Fine Art/Kurt Winkler


Kurt Winkler painting
Kurt Winkler painting  
I recently acquired the Visitors' Book for Pilgrim Cottage, near Henley-on-Thames, England, owned from 1932-1953 by English novelist Cecil Roberts, who was in the habit of inviting well-known figures to his house.

In this book is a watercolour by Kurt Winkler, signed and dated 18/3/1934. It portrays a somewhat 'pretty' young sailor, rather in the style of "Portrait Of A Young Arian Boy Wearing High Hitched Leather" which he painted in 1936.

His signature is also separately in the Visitors' Book with a group of other guests, dated 19/3/1934. Cecil Roberts describes his visit in his auto-biography so there is no disputing his identity.

Is this likely to be of any importance?

Many thanks,


Re; The image of a sailor, by Kurt Winkler.
Thank you for the inquiry Maurice, and may I also wish you a very happy New Year in 2012.
This is not the average “run of the mill” question, which one so often deals with. So my first answer to your question is -  yes indeed, it is a very special and important document.
It is also notoriously difficult to give a short answer, as it concerns some very important people and events.
Do please bear with me, so perhaps put the kettle on and have a cup of tea???

The image however, not only concerns important people, but also relates to significant events which were going on, or had already taken place at a very decisive period of history, during the 20th century.

Of whom and what, are we speaking here?

The post first World War period, was also a major upheaval on a very grand scale and on many different levels.

We are  in fact, dealing with the enormously creative international Avante- Guarde movement  which has left us with a great legacy, including that of the Art Deco period.

We are also speaking of different subjects and matters; such  as  Gertrude Steins  “Lost Generation” living in Paris; and also of “Love that dare not speak its name.”
The Parisian “Lost Generation” populated by creative minds such as Ernest Hemingway, Lady Duff Tysden, Man Ray, Ezra Pound, Jean Cocteau, Nancy Cunard and many others besides.

We must also spare a thought, for the English offshoot of the “Lost Generation.”

The late Bloomsbury Group, the early  Omega Workshops in London, and many other such furnaces of creativity; including Charleston House in Sussex, run by Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell in the 1930’s.

Indeed, Cecil Roberts, with his own entourage, could likewise be said to have contributed to the modern art movement of the 20th century, and it is also equally true that he also influenced a great many others, living in different countries through his writings.

Back in the “Imperial England” of the  1930’s, there were still a great many social conventions and constraints to navigate.
Therefore if one fell through the cracks, (or one chose to fall), or perhaps one just narrowly crept along  the sharply defined edges of the established “bon ton” –  then it was quite natural to set up alternative clubs, societies and meeting places to discuss new ideas – rather than merely,  following the usual  “stuffy“ well worn conventions.

For a great many reasons, the artist Kurt Winkler, likewise fell outside, of both his native German and the English social conventions.
Indeed, Kurt Winkler’s whole life  and works, are governed by a long series of twist and turns,since his birth in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century and right up till his death in 1994.  

Moreover, his chaotic lifetime events can only matched by the equally powerful images of the 2011 film, called “Melancholia” by Lars von Trier.

The graphic image of the sailor done by him, is in many respects is executed almost as an informal type of “poster” illustration. It is both equally seductive and potent; as any of “Cassandra” posters of the same period.

It echo’s the “break– way”  in taste, that is moving towards the highly unconventional and androgenic styles of the Art Deco period.
Not only that, but the image also takes a great leap forward in time, and looks to the Hollywood styles and posters of the 1950’s.

Indeed the watercolour of Winkler's sailor, might well have served as a front cover for the French author, Jean Genet's 1947 turbulent novel, about the life and fortunes of the young  French sailor; Querelle de Brest.
Indeed, it could easily have been used as a poster for the 1982 film of the same name, which was directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

So yes, but for many different reasons, the work done by Winkler in the visitors book has a great significance.
It represents a leaf taken from social history, a work of art by a great visionary who is mainly; now forgotten.
It also represents the conversations and social interactions, between visitors to Pilgrim Cottage back in the 1930’s.

Moreover it is also perhaps a reflection on the “mindset” and experiences of a former first World War correspondent and author Cecil Roberts, whose works include a great many allusions to the ideals of the  “Lost Generation.”
The  titles of works by the novelist Cecil Roberts, which echo most closely the ideals belonging to the image of the sailor in the visitors book, might well include a few of the following titles;

Through the eyes of youth (1914)
Collected war poems  of 1916
The Chelsea cherub (1917)
The love rack (1925)
David and Diana (1928)

Lastly, Kurt Winkler’s watercolour of the sailor is far more fluid and artistic – as compared to all  of  his many  “lederhosen”  figures which I have seen. They all appear to be  of a very stiff and idealised Germanic type.  His “lederhosen”  figures seem to be he trying to please, or placate the “darker forces” of a new fascist regime back in his own country; and from which he was eventually forced to flee.

The work as a whole is a true collectors object, with an enormous demand and with a good provenance. Moreover, it is an object which would need to be kept as a whole, rather than being split up, in order to maximise the appeal and value.

t would need  to be put into a specialist sale with a fixed reserve, or, perhaps sold privately to  a specialist dealer or collector.
It should not  in any circumstances, go into a general sale.

It would also need to be “vetted” by a proper forensic examination and expert; before being sold, or insured.

I wish you all the best with the object, take good care of it and above all keep  it well away from direct sunlight,or any damp places so as to avoid any damage.

My apologies, for the length of reply to the question.
However, I feel that the quality and importance of the object justified the need.

Take care and  yet once again - Happy New Year.

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D. E. Lombardo


I am unable to answer enquiries concerning objects, which are NOT related to the areas of Fine Art and Antiques. Nor will I; on the sole basis of any photographic images be willing to give any definitive monetary valuations, or monetary opinions. In such cases I would always advise on getting “real time” valuations and opinions from reputable and qualified auction houses, or third parties. In some applicable cases, I may perhaps give general indications of value, based on the presented materials. True valuations always need a direct “hands on” approach, with perhaps also the necessary research and verifications. Broadly open to almost all questions, regarding the majority of both European, American quality objects, which are related to both Antiques and Fine Art. This also includes modern 20th century designer objects such as furniture etc. My own particular comfort zone areas would be; The decorative Arts, marble, stone, furniture, ivory, bone, amber, ceramics and porcelain, sculpture, glass, silver and metal objects etc. I will also answer inquiries, and give opinions concerning Dutch 17th, 18th and 19th century paintings. Please note that I do have limitations and cannot possibly answer all questions, as the field is very extensive. VERY IMPORTANT and PLEASE NOTE: Please note that; providing > GOOD CLEAR and Preferably High Resolution < photo's of the object(s)in question, is vital. Pics taken with a cell/mobile phone, are of a poor quality and best avoided. Posting signatures only, or just fragments of an artifact - will only provide me with insufficient information and it is often quite misleading. So please; Do post good clear overall images, with your question(s). Failing to do so, may cause rejection, which is also a great pity.


Since the early 90’s I lead a team of very enthusiastic staff at a business, where have the following disciplines; Restoration and refurbishment of historical buildings and gardens, including interior design. The restoration and care of Fine Art and Antiques at our restoration studio We are also Fine Art and Antique dealers, besides being collectors ourselves for a great number of years.

The main professional organization of which I am a member is the BNA, or Association of Dutch Architects, which is equivalent to the US; American Institute of Architects. Affiliated to the Art Loss Register in London and the International Cites Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

Villa Rufolo; The forgotten paradise on earth. Published by the University of Aarhus, Denmark Book reviews and articles for International Archis Magazine, in the Netherlands.

Since I wished to become a Restoration Architect, firstly I took my BA degree in Art History. Then after graduation, I followed this immediately by studies to graduate and become a Restoration Architect. Ever since then, I have been an established Restoration Architect and Antiquarian. Since a great number of buildings are also inhabited by Fine Art fixtures and furnishings, I also became absorbed by all the artifacts, which go to fill them and not only the edifices themselves. This and much more, was the reason for gaining an advisory post on the City Commission; For The Protection and Care of Historic Monuments of Amsterdam - Amstelveen.

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Citations and gratitude; “From the Town of Amalfi” for the groundwork achieved in order bring back the Historical past to the Medieval Villa Rufolo and its vital role in the region. BA in Art Hisory. Graduation Diploma as an Architect & Antiquarian; and also practicing as such. I have also completed a 3 year course in antiques, at the VHOK in Amsterdam VHOK is translated as; ( "The Association of Fine Art Dealers In The Netherlands.")

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