Otto Rohse

Biography

Book design, wood engravings, typography, postage stamps. Born Otto Friedrich Gustav Rohse 2 July 1925 in Insterburg. 1940: early art training with Richard Thoms. August 1943: studied under Alfred Partikel at the Königsberg Staatliche Meisteratelier für bildenden Künste. From 30 October 1943: military service in the Wehrmacht. 30 September 1944: taken prisoner by the Americans; prisoner of war in Scotland to Easter 1948. 1948-52: trained at Hamburg Landeskunstschule, studying typography and book design under Richard von Sichowsky (1911-75) who had a great influence upon Rohse’s future work. 1952-6: Sichowsky’s assistant. From 1953: wood engravings for numerous book publishers. 1956: freelance; first work for the Bundespost. 1959: first stamp for the Bundespost (1000 Jahre Buxtehude); further series followed, including Flora and Philately (1963), German Architecture, Protect Nature (1968), Europa (1977), 600 Years Cologne University (1987); by 1991 Rohse had designed 50 stamps. 1960-63: designed the journal Philobiblon, including the covers. January 1961: taught typography and book design at Offenbach Werkkunstschule. 1962: using the money earned from Bunsdespost commissions, he founded a private press, Otto Rohse Presse, to print fine books and engravings (first title: Goethe’s Briefe aus Venedig, 1964); the books were bound by Christian Zwang . 1966: designed catalogues and medals for Expo Montreal. September 1969: Rohse published the first issue of Sigill (Blätter für Buch und Kunst), an art magazine (at least to 1997). 1997: awarded the Hans Meid Medal. March 2000: awarded the Maximilian Gesellschaft Certificate. 2002: awarded the Gutenberg Award, City of Mainz.

‘…[ A]fter the war, there arose [in Germany] only a single press in the tradition of the Cranach and Bremer presses, the Otto Rohse Presse in Hamburg.’ (Walter Wilkes, ‘Twentieth-Century Fine Printing in Germany’, Fine Print, April 1986, p. 88)

Writings by

  • ‘Der Holzstich in der Buchillustration’, Der Polygraph, 20 Oct. 1954, supplement
  • ‘Über den Holzstich’, Form und Technik, 1956, 7, pp. 257-72
  • typographic inset, Form und Technik, July 1960, pp. 321-36
  • Walter Amstutz (ed.), Who’s Who in Graphic Art, 2nd ed., Dübendorf, 1982., 1982
  • ‘Über das Stechen’, Philobiblon, Sept. 1964, pp. 209-14, and preceded by 8p. illust. section, and followed by pp. 215-16 (bibliography of the press)
  • contribution to Richard von Sichowsky als Typograph, 1982
  • Exlibris, Holzstiche von Otto Rohse, Hamburg: Otto Rohse Presse, 1983
  • Otto Rohse: Einhundert Holzstiche, Stuttgart: Hauswedell & Co., 1990
  • Walter Amstutz (ed.), Who’s Who in Graphic Art, Zurich: Amstutz & Herdeg Graphis Press, 1962. , 1962
  • ‘Anmerkungen zum Kupferstich-technisch’, in B. Hack and Herta Schwarz, Otto Rohse und seine Presse, Hamburg: Maximilian-Gesellschaft, 1992, pp. 25-6
  • Otto Rohse – Briefmarkenentwürfe, 1997
  • Der Physiologus (OR Press), 2000
  • Park und Schloss, Hamburg: Otto Rohse, 2001
  • ‘Dankesworte’ (on award of the Gutenberg Prize, 2002), Gutenberg Jahrbuch, 2003, p. 15.

Writings about

  • GKS, 1963, p. 220
  • G.K. Schauer, ‘Der Holzstecker Otto Rohse’, Der Druckspiegel, Oct. 1957
  • Georg K. Schauer, ‘The wood engravings of Otto Rohse’, Motif 3, 1959, pp. 4-12
  • G.K. Schauer, ‘Otto Rohse und der flächige Holzstich als Ausdrucksmittel’, Form und Technik, July 1960, pp. 320-36
  • Kim Taylor, ‘Otto Rohse’, Graphis 91, 1960, pp. 430-33, 446
  • Arbeiten…von Schülern der Klasse für Typographie und Buchgestaltung der Werkkunstschule Offenbach a.M. im April und Mai 1961, Offenbach a.M.: Werkkunstschule, 1961
  • Erich Wenzel, ‘German Post Office advertising’, Graphis 99, 1962, pp. 58-63, 88, 91
  • 1955-64: Remigius Netzer, ‘The wood engraver Otto Rohse’, Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., Feb. 1955, pp. 16-23
  • Hans A. Halbey, ‘Book-jackets as an advertising medium’, Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., Aug. 1959, pp. 10-19
  • ‘Memorial stamp “A [sic] 1000 years Buxtehude”’, Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., March 1960, pp. 13-14
  • Eberhard Hölscher, ‘Erwin Krubeck’s pedagogical work’, Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., June 1962, pp. 50-56
  • G.K. Schauer, ‘Stuttgarter Bibeltypografie’ (Liber Librorum project), Der Druckspiegel, June 1964, pp. 361-78
  • 1965-74: Bertold Hack, ‘Otto Rohse, Drucker und Illustrator’, Imprimatur, 1967, pp. 158-79 plus insets
  • Carl Vogel and others, Otto Rohse. Werkverzeichnis der Holzstiche 1951-1971 (exh. cat.), Hamburg: Otto Rohse Presse, 1972
  • Rolf Engelsing, ‘Zehn Jahre Otto Rohse Presse, zur Ausstellung in Berlin’, Aus dem Antiquariat, 5, 1972, pp. A188-90 Rudolf Niess, ‘Ein Buchzettel Exlibris’ (book labels), Sigill, H. 3, 1973, pp. 3-11
  • Marietta Kleiss, ‘Otto Rohse-Ausstellung in Frankfurt a.M.’, Aus dem Antiquariat, no. 7, 1977, pp. A276-9
  • Richard Brown, ‘The private press of Otto Rohse’, Penrose Annual, 1977/78, pp. 38-50 (contains a checklist of the ORP publications
  • no dates)
  • Richard Roth, ‘Postage stamp design in West Germany’, Graphis 208, 1980, pp. 146-9, 184
  • B. Hack, ‘Essay’ in Otto Rohse, Venezianische Skizzen, Hamburg: Otto Rohse Presse, 1980
  • H. Wendland, ‘Neue Drucke der Otto Rohse Presse Hamburg’, Illustration 63, Nov. 1981, pp. 105-9
  • Bertold Hack, ‘Zwanzig Jahre Otto Rohse Presse’, Philobiblon, Nov. 1982, pp. 329-46 (contains bibliography of the press, 1962-82)
  • ex libris. 58 Holzstiche von Otto Rohse, Hamburg: Rohse, 1983 (a Sigill publication
  • 3 limited editions)
  • 1985-94: Ilse Unruh, ‘Ein Künstler ohne Kompromisse. Grosse Otto-Rohse-Ausstellung im Klingspor-Museum Offenbach’, Aus dem Antiquariat, 1985, 9, pp. A337-41
  • B. Hack (tr. M. Fendel), ‘Otto Rohse’ (in ‘Drei Deutsche Buchkünstler’), Fine Print, April 1986, pp. 85-6, 108-9
  • Franz Hermann Wills, ‘Otto Rohse, Hamburg’, novum7, 1973, pp. 28-37
  • 1975-84: ‘Stamps’, novum, April 1976, pp. 41-3
  • Walter Wilkes, ‘Handpressendruck in Deutschland im 20. Jahrhundert’, Imprimatur, Band XII, 1987, pp. 11-19
  • H. Wendland, ‘Neue Pressendrucke aus Hamburg’, Illustration 63, Nov. 1988, pp. 92-6
  • Eva-Maria Hanebutt-Benz, Otto Rohse, 100 Wood Engravings, Hamburg: Otto Rohse Press, 1990
  • H.A. Halbey, ‘Otto Rohse in der Typographie und Buchgestaltung der neueren Zeit’, Philobiblon, Sept. 1990, pp. 218-35
  • B. Hack and Herta Schwarz, Otto Rohse und seine Presse, Hamburg: Maximilian-Gesellschaft, 1992 (includes bibliography and other printed works from the Press)
  • Lothar Lang, ‘Der Buchkünstler Otto Rohse’, Marginalien, 1993, no. 131, pp. 34-43
  • Richard Brown, ‘Otto Rohse and his Private Press’, The Private Library, Pinner, Winter 1994, pp. 148-71 (contains a checklist of the ORP publications to 1994)
  • 1995-present: H. Schwarz and Inge Zeiske, eds ., Otto Rohse – Werkverzeichnis der Kupferstiche 1963-95, Hamburg: Otto Rohse Presse, 1995
  • ‘Hans-Meid-Medaille für Otto Rohse’, Illustration 63, Nov. 1997, p. 83
  • Henning Wendland, ‘Landschaft, Park und Schloss im Graphischen Bild bei Otto Rohse’, Graphische Kunst, 51/2, 1998, pp. 72-4
  • Maximilian-Gesellschaft’s Certificate of Honour awarded to OR, March 2000
  • Henning Wendland, note on OR’s Der Physiologus, in Illustration 63, April 2000, p. 31, Philobiblon, June 2000, p. 152
  • Hans Peter Willberg, ‘Wie sie stechen’ (woodcuts), Imprimatur, Band XVII, 2002, pp. 244-5
  • Stephan Füssel, ‘Preisträger Otto Rohse’, Gutenberg Jahrbuch, 2003, p. 8
  • Hans Peter Willberg, ‘Laudatio zur Verleihung des Gutenberg-Preises an Otto Rohse’, Gutenberg Jahrbuch, 2003, pp. 9-14.
  • G.K. Schauer, ‘The advertising book-jacket 1962’, Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., Oct. 1963, pp. 8-19
  • Kurt Kranz, ‘German postage stamps’, Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., Feb. 1970, pp. 10-15

Exhibitions

  • Klingspor Museum, Offenbach a.M., 1957, 1961
  • Baden-Baden Frankfurt, Hamburg, London (The Times Bookshop), Oldenburg, 1965
  • Frankfurt, 1968
  • Hamburg, 1970, 1971
  • Kunstbibliothek, Berlin, 1972
  • Münster, 1974
  • Freiburg, 1975
  • Cologne and Saarbrücken, 1976
  • Arnsberg and Berlin, 1977
  • Universitätsbibliothek, Frankfurt a.M., 1977
  • Gutenberg Museum, Mainz, 1978
  • Gelsenkirchen, 1981
  • Münster and Trier, 1984
  • Klingspor Museum, Offenbach a.M., 1985
  • Berlin, 1989
  • Siegen, 1989
  • Landesmuseum, Oldenburg
  • Hamburg
  • Gutenberg Museum, Mainz, 1992
  • Hamburg, 1993
  • Emden, 1997
  • Zwang, Hamburg, 2001
  • Gutenberg Museum, Mainz, Dec. 2010-Feb. 2011.

Collections

  • (Otto Rohse Press) Klingspor Museum, Offenbach a.M.