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Belligerents and Participants
The art publisher Julius Jahl in Mannheim produced a number of fieldpost cards during the Great War. A notable set depicted stylish renditions of towns and villages based on drawings by soldiers in the field. Other German publishers produced similar fieldpost cards of varying quality as this type of subject matter was popular among German troops who wanted cards of places they had been like any ordinary tourist.
Georg Jahn worked as a painter, etcher, and illustrator, and is best known for his portraits and images of children. While Jahn’s style was generally academic, some of his graphic images displayed expressive line work. During World War One he illustrated charity cards for the German Red Cross.
Angelo Jank was a well known painter and muralist before the War. While he painted in a fairly traditional manner, his graphic work had no consistent style. Though influenced by Jungendstil and the Symbolists, his main interest seemed to lay in rendering equestrian scenes. Starting in 1898 he produced a number of postcards, mostly based on his illustrations and poster designs. He also produced many cards with military themes during the First World War. While some of these cards reproduce his paintings, others were made in a unique graphic style.
K.B. & Co. of Berlin produced an unusual set of white bordered military cards that mostly depicted battle scenes. While the scenery has been fairly realistically painted in by an artist, the many figures contained in the composition appear to be placed there through photo-montaged. While somewhat realistic they still look contrived. Variations were made of the same image by changing the palette.
C.W. Kiesslich was a very popular artist who created many illustrations for military postcards that were predominantly published in Berlin by Hermann Wolff and Albert Fink. While they capture the drama of battle, they tend to focus in on encounters between small groups of men. His style was painterly and often characterized by sharp bright explosions, flaming buildings, and billowing clouds of smoke.
Richard Klein was a painter, sculptor, and illustrator who rendered traditional subject matter in a somewhat modernist style. During World War One he illustrated a number of sentimental propaganda postcards for Georg D.W. Callwey. In later years he became a favorite of the Nazis and designed many decorations and posters for them.
Although Heinrich Kley’s early work in painting, etchings and murals was somewhat academic, it did show influence of modern trends. His style utilizing free flowing washes proved to be very suitable for postcard production, and around 1900 he began illustrating postcards for the Munich publisher, Ottmar Zieher. His increasing interest in modern life led him to produce more industrialized scenes, and eventually a set of cards for the weapons manufacturer Krupp that depicted various scenes of their works in Essen as well as aspects of production.
The firm Knackstedt & Nather started as a commercial photography studio that expanded into collotype printing in the early 1890’s. Though their business boomed after the turn of the century, they were forced to declare bankruptcy in 1910. Within six weeks their old facilities would be revived as Knackstedt & Co. During the Great War they published military cards, most notably a large artist drawn set in monochrome depicting ships and naval actions.
At an early age Richard Knotel was already contributing illustrations to newspapers and magazines as well designing postcards. He became a huge collector of military books from which he drew inspiration for his own work. Not only did he paint historical narratives, he created a comprehensive set of illustrations depicting the history of military uniforms from 1600 up to the First World War. Many of these images were reproduced as chromolithographic postcards. Though he died in 1914, his cards remained popular throughout the Great War.
Georg Koch was best known for his paintings, lithographs, and wood block prints depicting animals. Many of these revolved around horses in hunting scenes and serving as cavalry. He also painted a number of pieces depicting battles dating back from the Franco-Prussian War through World War One. Some of these battle scenes as well as more quiet moments were reproduced on charity cards during the Great War.
A number of battle scenes from the Franco-Prussian War painted by Georg Koch were originally printed by Raphael Tuck & Sons. The remaining cards in Germany that could pass for World War One battle scenes had the old information on their backs blocked out, and were reissued as Primus Postkarte by the publisher Wohlgemuth & Lissner in Berlin. The Tuck Oilette logo however can still be found on the front.
Koch & Bitriol published numerous greeting and view-cards before the Great War in chromolithography as well as cards of actors and actresses. While many of the postcards they produced were based on the photographs of Adelbert Bitriol, some of there artist drawn cards of military scenes are pure fantasy.
Hanns Kohler & Co. of Munich published a number of artist drawn monochrome postcards depicting generic scenes of combat during World War One.
Kornsand & Co.of Frankfort started as a book publisher in the early 1890’s. They later expanded their business to publish postcards, and produced many illustrated charity cards in lithography for the German Red Cross during World War One. Maler J. Correggio was one of their noted artists.
Founded in 1832, Kramp & Co. from Offenbach was one of Germany’s oldest lithographic printers. By the end of the 19th century they were engaged in printing all sorts of chromolithographic products including postcards. The high quality of this work continued with the artist drawn cards and battle maps they produced during World war One.
Krupa-Krupinski was a painter and graphic artist that had been illustrating postcards since 1899. Much of his work was heavily influenced by symbolism and his compositions tend to be highly energized. During the First World War he served in the German home guards (Lauenburg Rifle Battalion) that fought in the Vosges Mountains. He continued to provide illustrations for military postcards published by O. Winzen of Berlin, but not all are based on his own experiences.
Although Erich Kux worked as a landscape and portrait painter, he spent much time creating graphic work for magazines and newspapers in the years before the War. His distinct broad, almost flat painterly style translated into bold designs in his illustrations depicting German soldiers. The Berlin publisher, Arthur Collingnon placed his images on postcards during the Great War.
The Ladewigs Brothers from the port of Wilhelmshaven were early publishers of postcards depicting local scenes and maritime related subjects. During the Great War they produced a colorful postcard set depicting German warships in their harbor illustrated by von Seeger (Hermann Seeger?).
Karl Maria Lechner, also known as Max Lechner was a painter and lithographer. While based in Munich, he traveled extensively producing ambitious landscapes and some orientalist works. During world War One he provided propaganda illustrations for postcards published by Ludwig Mayer.
Gebruder Lempe of Kiel already ha a history of publishing marine related postcards before the Great War began. Most of these were of warships, which was no doubt due to their sharing a city with a major naval base. While travelers to town might pick up such a card as a souvenir, his largest audience was probably the sailors who served aboard ships and needed to write home. This need grew especially acute during the war years. Many of these cards are straight forward renditions of ships but those produced under the Mars Series have sentimental or propaganda content. Both artist drawn and photo-based cards were produced through a wide variety of methods.
Hermann Friedrich Lenz was a landscape painter who illustrated postcards for Emil Hartmann in Strasburg during World War One. He may have served in the Vosges with Landstrum forces.
Alfons Letailleur of Aachen was primarily a landscape painter who worked in a somewhat free style. The energy found in these paintings carried over into his graphic work, which can be seen in the illustrations he made for Red Cross charity cards during World War One.
Gustav Liersch & Co. was an important publisher of real photo postcards. They were primarily known for their portraits of the royal family and generic hand colored portraits of pretty women. During World War One they not only added portraits of military leaders to their inventory, they also published images taken by official German war photographers. Some of their cards reproduce military themed artwork on bromide photo paper.
Businessmen such as Hermann Lohler of Hannover became involved in producing military postcards during the War years. He had used artists to publicize his sweets for years, and now he had the artist W. Georgi illustrate a postcard set depicting German soldiers, all with a package of his famous keks (cakes) discretely placed within the composition.
Karl Lotze was pursuing his study of art in Belgium and the Netherlands when the Great War broke out. He then quickly returned to Germany and enlisted in the infantry. His regiment was assigned to the campaign in France, but he contracted typhus in 1915 and was sent to the hospital in Laon. Unable to resume normal duties, he was reassigned as an official war artist for the 7th Army. He spent the remainder of the War in the vicinity of Laon, capturing many scenes of troops in transit and portraits of German solders. Many of these dark brooding drawings were used on finely printed fieldpost cards.
Felix Luib of Strasbourg was an art publisher who produced a number of different postcard types in lithography. These cards range from early Gruss aus to mechanical novelties. He was an early producer of military cards starting with coverage of the Boer War. He continued to publish artist drawn cards of military subjects during the Great War.
The Bavarian artist, Hiasl Maier-Erding (originally Matthias Maier) is known for his expressive landscape and portrait painting, but this brushy hand was already evident in the work he produced during World War One. Most of these early works that were placed on postcards capture ordinary scenes lived by ordinary soldiers.
Émile Mathis started out as a car dealer in Strassburg and was marketing his own designs by 1910. He was conscripted into the German Army in 1914 but he remained connected to his factory where he produced military vehicles. His automobilwerke also produced fieldpostcards that featured his products. By 1916 the British Blockade had caused severe shortages in rubber, and Mathis was sent to Switzerland to obtain this precious commodity for his tires. As an Alsatian his loyalties remained with France, and he used this opportunity to desert and join the French Army. His firm continued to run, but Mathis would only regain control over it just prior to World War Two, which caused a new set of problems.
The publisher J. Maubach & Co. of Frankfurt was an early producer of view-cards. During the First World War they turned out artist signed propaganda and charity posters that were also made into chromolithographic and tricolor postcards. Some of these were produced as oversized regimental postcards. They also reproduced sketches made by soldiers in the field on black & white cards. Some of their cards were distributed by Hermann A. Peters of Bonn.
M.B.L. produced a large number of halftone postcards, both tinted and in black & white, that mostly depicted battle scenes. These cards are peculiar for while their compositions usually involve many figures they are all posed as they would be in a photographer’s studio. These elaborate montages combining photo-based figures with artist drawn landscapes are titled after real battles but only hint at real events.
C.C. Meinhold & Son was Dresden’s oldest publisher. During World War One they produced a number of artist drawn fieldpost cards that captured dramatic scenes of combat.
In 1892 the Munich firm of Georg Meissenbach, noted inventor of the Meisenback printing process, merged with the Heinrich Riffarth Art Institute to form Meissenbach Riffarth & Co. in Berlin-Schonberg. By the turn of the 20th century they were one of the most important printers of fine art reproductions. Like most printers they also became involved in producing postcards, and they continued to print artist drawn cards in collotype with military themes during World War One. One of their fine sets depicts life in the trenches sketched by the painter Walter Voltmer.
Oskar Merté largely worked as a painter and illustrator focused on equestrian themes through which he found work with Flying Sheets and the German Cavalry Newspaper. After assisting Franz Roubaud Alexeyevich created the battle panorama of Sevastopol, Merté became more interested in military themes. While most postcards reproduce his renderings of horses and other animals, he would also paint battle scenes from depictions of Napoleonic Battles to contemporary scenes of World War One.
Gebruder Metz based in Tubingen had been producing view-cards since the 1890’s. During the Great War they captured many military scenes on artist drawn postcards. While many of these scenes capture grand dramatic action, they tend to be generic neither referencing date nor place.
Paul Miller in Blauen published a large number of Fieldpost cards based on the sketches of soldiers fighting in the trenches. Though the locations are anonymous to create broader appeal, they are outstanding for their honesty in capturing the cramped living quarters and the boredom that the troops faced.
The Berlin publisher, Max O’Brien was typical of many small publishers that had a history of producing local view-cards. Once the Great War broke out they began issuing postcards with military themes, probably out of patriotism infused with financial motives. As with other publishers, output was strong early in the conflict but slacked off and possibly even ended before the War was over.
The Bavarian Rudolf Poeschmann was primarily a landscape artist who produced work in a clear but painterly style. The drawings he produced during the War by contrast have a strong graphic feel. He supplied illustrations for Fritz Grabs who published oversized regimental fieldpost cards.
Ferdinand Preiss had dreamed of becoming an engineer; but after he was orphaned at the age of 15, he was apprenticed by ivory carver Philipp Willmann. After moving to Baden-Baden he met Arthur Kassler and they went into business together to produce finely crafted figurines. During World War One Preiss illustrated propaganda cards for Neufeld & Henius in Berlin under the pseudonym Fritz Preis. It is unclear if this was just a patriotic gesture or if the income was needed when his Preiss & Kassler company lost exports to the British blockade.