Fritz Kredel

Biography

Born 8 February 1900 in Michelstadt im Odenwald, Hessen. 1918: military service. 1920: studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule, Offenbach a.M. 1921: one of the original students in Rudolf Koch’s new Werkstatt at the school. In the dozen years with, or associated with, Koch, Kredel became a supremely gifted illustrator and wood-engraver, cutting over 1000 woodblocks during this period. Among his major works produced at the Werkstatt was Das Blumenbuch (The Flower Book, published 1929-30) and The Great Map of Germany (designed by Kredel, published 1934 by Insel Verlag). 1931: first U.S. book: Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, commissioned by George Macy for the Limited Editions Club. 1933: studio in the Städelschen Kunstinstitut in Frankfurt a.M. From 1934: designed decorated papers for Insel covers. 1936: forced to move to Vienna (his wife Annie was Jewish). 1937: awarded a gold medal at the Paris International Exhibition for his outstanding contribution to the art of the book; the Bauer typefoundry, Frankfurt a.M., issued his acclaimed poster, Stammbaum der Schrift (Family tree of type), for the firm’s centenary.

1938: ‘The occupation of Austria by the German army in Spring 1938 forced the Kredels [with their two children] to leave Europe. From Vienna, they had to take a train from south to north through all of Germany to Stockholm to take the boat to New York, arriving there on September 22, 1938. Melbert B. Cary, Jr. helped them get to the United States. Cary was the American agent of the Klingspor typefoundry in Offenbach and was an admirer of Fritz Kredel’s work. By providing the necessary affidavits for the Kredel family, he was able to bring them to New York.’ (Hermann Zapf, ‘The World of Fritz Kredel’, Fritz Kredel, 2000, p. 24)

Kredel was able to continue his successful career in book illustration. 1940-42: taught at Cooper Union art school, New York. 1944: U.S. nationality. From 1950 until his death Kredel received numerous awards, including Honorary Citizen Award from the Town of Michelstadt (1969). Died 11 June 1973 in New York.

‘[By 1930 Kredel] reached a point where his knowledge of the medium and his skill could be compared to those of the great woodcutters of the 15th and 16th centuries.’ (Warren Chappell, Preface, The Little ABC Book of Rudolf Koch, 1976)

Writings by

  • Blutiger Kehraus 1918 (war reminiscences, written 1918), Aurora, NY: Hammerpresse, 1948 (limited edition)
  • ‘Meine Soldaten’, Das Inselschiff, Christmas 1934
  • ‘Das Blumenbuch’, Buchkunst, Akademie für Graphische Künste und Buchgewerbe, 1935 (includes insert)
  • Schnitzelbank (‘Metamorphosed from the original German with sketches by Fritz Kredel’), New York: Press of the Woolly Whale, 1938
  • Odenwälder Geschichten (Odenwald Stories), Frankfurt a.M.: Bauer, 1938
  • ‘Erinnerungen an Rudolf Koch’, Philobiblon, Aug. 1959, pp. 190-200
  • Sechs Holzschnitte von Fritz Kredel (in memory of Ernst Vischer 9 Feb. 1959), Frankfurt a.M.: Der goldene Brunnen (Bauer Typefoundry), 1959
  • ‘Fünfzig Jahre Insel-Bücherei’, in Insel Almanach auf das Jahr 1962, Frankfurt a.M.: Insel, 1962, pp. 123-4
  • ‘GEMS’ (Good English Makes Sense), with George Salter, in A Keepsake for Alfred A. Knopf, NY: Knopf, 1965
  • ‘Jahre mit Rudolf Koch’ (1970 speech to the Grolier Club), Imprimatur, Band VII, 1972, pp. 209-14
  • ‘Rudolf Koch, as I remember him‘, Society of Scribes Journal (New York), December 1995, pp. 12-15.
  • Traugott Schalcher, ‘Private prints [press] of the Klingspor Typefoundry’, Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., June 1938, pp. 46-53

Writings about

  • Bauer centenary, Deutscher Drucker, Dec. 1937, supplement
  • Carl Wagner, ‘Bauer’s Type-foundry 1837-1937’ (centenary
  • Walther G. Oschilewski, ‘Fünfundzwanzig Jahre Insel-Bücherei’, Deutscher Drucker, Aug. 1937, pp. 458-60
  • Comprehensive references are M.K. Brown and J.K. Brown, 2000, and R. Salter, 2003; see below.
  • 1928-37: Rudolf Koch, ‘Die Offenbacher Haggadah’, Philobiblon, Oct. 1928, pp. 193-4
  • R. Koch, ‘Der Holzschneider Fritz Kredel’, Philobiblon, v. 10, 1932
  • Emil W. Netter, ‘Über das Exlibris’. Philobiblon, 1934, after p. 130
  • Deutscher Drucker, March 1937, p. 240 (note on FK’s ‘Stammbaum’ illustration)
  • ‘Stammbaum der Schrift’ (Bauer centenary), Deutscher Drucker, April 1937, p. 284, and facing page
  • Kuno Graf Hardenberg, ‘Kredels Soldatenliederbuch’ ( Wer will unter die Soldaten ), in Zeitschrift für Bücherfreunde , 1933, p. 178 and facing colour p.
  • Hans Bockwitz, ‘Junge deutsche Buchkünstler’, Archiv für Buchgewerbe und Gebrauchsgraphik, Leipzig: Deutsche Buchgewerbeverein., 1934, pp. 699-784, esp. pp. 705, 709, 756, 757
  • Otto Lerche, ‘Das deutsche evangelische Gesangbuch’, Archiv für Buchgewerbe und Gebrauchsgraphik, Leipzig: Deutsche Buchgewerbeverein., 1935, pp. 415-31
  • numerous Kredel/Wolpe vignettes (Bauer) in Archiv für Buchgewerbe und Gebrauchsgraphik, Leipzig: Deutsche Buchgewerbeverein., 1936, from p. 254
  • ‘H.B.’, note on ‘Stammbaum der Schrift’ (Bauer centenary), Archiv für Buchgewerbe und Gebrauchsgraphik, Leipzig: Deutsche Buchgewerbeverein., 1937, p. 200
  • 1938-40: Wilhelm H. Lange, ‘Bibliographie der Klingspor-Drucke’, Philobiblon, 1938, pp. 263-76 (Karl Klingspor special no.)
  • ‘The Typophiles Welcome Fritz Kredel’, Typophiles, New York, 1938
  • Julius Rodenberg, ‘Die Hausdrucke und Kalender’ (Klingspor’s in-house productions and calendars), In der Schmiede der Schrift, Berlin: Büchergilde Gutenberg, 1940, pp. 134-52
  • 1941-1990: Philip Hofer, ‘A Series of Modern German Calligraphic Manuscripts for Children’, Printing & Graphic Arts, Feb. 1956, pp. 99-106
  • Paul Standard, ‘Fritz Kredel’, Motif 4, 1960, pp. 44-53 G.K. Schauer, ‘Illustrator und Holzschneider’, Börsenblatt, 1970/45 (repr. in GKS, Von den Herbergen des Geistes, Krefeld: Scherpe, 1976) ‘Von Inhalt und Machart und von den Künstlern’ (book labels), Sigill, v. 3, 1973, pp. 21-46 Warren Chappell, ‘Fritz Kredel, Grolier Club Address’, Gazette of the Grolier Club 19, December 1973
  • W. Bergdolt, ‘Ein grosser deutscher Holzschneider: Fritz Kredel’, Illustration 63, April 1974, pp. 5-8
  • E. Semrau, ‘Fritz Kredels Illustrationen zu deutschen Märchen’, Librarium, Aug. 1974
  • GKS, 1978
  • Christian Scheffler, ‘Fritz Kredel – Ein Holzschneider aus dem Odenwald’, Illustration 63, Aug. 1980, p. 72
  • 1991-present: HAH, 1991
  • Patrick Fox, ‘Patterned papers in the Insel-Bücherei’, The Penguin Collector, Henley-on-Thames: Penguin Collectors’ Society, June 1994, pp. 6-15
  • Fritz Hellwag, ‘Fritz Kredel – Holzschnitte und Federzeichnungen’, Die zeitgemässe Schrift, Berlin/Leipzig: Verlag für Schriftkunde Heintze & Blanckertz., Jan. 1939, pp. 2-8 (esp. military subjects)
  • International Biographical Dictionary of Central European Emigrés 1933-45, Munich, New York, London, Paris: K.G. Saur, 1983., 1983
  • P. Fox, ‘Patterned papers in the Insel-Bücherei’, Matrix 14, Risbury, Herefordshire: Whittington, Winter 1994, pp. 178-87 plus tip-in Ronald Salter, ‘Deutsche Emigranten in der amerikanischen Buchkunst’, Marginalien, 1997/3, pp. 6-24
  • R. Salter, ‘Fritz Kredel. zum Andenken an seinen 100. Geburtstag’, Illustration 63, April 2000, pp. 12-15
  • Mathilde Kredel Brown and Judith Kredel Brown (eds), Fritz Kredel 1900-1973, New Haven: The Arts of the Book Collection, Yale University
  • New York: The Grolier Club
  • Michelstadt: Odenwald Museum, 2000
  • includes essays by the editors, Gay Walker, Hermann Zapf and Ronald Salter, as well as an extensive bibliography, lists of publications, awards, collections
  • R. Salter, ‘Der Illustrator Fritz Kredel’, Marginalien, 2000/2, pp. 3-28
  • R. Salter, ‘Fritz Kredel’, Illustration 63, April 2000, pp. 12-15
  • GC, 2000
  • R
  • Anita Linss, ‘Die Entstehung der “Odenwälder Geschichten” von Fritz Kredel’, Illustration 63, Nov. 2000, pp. 91-3
  • Walter Sauer, ‘Fritz Kredel und Der Struwwelpeter’, in Aus dem Antiquariat, no. 11, 2000, pp. A691-7 Elke Lipp, ‘Unbeschwerte Illustrationen voller Heiterkeit und Witz. Eine Sammlung dokumentiert das Werk Fritz Kredels’, Aus dem Antiquariat, no. 11, 2000, pp. A698-700 Steven Schuyler, ‘Fritz Kredel im Grolier Club’, Aus dem Antiquariat, no. 11, 2000, pp. A705-? E. Lipp, ‘“Es ist noch nicht lange, dass ich Ihre Anschrift weiss…”’ ( correspondence with Friedrich Heinrichsen, Martin Hermersdorf), Imprimatur, Band XVII, 2002, pp. 167-75 Judith Kredel Brown, ‘Fritz Kredel’, Gazette of the Grolier Club, no. 53, 2002, pp. 39-48 (transcript of a talk given 21 Sept. 2000)
  • Ronald Salter, Fritz Kredel. Das buchkünstlerisch Werk in Deutschland und Amerika, Rudolstadt: burgart, 2003 (extensive biography, bibliography)
  • Herbert Kästner, review of R. Salter’s Fritz Kredel, in Marginalien, 2003/4, pp. 76-8
  • Jerry Kelly, ‘Klingspor calendars’, Matrix, Winter 2003, pp. 148-54
  • note on R. Salter’s, Fritz Kredel (2003) in Illustration 63, July 2003, pp. 59-60.
  • Ernst Fischer and others, Buchgestaltung im Exil 1933-1950. Eine Ausstellung des Deutschen Exilarchivs 1933-1945 Der Deutschen Bibliothek. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2003. Very comprehensive. , 2003, pp. 63, 128, and biog. pp. 179-80
  • includes FK’s ‘Stammbaum der Schrift’), Archiv für Buchgewerbe und Gebrauchsgraphik, Leipzig: Deutsche Buchgewerbeverein., 1937, pp. 439-43 plus 20-page supplement
  • Walter Hofmann, ‘Der Wegbereiter schöner Schriften: Dr Karl Klingspor’, Archiv für Buchgewerbe und Gebrauchsgraphik, Leipzig: Deutsche Buchgewerbeverein., Nov. 1938, pp. 429-78 (inset includes 1 p. of FK’s work)
  • Heinrich Jost, ‘Fritz Kredel: A German Illustrator’, Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., June 1939, pp. 9-16 plus 4-page supplement
  • Deutsche Biographische Enzyklopädie, Munich, London, New Providence: K.G. Saur 1995- (from 1997: Munich only)., 1997

Exhibitions

  • ‘Junge deutsche Buchkünstler’, Leipzig, 1935
  • Antiquariat Heck, Vienna, 1937
  • H. Bittner, New York, 1940
  • Cooper Union Museum, New York, 1951 (joint exh. with Hermann Zapf)
  • Landes- und Hochschulbibliothek, Darmstadt, 1960
  • Klingspor Museum, Offenbach a.M., 1961
  • Mannheim, 1962
  • Worms, 1962
  • Goethe House, New York, 1969
  • Grolier Club, New York, 1973
  • Yale University Library, 1976/7 (with Rudolf Koch)
  • Michelstadt, 1980. The centenary of Kredel’s birth in 2000 was marked by several exhibitions in Germany and the USA: Odenwald Mus., Michelstadt, Jan. 2000
  • University Library, Regensburg, 2000
  • Yale University, Jan.-March 2000
  • Grolier Club, N.Y., Sept.-Nov. 2000
  • www.library.yale.edu/aob/kredel.

Collections

  • Kredel Archive, Yale University (Arts of the Book Coll.)
  • Klingspor Museum, Offenbach a.M.
  • Kredelsammlung, Odenwald Museum, Michelstadt, Germany
  • Melbert B. Cary, Jr., Graphic Arts Collection, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, N.Y.
  • Newberry Library, Chicago
  • Green Library, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
  • Margaret I. King Library, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
  • Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
  • Kerlan Collection, University of Minnesota.