Marcus Behmer

Illustrations by Marcus Behmer (1879–1958) circa 1900

Marcus Behmer, from Ver Sacrum, 1901
I became fascinated by Marcus Behmer and his snoot-snout and big-beak creatures after seeing one of his bookplates in 2009 and posts of his work at feuilleton and The Cabinet of the Solar Plexus. (In 2011 I re-hashed feuilleton’s work for a post on But Does it Float.) When I saw the image above in one of John’s features on Ver Sacrum I knew I’d have to post it myself sooner or later.
Most of the images here come from Ver Sacrum, “the art journal of the Viennese Secession,” published from 1898 to 1903. See the complete archive. A few come from Simplicissimus and a few from auction listings.
The only biographical information in English I could find is Oliver Tepel’s account of the artist’s life for an exhibit at Galerie Daniel Buchholz:Fascinated by the book art of Charles Ricketts and directly influenced by Aubrey Beardsley’s revolution is in the field of illustration, Marcus Behmer starts out at the turn of the 19th century as an autodidact. He soon liberates himself from Art Nouveau and, parallel to Expressionism that was just emerging and to the new impulses from the Wiener Werkstätte in Vienna, develops his own inimitable formal idiom. In his native Weimar he catches the eye of the legendary Harry Graf Kessler. Behmer draws, writes and designs books (for Kessler’s Cranach Press, but above all for the publisher Insel) developing a style of engraving that was both absolutely precise and astonishingly personal. He achieves a degree of fame in the bibliophile circles that keep abreast of the beginnings of Modernism. At the start of his career everything seems possible for Behmer, he makes early comic books, creates a language of ornament all of his own, and produces writings and pictures of astonishing comic imaginativeness and sexual frankness. But as early as the twenties Behmer suffers from the crisis in the field of the art book, and consequently from his unwavering dedication to the small format. While his book illustrations for Oscar Wilde’s “La Sainte Courtisane”, Hermann Bang’s “Exzentrische Novellen” (Eccentric Novellas) and above all Phillip Otto Runge’s “Von dem Fischer und syner Fru” (Of the Fisherman and his Wife) are highly regarded internationally, his visibly freer graphic works continue to disappear into a cultural black hole which swallows up almost all Modernist illustrators. He is still sufficiently visible however to come up on the National Socialists’ radar, and in 1937 they imprisoned Behmer, who was living openly as a homosexual, for two years. [continue reading]
Also check out the tantalizing installation views at the gallery. I wish I could take a look at some of these books!

Marcus Behmer, from Ver Sacrum, c. 1900

Marcus Behmer, from Ver Sacrum, c. 1900

Marcus Behmer, from Ver Sacrum, c. 1900

Marcus Behmer, from Ver Sacrum, c. 1900

Marcus Behmer, from Ver Sacrum, c. 1900

Marcus Behmer, “Karnevals Begräbnis” from Simplicissimus, 1900

Marcus Behmer, from Simplicissimus, 1901

Marcus Behmer, from Ver Sacrum, c. 1900

Marcus Behmer, from Ver Sacrum, c. 1900

Marcus Behmer, from Ver Sacrum, c. 1900

Marcus Behmer, “Faust und Wagner,” Ver Sacrum, c. 1900

Marcus Behmer, from Ver Sacrum, c. 1900

Marcus Behmer, Simplicissimus, 1900

Marcus Behmer, from Ver Sacrum, c. 1900

Marcus Behmer for Balzac, “Das Mädchen mit den Goldaugen” (The Girl With the Golden Eyes), 1904

See a set of Behmer’s Salome illustrations at The Peacock Skirt

Marcus Behmer, “Das Ungerheuer”

By: 50 Watts
Via: Feedbin Starred Entries
Source: http://50watts.com/Marcus-Behmer

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