unearthed at the antique show– the drawings of heinrich kley

Went to an antique and vintage objects show today, and saw this sitting on top of a stack of pages from a disassembled reprint art book.  kley-moving day-blogMan, that’s a drawing.  Tons of power in the technique, and of course I’m a sucker for a centaur, particularly in context.   This is probably the platonic ideal of every scritchy-scratchy pen sketchbook drawing I have ever made.  Brilliant.

Of course I bought it, planning to hang it in the studio.  I bought some other ones too, but didn’t go too crazy, because I knew it was probably possible to buy the whole book(whatever it was) for less than the cost of more than a very few of the loose pages.  But it’s still worth something to have some choice material for the bulletin board.

The only hint in the pages themselves of the artist’s identity are the German titles, but, deep in the pile,  I eventually found the title page.  Didn’t bother to buy it, but I photographed this caricature which I assume is a self portrait of the artist. kley title page-blog A bit of Googling revealed that it’s Kley, not Kloy– specifically it’s Heinrich Kley, a German artist from the turn of the previous century.  He started out as a painter, known primarily for his industrial scenes,  but later in his career he stopped painting and devoted himself to pen and ink drawing and cartooning,  creating images that are fantastical, satirical, or both.  His work was published in important German art magazines like Jugend, and in 1937, the new American magazine Coronet, featured his drawings in three successive issues.  These drawings were seen and greatly admired by the Disney animators, and are considered to be extremely important, if not vital, to the development of the classic film Fantasia.  It’s not too hard to see the influence …kley-songs-blog(I am so buying the Dover book reprinting Kley’s sketchbooks.  According the the Wikipedia, the Fantasia connection gives Kley an evergreen popularity in the US, while he is almost forgotten in his native Germany.)

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4 Responses to unearthed at the antique show– the drawings of heinrich kley

  1. Sean K. says:

    The drawings are great, and I love the mundane, understated titles given to them. 🙂

  2. Joe Procopio says:

    You’ll find a lot ore work about Kley and volume of his work on color in these two far more recent books:


    • Pam Bliss says:

      Thanks, Joe. The books look beautiful, and they cover Kley’s paintings and illustrations as well as his drawings and sketches. I sense a strained book budget in my future!

  3. Pam Bliss says:

    Yes! There’s definitely a little irony in the titles, I think, though I admit I don’t know a lot about German practices in that area.

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