Edmund Prince

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Edmund Fürst (born January 6, 1874 in Berlin , † 1955 in Tel Aviv ) was a German painter, etcher and illustrator.


Edmund Fürst was born in Berlin in 1874 . His father Gustav Gerson Fürst had studied painting in Paris and then returned to Berlin, where he became known as an artist. His father (Edmund's grandfather) thought so little of art that he kept the traditional Jewish mourning period after his son left for Paris. Fürst's family originally came from Hungary, from where they moved to Frankfurt / Oder. Later Edmund attended the Realgymnasium in Berlin, then for 4 years the Berlin Art Academy.

As a student at the academy, he drew attention to himself in the 1904 exhibition in the Berlin Secession with the oil painting "Dragonslayer". In 1906 he exhibited fairy tale drawings at the Great Berlin Art Exhibition, including four illustrations for King Drosselbart. In 1907 he took part in the exhibition in the Munich Glass Palace with two watercolors. As a member of the German Association of Artists , he took part in the graphic exhibitions in Leipzig in 1907 and in Hamburg in 1913.

On February 25, 1903, he married Johanna Katharina Lode, daughter of a grain trader. The young family had a close relationship with the liberal rabbi Dr. Lahmann, who quickly made the prince known as a painter. But above all as an illustrator, Fürst distinguished himself through graphic work - in addition to drawings, engravings and lithographs, he regularly designed works for the supplement of the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung , the well-known Berlin Ullstein publishing house . This kept him busy as a book illustrator . He has illustrated a long series of books, some of which have also been translated into Hebrew. He took part in exhibitions of the Berliner Künstlerbund, as well as the Berlin Secession. In the exhibitions mentioned, his portraits, landscape paintings in watercolor and oil, and his numerous etchings attracted the attention of art critics. Of the latter, many have themes from the Old and New Testaments that preoccupied the artist less in a religious than in a spiritual respect. He was a loner who chose his friends carefully. While studying at the academy in Berlin, he made friends with Lyonel Feininger , who was later married to Fürst's sister Clara for a short time. He was also on friendly terms with the painter Max Fabian .

In 1916 he was called up for service in the German army, where he served as a telephone operator in the air force. His job was to set up and maintain the telephone network at the front. In his knapsack he carried both parts of Goethe's “Faust”. He was later transferred to a propaganda unit as an accomplished painter, namely as head of the photography department. In mid-1916 (also possible in 1918?) He was released from military service at the request of Ullstein-Verlag, because the latter needed an employee to record the war-related expenses.

With the proclamation of the Weimar Republic, he was sent by the publishing house as a draftsman and reporter to the National Assembly in Weimar. In those years he traveled across Europe from the Mediterranean to the North Sea, and everywhere he drew and painted oil and watercolors, which not only testify to his Impressionist affinities, but also to his high artistic level, which was positively discussed in the Berlin press. In 1920 he illustrated Bürgel's Ulebuhle stories - a bestseller of the time.

It seems that the horrors of the war, the tragic events surrounding the subsequent uprisings and the questioning of the foundations of life in Germany in the years after the First World War shook him so much that he decided to leave Berlin with his family. To this end, he bought an estate with vineyards and agriculture near Würzburg and tried his hand at farming, among other things at harvesting, whereby his right hand was so badly affected by working with the sickle that the doctor forbade him from then on (1922 ). Since he had no experience in this and did not know how to run a farm, he could no longer maintain it. He had to sell and move back to Berlin with the family. However, the situation there had changed radically in the meantime. The rampant inflation had caused the economy to collapse. In order to be able to support his family, he took a part-time job at Ullstein Verlag as head of the retouching workshop. Thus his livelihood was secured and he could now devote most of the day to his artistic work. He held this position until Hitler came to power.

Soon afterwards he was expelled as a Jew from the obligatory "Labor Front" and then dismissed from the publisher. In the spring of 1934 he emigrated to Palestine with his wife (after their daughters had already done so a year earlier). In autumn of the same year he opened a solo exhibition in the trading house “Maskit” in Jerusalem, showing views of the city and its surroundings in color and as pencil drawings, the vast landscapes of those days, but also a portrait of Kurt Blumenfeld , the President of the Zionist Association for Germany . His works were later shown in other cities in Israel, and he also participated in a comprehensive exhibition of Israeli artists. He used to travel the country a lot, and he made pictures everywhere, mostly watercolors and drawings: views of Tiberias, Zefat, Jerusalem, the interior of a Jerusalem synagogue, the city's markets, camels on the Yarkon River, bathers by the sea and others Work. In the 1940s he made a mural in the Hotel "Eden" in Jerusalem.

Although he had received an academic education, Fürst was an outspoken Impressionist, as most of his pictures testify to by their calm mood and the choice of tones. Here and there, however, his paintings show an extremely expressive side. His best works include portraits in pastel colors , landscapes in mixed media and, above all, free compositions on musical themes that document his love for music. In these compositions, not only his artistic power comes to the fore, but also his personal culture, which gave these pictures the outstanding level of artistic design.



  • Research: Yael Goldman from the Goethe Institute in Tel Aviv, Israel; Translation: Pavel Goldenberg, Frankfurt am Main.

Individual evidence

  1. kuenstlerbund.de: Ordinary members of the German Association of Artists since it was founded in 1903 / Fürst, Edmund ( Memento from February 24, 2017 in the Internet Archive )
  2. ^ Registry office Schöneberg I, marriage register no. 89/1903. State Archives Berlin.