Vintage Children’s Books from Austria (circa 1897–1928)

Franz Wacik, illustrated cover for Wiener Kinder 1. Buch, 1923 See my June 2013 post on Franz Wacik From the catalog: “The first primer to appear in Vienna according to the requirements of the Social Democratic school reform. Franz Wacik, who was commissioned to illustrate this book, was already well-known as an artist. Published in many editions, the primer—its exterior already signalling clarity and contemporary self-awareness—is now considered a key work of interwar primer art.” Most of these scans come from the book Jugendschatz und Wunderscherlein: Book Art for Children in Vienna 1890–1938 (text in German and English; Amaz link). The book accompanied a 2009 exhibit at the “works on paper” arm of the Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna. For an excellent overview of the book, read Helen Chang’s piece for Design Observer. Here’s the publisher’s description:From the end of the 19th century to 1938, many children’s books of artistic importance were published in Vienna. This publication is devoted to this special genre of book art, which at that time ranked in importance alongside architecture, painting, literature, music and theatre. The illustrations of notable artists such as C. O. Czeschka, Heinrich Lefler, Bertold Loffler, Koloman Moser, as well as those of numerous, talented—though as yet unknown—graphic artists are evidence of the variety of high quality works produced. Moreover, the selected children’s books, divided into four chapters (I. From Monarchy to Republic, II. Bourgeois Life, III. The Modern World, IV. New Teaching Methods) can be seen in the political, social and economic context concerned. As part of daily culture, they reflect contemporary realities and utopias, which at this stage are still revealed to children by means of the ‘picture book’. In a fifth chapter (V. Art for Children – Children’s Art), aesthetic developments and artistic possibilities of expression are put into visual form. The historical children’s book in particular reveals impressively individual artistic craftsmanship, and styles and modes typical of particular epochs. Based on around one hundred works, the publication charts not only the history of the development of the modern children’s book in Vienna, but also that of the modern book art overall. A handful of the scans come from the harder-to-find Wien und Berlin: Zwei Metropolen im Spiegel des Kinderbuchs 1870–1945 (worldcat) and a handful from various online sources.

Wenzel Oswald, illus. for Himmlische Mär by Leo Blonder, 1914 According to a Swiss bookseller in 2009: “Spectacular children’s book uniting the work of two artists of the Wiener Werkstätte. This book is of the utmost rarity in any form and has never come up for auction in the past 30 years; we only know of one other copy of the deluxe edition in private hands. $12,500.”

Heinrich Lefler, illus. for Die Bucher der Chronika der drei Schwestern, 1900 C. O. Czeschka, Die Nibelungen, 1908

C. O. Czeschka, Die Nibelungen, 1908 full set here thanks to Mattia Moretti

C. O. Czeschka, Die Nibelungen, 1908 full set here thanks to Mattia Moretti

Koloman Moser, sketch for Jugendschatz, 1897

Koloman Moser, sketch for Jugendschatz, 1897

Wiener Werkstatte Bilderbogen, 1907 (M Jung?) Adelheid Malecki, Mein Herz gehort meinen Volkern, 1913 Class of Franz Cizek, Jugendkunstklasse, 1922

Anna Lesznai, Die Reise des Kleinen Schmetterlings…, 1912 Read a short bio of this Hungarian artist (wife of Tibor Gergely) here.

Richard Teschner, Tobias Immerschneller, 1910, cover Teschner keeps popping up everywhere I turn. See three 50 Watts posts on him here.

Richard Teschner, Tobias Immerschneller, 1910 this image from the collection of Amélie Ziersch

Ludwig Heinrich Jungnickel, Tierfabeln des klassischen Altertums, 1919

Lore Bohler, School of Emmy Zweybruck, 1924


Ferdinand Andri, Ausgewahlte Gedichte, 1904 Alfred Zangerl, Zirkus, 1925

signed Steffi Krauss Weihnacht, Vienna, 1922

Risa Bernt, illus. for Unser Franzi by Nelly Goebel, 1908 Lilly Jacobsen, etc., Leporello Bilderbuch Blumenstrauss, 1919 Maria Grengg for Marie Von Ebner-Eschenbach, 1917 Heinrich Lefler and Joseph Urban, Kling Klang Gloria, 1907

Heinrich Lefler, Die Prinzessin und der Schweinehirt, 1897 The clear inspiration for Einar Nerman’s Swineherd. The catalog says these illustrations “mark

the beginning of modern book art in Vienna.” Joseph Binder, Indianermarchen, 1921

Class of Adolf Bohm, Bilderbuch der Kunstschule fur Frauen und Madchen, 1901

Richard Rothe, Das Marlein vom Wunderscherlein, 1926

Otto Schubert, Hoch die Republik, 1928 See the full “Kinderbuch series” of German, Austrian, and Swiss children’s books See all children’s books on 50 Watts


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