Wednesday, April 27, 2016

German Guardian Angel Art

Many of my favorite flea market finds in Germany were guardian angel art prints. After returning to Utah , I have now cleaned and restored my prized collection.  While removing many of the original lithographs from their frames, I was able to see  dates imprinted in the margins of the prints that when framed were not visible.  The oldest date I discovered was 1898.  Through the process of cleaning the prints I had my eyes opened to the early matting and framing techniques of the nineteenth and early twentieth century framing techniques.  It appears that common newsprint strips were glued to attach the prints to the matting and most of the time small brads were used to secure the prints.  Surprisingly, I did find a couple of frames where the mats were fastened with framing points very similar to those of today.  There were many different artists in Germany who painted guardian angel art, and many of the works were copies of previous paintings . Bernhard Plockhorst  (1825 - 1907 ) is probably one of the most know German painters and graphic artists known for his guardian angels and religious art.  Plockhorst's  painting The Guardian Angel (1886), showing an angel and two little children close to an abyss, was reproduced as a color lithography in thousands of copies and greatly influenced the later pictures of guardian angels. Follow me on Instagram
The Guardian Angel (1886)  Bernhard Plockhorst

The Guardian (c.1918)  H. Zabateri (Hans Zatzka)

Hans Zatzka (1859 - 1945) who painted under the name of H. Zabateri, originally painted children on a bridge with a guardian angel. The Guardian (c. 1918) was painted by H. Zabateri as a postcard . Original postcards with the artist's name can be purchased from collectors. Several prints of this painting have been attributed to "Lindberg". Lindberg copied the orginal painting and used brighter colors, detail changes, and simpler figures.  There are pages of prints for sale on the internet by H. Zabateri. They are primarily of religious themes, such as his well known image of "The Last Supper" and another of the "Sacred Heart of Jesus". There is little information on who H. Zabateri was, or where he was from. As with many artists of the era, Zabateri was a pseudonym, another name by which an artist signed his work. H. Zabateri was also known as Hans Zatzka; an Austrian who was born in Vienna in 1859 and died somewhere around 1945. It appears Hans Zatzka used the pseudonym of H. Zabateri for his more Christian religious works, (though there are some allegorical/mythological images with the Zabateri signature). Zatzka was known for his allegorical subjects, genre scenes, and figures. According to online biographies; he spent many years dedicating his painting to the churches and other known establishments of Austria. He was the student of the Academy of Fine Arts of Vienna from 1877 to 1882. While he decorated numerous churches of Vienna, Mayerling, Olmutz and Innsbruck, he was most widely known for his passionate images depicting women, fairies and mythological subjects. Aware of the popularity of his women, Zatzka combined his love of painting women into great paintings which were in turn reproduced into postcards. He produced a vast amount of postcards during his time. Hans Zatzka's original work sells for thousands of dollars (U.S.), where as no original Zabateri work has ever shown up at a major auction house. It is possible that the Zabateri originals are being listed at auction as Zatzka's; but this is very difficult to research. 
Hans Zatzka, in addition to Zabateri; also painted under the pseudonym names of P. Ronsard and J. Bernard. 

Now after cleaning and restoring my collection of 37 guardian angel art prints they are on display at the Artists Boutique Gallery in Tremonton, Utah.   Follow me on Instagram

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Christkindlmarkt Salt Lake City

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Thanks to Utah organizers, the Christkindlmarkt Salt Lake City has quenched my thirst  and satisfied my appetite for Christmas markets!   I have been busy preparing for our stall for this years event at the market .  It was such a wonderful experience to be a vendor last year and I look forward to setting up our booth in early December.  Our German style window arches were a hit at last years event.  Check out our Gallery/Shop and view our unique designs. The event is patterned after the world famous German markets, and is located at  This is The Place Heritage Park.

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Monday, April 18, 2016


Those who drive through a village or city in the German Ore Mountains during wintertime will see numerous ornamental candle holders equipped with electric lights.  The town of Seiffen is particularly noted for its production of window arches in its craft shops.   For more than 250 years these candle holders, called Window archs (Schwibbogen, Fensterlicht, Fensterbogen,or Lichterbogen), (German) have been part of the Christmas tradition in the Ore Mountains.  The first Window-arch was made around 1726 out of forged black sheet metal and it was lit by wax candles.  If one believes the traditional tales, the shape of the Window arch symbolizes the glowing miners lamps hung in a semi-circle at the entrance of their ore mines on Christmas Eve.  The Traditional Window-arch has always been designed in pleasing designs displaying a great number of subjects which are stylized and cut in genuine natural wood using a fretsaw.   The number of candles varies with the size of the  arch.  The original one featured 11.  The most famous design was created by Paula Jordan in 1937 for a show in Schwarzenberg.  It depicted the 3 main sources of income of the people in the region in the 18th and 19th century.   Thus the Schwibbogen showed apart from some traditional symbols: 2 miners, 1 wood carver, a bobbin lace maker, a Christmas tree, 2 miners hammers, 2 crossed swords, and an angel.  The candle holder was always associated with Christmas.  The light symbolizes the longing of the miners who didn’t see the daylight in winter for weeks sometimes due to their long working hours below the surface. We at ARTISANS BOUTIQUE present to you as a novelties, double sided Window Arches with internal lights as well as Christmas ornament arches. These products have certain flair because of the double or multi wood layers.  The integrated lights cause certain parts of the fretsaw work to be especially emphasized.  Many of our arch designs depict historical and religious scenes including skylines and landmarks.  Not only at Christmas time, but all through the year our products will bring a glowing romantic touch to your home. Gallery/Shop  
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Sunday, April 17, 2016


Schwibbogen window arches are  double sided fretwork designs in the Christmas tradition from the German Ore Mountains.  Our handcrafted wood products have certain flair because of the double wood layers.  The mini lights cause parts of the fretsaw work to be emphasized.  In Germany , Schwibbogens are also referred to as Fensterbogen, Fensterlicht, and Lichterbogen. Many of our arch designs depict historical and religious scenes including skylines and landmarks. Not only at Christmas, but all through the year our products will bring a glowing romantic touch to your home.

Our Story
Since my mission to the Netherlands in 1968, my life long dream to return to Europe came true in 2001. My wife and I were both blessed to serve positions working for the U S Department of Defense in Germany for eight years. That experience has had such a positive influence in my life! Now since my federal retirement in 2009 I have returned to doing what I love best! Art! My works now reflect a German flavor which I acquired as we visited many wonderful Christmas markets throughout Germany. The Artisans Boutique was originally an Army wives shop at the US Army Shopping Center in Heidelberg. There we enjoyed selling handicrafts and flipping treasures from our flea market finds. The boutique closed sadly in 2009. My wife as manager of the boutique inherited the original signs which we now proudly display at our shop in Tremonton. The Artisans Boutique has been resurrected in Utah where we proudly display my original Fensterbogen (German), double sided window arches in the Christmas tradition from the German Ore Mountains. Gallery/Shop  
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