Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Fairy Tale Procession and More Art by Hermann Vogel!

 Knight and Dead Bloody Dragon. Detail from Marchenzug, by Hermann Vogel.
(Check out those medieval Skele-toes on that knight!)

Was digging around in an old box from college in the basement and
 unearthed this forgotten inspiration! I'd bought it back then and never displayed it thinking it'd just get ruined or faded in the dorm. There it was, a small card-carton, with the above picture on the lid, containing

a 5 foot long accordion-folded printed frieze by an artist I'd never heard of as a young art major:
Hermann (most often spelled with two n's) Vogel.

The origin of the three long paintings is printed on the back, along with a verse, presumably by Vogel as well. I scanned it as best I could, pretty high res, with some overlap, as I've found nothing like it on the web. It's a beautiful, detailed work that contains references to many fairy stories, herewith presented from end of procession to front:

 For attacking the witch,
The brave little duckling merits praise;
The stepmother was a spiteful hag,
So shove her in the keg!
Listen! How the black ravens shriek!
They are the seven enchanted brothers;
It is their faithful sister
Who turns them back into men.
The good fairy of the tales
Knows how to delight the hearts of children.
She even drops her flowers
Into the laps of the aged.

The Bloody Dragon has finally
Received his just desert.
Now he is stuffed for the fair,
And can be viewed for ten pennies.
Sometimes the pretty maid weeps,
And everyone is touched by her sorrow.
But then the Prince appears,
To take his bride home.

From fairy tales we learn
That virtue triumphs in the end,
And every evil thing
Receives Punishment's salty sting.

Oh look, my child, here they come!
All the old beloved stories;
In front, Tom Thumb,
Followed by the seven dwarfs making bright sounds.
You see Puss in Boots strutting,
As if he were King of the world.
Gold coins fall from the sky
As the Bremen Musicians play.
That must be Hansel and Gretel,
Freed from their captivity.
Then the Frog Prince and behind,
Maria the willful one.

Books with Vogel's illustrations seem difficult to find for some reason. Sad, because his work is incredibly detailed; full of anthropomorphic animals, little guys, and sometimes peaceful, haunting vignettes like this:
The one above and the following pic are from an old book in Italian called C'era Due Volte...(Once Upon a Time...), that I found in the local used bookstore a decade or so ago. (Didn't make the connection to the long packed away frieze at that point.)
 The book is filled with a variety of Vogel's illustrations. Some appear to be engravings of his works, but some look to be printed from his pen and ink drawings.

Detail from Giorno Di Festa Nel Bosco (Feast Day in the Woods).

Those illustrations...

this dapper fellow...

 and this great, pop-eyed witch from Hansel and Gretel, make me wonder why Vogel is not more widely known. A truly great draftsman, he seems to have inhaled the mystical breath of faery as deeply as Rackham, with different, but equally evocative results.

I love these. Hope you do too!


  1. I'm a long-time fan of Vogel's work but have never seen this one before. THanks for posting!!

    1. You are welcome. If you ever run across books with Vogel's works in them, please let me know--I'll be all over them

  2. Thanks for taking the time to scan and post this. Enjoyed it!

    1. You're welcome. It seemed strange that the work was not readily available on the web, so thought I'd remedy that. Thanks for checking in--very glad to know you liked these.

  3. I have been here lately but did I forget to write down a word or two? I know some of these pictures , I will always associate his work with books I read in my youth ... great post, thanks !

    1. Thanks artisjokken--if you remember the book titles, please send them along!


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