top of page
Rembrandt 14.JPG

Landscape and Boat                                                                                                                                                                                               Rembrandt


The Blaschke Collection is made up of two parts. The first part consists of German Expressionist graphics, originating for the most part from the first part of the twentieth century, but stretching back via Impressionism through to Max Liebermann and before him Josef Israels, back into the middle of the nineteenth century.  For the most part these original graphic works were executed by means of etching; other techniques used were lithography, and to a lesser extent the woodcut.


The second part of the Collection consists of graphic reproductions known as Reichsdrücke and Amslerdrücke, which are reworkings of the old German, Dutch and other European masters. At the end of the nineteenth century the German State Printing Works, (Reichsdrückerei), as well as the private firm Amsler, remastered the graphic works of many fifteenth and sixteenth century artists including Dürer, Cranach, Goltzius, Schongauer, and their contemporaries; and from the next century, the work of Rembrandt and his contemporaries. 


These images were transferred by photomechanical means onto steel plates. They were able then to run off considerable numbers of each selected graphic, enabling the art-buying public affordable means to purchase something with a stamp of authenticity. While these are not strictly original prints, any perceived lack of authenticity is made up by the quality ensuing from these remastered plates.  The state printing works in Vienna by means of its Albertina facsimiles performed a similar function for the Austrian public.

Expressionist Collection

The Expressionist part of the Collection numbers over 200 graphics. Images vary in dimension from the pocket-sized to those nearing an A1 sheet.


Expressionism has its roots in painting and in particular to the year 1892. In that year a sizeable number of mainly German painters took a collective stand against the established order as exemplified by the dictates of the conservative Association of Berlin Artists. With Max Liebermann at their helm the dissenters seceded from the Association under the so-called Berlin Secession of 1892. They established their own artistic canons, held their own exhibitions, and became known with the hindsight of history as Expressionist in style. 


Associated with the Liebermann name are those of fellow Secessionists Lovis Corinth and Max Slevogt.  All three were known as open-air painter, i.e. working directly on the canvas.  Liebermann and Slevogt saw and were affected by war service in the Franco-Prussian War and World War I.  The collection has eight graphics of Corinth, four of Slevogt, and 20 of Liebermann.


Outstanding in any discussion German graphic is the name of Käthe Kollwitz (1867–1945) and we have four magnificent (if very sombre) examples.


The artist represented with the largest number of works in the Blaschke Collection is Hans Meid: there are some twenty-five of his prints. Meid drew his sources from classical mythology, and was also a constant depicter of the contemporary Berlin cityscape.


Otto Lais, of whom we have seven examples, was one artist known personally to Marie's father Eugen Vandewart and for this reason is of particular family interest.


There are a more than a dozen etchings of Emil Orlik. Of Bohemian origin, Orlik was active teaching and practicing in Berlin, and known for his interest in the Orient. There are a number of works (etchings and one lithograph) from illustrator Heinrich Zille, who confined his geographical palette, often satirical and humorous, to Berlin scenes.


Some of the artists are most celebrated in their life's work for sculpture or for painting – so it is gratifying for the Collection to have two wood-cuts from sculptor Ernst Barlach, and also a few graphics from the great Scandinavian painter Edvard Munch.


Pivotal in any discussion of the German graphic is the output of the short-lived Die Brücke group (1905–1913) and their adherents. The Blaschke Collection has just four examples from Die Brucke's Max Pechstein, one of them being a colored lithograph. There is however one George Grosz and one Max Beckmann, artists who were allied in general direction with Die Brücke.


Finally, from the New Zealand graphic works collected by Alfons and Marie in Auckland from the 1960s, those of the German artist Hildegard Wieck, living and working in Auckland between 1962 and 1968, form a salient 20th century connection with the school of Expressionist German graphic.

Other artists represented in the Blaschke collection, but not described here, include William Strang (Scottish, 1859-1921), Joseph Pennell (1857-1926, American artist working in Europe), Anders Zorn (Swedish, 1860 – 1920), Lesser Uri (1861 – 1931, German-Jewish painter and graphicist working in Berlin), August Gaul (1869 – 1921, sculptor, painter and graphicist, founding member of the Berlin Secession), Walther Klemm (1888–1957, Berlin Secession member, known for depictions of animals),  Hermann Struck (1874-1944, German-Jewish, Zionist who emigrated to Israel in the 1920s), Ernst Oppler (1867-1929, Berlin Secession painter and graphicist known for his etchings of dance and ballet), Paul Paeschke (1875-1943, German painter), Felix  Meseck (1883 – 1955, Prussian painter and graphicist), and Otto Delling (1884-1968, German painter and graphicist).


Old Masters Collection

The Old Masters facsimile reproduction part of the Blaschke Collection numbers again more than 200 works. By far the larger number of them are Reichsdrücke, with a much smaller number of Amslerdrücke. Images vary from pocket-sized through to A3 size. These facsimiles are mostly of etchings, together with a lesser number of copper engravings, wood engravings and even copies of actual paintings. Engraving, as distinct from etching, is when the artist physically gouges into the metal (or wood), in order to create ink-receiving channels, instead of having acid do this work as in an etching.


Chronologically the facsimiles cover three centuries, from middle of the 1400s right through to the early part of the 1700s, with a numerical weighting toward the first part of the 1500s.


To begin with are those graphics by artist-craftsmen whose names are not fully known but whose artistry is evident: Meister KZ, Meister ES, MZ; also some of Michael Wohlgemuth (1434 -1519) in whose studio Dürer worked.


The great artists represented in the Collection are: the short-lived Martin Schongauer (1450-1491), Albrecht Dürer (1471-1527) and also Lucas Cranach (1472-1553).


Among the Schongauer prints is the series of engravings making up his Passion of Christ.  Of the great Dürer are some thirty graphics ranging in size from pocket handkerchief through to an A3-sheet. Included are the sixteen that constitute his Kupferstich (copperplate engraving) Passion. There are also a number of very fine wood engravings of biblical scenes.

Of Lucas Cranach the Collection includes some two dozen larger-sized woodcuts, again of biblical subjects.


Among Dürer’s near contemporaries Albrecht Altdorfer (1480-1538) is noteworthy in that he introduced landscape as a subject in its own right; there are a dozen Amslerdrücke of these. Augustin Hirschvogel, (1503- 1553) also noted for landscape, has several Amslerdrücke. and there are several Reichsdrucke graphics from each of Hans Burgkmaier (1473-1531) and Heinrich Altgrever (1502-1558), both known as Minor Masters.


Moving to the next generation of graphic artists: the Collection has facsimiles of the work of Dutch master Hendrick Goltzius (1558–1617). And then going forward into the Seventeenth Century, we are fortunate to have numerous facsimile etchings from the other towering master Rembrandt (1606-1669). They are of varying sizes; some are of biblical subjects while others are of landscape – and a number are well-known in the graphic literature, such as the so-called Hundertgelderblatt.


Two other Dutchmen to be mentioned are Adrian Van Ostade (1610 -1655) of whom the Collection has a number of attractive little works, and also Lucas Van Leyden (1494 – 1533).

Eminent and satisfying as the facsimile reproductions are, to crown the Collection are some one and a half dozen originals, that is, prints actually dating from the sixteenth century.


Of Hendrick Goltzius, the Collection has a set of the original wood-engraving series that constitute his Passion. Then there is Rembrandt’s Christ on the Mount, the humorous Village Barber (dentist) of Jan Booth (1610 – 1652), and also a minature Hans Holbein (1493 – 1543) portrait. Most astoundingly there are two Dürer etchings: Justice, and also the oft-depicted St Christopherus.


Going back to the facsimile reproduction set as a whole, the most recent in time in the Collection are those two examples of Daniel Nikolaus Chodowieki (1726 – 1801). Only twenty-three years then separate his death from the birth of Josef Israels in 1824; and with that we come full-circle, into the era of the 19-20th century Impressionists!


The Blaschke Collection then is of considerable interest to the art-loving public of this country, both for the intrinsic worth of its material as much for its interest in being the personal choice of two lively individuals who made New Zealand their home.  


Anthony Blaschke, October 2021


Thanks for submitting!



Art in Germany 1900–1923

Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland




A period expressed in original etchings

and lithographs by German Artists 1900–1923

Architectural Centre Gallery, Wellington


ACAG catalogue 1954 2_edited.jpg

Are you interested in exhibiting these works?

The many unique works in The Blaschke Art Collection are available for exhibition in New Zealand by permission of The Alfons and Marie Blaschke Art Trust.

Access to the collection for teaching or research purposes would also be considered.

If you are interested in speaking to a representative of the Trust, please use the contact form below and we will respond to your enquiry as soon as possible.


Contact Us
bottom of page