Book illustration

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Albrecht Dürer : The sheet Die Apokalyptischen Reiter is the fourth of 15 sheets from the Apocalypse of 1498 . In this work Dürer illustrates the Revelation of John

A book illustration (from Latin illustratio , to Latin illustrare , illuminate, brighten) is a special form of illustration (pictorial explanation / emphasis) in which image sequences serve to supplement and illuminate a book text . If the illustration is generally defined by its relationship to a text template, then the book illustration does so both by its direct reference to the text and by its concrete involvement in the book form. The book illustration is tied to the book format and the sequence of the pages is also determined, but it is open whether - depending on the state of the art and the artistic intention - the images are separate from the text, are integrated into it, or are on on a separate page, which does not always have to face the intended text passage. Illustration has a threefold effect: as an ornament, as an explanation and as an interpretation.

Book illustration refers to the illustration carried out by printing technology and thereby distinguishes itself from medieval book illumination , which can only be found in a single manuscript. For this reason, the history of book illustration is directly linked to the development of letterpress printing and the progress in the field of graphic image reproduction .

A distinction should be made between two functions: on the one hand, illustration as an ornament, explanation and interpretation for works of fiction in the broadest sense and, on the other hand, the illustration of a scientific or purely objective text in a documentary function. However, there are also mixed forms between these two basic types of illustration.

Centuries before press printing was invented, book illumination was devoted to artistic book design. After Johannes Gutenberg the letterpress was invented movable type, the ornamental book decoration and also the illustration could develop itself further.

15th century

The Gutenberg Bible : Part 1. Old Testament, preface by Hieronymus, written between 1452 and 1454 in Mainz

The beginnings of the illustration of the printed book in the 15th century do not bring anything completely new, but rather combine the old tradition of illuminated manuscripts with the achievements of book printing technology .

The expensive parchment was replaced by paper as a writing material , as it was cheaper to produce and was also better suited for wood panel printing , copper printing and typographic printing. The stuff printing model can be seen as a preliminary stage of woodcut illustration since the end of the 14th century. The lead rods of medieval stained glass windows also had a stylistic influence .

Since the beginning of the 15th century, colored pen drawings have adorned popular writings, which were used as a template for the woodcut decorations . Also were playing cards important for the formal development of the woodcut. In addition to colored pen drawings, miniature painting with opaque paints became important, which were used primarily in magnificent liturgical manuscripts .

The initial decoration and the tendrils, as they can be found in Gutenberg's prints in Mainz or Johann Zainer's in Ulm , were, in addition to the borders of the Cologne and Strasbourg prints, direct replicas of the ornamental decorations of liturgical manuscripts. Right from the start, the printed book should be on a par with the illuminated manuscripts in terms of text and images.

The illustration in block books and incunabula

Biblia pauperum , around 1455: Block book with partly printed, but mostly handwritten text
The Schedelsche Weltchronik , 1493. "The werlt is called umbkrais because it is simbel red and scheybelt or spherical." At the corners the biblical ancestors of Europe , Asia and Africa are depicted: Japhet , Sem and Cham .
Page from the gem , printed by Albrecht Pfister in Bamberg 1461 (facsimile, 1840)

Important intermediate stages between the illuminated manuscripts and the later illustrated printing are the single-sheet printing and the block book , such as B. the Biblia pauperum 1430/1440, Heidelberg , the Dutch Ars moriendi around 1450 and a Dutch Apocalypse around 1430. At this time, the illustration was an aid to understanding for laypeople who were unable to read. A characteristic of most block books and single-leaf woodcuts is the subsequent coloring . Also, the copper pressure was significantly allow such plants, and thanks to the amazing artistic achievements of engravers such as Martin Schongauer , the early 15th century, and the woodcut style has been a very positive influence.

Early 15th century was out in Florence and Bruges of engraving for book illustrators still largely theoretical. Until the mid-1570s, woodcut illustration was the sole responsibility of handcrafted anonymous letter printers who received their orders from printing companies . Often the design and the transfer to the wooden stick came from the same artist , while the shape cutter was a skilled craftsman . This separation cannot be generalized, since there were also artists like Albrecht Dürer who carved their own models in wood . When the printing press spread, the various artists delivered their templates, which were then cut out of shape cutters in the wood: For example, the Boccaccio -Master from Ulm and Augsburg to 1471 and Peter Drach , Master of Offizin in Speyer in 1480 and Michael Wolgemut and Wilhelm Pleydenwurff around 1491 in Nuremberg .

In the early woodcuts, the outline of the forms was always achieved using the so-called bar cut . The subsequent coloring of the remaining areas made the effect of the prints similar to a glass window. Since the woodcut - based on copper engraving - became more and more filigree and detailed, it was increasingly possible to dispense with coloring. In addition, more and more efforts were made to achieve realistic, natural image reproduction. The complicated color woodcut , as found in liturgical works in Augsburg around 1491, was initially without successor.

The metal section was out in Mainz and Cologne rather unusual in Germany, was in favor but in France just for the illustrations of the books of hours ( Livre d'heures ) of great importance.

The first books that already had a typographical set were imitations of the calligraphic and illuminated manuscripts, but they nevertheless represented an important milestone for the future development of book production. This incunabula or incunabula came because of their themes ( theology , scholasticism , jurisprudence ) usually without image factory, books in the local language, which appealed to the educated layman, but needed illustrations. While the illustrations in block books were self-explanatory and conveyed an intention to those unfamiliar with reading, the picture now explained the text as part of the book illustration. The first works in Germany that concerned this belonged to the genre of general edification and sermon literature. In addition, there were fable books (for example by Aesop , Terenz or the Panchatantra ), folk books and chivalric novels ( Melusine , Ritter vom Turm) and Italian novellas such as the Boccacios .

1461 the first books appeared with a set text and woodcut illustrations: In Bamberg printed Albrecht Pfister the gem of Ulrich Boner and Ackermann from Bohemia by Johann von Tepl. Back then, text and images were still printed in a separate process. The first non-fiction book was published in 1472: de re militari by Robertus Valturius and showed war implements in woodcuts (probably printed by Mattei de 'Pasti and Johannes Nicolai ) in Verona . Venice developed into an important location for printers. Erhard Ratdolt also produced his calendar for Jean de Monteregio there in 1476, using a title page for the first time .

Albrecht Dürer: Title page by Sebastian Brants Daß Narrenschyff , around 1493

From the 1480s onwards, the subject area expanded extensively: first of all, travelogues ( Bernhard von Breidenbach ), world and country customers (Lirar, Hartman Schedel ) and works of popular medicine and natural sciences were added. Later translations of various old classics (such as the Eunuchus of Terenz) as well as contemporary poems ( Sebastian Brant : The Ship of Fools ) and some works in Latin (e.g. the Dürer Apocalypse ) were included.

Book illustration reached a preliminary climax in 1499, also in Venice, with Francesco Colonna's Hypnerotomachia Poliphili , where writing and image merge in perfect harmony. In 1493, Anton Koberger in Nuremberg printed Hartmann Schedel's Liber cronicarum (the world chronicle). The form cutters , who worked on 645 printing blocks from which the 1809 illustrations emerged, included a. Michael Wolgemut and Wilhelm Pleydenwurff .

The epoch of the 15th century was marked by cultural and intellectual-historical changes and thus gave illustration access to all areas of information , which made it widespread. In the 15th century, Germany produced by far the most books, followed by the Netherlands, which, however, were also under German influence. Although there are a few examples of German models in the Romansh region, these countries were characterized by their own choice of text and the excellent illustrations that go with it.

16th Century

Page from Theuerdank , 2nd edition 1519: Colored woodcut after Leonard Beck. Chapter 80: Maximilian's horse is hit by a cannonball and falls

Both the informative and the decorative function of the illustrations, as they were to be found in books from now on, were now assessed as promoting sales and being successful. In the last third of the 15th century the type of woodcut book emerged, which served as a model for the book in the 16th century. After 1500, there was a boom in book illustration.

The woodcut technique was more and more perfected and refined and developed into its own art form. Examples are the works of Albrecht Dürer , Lucas Cranach , Hans Holbein the Elder. J. , and Hans Burgkmair d. Ä. who in turn influenced subsequent artists. From now on, the workshop connection between printer and illustrator was removed, and the artists worked independently for different clients.

Among the most important achievements of the early 16th century are the book-making undertakings that were initiated by the art-loving Emperor Maximilian I , such as the prayer book , Theuerdank and the series of pictures on the Weißkunig .

Conrad Gessner: Illustration of an ostrich with fictitious coloring from the bird book

In 1525, again by Anton Koberger in Nuremberg, an illustrated instruction for artist Vnderweysung of measurement with a compass and Richtscheyt by Albrecht Dürer was published. Conrad Gessner brought in Zurich 1551-1587 his Historia animalum out and printed in 1556 Johann Froben in Basel the work De re metallica that of Georgius Agricola comes and the Mining treated.

A bibliophile unique that in 1513 by Johann Schönsperger was printed in Nuremberg, is a prayer book of parchment , which was specially made for Emperor Maximilian and today in the State Library in Munich and at the Bibliothèque Municipale in Besancon can be visited. The work was provided with artistic marginal drawings by Dürer, Hans Baldung Grien , Jörg Breu the Elder and other masters.

The book design in general and the illustration in particular were strongly influenced by the influences of the Reformation , Renaissance and humanism . The book decoration was more than just an illustration: initials , margins, headers and endings, printer's signets and title frames shaped the appearance. In Germany, different styles of book art emerged, which only began to flatten out from the middle of the century or, due to their heavy ornamentation, pushed the illustration into the background. In the second half of the century, artistic talent also became scarce, and the quality of the woodcut declined. In the 17th century it finally sank so low that it was superseded as a minor illustration technique by etching and copperplate engraving, although additional effort was now necessary due to gravure printing .

The woodcut of the early period was characterized by flatness. Copper printing helped the illustration to be precise and created the illusion of three-dimensionality. The type of illustration that had been preferred for scientific works since the beginning of the Enlightenment, for example in the anatomical field, heralded the division into artistic illustration and scientific illustration, for which the artistic quality was irrelevant.

Hans Sebald Beham: Acker Concz and Klos Wuczer in the Baveren War , 1525, 1544

At the beginning of the 16th century, the themes and materials used in illustration were primarily of a religious nature: They were mainly found in Bibles , postils , edification literature, prayer books , and lives of saints.

During the Reformation, the image satire , the battle picture and the caricature came up. Scientific non-fiction illustration also gained more and more importance in works on mining , machine and war technology as well as in books on botany and medicine. This type of illustration also became important for works on architecture such as the Architectura by Wendel Dietterlin (1598) and fortress architecture , festivities , in chronicles and topographical works , portrait collections , geographic books and travel literature. The pamphlets and broadsheets that emerged in this period of early bourgeois revolution can be found in part significant artistic woodcuts.

In the 16th century, Germany, France and Italy in particular determined the book illustration market.

In the 17th century France, Holland and Italy quickly gained in importance and introduced etching and copperplate engraving, while in Germany this development was delayed by the Thirty Years War . In Germany the most important artists in the field of illustration u. a. Hans Baldung (called: Grien), the brothers Barthel and Hans Sebald Beham , Hans Burgkmair , Lucas Cranach, Albrecht Dürer, Hans Holbein a. a. In the Netherlands they are: Hendrick Cornelisz Vroom , Anthonis van Dyck , Romeyn de Hooghe , Lucas van Leyden and Jan Swart van Groningen . Willem Vorstermann once printed a Bible equipped by Groningen in Antwerp in 1528 . Important for France, which soon took a pioneering position in the field of typography, were above all Abraham Bosse , Jacques Callot , Bernhard Salomon , Geoffroy Tory (Champfleury, 1529), Jean Cousin the Elder. (Livre de Perspective, 1560) and Jean Cousin the Elder. J. In Italy it was the artists Giulio Antonio Bonasone , Annibale Carracci , Giovanni Battista Franco , and others. a.

17th century

Frontispiece of the Introductio in Geographiam Universam by Philipp Clüver , 1686 (Archive Gymnasium Langenberg )

While the 16th century was characterized by excellent book illustrators and a diverse landscape of illustrations, the 17th century produced a great wealth of material, but only a few noteworthy works. Instead of woodcut illustrations, the focus was now on copperplate engraving and etching. The title copper, that is, the decoration of the book with a frontispiece , and a “full-screen copper ” following the title page , which mostly related to the subject of the book, were of particular importance .

Since the book illustrations were now mainly used to explain the text, the independent artistic quality was partially lost. In the 17th century one often finds descriptions of historical events with integrated topographical and source-like images, as well as portrait engravings used for representational purposes, which were either recorded in books to pay homage to a person or in connection with portrait works.

Examples of this are the works of the Kilian family of engravers in Augsburg: Lukas and Wolfgang Kilian : Fuggerorum et Fuggerarum imagines 1618. The two brothers Lukas (1579–1637) and Wolfgang (1581–1662) created not only portraits, but mainly ornamental engravings , title pages and illustrations for historical works and religious books.

Mattäus Merian: Title page of the Theatrum Europaeum , 2nd edition 1643

City books were also important for book illustration in this century, such as the 2000 city views that Matthäus Merian created for the Topographia Germaniae from 1642 , travel reports and cartographic works. Great models were the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum by Abraham Ortelius in 1570 and the engravings by Franz Hogenberg for Georg Braun's work Civitates orbis terraum from 1572. First, Theodor de Bry (1528–1598), who lived first in Strasbourg and then in Frankfurt am Main , illustrated travel reports.

When the Swiss Matthäus Merian (1593–1650) married de Bry's daughter in 1618 , he opened his own workshop and in 1624 took over the publishing house founded by his father-in-law in Frankfurt. There he brought out the lavishly illustrated compilation Theatrum europaeum , which comprised 21 volumes and appeared in the period from 1633 to 1738 with texts by Martin Zeiller . By far the best known are Merian's topographies in 29 volumes, which appeared between 1642 and 1672. This contained 92 maps, 1486 copperplate engravings and 2142 individual views. Special mention should be made of his illustrations for the Bible, which he drew and engraved himself.

Maria Sibylla Merian: Colored copper engraving from Das Neue Blumenbuch , 1680

In the 17th century, books with scientific illustrations were also very popular, as were flower books , such as those by Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717), which were particularly valued.

A very talented illustrator of this time was Wenceslaus Hollar (1607–1677), who also worked in Merian's workshop for two years. Via Strasbourg he came to Cologne, where he met the well-known collector and patron Thomas Howard, who took him into his wake. In addition to Hollar's landscapes, his illustrations for Ornatus mulieris , which were created in London in 1640 , should be emphasized.

The emblem books belong to the outstanding examples of book illustration in the 17th century due to their abundance and their wealth of variation . A master of this form was Johannes Sambucus . Overall, in the 17th century, book illustration, in keeping with the zeitgeist, endeavored to reproduce things exactly.

18th century

As in the 17th century, book illustration initially concentrated on decorating travel literature, portraits, scientific and cultural-historical works, as well as editions of the Bible and editions of edification. From the middle of the century, however, illustration was also used in beautiful literature. Almost all of the great literary works of the past have been illustrated.

Vignette with Cupid and tendrils

The copper engraving began its triumphant advance and was used in a wide variety of places: In addition to the frontispiece, the title copper and the title vignette , there was the full-page illustration and the copper engraving as a head or end vignette. Many such illustrations were created in Germany, France and England, including some works of art.

The woodcut disappeared almost completely and was only cultivated by the Papillon and their students in France and a few artists worldwide.

Denis Diderot: title page of the first volume of the Encyclopédie

In the field of book illustration, France was at the forefront and significantly influenced the other countries. Some of the most popular artists of this era took part: For example Jean-Honoré Fragonard , Jean-Baptiste Oudry , Saint-Aubin, Laurent Cars (1699–1771), who in 1734 in Paris, based on the designs of François Boucher, wrote a six-volume Molière - Edition decorated with engravings as well as Charles-Nicolas Cochin the Younger (1715–1790), who is known for the Recueil de fêtes . The Encyclopédie by Denis Diderot and Jean-Baptiste le Rond d'Alembert was created in Paris from 1751 to 1772 with numerous copper plates in 35 folio volumes. This created the prototype for many illustrated encyclopedias , such as B. also the Encyclopaedia Britannica , which was created between 1768 and 1771 and initially only comprised three volumes. Here were Pierre Philippe Choffard (1731-1809), iron, Hubert-François Gravelot , Marillier and Jean-Michel Moreau the essential Illustration painters of this period, by artists such as Aliament, Emanuel de Ghendt (1738-1815), Le Mire, L ' empereur de Longueil, the Tardieu u. a. were supported in execution.

They used the burin , made etchings (also with the cold needle ), etched and sometimes made use of the aquatint process or mixed the techniques.

The French book illustration is characterized by grace, ingenious invention and a very fine elaboration. In Germany you don't find so many book illustrations that are as light and relaxed in style as the ones in France, but there is even more emotion in them. It was originally derived from the old table works in southern Germany (17th and early 18th centuries), which were mostly religious in content.

Salomon Gessner: Bucolic Scene , 1767
Daniel Chodowiecki: Engraving No. 5 for Richardson's Clarisse , 1785

In Germany, illustrators such as Salomon Gessner , who is also known as a poet, were valued for his “idylls”, Friedrich Georg Schmidt , the 1767 engravings for the Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire de Brandenbourg, and Daniel Chodowiecki , the main master and creator of the braid style . Chodowiecki created numerous copperplate engravings for the works of German classics, for example Lessing's Minna von Barnhelm and Samuel Richardson's Clarisse . In the first half of the 18th century Augsburg and Nuremberg were important centers, for example through the copper engraving workshops of Johann Georg Hertel, Krauss and Weigel .

In the second half it was more Saxony , with the representatives Martin Bernigeroth , Crusius, Geyser, Jakob Wilhelm Mechau , Adam Friedrich Oeser , Pentzel, Roßmäsler, Schenau , Schnorr and Schubert as well as Berlin, for which, for example, the names Daniel Chodowiecki and Bernhard Rode stood.

Mannheim also became an important city for illustration , where artists such as Ferdinand Kobell , painter Müller , Verhelst and others. a. were known. Ramberg from Hanover has also done fruitful work in the field of illustration.

Important illustrators in Switzerland were Gessner, Lips (both Zurich ), Dunker and Grimm (both Bern ), Schellenberg ( Winterthur ).

From the middle of the century, the style of German illustrators turned away from the French-oriented Rococo , towards a way of representation in the bourgeois sphere.

In Austria (only the last third of the century): Kininger and Weinrauch, as Stecher Kohl, Mansfeld and Stöber.

William Blake: London (from Songs Of Experience ), copper engraving, 1794

In England , book illustration is also characterized by a sentimental expressiveness, which was particularly evident in the English mezzotint and color cast that were common at the time . Most of the artists are active in both fields, including Bartolozzi, Cipriani, Find, Ogborne, Ryder, Ryley, Smirke, Westall and especially Stothard. In addition, the two cartoonists William Hogarth and Rowlandson are worth mentioning.

In England at the time of the 18th century there was a large circle of draftsmen and engravers, among others Allan, Richard Earlom , Edwards, Hamilton, Francis Hayman , Wiliam Brassey Holloway , Thompson should be mentioned. But among them, John Flaxman , the founder of the outline drawing , which found numerous imitators all over Europe, stands out.

In 1780 Thomas Bewick revived the woodcut by developing a new technique, wood engraving . Here, like in copperplate engraving, a graver was used in surfaces cut across the trunk and polished. The masses of illustrated picture sheets and illustrated books of the 19th century throughout Europe and the USA were only possible in this way.

The poet-painter William Blake gave illustration art an unmistakably personal touch. As his own publisher, he created illustrations almost exclusively for poetry, and here primarily for his own poems, the texts of which he wrote directly on the record, creating a completely new type of poetry illustration. Blake is therefore valued more extensively in literature than most of his contemporaries.

The Netherlands took up the tendencies of the 17th century and continued them through artists such as van der Gunst, Jacobus Harrewijn (1660–1727), Arnold Houbraken , Huyberts, Schooneneck and Wandeler.

The French line was shaped by personalities such as Buys, Dubourg, Fokke, Folkema, Picart, Schley, Tanjé and Vinkeles .

Italy (mainly Venice , Bologna and Rome ) and Spain (with the Madrid Academy as a starting point) followed their example. Main representatives in Italy: Bossi, Cagnoni, Crespi, di Lapi, Morgehn, Piazzetta and Rosaspina.

In Spain, the most important illustration artists were also academy members: Carnicero, Castillo, Fabregat, Ferro, Gimeno, Moreno de Tejada, Paret y Alcazar and others. a. Goya's well-known etchings were a highlight .

19th century

Thomas Bewick: Barn Owl , in: History of British Birds (1847)

The outline engraving was the predominant artistic expression in the field of illustration at the turn of the century . Over the years, efforts were made to get closer to the existing romantic mindset and the corresponding artistic design of the literary models. This was particularly favored by the fact that the wood engraving (by Thomas Bewick ), the steel engraving and the lithography, invented in Germany, created a painterly light and dark effect in illustrations.

Thanks to these new techniques, it was also possible to guarantee a large number of copies while maintaining the same quality. In England, steel engraving and wood engraving were preferred , in France it was lithography and etching , and in Germany the tendency was towards wood engraving, woodcut and lithography.

Since the illustrations could be reproduced almost indefinitely and they knew how to implement the text in an artistically adequate way, some of them had a long-lasting style-forming effect. The humorous-realistic illustrations by Cruikshank and Phiz (Knight Hablot Browne), which were created for the works of Charles Dickens , or the “copying” of illustrations from Penny Magazine in Meyer's universe should be pointed out .

Engraved illustration of Cruikshanks to Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist , 1837
Gustave Doré: Francesca and Paolo da Rimini , Canto V of the Divine Comedy, Inferno

The most important technique for color illustrations in this century was chromolithography and the woodcut variant developed by Thomas Bewick, wood engraving, now also flourished artistically. The Englishman Charles Thomson brought the new technique to France in 1817, where the main masters soon made use of wood engraving. These included u. a. Jean François Gigoux with 600 wood engravings, which he made in 1835 for Alain-René Lesages Gil Blas de Santillane and Gustave Doré , with his illustrations for Le Juif errant (The Eternal Jew, 1845) by Eugène Sue . At that time, Doré was already using photography to transfer his drawings, which, as in the case of the Bible of 1865, he had others engrave. The complete oeuvre of Gustave Doré is to be regarded as the final high point of French book illustration, who with his way of working also pushed the industrialization of book production forward and is considered the last romantic with his numerous wood engravings. The English and French book illustrations have equally influenced the German.

Also creating George Cruikshank is striking because it is characterized by high technical quality as well as humorous genre studies that in his work as a satirist and cartoonist can be found. As the reading public expanded in the 19th century and expressed the desire for education, information and entertainment, new areas of book illustration developed, such as: B. picture sheets , art books, travel albums and caricature series. In magazines, more and more illustrations of historical-political events, natural disasters , new inventions , current fashions or as background for fiction texts appeared .

Honoré Daumier: In the picture gallery

Newspaper illustrations that dealt with daily political and social events were increasingly popular . The model comes from France, where Honoré Daumier emerged as the most important political and civil caricaturist. Honoré de Daumier's main technique was lithography, but he also created some woodcuts. In Germany this tradition was adopted and expressed through magazines such as the Fliegende Blätter ( Wilhelm Busch and Franz Pocci ) or the Kladderadatsch .

In addition to Daumier, Eugène Delacroix was also one of the masters in the field of lithography, as he proves with his Faust illustrations from 1828, as well as Paul Garvani with his moral pictures Récréations diabolicofantasmagorique . The English and French book illustrations influenced the German ones equally.

The basic romantic attitude was planted in the illustrations of medieval sagas and legends such as those of Peter Cornelius et al. a. created, continued or reflected, for example, in the Bible illustrations by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld .

Wilhelm von Kaulbach: Reineke Fuchs as the winner . Illustration, published 1846; Engraved in copper by Adrian Schleich, Munich

A further development can still be seen in the fairy tale illustrations by Moritz von Schwind , as well as in the timeless satirical illustrations by Wilhelm von Kaulbach to Goethe's Reineke Fuchs , whereas Ludwig Richter used to depict petty bourgeois society without irony in his illustrations .

The high point of German illustration at this time were the wood engravings of Adolph von Menzel , in which - instead of in the usual romantic and classicist style - he portrayed the history of Prussian kingship with a refreshing realism . For example, in 1840 Franz Kugler's story of Frederick the Great came out, with illustrations by Menzel, which u. a. Friedrich Unzelmann had stung.

In contrast, lithography was rarely represented in German book art. But there were many artists who drew templates for the woodcut, u. a. Alfred Rethel ( also a dance of death , 1849), Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (a picture Bible ), Moritz von Schwind , Peter Cornelius , Ludwig Richter and the satirist Wilhelm Busch.

Among the most important book illustrators in France were Adelbert von Chamisso ( Peter Schlehmil ), Eugène Delacroix, Gustave Doré (Goethe's Faust , Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel ), Miguel de Cervantes ( Don Quijote ), Tony Johannot , Grandville ( Swift's Gulliver's Travels ), while Garvani anticipates the turn of the century depiction. When in the last third of the century new phototechnical reproduction processes emerged and resulted in an overproduction of book illustrations, quantity now prevailed over quality.

The Nature of Gothic by John Ruskin , printed by Kelmscott Press. First page of text

Developed in England William Blake with the etching own technique, and the Pre-Raphaelites were trying to revive the old woodcut tradition. So in 1891 William Morris founded the Kelmscott Press near London together with the printer Emery Walker . a. Edward Burne-Jones and Walter Crane worked.

Aubrey Beardsley: The Apotheosis , illustration for Oscar Wilde's Salome , 1893

By drawing from a large pool of medieval and contemporary art, Morris awakened a pronounced sense of form and style in his contemporaries and followers , which only continued into Expressionism with Aubrey Beardsley , Charles Ricketts and Lucien Pissarro . Encouraged by Wiliam Morris, however, the focus was finally returned to the art of book art , which created new forms of expression in book illustration that are commonly summarized today under the terms Art Nouveau , Art Nouveau or Arts and Crafts Movement .

Two of the most original Art Nouveau illustrators were Aubrey Beardsley and Heinrich Vogeler . With Beardsley, the photographically reproduced illustration emerged in England, but the inclusion of photography did not lose any of its artistic quality. B. the illustrations for Oscar Wilde's Salome from 1894 prove.

Instead of the reproduction wood engraving, the woodcut was rediscovered for book illustration and, like other techniques, further developed. With Art Nouveau, and above all through the influence of the Japanese color woodcut , a phase began that produced outstanding bibliophile editions, especially in Germany and France, and was determined by the original graphics.

20th century

The most important influence on German book illustration at the end of the 19th century came from the English Arts and Crafts movement , which - founded by William Morris - had dedicated itself to the renewal of handicrafts and thus also of book art. In addition, the Pre-Raffaelite Brotherhood played a major role. One orientated oneself among other things on late medieval models and on the graphics of the Dürer period . This also gave rise to a fundamentally new concept of “decoration”. The new art movement was enthusiastically welcomed in Germany and received numerous names such as " Art Nouveau ", " Secession ", " Liberty Style ", " Stilkunst " etc., because this movement was not only active in Germany, but also in many other European countries clear echo, for example in institutions such as the Munich company " United Workshops for Art in Crafts ", which was founded in 1898, or the " Wiener Werkstätte " from 1906.

Topics and artistic trends in book illustration at the beginning of the 20th century

In the art and literature of the late 19th century, at the beginning of Art Nouveau, there was a trend towards the aestheticization of life right down to its everyday expressions, and this went with the rediscovery of certain literary works and the concrete turn to national and foreign folklore and occupation Outsiders and people in extreme situations. An intensely cultivated literary sector is also the world of fairy tales and legends. Accordingly, artists such as Aubrey Beardsley , Alfred Kubin , Emil Preetorius , FH Ernst Schneidler , Louis Maurice Boutet de Monvel , Arthur Rackham , Gaston de Latenay , Robert Engels , Heinrich Lefler or Marcus Behmer specifically illustrated works by Oscar Wilde , Heinrich Heine , Edgar Allan Poe , Jean Paul , Théophile Gautier , Voltaire , James Fenimore Cooper , fairy tales from the Arabian Nights collection , fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm or by Hans Christian Andersen , legends of saints, sagas of gods and heroes. The secession artists turned away from the historicizing painting of the European art academies and - as far as the older book illustration is concerned - from the sometimes loveless and artless illustration. Instead, with the joy of discovery, they allowed mainly non-European influences. The most important of these was that of the Japanese woodblock print, for example by Hokusai .

Advertising poster 1895/96 for Pan by Joseph Sattler
Envelope from Youth , 1896

This art movement found further dissemination in Germany through magazines such as Pan and Jugend , which is where the term “Jugendstil” comes from; in Austria by the magazine Ver Sacrum . The activities of private presses, dedicated printers and publishers, especially in the children's and youth literature sector , also played a role. They expanded the range of artistic expression, whereby the style named after the magazine Jugend was only the most important of the artistic movements before the First World War . Similar stylistic features were the highly linear components, the overstretching and compression of bodies, such as B. with Aubrey Beardsley , Charles Ricketts , Julius Klinger , Berthold Löffler or Olaf Gulbransson and the floral-decorative style z. B. with Heinrich Vogeler , who were all book illustrators.

Also in Russia ( Iwan Bilibin ), Italy ( Umberto Brunelleschi ), France ( Eugène Grasset ), Sweden ( John Bauer ), Hungary ( Lajos Kozma ), the USA ( Will H. Bradley ), the Netherlands ( Henri van de Velde ), Similar developments in the art of illustration took place in the Czech Republic ( Alfons Mucha ) and in many other countries, which also had an impact on German book illustration. Although the pure Art Nouveau disappeared again relatively quickly, many of the secessionist achievements were retained and stylistically developed - especially again in book illustration. These included B. Max Klinger , Johann Vincenz Cissarz , Peter Behrens , Otto Eckmann , Bernhard Pankok , Ludwig von Hofmann , Thomas Theodor Heine , Melchior Lechter , Fritz Helmuth Ehmcke , Josef Mauder and Max Bernuth . In the Art Deco of the 1920s and 1930s, too , much of the Art Nouveau returned.

From 1910 onwards, expressionism as a newly developed art style had a strong influence on painting , graphics and illustration. Instead of the flowing, decorative forms of Art Nouveau, hard, broken forms and colors prevailed here. From now on, not only the form, but also the entire expression should determine the work of art. This also applied to the illustration. With the new, diverse means of expression, the artists tried to convey social truths and sometimes to express sharp criticism, which was strongly induced by the aftermath of the First World War and the political changes. In addition there were pathetic-didactic, folkloristic-natural ones, such as B. Richard Janthur and fantastic-demonic tendencies, so z. B. with Paul Klee and Walter Gramatté .

Ernst Barlach: The Dance of Death 4 , lithograph on thin Japan. 21.1 x 20.1 cm. From: Goethe, Selected Poems . Second episode, 1924

Some of the more important illustrators of Expressionism were Oskar Kokoschka , whose story with a colored picture suite Die dreamenden Knaben was published by the Wiener Werkstätte in 1908, Alfred Kubin , Erich Heckel , Ernst Ludwig Kirchner ( Umbra vitae (1924) by Georg Heym ), Max Pechstein , Max Beckmann , Ernst Barlach , Frans Masereel , Otto Nückel ( Fate - A Story in Pictures 1926) and A. Paul Weber , John Heartfield with expressive collages and photo montages for Malikverlag. Many of them also used conspicuous black or strongly colored woodcut illustrations that were less oriented towards the differentiated drawing than the surface and thus helped this printing technique to gain new appreciation; Karl Rössing and Hans Alexander Müller should be mentioned here. As in Art Nouveau, the illustrators often designed the book cover , the book title and the typography .

A parallel development was characterized by an impressionistic form of illustration, the main representatives of which included Max Slevogt ( James Fenimore Cooper's Lederstrumpf Berlin 1909) as well as Lovis Corinth and Max Liebermann .

With the English influences ( Kelmscott Press by Wiliam Morris) the idea of ​​press printing came to Germany. In the first few years of the century, several private workshops were set up to promote contemporary illustration.

It was not until the second half of the century that the painter's book was also maintained in German hand presses and galleries . This idea of ​​the printed graphic suites in book form originally came from France. However, these books hardly illustrated, the text was only an accessory. In this respect, this type of book art hardly brought any new impulses for the art of illustration.

The book illustration in the time of National Socialism

After Hitler came to power , as in all areas of art, those works that did not correspond to the art ideas of Hitler's art advisors (or Hitler's own art ideas) and did not meet their claim to external beauty and racially healthy perfection were declared degenerate .

In addition to painters like Paul Cézanne , Vincent van Gogh or Paul Gauguin , draftsmen like Ernst Barlach , Georges Braque , Max Ernst , Oskar Kokoschka etc. a. to put up with this classification. Due to a decree by Hitler on June 30, 1937, over 16,000 works of art from museums and private collections were confiscated by the President of the Reich Chamber of Fine Arts ( Adolf Ziegler ). Some exhibits were deliberately presented unfavorably, abused and commented on as corrosive , as an example in the newly opened “House of German Art” in Munich in 1937 as the “Degenerate Art” exhibition .

There were many illustrators who went into exile during the Nazi era , for example Fritz Eichenberg , Hans Alexander Müller and Fritz Kredel to the USA , Gunter Böhmer and Richard Seewald to Switzerland. But there were also artists like Hans Meid , Alfred Kubin or A. Paul Weber who continued their work in Germany under the most difficult conditions. Those who were among those artists who had fallen out of favor and who were unable to emigrate abroad in time were expelled from the Reich Chamber and banned from practicing their profession.

Of course, there were also illustrators who either weren't offensive (especially in the children's book area, e.g. Else Wenz-Viëtor or Ruth Koser-Michaëls ) or were on the side of the National Socialists (e.g. Curt Junghändel)

The book illustration in the post-war period

From 1945 a new productive and experimental phase of artistic creation began, which took up the trends of the 1920s. The publishers tried quickly to catch up with international developments. One dealt again more with the works that were declared as degenerate art in the Third Reich and turned to artists such as Max Beckmann , Max Ernst or Hans Arp or Picasso and Georges Braque . The French painter's book , which contained original graphics and appeared in small editions at a high price, has now been made available to the German public. It appeared in the form of a folder, in which the graphics were in the foreground and the text was pushed into the background. One of the most prominent examples is the illustrated Bible by Marc Chagall , which appeared after 26 years of working in 1957 in Paris in two volumes with 105 etchings. Many other artists prefer to use lithography for illustration purposes, like Picasso, for example, whose stylistic changes were also reflected in his book illustrations.

After the war, the woodcut enjoyed great popularity in Germany as well as in France, especially because it enabled illustration artists to produce the printing plates themselves. The printing blocks that are made by woodcut can be printed together with the set , which was considered a particular advantage if you wanted to produce books with original graphics. The French painters used the color woodcut and thus brought color into the book. Austrians were also represented with their illustrations in German books; B. Hans Fronius and Paul Flora and also Swiss people like Hans Erni , Celestino Piatti and Felix Hoffmann .

The bibliophile workshops that existed before 1930 no longer existed after the end of the war, and those that had been newly founded stood on very shaky feet. Mostly they looked for connections to art schools or academies .

In 1950 Richard von Sichowsky (1911–1975), who was also a lecturer at the Landeskunstschule in Hamburg , founded the Grillen-Presse . Together with his master student Otto Rohse (1925–2016) and the sculptor Gerhard Marcks (1889–1981) he created impressive works there that combine typography and woodcut in a balanced relationship.

Gerhard Marcks created such impressive woodcuts for the Grillen-Presse as the animal fables of Aesop and the "Five Songs of the Odyssey" designed by him from 1965. Otto Rohse founded his own press in 1962 and designed books as a total work of art by using wood engravings , single and multi-colored copperplate engravings and designed the covers himself. The first book that was published in the Otto Rohse press was Goethe's “Letters from Venice” in 1964, with 28 copperplate engravings. Next followed in 1970 and 1977 the two volumes by Andreas Gryphius , Selected Sonnets, Poems and Epigrams , with 11 copperplate engravings and 11 wood engravings, and then in 1985 the volume Toskana with 25 multicolored copperplate engravings and in 1994 the extensive print Provence - in midday France with 34 copperplate engravings.

Gotthard de Beauclair (1907–1992), who headed the Trajanus Press in Frankfurt am Main, founded in 1951 , founded the Frankfurt publishing house Ars Librorum in 1962 . That publisher produced art books , graphic cycles and illustrated books in the manner of a private press . Artful, hand-set press prints and portfolios were created based on the example of the French painter's book . Leading modern artists illustrated selected texts from the classical, Christian or Far Eastern traditions, which were printed in excellent typography on beautiful paper. The whole thing was then finally bound by art bookbinders . Examples of this art are the Canticum Canticorum (Hohes Lied) from 1962, with lithographs by Gerhart Kraaz , “Der Garten im Herbst” by Imre Reiner and Paul Appel (1964) and The Frogs of Aristophanes (1968) with drypoint etchings by old Oskar Kokoschka .

Beauclair's literary program was very broad: it ranged from biblical subjects, such as Genesis or the Gospel of John , to ancient ones, with the Antigone of Sophocles or Plato's Symposium . The classics Boccaccio , Goethe and Kleist were also represented, as were the contemporary writers, u. a. Hugo von Hofmannsthal , Rudolf Borchardt , Franz Kafka , Albert Camus or Ezra Pound . The series was founded in 1970 by Martin Bubers ' selection of Tschuang Tses ' writings , for which Ferdinand Springer produced meditative color etchings .

In the 1950s and 1960s, Gerhard Kraaz from Berlin was a very popular illustrator and draftsman. He made drawings for Stifter's Bunte Steine for the Gutenberg Book Guild and, in 1959, contributed over 200 drawings to the Bertelsmann edition of Hans Christian Andersen's Most Beautiful Fairy Tales . His main works included the illustrations for Don Quijote at Rütten & Loening in 1961 and Gottfried Keller's Grüner Heinrich at Mosaik Verlag in Hamburg in 1936.

In 1950 and 1970 the illustrated book flourished again. Image cycles by older artists such as Alfred Kubin and Josef Hegenbarth have now also been published subsequently.

Book illustration eventually developed into a profession of its own. In the last few decades, all techniques have been used again. B. by Frans Masereel ( Pictures of a Big City , 1925) and HAP Grieshaber ( Dance of Death from Basel ); the serigraph was used by Josef Albers for his 1963 color didactic work Interaction of Color . With Hokusai's Walk (1972), Horst Janssen succeeded in synthesizing art-technical instructions and artistic-creative illustration. In addition to woodcuts and wood engravings, drawings also gained in importance the more offset printing improved.

Some of the most important artists of these two decades were: Gunter Böhmer , Wilhelm M. Busch , Hans Erni , Fritz Fischer , Hans Fronius , HAP (Helmut Andreas Paul) Grieshaber , Karl-Heinz Hansen-Bahia , Felix Hoffmann , Werner Klemke , Gerhart Kraaz , Gerhard Marcks , Gerhard Oberländer , Hans Orlowski , Imre Reiner , Karl Rössing , Otto Rohse , Richard Seewald , Karl Staudinger and Günther Stiller u. a. In the 1960s and 1970s, Stiller was one of those book artists who liked to experiment. He worked with linoleum and plastic cuts as well as fretwork or drew directly on the offset plate, as he had done with his multicolored illustrations for children's books.

Werner Klemke was one of the most sought-after illustrators in the early second half of the 20th century and illustrated important works of world literature as well as children's books. Because of his outstanding artistic position and the years of material support for his own GDR book art, it was possible for him to implement multi-colored book illustrations, which were then published in large numbers using letterpress and offset printing. One example of this are the multi-colored line drawings for Johann Christian Günther's poems and student songs (Reclam Leipzig, 1962). A particularly great success, not only in the GDR, were his The Children's and Household Tales of the Brothers Grimm from 1963. These were opportunities that the book illustrators in West Germany did not get. Klemke's as well as Max Schwimmer's and Josef Hegenbarth's works pointed the way to that of the younger colleagues.

In the 1990s, the book illustration came in a disadvantageous position, apart from the since the early 1980s, booming photo book production from: She was from the commercial publishers barely maintained and viewed as an unnecessary expense. It became a rarity at the end of the 20th century. With his “illustrations” (see Diary of Nature and Illustrated Wanderlust ), Willy Puchner developed a new kind of book illustration, which he calls “material books” .

The book illustration in the GDR 1949–1990

In the GDR , on the other hand, illustrating a literary text played a very important role in art and book production. Both artists and publishers had a particular interest in this art form.

If one looks at the illustrative graphics published in book form by artists in the GDR from 1949 to 1990, it becomes clear that there too very different conceptions of graphics existed, which were ultimately reflected in the book illustrations. Especially the older generation artists, such as B. Hans Baltzer , Paul Rosié , Karl Erich Müller , Gerhard Gossmann , Horst Bartsch or Hanns Georgi , were based on the classic book illustration of the 19th / 20th centuries. Century endeavors to interweave text and image in a common context and to conceptualize the illustrations in such a way that they accompany the text in an explanatory manner in relation to people , events or locations.

Techniques of book illustration in the GDR

Two artistically significant and typical for this period illustration cycles can be cited as examples: On the one hand, the illustrations for Nikolai Gogol's famous novella Der Mantel 1956 (first published in book form in 1966) by the painter and graphic artist Karl Erich Müller (1917–1998) from Halle . On the other hand, the illustrations accompanying the text by Hans Georgis (1901–1989) for Ivan Turgenev's story in the form of a letter Faust , which were created around 1949. Müller had always preferred the etching technique until he discovered the pen and brush technique for several series of illustrations, including the Gogol illustrations.

To do this, he developed a technique in which a basic structure was first created with a graphite pencil, traced the outline with thick, dry ink and then moistened the paper in order to achieve different shades of gray by bleeding the paint. After drying, the final drawing was applied with black ink, which was then partially smeared with a damp sponge. Then the drawing was condensed and made more detailed with internal drawings. This definition of structures and materials was used for meticulous identification and characterization of the scenes and often for caricaturing people.

Hanns Georgie's illustrations from the early years of the GDR also have a similar text-based style. In the combination of text and image, he shows a confident handling and creates his drawings in a very spontaneous style, which is characterized by a moving, nuanced line. The illustrator limited himself to the scenes in the text that were essential for him and thus depicts the action process as well as the characteristics of the characters in a minimalist manner, whereby he limited himself to the bare essentials in the representation of the surroundings and accessories. This subordination of the image to the text leaves the reader enough leeway for their own interpretations . If you compare editions from 1949 and 1961 with each other, you can see how deeply situations can be deepened by simply grasping the people involved.

In Dieter Goltzsche's illustrations , one can observe how a book-bound graphic develops into a free graphic that, drawn on individual sheets, retains its artistic claim, even in isolation. Here, motifs are sought that not only relate to what is said in the text, but rather, according to Goltzsche, should approach the book itself and have a deepening and expanding effect on it.

In the GDR there were always illustrators who emphasized the decorative side of the picture in the book. This type of illustration is also only vaguely described with the term ornamental-decorative book graphics, because here too the artist takes an interpretive attitude towards the text, but uses a more decorative visual language. Well-known representatives are z. B. Wolfgang Würfel , Hans-Joachim Behrendt and Bert Heller .

From the 1980s, especially among the younger generation of artists, an image form that is known as “literary graphics” or “sheets of literature” prevailed. The image embodied there in the book was derived from the interpretive book illustration and is connected to it on many levels. There was now clearly a stronger subjectivity in the interpretation of literature and the associated subjective implementation in the visual arts. This opened up new, interesting contextual references and design variants: a sophisticated pictorial symbolism , metaphorical exaggerations and allegorical elaborations.

These novel illustration leaves now no longer so much aimed at the direct interpretation of the text message is not conclusive on that imagination to stimulate the reader and move it to its own interpretation. Often the boundaries between the “free sheets on literature” and the illustrations that were designed for the book form from the start became blurred. For this reason, the same series of illustrations often existed as a book and in portfolio form. Examples include Bernhard Heisig's lithographs for Renn's novel Krieg , Dieter Goltzsche's etchings for Hauff's novella Das Bildnis des Kaiser , Günter Horlbeck's sheets on Diderot and Morgenstern , which date back to the 1960s, and Nuria Quevedo's etchings for Christa Wolf's Kassandra (among many others ) to call.

Another interesting artist was Karl-Georg Hirsch (* 1938), who reached a new dimension in the art of illustration by u. a. In his well-known illustrations for Dostoyevsky's novella "Das Krokodil" (Berlin, 1985) he used the technique of the scrapboard . For him, this graphic process was not only much less time-consuming and energy-consuming compared to woodcuts and wood engravings, but he also made targeted use of the graphic effects that could be created. With the scrapboard technique, a cardboard box glued several times with chalk is used , which is easier to handle than wood, for example. This property enabled a markedly graphic line management and, associated with it, a more direct transfer of the idea to the “ printing plate ”. Hirsch himself compared the carving out of the areas that remained light after printing from the black of the cardboard with the Expressionists' method of woodcut.

The consideration of the environment is also important when assessing the book illustrations that were created in the GDR, as is who the client was, to what extent further training took place and the opportunities for comparison through exhibitions and competitions. It should be noted that the start of book production in the Soviet occupation zone was by far the slowest. The Soviet military administration had given itself all approval of institutions of the printed word.

Always subordinate to an authority , the book was rated as an influential medium from the start - first in the Soviet Zone and later in the GDR - and thus always steered according to political objectives. In addition to funding, this also included restrictions and bans. The promotion was z. B. in the form of illustration competitions, prizes or government-funded orders, which also had a positive effect on the illustrated publishing book for the general public . Illustration has always been a carefully cultivated and highly subsidized form of book art. It was relatively free from the scheme of "socialist realism". Even if the book artists were exposed to certain restrictions, they were able to go about their work a little more undogmatically and more easily, without the constraints of the prescribed ideology , than the representatives of the other arts. The “mass book” was always in the foreground when it came to providing state funding, whereas the bibliophile book appeared in low editions and the press or artist's book first had to secure a place in the publishing landscape.

From the late 1950s onwards, the Leipzig Seemann-Verlag began producing bibliophile editions, and from the 1960s onwards, the Reclam-Verlag also made sure that some of its books were provided with original graphics. Publishers , art historians , book artists and the respective organizations that stood behind them always supported the establishment of the bibliophile book . This included For example the “Pirckheimer Society”, which was founded in 1956 as part of the Kulturbund and was made up of a group of collectors and bibliophiles and employees of small galleries who took care of the preparation and distribution of special prints. The commitment was important, on the one hand, to get the state institutions to issue printing permits in the first place, and on the other hand, quality assurance of the print products was achieved despite the constantly tense material and printing situation. The cultural policy in the GDR was primarily concerned only with the “bibliophile mass book”, as Anneliese Hübscher put it, which meant that the book had to meet all book-artistic requirements on the one hand, but at the same time also had a correspondingly high circulation had to be accessible to a wide audience.

Another important factor in the development of book illustration was the fact that the most important teaching institutions in the visual arts were reopened very soon after the war. Already in August 1945 it was the Academy of Graphics and Book Art in Leipzig, in 1946 the Art Academy, which later became the University of Fine Arts in Dresden, and in 1946/47 the Art Academy Berlin-Weißensee that were able to resume teaching. In addition, the establishment of the Institute of book design came at the Leipzig University in 1955, which long led by the book designer Albert Kapr stood and book art and especially of book illustration new impetus factor instrumental in the development of the hand book cover and the development of new fonts was involved.

By way of comparison, one can say that in the GDR, the universities and workshops took on the role that the artist press played in the FRG .

The political and publishing environment in the GDR

In order to be able to better assess the book illustration in the GDR, it is necessary to shed light on the initial situation, which differed significantly from that in the western zones of occupation . In the Soviet Zone there were hardly any illustrators who would have been known before 1933 or who could have presented particularly outstanding work and thus made the expected artistic connection to the early 20th century. None of the well-known artists of the 1930s had settled in the east . The last artists committed to Expressionism, such as B. Charles Crodel in Halle, after a short time gave up their fight against the increasingly dogmatic art and cultural politics and withdrew from their offices or were removed from them.

The formalism debate , which banned any form of artistic creation that did not conform to the ideas of the “ theoreticians ”, also contributed significantly to the fact that artists like Josef Hegenbarth and Max Schwimmer no longer held their university teaching post. The accusation of formalism did not even stop at proletarian artists such as Hans Grundig , who had survived the concentration camp , or Max Lingner , who - who emigrated to France - did a great job there as a press illustrator for the communist daily Le Monde . The formalism discussion in the field of book art clearly reached its climax when a working conference was organized by the State Culture Commission as part of the German Book Art Exhibition of 1952. B. Josef Hegenbarth was massively attacked, especially because of his Don Quixote illustrations.

Both artists showed, on behalf of some others, great steadfastness in a time that was marked by denunciations and reprisals , when they went their way undeterred and repeatedly found publishers who published their pictures. Schwimmer, Lingner and also the somewhat younger Werner Klemke, who published his first illustrated book in 1949, dominated book illustration in the GDR for a long time. Their students, in turn, made a major contribution to the diversity of illustrated books in the 1960s and 1970s, with their in-depth technical training, which they were entitled to in dealing with the various graphic techniques at the university, a great advantage.

Book illustration has always been shaped by the variety of graphic techniques. Drawing with pen or pen in ink or Indian ink dominated. There were also watercolors and oil miniatures for the book. The dominant technique, however, was wood engraving and woodblock printing; classic copper engraving also celebrated its renaissance. The cutting and stitching techniques were not only practiced by the well-known “Leipziger Stecherschule”, but also by the Klemke successors and by many individual artists. The Punzenstiche Hermann Naumann became his personal trademark . Many modified types of these techniques, such as scrapbook or piacrylic stitch, are sometimes used because of a lack of material. Lithography and etching are also widespread, and from the 1980s onwards, books were increasingly illustrated using collages or photographs.

Some artists carried out technical experiments, such as B. in the 1960s and 1970s Ruth Knorr , Hans Ticha or Manfred Butzmann . They tried to eliminate the still necessary intermediate stages of photography with their losses. Ruth Knorr's illustrations were characterized by their grainy structure. She achieved this by scratching grainy milk glass with a needle or drawing on the film. She experimented with colored foils or realized her ideas on different materials, which she then brought together in photography. These unusual techniques were soon abandoned because the technical means were often lacking. Here, too, it shows once again how difficult it was for a state to achieve innovation in book production and book illustration, which so lacked non-industrial forms of book production.

The illustration after the reunification

After the Berlin Wall came down in 1990 was the Sisyphus-Press of Elmar Faber launched. In the old press printing manner, this publisher endeavored to unite text and writing , paper and print , as well as illustration and binding . She published limited German first editions by authors such as Wolfgang Hilbig , Gabriel García Márquez and Christoph Hein , equipped with original graphics by contemporary artists such as Bernhard Heisig or Alfred Hrdlicka . Even small publishers such. B. the Katzengraben press in Berlin-Köpenick, were also dedicated to these extraordinary press prints. From 1990 onwards, Christian Ewald and Ralf Liersch published artist books with marginal topics in very small editions of 999 copies. The book East Berlin staircase talks of January Silver Shoe (October 1990), which comes as the last still from GDR times, was coveted collector's item.

In the west, Roswitha Quadflieg (* 1949) and Wolfgang Tiessen founded publishing houses and presses to print individual books. Roswitha Quadflieg, who in her Raamin-Presse (1973) founded in Hamburg, carries out all the work - from the selection of texts to the wood engraving - is considered a loner and is probably the best-known book artist among women. She designs the covers together with the Hamburg bookbinder Christian Zwang (* 1932), who also works for the Otto Rohse Press in Hamburg and Gunnar Kaldewey in Poestenkill ( New York ). It was Gotthard de Beauclair who became the mentor of Wolfgang Tiessen, born in 1930. In 1977 Edition Tiessen published 115 copies of the first print, Über das Große und das Kleine by Adalbert Stifter , with color etchings by Ferdinand Springer . He ran the publishing house alone, supported by his wife, and was at the same time his own typesetter and book designer. He has set all works in his beloved original Janson Antiqua and had them printed by Heinz Sparwald .

The publishing house Zweiausendeins , which developed out of the student movement , was very effective on the market for illustrated books and became known in Germany as a mail order company for books and sound carriers as an inexpensive edition . Experimental work became popular, such as B. 1982 flyer paper by Dashiell Hammett and Hans Hillmann , or Eckhard Henscheid's Goes in order and the illustrations by Robert Gernhardt in exactly . In the crime story Fliegerpapier , the classic text-image relationship was reversed: Now illustration dominated, with double-sided images, and the story by Dashiell Hammett has shrunk to a legend . In places where the picture speaks for itself, the original text has been greatly shortened, but has been added as a separate print. Franz Greno , who was responsible for the typography, chose an antiqua "Old Stile", was set on the monotype and printed using the offset process .

Facsimile of the month of July from the Duc de Berry's book of

In postmodern times , book illustration has become meaningless , with the exception of children's books. In contrast, there is the increased facsimile production due to the growing preference, which has been observed especially since the 1980s. The precious books were touted as “collector's treasures and investments” at the same time. In the 1990s, the facsimile editions of the books of hours by Jean de Valois, duc de Berry from the 15th century, produced by the Lucerne facsimile publisher , met with particular interest . The Heinrich des Löwen Gospels were facsimile by Inselverlag and the Urs-Graf-Verlag in Bern copied Irish manuscripts. S. Fischer and the Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft offered both individual pages and complete works. In Graz, valuable scientific manuscripts were facsimile by the Academic Printing and Publishing Company , which, with its ' Codices selecti' program, is one of the largest facsimile publishers.

Book illustration in the 1960s - the era of anti-aesthetics

After art and politics were strictly separated in the 1950s, the politicization of literature and thus of book illustration followed in the 1960s. The world of work became the topic. However, some contemporaries were skeptical of the newly established literature, and so bourgeois art theory was opposed by collective , anonymous , anarchic underground literature and brought with it alternative presses that published provocative and informal prints. The books and their illustrations only had subjectivity as a common denominator. For the book artists, it was not so much about artistic perfection as about spontaneous expression and the condensation of the respective individual language. Some reacted in aggressive collages , others exuded a twisted humor, still others twisted the imagery of well-known superhero comics into their critical opposite, and some expressed themselves straightforwardly and directly in their printed matter.

The official book fair in Frankfurt was disrupted from 1967 to 1970 and a kind of "counter-book fair " was held. Since 1970, the year Victor Otto Stomps died , who provided the inspiration, the alternative publishers have been holding their own fair, the mini press fair in Mainz, which is held every two years. The illustrators were provocative and were happy to include press printers in their often experimental work. The focus of interest was not the well-known authors, but those who had yet to establish themselves, such as Gabriele Wohmann or Botho Strauss at the time . Christoph Meckel , who was born in Berlin in 1935, became a well-known author and illustrator through his work for the Eremiten-Presse . The forms of representation of the illustrations ranged from Dada and Surrealism to Pop Art .

Some representatives of the revolutionary art scene later adapted to the market. Günther Uecker (* 1930) saw the book as a "kinetic" object and used iron nails as a trademark that left their mark on the book. His portfolio Vom Licht (1973), which he furnished with twelve embossed prints , stands out.

New image reproduction techniques

After the path of phototechnical reproduction had already been taken at the beginning of the 20th century, new techniques for the production of printing forms for image reproduction quickly developed. In the case of reproduction photography, the image templates called could transparencies be how the slide , for example, or reflective originals such as photographic prints , drawings or paintings .

Work steps

  • Photo taken with the vibration-free repro camera mounted on rails
  • Development of the negative film
  • Film copying in the contact copying process
  • Production of the positive film (the negative could be used to produce line etchings or autotypes in letterpress printing)

The positive film was the template for the letterpress printing blocks and offset plates in the print shop . These were touched up by the lithographer if necessary. The complicated work required great skill, as the quality of the reproduction also had a decisive influence on the subsequent print quality.

In the 1960s, the development accelerated rapidly: First, conventional photographic technology was perfected, which soon faced competition from electronic scanner technology. The scanner invented by Alex Murray (* 1937) scans the original with a beam of light , measures color or gray values, rasterizes them as points and sends the data to the computer to which it is connected. The digital point grid corresponds to the photographic grid principle: the smaller the point, the lighter, the larger the point, the darker the area appears. This principle was important because the end product should be a film that could be copied by the time digital plate printing was introduced.

The original cliché, i.e. the film exposed with images and text , was initially the same in scanner technology as in reproduction photography , only the way to get there has changed. Digital image processing systems make it possible to check and manipulate the color images on the screen before the film is finished . Parts of the image could be added or removed, colors and contrasts changed, and from now on, expensive retouching was no longer necessary to remove a color cast .

In the mid-1980s, flatbed scanners for black and white made it possible to reproduce halftone gradations ranging from the deepest black to the lightest gray. In the case of four-color reproduction , the color separation scanner was relied on to generate individual colors from the darkest to the lightest hue , so that the repro camera was almost only used for line or full-tone recordings. As image correction procedures were simplified, general production costs also decreased.

The internationalization of book illustration

Since the beginning of the 20th century, several factors have contributed to the internationalization of book illustration: the international connections, the cosmopolitan attitude of the readers and the new means and possibilities for image reproduction. This fact is illustrated by the illustrations by Mishima Yunosuke from 1904, the general adoption of classic Far Eastern woodcuts in the literary translations of Insel-Verlag or the illustrations by Anatoli Kaplan , who mainly used Yiddish literature .

Due to these complex interrelationships on an international level, the traditional works of classical world literature and those of contemporary literature have again become popular objects of illustration. The works reflect the numerous artistic forms of expression, styles and techniques that have been influenced by national currents.

Competitions, awards and advertising for the illustrated book

Book illustration experiences its greatest resonance where its promotion and dissemination in the field of book production is part of the general educational process. The importance of the artistically illustrated book is expressed in national and international competitions and exhibitions, such as the award for the most beautiful books of the year .

Already in the Weimar Republic a similar concept developed as the Stiftung Buchkunst is pursuing today . Initiated by Hugo Steiner-Prag in 1927, a competition was held in Leipzig from 1929 to 1932 in which the five most beautiful books were to be awarded in order to recognize achievements in typography and bookbinding. During the Second World War, the competition was suspended and from 1951 onwards in Frankfurt by Ludwig Hauswedell .

There was also a similar competition in the GDR, which was supposed to reward the most beautiful books .

In the Federal Republic of Germany, the Börsenverein was initially the organizer until the competition was handed over to the Book Art Foundation in 1966, which was rooted in the Book Art Collection . After the reunification of Germany , the event was organized by the Stiftung Buchkunst all-German under the name The Most Beautiful Books in Germany (today: The Most Beautiful German Books ). The award-winning books were presented at book fairs and competed against international competition in Leipzig in the Most Beautiful Books from All Over the World competition .

The books are judged separately according to ten groups :

  • The scientific book
  • Non-fiction
  • Show book
  • Children's and young people's book
  • Bibliophile edition
  • Catalog
  • General literature
  • special cases

Evaluation criteria:

  • Design (typography, graphics)
  • Technology (typesetting, make-up, paper, re-printing and printing)
  • Bookbinding processing

The name of the competition and also the evaluation criteria changed frequently over the years. From 1971 onwards, the increased emergence of paperback books became noticeable, and the experimental aesthetics of alternative presses and small publishers shook the standards of book art.

The division of Germany meant that one of the most important German book art prizes was presented in two different places without internal coordination: the Gutenberg Prize has been awarded annually at the Leipzig Book Fair since 1959 , and in the city of Mainz, where people go to Took the 500th  anniversary of Johannes Gutenberg's death as an opportunity to award it every three years since 1969. As a consequence of the reunification, an agreement was reached in 1994 that the prize would be awarded annually in both cities.

Those books that stand out due to their equipment or other artistic book features often find their place in separately listed collections of libraries and museums .

Since book illustration was and still is a little-noticed art form, it is important that at least in professional circles, information about the facts and innovations in this area is provided through appropriate advertising media. Curt Visel did a great job promoting the illustrated book and creating an art forum, not least with his trade journal Illustration 63 .

See also


  • Severin Corsten: Lexicon of the entire book industry (LGB) . 2nd Edition. Volume 1: A-book . Hiersemann, Stuttgart 1987, ISBN 3-7772-8721-0 .
  • Christoph Reske: Technical and cultural dependencies in book illustration . Thesis. Leverkusen 1989.
  • Hans Ries: Illustration and illustrators of books for children and young people in German-speaking countries 1871–1914 . Wenner, Osnabrück 1992, ISBN 978-3-87898-329-3 .
  • Wolf Stadler, Peter Wiench: Lexicon of Art. Painting, architecture, sculpture. Volume 6. Müller, Erlangen 1994, ISBN 978-3-89555-386-8 .
  • Rosamunde Neugebauer (Ed.): Aspects of literary book illustration in the 20th century . Mainz Studies in Book Studies 5. Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1996, ISBN 3-447-03828-4 .
  • Helmut Hiller, Stephan Füssel: Dictionary of the book . Klostermann, Frankfurt am Main 2002, ISBN 3-465-03220-9 .
  • Karl Klaus Walther (Ed.): Lexicon of book art and bibliophilia . Saur, Hamburg 2006, ISBN 3-937872-27-2 .
  • Willy Puchner , Illustrated Wanderlust. From traveling and coming home . Frederking and Thaler, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-89405-389-5 .
  • Marion Janzin, Joachim Günter: The book from the book. 5000 years of book history . Schlütersche, Hannover 2007, ISBN 978-3-89993-805-0 .
  • Georg Heym: Umbra Vitae Nachgelassene Gedichte, with 47 original woodcuts by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, reprint of the edition Kurt Wolff Verlag Munich 1924, Reclam Stuttgart 2009, ISBN 978-3-15-010722-5 .

Web links

Commons : Book Illustration  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  1. Claus Nissen: The botanical book illustration. Your history and bibliography. 2 volumes, Stuttgart 1951; 2nd edition, ibid. 1966.
  2. on Germany cf. Gunter Mann: Medical and scientific book illustration in the 18th century in Germany. In: Marburg meeting reports. Volume 86, 1964, No. 3.
  3. For example by Edward Hodnett, Five Centuries of English Book Illustration , Aldershot 1988, pp. 94–97 or by Gordon N. Ray, The Illustrator and the Book in England from 1790 to 1914, London (Oxford University Press) 1976, p 7-12. Both authors present Blake's illustrations as colored frontispice sheets in front of their extensive monographs.
  4. Walter Crane, both of the movements mentioned and both a brilliant artist as a thorough theorist, in his book On the decorative illustration of the book in old and new times , German translation Leipzig 1901, p. 170: "By making the demand that certain decorative Considerations for the production of really beautiful book illustrations are recognized as essential, such as the basic plan, weighing of the parts and their relationship to one another, mass distribution, relationship to writing, etc. s. w., I by no means ignore the good work of many contemporary artists who only want to be illustrators and prefer to view a sheet of paper or any part of it left free from writing as a free space for a sketch, without paying more attention to the book and the book page take than the artist usually takes when he draws something about life in his sketchbook. "
  5. Otto Grautoff in The Development of Modern Book Art in Germany , Leipzig 1901, p. 15: “The art movement revolting against academicism began in England in 1848 with the appearance of John Millais, Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti […]. The founding of the Morris Company in 1861 marks a further significant chapter in the history of New England art; this association awakened the entire small arts to new life "
  6. Lothar Meilinger, the educational reform editor of the youth papers in the 50th volume 1903/04, p. 7: “From the weekly and monthly, from school books to the classic edition by Schiller and Göthe, there is a decline in taste, a lack of culture has only recently been countered by some outstanding publishing companies with the help of dignified artists. - The English have set an example for us in this regard, and we should study diligently with them [...] "
  7. See also Karl Scheffler : The Impressionist Book Illustration in Germany. Aldus (print), Berlin 1931.
  8. Albert Schug, Die Bilderwelt im Kinderbuch, Cologne 1988, p. 433: “The National Socialist military education, which began with the young people's organization for children, was not able to create a corresponding picture book presentation. The military picture books of the time are characterized by [...] the level of depiction. "
  9. Since the special exhibition figura 1 at the international book art exhibition (IBA) in Leipzig (1971), the term “Blätter zur Literatur” has established itself in art history.