This is a blog about music, photography, history, and culture.
These are photographs from my collection that tell a story about lost time and forgotten music.

Mike Brubaker
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Children at Play

16 January 2021


 Charm, humor, beauty, joy.
Those are the sentimental qualities
often found in the art of portraiture.
For centuries artists used
the technique of engraving
to reproduce their work
for a wider number of patrons.
But it wasn't until the introduction of
the first picture postcards in the late 1890s
that artists finally had a medium for their art
that could reach the general public.
 
This example of postcard art
shows two children indulging
in an innocent display of affection.
Another boy, wearing an 18th century tricorne hat,
steals a peek through a hole in their umbrella.
The caption reads:
Belauscht ~ Overheard

It is the work of Hermann Torggler, (1878-1939),
an Austrian artist whose work I admire for his clever imagery.
This postcard was sent from Amberg, Bavaria
on 2 February 1900.
The writer's florid cursive style
is beautiful but too difficult for me
to be sure it is
even in German.
 
 
 

 
 
* * *


 

 Torggler often gave his characters musical instruments
which was how I first discovered his artwork.
This postcard shows another group of three children
with two young boys serenading a girl
on a violin and a cittern, a lute type folk instrument
still popular in Germany.
The caption reads:
Ständchen ~ Serenade
 
This postcard was never posted
but a message on the front
dates it 20.V. 1901 from Zurich, Switzerland

 

 
 

Another trio of children
are caught in a rainshower
and two boys protect a girl
from rain and puddles.
The title reads:
Immer ritterlich! ~ Always chivalrous!

This postcard has a postmark
from Stuttgart, Germany on 21 July 1909.
The publisher was F. A. Ackermann's Kunstverlag, München.
Hermann Torggler kept a long business relationship
with this company as they printed all of his postcards.

 

 
 

 
 
 
 
* * *
 
 
 
 

My last example of Torggler's postcard series of playful children
switches the trio idea to have two girls dancing with one boy.
Caught in the center is a doll
who seems a bit alarmed at the activity.
The title reads:
Kinderlust ~ Childhood

This postcard was mailed to Fräulein Lenchen Bister
of Elsen, Germany near Düsseldorf .


 
 

 
My fascination with Herman Torggler's postcards
is partly because they represent the beginning of a new social media.
Most of his early work comes from around 1898 to 1910,
a period when a person in Germany, or in many other countries,
could send a brief "postal" message in the morning
and expect the postman to bring a reply in the afternoon.
Torggler's simple sentimental illustrations
appealed to people who wanted to share a joyful gift
of his charming, humorous, and beautiful children
with their family and friends.
It's the same human desire that powers
the internet social media in our time.
 
But I don't think
that a 10 second video clip
of some kid's amusing antics
will be preserved for 120 years
for the people of the future to enjoy.

 
 
 
This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday
where everyone is hunting for their lost umbrella.




 
 
It happens that this Saturday is my son's birthday!
Once upon a time Sam was pretty cute,
but sadly time stops for no one
and he is no longer a kid.

But years and years ago,
he did make a tryout
as a circus clown.


 
For a brief day,
wi
th a little help
from his grandmother's tailoring skills
and his mother's
cosmetics know-how,
Sam took on the disguise of a very funny fellow.

It didn't last,
but in my book
he will always be
my favorite wise guy.

Happy Birthday, old man!


(Will the internet save this for 120 years?)

8 comments:

La Nightingail said...

I love Hermann's postcards. Every time you share them I end up copying some to put in my "Old Fashioned" scrapbook. :) I'm not sure how old your son was when he did the 'clown' act, but he certainly looked cute doing it. That's the thing with pictures - they last. When I show my adult kiddos now, pictures of some of the things they did in their youth, they laugh. Their kids, of course, laugh harder! :))

Barbara Rogers said...

Cute clips of your son as a clown. The postcards made me chuckle...that the art was intended to give a message of carefree childhood, but had adult behaviors, except perhaps dancing in a circle...which I believe we did in recess at school but maybe only when an adult urged us to do so.

kathy said...

I have a couple of friends who are making an effort to send postcards to friends and family during our pandemic confinement. I have received a couple and it is a joy. I didn't know that one could ever expect such a prompt reply to a post as you mentioned.

Sandra Williamson said...

I wonder what Herman Torggler thought of doing postcards as opposed to classical art that he appears to have been famous for? I wonder if it was to put food on the table or light relief from the heavier works?

Wendy said...

The boy holding the umbrella in "Always Chivalrous" looks remarkably like the boy in the tricorn hat. Accident or did Torggler repeat his drawings?
Happy Birthday to the Sam Man!

Molly's Canopy said...

Wonderful selection of Troggler's work -- and of course you found some with umbrellas! I particularly like the children dancing with the doll (who I agree, does look alarmed). Troggler has aptly captured children at play, and his cards must have been favorites for young mothers communicating with their friends.

Lisa said...

Beautiful postcards! I especially love that last one from Stuttgart -- where the sender ringed the image with script! I wish I knew more German and had a better deciphering eye! It's fascinating getting a real glimpse of people's lives through letters and "social media" such as this! Thank you for the lesson introducing Troggler -- and perfect segue for the "U" theme, too!

Avid Reader said...

How can you not smile when you see the joy in those kids? Lovely postcards.

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