a number of different artists to illustrate his military cards published during World War One. They often capture subtle moments of drama between pitched battles and camp life. Some of these tricolor cards lack the color density usually found in similar cards from this period.
The painter and printmaker Franz Eichhorst enlisted in the German army when the Great War broke out. He would produce many moody paintings and drawings based on his military experiences that depict the life of the average soldier in quiet moments as well as action. These images were placed on black & white fieldpostcards by the Berlin publisher Albert Frisch. Eichhorst would become an official war artist on the Eastern Front during World War Two.
Theodor Eismann (Theochrome) was a fine art printing and publishing house in Liepzig, whose international view-cards were well known. During the Great War they published traditional battle scenes emphasizing the heroic over the violent, but in a somewhat cartoonish style.
E.P. & Co. from Leipzig is known for reproducing a very large series of illustrations of all aspects of the Great War on photo paper. The imagery on their cards, which number into the hundreds, was supplied by a number of different illustrators. They tended to favor high contrast images such as night scenes and snowy landscapes. While this approach helps to simplify the compositions, they still provide so much detail that they are sometimes difficult to read on this small scale. The same images can sometimes be found reproduced as monochrome collotypes and more rarely as color cards.
Dr. Eysler & Co. was a Berlin publisher that put out the weekly satirical magazine Lustigen Blatter. During World War One many of its illustrations dealt with military subjects, including generals and politicians. These pictures found their way onto postcards that were printed by Hermann Bergmann.
Farbenphotographische Gesellschaft (Color Photographic Society) of Stuttgart published two very popular sets of postcards during the Great War. One featured the paintings of W. Burger who captured very dramatic battle scenes from all theaters of the War. These cards were printed in large numbers and were used for advertising, as charity cards, and for field posting.
Despite his prolific output of postcards, there is some confusion about the identity of W. Burger because there is more than one artist with that name. Could this be the noted Viennese photographer Wilhelm Burger who was also said to paint? This would make his connection to Farbenphotographische Gesellschaft more understandable.
Farbenphotographische Gesellschaft also published tricolor postcards based on the photographs of one of its founders, Hans Hildenbrand, who was a pioneer of the Autochrome process. While he was permitted to work at the Vosges and Champagne fronts during 1916 and 1916 as an official war photographer, strict wartime censorship still limited what he could photograph. These cards largely capture quieter moments in the war torn landscape, ruins, trenches, and the lives of ordinary soldiers behind the lines. While lacking drama they still manage to paint a unique portrayal of the War. There are also a number of autochrome-based postcards attributed to Hildenbrand without photo credit or a publishers name on them.
Arthur Fischer was a well known as a landscape and portrait painter. His large scale work brought him to the attention of Kaiser Wilhelm II, and he became a court painter. During World War One he create a number of paintings of the Kaiser at the front. Many of his paintings were reproduced on posters and postcards.
Richard Flockenhous was a painter of romantic landscapes that often contained symbolic elements. He became a noted wood engraver, and used this technique ti create illustrations for fieldpost cards during the First World War.
Clemens Frankel was an artist who painted landscapes from the Italian coast to the Alps. While his style was somewhat Impressionist-like, he tended to work in a subdued palette. Military themes crept into his art during World War One.
The book printers, Fredebeul & Koenen had established themselves in Essen by 1866. They eventually expanded into the production of postcards, and during World War One their artist signed cards took on military themes.
While Max Frey is largely known as a painter within the New Objectivity Movement (Neue Sachlichkeit) he was largely active in the arts a illustrator designing Art Nouveau influenced bookplates, posters and postcards in the prewar years. During World War One he turned his attention toward propaganda work, which was also reproduced on postcards.
La Gazette des Ardennes was a weekly newspaper distributed by the German Army Headquarters (Kommandatur) in Charleville. They began publication in November 1914 to disseminate official German proclamations throughout their administrative district in French occupied territory. By controlling all the news, the paper became a propaganda instrument aimed at lowering French moral. The French nicknamed it the paper of lies (journal des minteux), but it became more widely read when it began publishing names on the French casualty and prisoner lists. They also published fieldpost cards on light stock illustrated by German Artists. The last edition was issued in early November 1918.
John Gleich was an Orientalist painter of note who captured landscapes and types stretching from Turkey to India. During World War One he created propaganda illustrations that were placed on postcards by Arthur Collignon in Berlin.
The artist G. Adolf Gloss produced many colorful historic military illustrations that especially depict scenes from the Napoleonic Wars and World War One for charity cards. Those from the Great War are tightly cropped as if taken from a larger composition. This effect is enhanced by a narrow depth of field, which despite the lose handling of paint brings up associations with photography.
Georg Greve-Lindau was a lithographer and painter who worked in an impressionistic style. In 1914 he moved to Berlin to be closer to the art scene but his life there was soon disrupted by the outbreak of the Great War. He would serve in the German army, and work based on his wartime sketches were placed on postcards. Some of these appear as on the spot sketches in black & white, while his color images look a bit more finished. He also contributed illustrations to Kriegszeit, a weekly broadsheet covering the artistic response to war. After the War he tried to resume his career but his traditional approach to painting had fallen out of vogue.
The Bavarian Theodor Guggenberger worked as a landscape painter, illustrator, and stage designer. Though his paintings were created in a Romantic Academic style, there is also a nervous expressiveness to be found in his compositions that carried over into his design work for postcards. Though best known for his calendar postcards, he created military themes cards during World War One.
Wolff Hagelberg╩of Berlin was an early publisher and printer of chromolithographic materials including fine art books, and greeting cards that became one of the largest producers of postcards. Though they largely catered to the export market, they began printing patriotic propaganda cards in color lithography during World War One.
Robert von Haug was a painter and printmaker, but primarily worked as an illustrator. Much of his imagery tended to deal with equestrian and narrative themes. He served as a professor at the Stuttgart Art School during World War One while managing to illustrate a number of postcards depicting German Soldiers for the publisher Louis Rath. These images are a bit more stylized than his more academic paintings.
Dora Heckel worked as a decorative artist and illustrator producing works in a naive style. She designed many postcards that often incorporated silhouettes. She continued to illustrate cards during the Great War, concentrating around themes of farewells and homecomings. A large set of these that place colorful images on a black background were published by Wezel & Naumann.
From his studio in Munich, Edwin Heneláproduced paintings and bold graphics that appeared on posters, poster stamps, and postcards. He was fond of aerial themes, and produced work for air shows. This interest carried over to the military cards he illustrated for the publisher, Richard Arnold during World War One.
Adolf Emil Hering began his career painting altarpieces in Konigsberg. After moving to Berlin in 1899 he he began exhibiting historically themed paintings and became engaged in commercial work producing illustrations for books and postcards. All his work regardless of subject matter was heavily influenced by the Symbolists. Even by World War One his work remained highly narrative.
Martin Herpich was a fine art and book publisher from Munich. During World War One he employed a variety of artists to illustrate numerous battle scenes in dramatic fashion. These were often presented as epic panoramas. Most of these images were printed as bleeds but some have white borders.
One of the best known artists working for Frederich Bruckmann was the painter, etcher and illustrator Paul Hey, who had previously produced much work for Ottmar Zieher. Many of his cards depict rather ordinary scenes but are sometimes accompanied by patriotic mottos. Hey always worked in a variety of styles and this was no different during the War years.
Franz Gustav Hochmann was a painter who primarily produced rural scenes with domesticated animals. While most of these display the interaction between man and beast, sometimes he focused in on the animal alone. He carried this theme into the Great War, only now the animals depicted were serving the military.
Noted war artist, Anton Hoffmann had served in the Bavarian army before studying art. He began painting historical subjects and depictions of German troops out on maneuvers long before the Great War started, many of which were reproduced on color postcards. Though no actual fighting was taking place, he was still adept at capturing the energy found in complex multi-figured compositions. This trend continued on the many monochrome postcards he illustrated for Lehmanns during World War One. He also published a set of cards for Barcus & Co. in a more linear style that was hand colored. These cards are a bit larger than standard size.
Arnold Hoffmann was a prolific illustrator of postcards, producing many during World War One. Most of these depict small children substituting for soldiers in mildly amusing narratives. He also produced a number of more conventional generic military scenes for cards.
Ludwig Hohlwein worked as an architect until 1906 when he took up a career in the graphic arts. His bold poster designs that owed more to modernist trends than tradition quickly brought him fame. He worked for the German government during World War One designing propaganda posters of which a number were turned into postcards.
Imberg & Lefson were important printers in Berlin, noted for their fine illustrated books. During World War One they produced a number of black & white and dutone cards capturing artist drawn scenes of generic events at and behind the front lines.