Whoa, Folks. This has stretched on for several years... Let's do our homework before we get too excited.
Ernst Geisendorfer died in 1993. He was a second generation artist and gallery opeator, mostly the gallery. He was a very wealthy man. His family's shop is located right on the town square in Rhotenburg, od.T., not far from Nurenburg. He and his family made a fortune selling "Etchings" to the many GIs and tourists who frequented the town. Some are gruly great art and some are - well, tourists will buy almost anything...
Do some reading and understand the "Etching" process. And be careful. Almost anything can be labeled as an "Original Etching" is it is produced from the original plate. Plates wear over time and late prints can often look horrible, when compaired to an early print from the same plate. Early runs, printed and signed by the artists are far more valuable than the late ones, signed by relatives or other printers. Many have forged signatures. Colored etchings are usually late runs, using color to cover up the natural defects in a badly worn original plate. By the same measure, prints made on silk are also very often late runs and made for the same reason. The Geisendorfer Gallery has made a fortune by selling huge numbers of late runs - colored, silk and other means at semi-modest prices - and calling them Fine Art.
Make no mistake, these are often very attractive images. The are great decorations, sold with vigor and always called "Originals." In fact, most are worth little more that a good lithograph print.
Geiserdorfer made a number of his own wax/cooper etchings. However, most of what that shop has sold in the last 50 years are end-stage prints from plates that he bought from other artists, Paul Giesler and Hans Figura among them. At one point, perhaps 30 years ago, one of Figura's daughter was apparently signing the prints. Giesler has been dead for 50+ years; Only God knows who has been signing his works.
In short, most of these prints are mass produced for the GI and tourist market and the Giesendorfers have made a fortune from them. They are attractive souvienors, but generally fall a bit short of genuine Fine Art. Buy with caution and know what you are buying. Early run prints, made by and signed by the artist are relatively rare, difficult to authenticate and, if genuine, very costly. One quick way to help tell an early print from a late, tourist print - though NOT fool-proof, is the amout of background junk that gets printed. Early prints usually have a very pristine, clean look about them, while the junk looks dirty.
Enjoy the wonderful images, perhaps as reminders of a pleasant time, but do not expect them to appreciate in value. They just won't. I have nearly 30 "Original Etchings" from these three artists and one or two others. Most were purchased in the early 70s and I enjoy them. My prints are somewhat better than those being sold today, but only three are considered early run originals. (The values of those have increased.) The remainder have not even kept up with basic inflation. Again, pleasant to view and remember, but hardly an investment in Fine Art.
Lastly, a word about Giesendorfer himself. An artist? Yes. A maker of etchings? Yes. But when one of his etchings is viewed side-by-side with one by a real master, Giesndorfer's works look a but crude. They are! German friends from the region are familiar with the man and his legacy. He is remembered as a wealthy businessman, capiolizing on the GI and tourist trade and certainly not as a great artist. At least during the 60s and 70s, he probably spent more time toodling around in his 600-Series Mercedes limozine than he did creating original art.
I have just been sorting through the attic. I found what I believe to be Ernst Geissendorfer very small paintings on silk. There are 4 of them approx 1 1/2" x 1 3/4" framed together. I believe that my mother bought the pictures as we were in Stuttgart in the late 1940's. Is there anyway to find out what they are worth?
@EvaMGreen, --- I just contacted the gallery via e-mail-- [email protected]
regarding questions I had about several Geissendoerfer prints that I have. Catarina responded to me herself. You might be able to contact her that way. She said that her father passed away in 1993.
I too have 3 original etchings from this artist. Very nice! One of Heidelberg, one of Plolium and one of Augusburg. I probably misspelled these, but we visited these places while my brother was in the Air Force there - I believe it would have been in the mid 1970's.
Cedarglen: I know I'm replying to an old post I just came across, but thought I would give you a try. I've been researching a couple of nice Geissendorfers I bought years ago from a private estate sale. Didn't know anything about them or that they were Geissendorfers, but they were pleasant prints that reminded me of a lot of time in Germany. Now that I've been reading about G, I'm wondering about all the different styles of signature and titles on his (?) prints. I'm especially interested in the small stamps to the left of the signature line. I've made photos of the two prints and closeups of the signature line, but now that I'm ready to reply, I find no way of attaching the photos. If you are interested in seeing them, you can contact me at [email protected]
and I'll forward them to you. BTW, one print is the common Marksturm, and the other is untitled but show a view from outside of the walls, looking over houses to the Jakobskirche and another church whose name I can't recall. I really enjoyed your "homework" post! Thanks for providing all this info in one spot. Cheers, Pat Ogren
I believe now that the second church I mentioned in my first post a while ago is in fact the Rathaus. Pat Ogren
now that I'm ready to reply, I find no way of attaching the photos.
upload them to a hosting site like photobucket.
use the IMG tags found in the BBCode editor.
always preview before posting to make sure the images are visible...
My Heidelberg Castle etching is very bright and clear. Also what about the wine keg and coat
of arms after the signature? [email protected]