Hi, Bought this etching and I'm trying to get some information about it and the artist. On the lower left it has the date 1903 and the initials AVW. The ship on the right hand side is the Haabet. Any information you may have would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Scott
Hello Scott, and thank you so much for the very good photo of your print
Regarding the question about the artist with the only the > 3 < identifying letters of AVW, this situation - is rather similar to searching for the proverbial “needle” in a haystack!
However, if I were to make an educated guess as to the probable identity of the artist, then I would probably choose an artist called Waning - who lived from 1861 -1929.
His full name is Cor. Anthonis van Waning, and he is a very versatile and prolific artist.
His many works span landscapes, including river scenes and watery landscapes, urban landscapes, and marine pictures.
Throughout the whole of history, not all artists have used their own names, indeed some people with long names, they have often shortened, or have chopped up their own family names into something which they deemed to be far more appropriate.
To give perhaps an extreme example, is the name of a railway station in Wales – over in Great Britain.
The name of the station, in the local (orthodox) Welsh language is as follows;
However the locals, they generally just call it “Llanfair PG”.
Waning, he experimented with many kinds of mediums for his artistic expression, including the use of etchings and prints, but also a great many illustrations and works of his were finished in ink, and also as colored lithographs.
However, he is well known for his images of nature - and the more naturalistic approaches to recording daily life as would be found in great era’s of the Victorian past and recording “daily life” at the turn of a new century.
Besides the use of old photographs, it is the work of people like Waning - who were in part responsible for the re –invention – or recreation - of the new physical environment in postwar Europe.
A great part of Europe has been smashed to bits and reduced to rubble, as part of the many disagreements which have occurred, and served to spark off - both the First and Second World Wars; in this part of the world.
Subsequently victory was declared - and when the recriminations and the >>hangover<< had all gone, the job of recreating the once vast areas of urban cities, that were now transformed into jagged landscapes of flattened of rubble – all swung into action.
Both the Rhineland parts of Germany including the city of Hamburg were flattened during the Second World War - by the allied air power of the Americans and English etc.
The German city of Dresden, is perhaps one of the most well know examples of post war - Urban reconstruction.
After the war a huge "FBI like" research was needed - in order to reconstruct many vast urban areas, which after the war - were almost unrecognisable to the majority of the survivors of the allied bombings.
Imagine 9/11 and all of that kind of damage being spread that over 40 -60% of area of New York city, or imagine the Capitol over in Madison – as being just as a huge pile of white dusty and charred rubble?
Therefore, it is such old prints, drawings and photographs - who provided the only real link to the past - such as in the Rhineland and Hamburg - for example.
The authorship might be an educated guess, however and undoubtedly the image portrays either the part of the old harbour at Hamburg, or the huge Rhineland inland harbour area belonging to the old city of Duisburg, that is also part of the - gigantic industrial Ruhr district.
The architecture in the print is of the Hanseatic type , which identifies the locations.
The most most notable cities as past part of the older historic Hanseatic trading league, was places such as Deventer and Kampen in Holland, the German cities of Hamburg, Duisburg, Lubeck - and the famous city of Gdansk in Poland.
The old smoking “puffer” boat in the background on your print - is probably a small cargo boat, or a tug.
This print is a is frozen moment in time, when the smells of produce which ranged from coffee beans, teak tree lumber, barley for the brewing of beer, and coal dust - all mingled with that of the arrival of crates with fresh oranges.
Ironically this tranquil image it is dated 1910, and just 4 short years before “all hell” broke loose in Europe with the start of the First World War.
Rather more poignantly, it is such images as is to be seen on your old print which helped to heal the ugly urban gashes of the Second World War, and provided a useful “sat nav” image; that was to guide all of the many city planners - of the post war reconstruction period in Europe.
Today, places like Hamburg - or Duisburg are all visited by sleek “roll on roll offs” or container ships, which are all standardised and pretty box like in shape.
The crates of oranges and jute sacks bulging with coffee beans are all gone – and are now hidden inside rectangular steel containers, the giant container cranes are now perching where tall warehouses once stood along the many wharves.
The huge modern cranes, they have also ousted all the brawny men who once toiled here - people that are to seen in your print.
But today - here and there - are still a few remnants of old buildings from the time of your own print - which are situated along the edges of the modern docklands.
A few old remaining puffer’s can still get up a head of steam as a festive and touristic “tall sailing ships” regatta slowly gets under way – all along the quay side.
There are celebrations and bunting, with flocks of people who visit –there are a great many more smoky barbeques all decorated with sizzling hot dogs and hamburgers – rather than “old puffers”, but still there is a huge amount of beer, coffee and orange juice all along the water front.
In a nutshell, the print is a window into a more tranquil past, and it partly also prophecies a future fast changing world, with the arrival of steam power and electricity.
It is also the kind of image that is also part of a healing process, which helped many urban planners from a great mass of the war ravaged cities in Europe - to regain their damaged memories and sense of identity after the chaos of war.
There are a few more steps needed in order to achieve more clarity as to, if they are really a genuine original object, rather than a fake reproduction.
A real time inspection by a reputable auction house, can make a very good assessment; as to condition, type of paper used and value, etc.
The average prices for those works all depends on; size, artist, quality, provenance, subject matter and condition- which are all highly important - and do also vary a great deal.
With a person like Waning who is quite collectable , the art world who are most interested are the collectors of Victoriana, the collectors of classical maritime and travel/ urban memorabilia, and of course those who are interested in the history of the Second World War and any of course any historical German / American connections.
The internet, should point you in the direction of the auction houses in your own location,
I would strongly advise, in taking it along to at least 2 different auction houses for a valuation. Second opinions, are always very beneficial indeed.
Furthermore; should you desire to take it to auction - then I would also advise on selling it with a fixed bottom end reserve - but perhaps with a 10% auctioneers discretion, which is quite reasonable.
Selling without a fixed reserve, is definitely not to recommended.
Very good luck indeed, at the auction house.
I am quite sure that they will be able to help you over the few last steps.!