Many of you know that I have a passion for birds, but I also have another passion, that is for art. Specifically, we collect northern European nature and nude scenes. Art is an amazing thing to me. It is like a little window to the past and to the souls of the models as well as the artists.
As such I started collecting art as it is difficult going to museums and many of the artists I enjoy are in closed collections. Art needs to be shared, that is the basis of what its purpose is
We have tried to confine this obsession to collecting five specific artists, and supporting pieces. This plus I have a couple of modern artists we support by purchasing a few pieces I like.
Without a doubt my favorite artist is Marcel Herrfeldt, an Austrian with a bit of mysterious history. We have the largest collection of Herrfeldt works in North America (a mysterious Swiss gentleman has the largest collection which half of which have never been scene in over 4 decades) and by far this is the largest bulk of our collection, I thought I would share a little history about him and our collection.
Generally I find Herrfeldt works uplifting and cheery, happy athletic women (generally but not always) in outdoors. Some of his Orientalism works like slave auctions I think he observed first hand as he walked through these places, which are the exact opposite and depressing..
So who is this guy?
Marcel René von Herrfeldt: Born 1890 (Paris) died 1965 (Munich)
It is said Herrfeldt is a German painter of nudes, although he was an Austrian and born in Paris. He is the son of the Spanish painter L.R. Falero and Alice Herrfeldt,
Faust is being tempted by the devil
Herrfeldt’s mother is one of the models in this painting and also in many of his star series. They never married, in fact, she never even sued him for paternity as her family had more money than Falero did. Falero was quite the philanderer and died in a rather odd complication from a paternity suit in London in 1895. Falero is considered the biggest playboy in the 1880-1900 art scene.
Herrfeldt never met him and was raised by his family after his mother married a famous Austrian Opera singer when he was a baby. He studied at the Munich school of applied arts, and then he was drafted into WWI as a captain and served in the eastern front and was captured and sent to a Siberian prison camp. He escaped in around 1917 and then proceeded to walk home. The exact events of this 8000 mile journey through three continents is vaguely referenced. Undoubtedly this took over two years and what he saw influenced his future vision of life, some for the good and much for the bad. Her should be an Austrian war hero, but he wasn’t. He experienced starvation, and dehydration crossing the Gobi desert and escaped slavery, he crossed Tyber pass, and arrived back to Austria in a political crisis of the end of the war. So he came back and started painting and did his first work in 1920.
In 1921 he exhibited for the first time at the Munich Glaspalast a. specialised in female nudes. The works of the famous painter Franz von Stuck in Munich influenced the young Herrfeldt. He showed there the act of the female slave and therefore he attracted attention. His studio was in Schwabing. His favorite subject to paint finally was the female, which he didn´t paint in an academically aesthetically way but anticipated idealizing the pin-up-culture of painting. His women are athletic and self-confident figures who present themselves at seashore or like here in a classical pose of the Rokoko in the historical surroundings of a boudoir. Herrfeldt died 1965 in Munich. Posthum he got the Diplom d´honneur” 1971.
He painted five basic types of paintings in his carreer, most of them before WWII, as afterwards, even though he was not pro-Nazi, as he painted mixed racial themes, his style fell out of favor and he finished out his life in poverty.
We have four of these types of styles in our collection as follows. All of our paintings are oil on canvases and many with interesting old frames. Many of these works appear in period books.
Beach and Outdoor Scenes
Famously Herrfeldt shows the women in these scenes with water running down legs
Blonde in the Sunshine
Nude on the Rock
Orientalism and Slave Scenes
First painted in 1921, winning a medal in 1921 Munchen art fair this oil on canvas was painted later. I have seen 4 different versions of this painting done
Orientalische Schönheit. 100 x 80 cm
Woman with Water Jug
Dancer with Tambourine
Some of these are very provocative. I have seen a couple at auction that I cant figure where they could ever be exhibited. We have a couple of tame ones.
Nude on Lamb Wool
This painting was restored by Marie Rizkalla in Minneapolis in 2013
Nude in Bedroom
Biblical Scenes and Mythical Scenes
Very popular including Herodias, Salome, Delilah, Jezebel etc. A naked Salome straddling John the Baptist’s severed head is a classic, which we do not own (below)
I do not own any of these scenes, here is Salome, which is owned by the Swiss Gentleman. I have tried to outbid the Swiss guy on some of these and I do not have the will to compete with him.
It is my belief these were done later and frequently include musical instruments, although none of Herrrfedlt’s works are dated except one huge Mythical scene of Poseidon done in 1960 which is considered his Magna Opus.
I have a smaller pin-up in our collection.
So I hope you enjoy our collection as much as we do.
Obviously, it is a great responsibility keeping these works of history in our possession and we will have to restore the Bathing scene as it is yellowed in the 80 years it has been around. So I hope for you to know I’m not as singularly focused as you may think