Hellmuth Weissenborn

Biography

Illustrations, wood-engravings, linocuts. Born 29 December 1898 in Leipzig. While studying art history, ethnology and philosophy at the University of Leipzig (Ph.D, 1925, he also studied art at the Leipzig Akademie für graphische Künste und Buchgewerbe: a teacher was Walter Tiemann. 1916-18: military service (machine-gun corps). 1919: studied at the Leipzig Akademie and at the University (D.Phil.). 1926-37: taught at the Leipzig Akademie; produced small books and ephemera, notably book-plates. His teaching position at the Akademie ended 1 April 1937 because his wife Edith (whom he had married in 1931) was Jewish. (‘Willi Geiger and Hugo Steiner-Prag were the first sacrifices claimed by the wild Nationalism.’) (HW, Illustration 63, Aug. 1980). He and his wife and son first went to Denmark. Jan. 1939: emigrated to England. 1940: became interested in wood-engraving, 1940/41: interned for six months on the Isle of Man when war broke out. 1941: divorced from Edith. 1942-70: visiting lecturer at Ravensbourne College of Art, London. From 1943: illustrated numerous books for children. 1945: with his second wife Lesley (Macdonald), co-founded the Acorn Press in London which produced limited editions illustrated with his linocuts and wood-engravings. 1979: awarded Grand Cross of the Order of Merit, Federal Republic of Germany. Died 2 September 1982 in London. Lesley Macdonald-Weissenborn died 22 May 2001 in London at the age of 89.

Writings by

  • ‘Mein Leben in London’, Illustration 63, Aug. 1980, pp. 42-7
  • quoted in Halbey exh. cat., 1980 (see below)
  • Raven the Rascal, London: Acorn Press, 1946
  • ‘Meine Freundschaft mit Hans Alexander Müller’, Illustration 63, Nov. 1978, pp. 75-7
  • Ein ABC aus Tieren, Leipzig: Akademie, 1927
  • Bunte Bilder, Leipzig: Akademie, 1928
  • ‘Der geometrisch-typographische Formenschatz’, Typographische Mitteilungen, July 1929, pp. 166-7
  • Federschmuck im Wandel der Moden (history of fashion), Leipzig: Schöps, 1937
  • ABC of names from antiquity to the present, London: Acorn Press, 1980 (limited edition)
  • ‘Holz oder nicht Holz, das ist die Frage’, Graphische Kunst, 17/2, 1981, pp. 68-9 (HW’s use of materials) ‘Werkstattbericht über die Monotypie’, Graphische Kunst, 19/2, 1982, pp. 67-9
  • ‘Geometrical typographic bookplate design’, Bookplate Journal, March 1983, pp. 16-25 (reprint in English of 1929 article, tr. L. Macdonald
  • includes checklist of bookplates by HW)
  • autobiographical introduction in Hellmuth Weissenborn, Engraver, Andoversford: Whittington Press, 1983
  • London Scenes, Risbury: Whittington, 2001
  • Country Scenes, 1 and 2, Risbury: Whittington, 2001.

Writings about

  • 1933-80: Gruenberg, ‘Bild-Typographie’, Buch- und Werbekunst, March 1933, p. 86 plus supplement
  • Richard Walker (intro.), Hellmuth Weissenborn, Painter & Graphic Artist, London: Bachman & Turner, 1976
  • Henning Wendland, ‘Der Illustrator and Pressendrucker Hellmuth Weissenborn’, Illustration 63, Nov. 1977, pp. 74-8
  • H.A. Halbey, Weissenborn. Druckgraphik (exh. cat.), Mainz: Gutenberg Museum, 1980 (speech opening the HW exh., Oct. 1980)
  • Hellmuth Weissenborn, Engraver, Acorn Press, 1980
  • Ilse Unruh, ‘Hellmuth Weissenborn. Druckgraphik und Buchkunst im Mainzer Gutenberg-Museum’, Aus dem Antiquariat, 1980, 11, pp. A493-6
  • 1981-present: John Randle, ‘Hellmuth Weissenborn’, Matrix 2, Winter 1982, insert between pp. 68/9
  • Victor Bonham-Carter, The Times (obituary), 11 September 1982
  • Hellmuth Weissenborn, Engraver, Andoversford: Whittington Press (with the Acorn Press), 1983
  • Sebastian Carter, ‘“A Little World Made Cunningly”’, Matrix 5, Winter 1985, pp. 51-4
  • ‘Neue Pressendrucke und limitierte Ausgaben’, Illustration 63, Aug. 1986, pp. 69-72
  • Crispin Elsted, review of Hellmuth Weissenborn, Engraver, in Fine Print, Oct. 1986, pp. 193-5
  • Emigré Artists (exh. cat.), W. Hampstead, London: John Denham Gallery, 1987
  • Vier Meister des Holzschnitts: Fritz Eichenberg, Johannes Lebek, Hans Alexander Müller, Helmut Weissenborn (exh. cat.), Memmingen, Offenbach, Düsseldorf, Berlin. Memmingen: Curt Visel, 1988
  • Ilse Unruh, ‘Vier Meister des Holzschnitts’ (Fritz Eichenberg, Johannes Lebek, Hans Alexander Müller, Hellmuth Weissenborn), Aus dem Antiquariat, 1989, 3, pp. A100-102
  • F. Ficker, ‘Hellmuth Weissenborn als Graphiker, Illustrator und Exlibrisgestalter’, Exlibriskunst und Graphik, DEG Jahrbuch, 1994
  • Alan Horne, The Dictionary of 20th century British Book Illustrators, Woodbridge: Antique Collectors Club, 1994 (includes list of books illustrated)
  • Anja Grebe, ‘40 Jahre Buchkunst in Leipzig’ (anniversary of the Institut für Buchkunst), Illustration 63, 1, 1996, pp. 16-18 Günter Wicke, ‘Hellmuth Weissenborn und die graphischen Künste’, Graphische Kunst, 51/2, 1998 (includes bibliography)
  • David Buckman, ‘Lesley Macdonald-Weissenborn’ (14 Dec. 1911- 22 May 2001
  • obituary), Matrix 21, Winter 2001, pp. 114-16
  • ‘Lesley Macdonald Weissenborn’ (obituary), Illustration 63, Aug. 2002, p. 60
  • review of HW’s London Scenes and Country Scenes, 1 and 2, in Illustration 63, 2/2003, p. 60 Sebastian Carter, ‘Painting with type’, Matrix 25, 2005, pp. 56-61 (includes page of book labels, most using geometric ornaments) William Waterhouse, ‘Musicians and graphic artists:the Weissenborns of Leipzig and London’, Matrix 26, Winter 2006, pp. 159-64 (inc. family tree)
  • Ben Uri Gallery, Forced Journeys/Artists in Exile in Britain c.1933-45, London Jewish Museum of Art, 2009
  • Anna Nyburg, From Leipzig to London: The Life and work of Emigre Artist Hellmuth Weissenborn, Oak Knoll Press, New Castle, Delaware, USA, 2012
  • International Biographical Dictionary of Central European Emigrés 1933-45, Munich, New York, London, Paris: K.G. Saur, 1983., 1983
  • Kunst im Exil in Grossbritannien 1933-1945 (exh. cat.), Berlin: Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst and Verlag Frölich & Kaufmann, 1986. , 1986
  • 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, p. 114, and biog . pp. 210-11

Exhibitions

  • Archer Gallery, London, 1943
  • Leipzig, 1957
  • Brod Gallery, London, 1960, 1968
  • Parkhaus, Berlin-Tiergarten, 1969
  • Zaydler Gallery, London, 1970, 1972
  • Haus am Lützowplatz, Berlin-Tiergarten, 1972
  • Lufthansa, London, 1972
  • Goethe Institute, Boston, 1976
  • Klingspor Museum, Offenbach a.M., 1976, 1980
  • Gutenberg Museum, Mainz, 1980
  • Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst, Berlin, 1986 (19 items)
  • Denham Gallery, London, 1987 (Emigré artists)
  • (see ‘Vier Meister des Holzschnitts…1988, above)
  • Fiery Beacon Gallery, Painswick (England), 1989 (with others)
  • )
  • Ben Uri Gallery, London Jewish Museum of Art, London, 2009 (group).

Collections

  • Victoria & Albert Museum, London
  • Gutenberg Museum, Mainz
  • Leipziger Sammlungen
  • Besitz des Senats, Berlin
  • Klingspor Museum, Frankfurt a.M.