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About the Blumenbuch

Contributed by Jérôme Knebusch on Feb 10th, 2020. Artwork published in .
    Unpublished flower, Kratzdistel [thistle].
    Photo: Jérôme Knebusch. Courtesy Klingspor Museum, Offenbach. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Unpublished flower, Kratzdistel [thistle].

    Rudolf Koch started to draw wild flowers in 1922. He explains that he “collected [flowers] at random and without any particular aim. I sketched only the ones which grew in and around Offenbach … This collection is intended to give people a taste of summer while it is winter.” One member of Koch’s Werkstatt, the young Fritz Kredel, engraved most of the 250 drawings. The flowers were printed from woodcuts and entirely hand coloured. The remarkable edition of Das Blumenbuch [The Flower Book] was published several times between 1929 and 1942, from small pocket book editions to precious volumes and portfolios, involving many collaborators, printers, and publishers like Mainzer Presse, Ernst-Ludwig-Presse in Darmstadt, and Insel-Verlag, Leipzig.

    About the Blumenbuch, an essay by Jérôme Knebusch, compiles a detailed chronology of the different editions and presents rare and unpublished material from the archives of the Klingspor Museum, Offenbach. It is the first of the Poem Pamphlet series co-edited with Alice Savoie.

    Designed by the author and typeset in Instant, Almost (unreleased italic), and Jessen “Cicero”, the 12pt version Koch cut for the Blumenbuch. Digital revival by Alexis Faudot & Rafael Ribas, after a workshop at ESAD •Valence in 2016 (freely available from ANRT’s GitHub).

    More info at poem-editions.com.

    Unpublished flower, Kratzdistel [thistle].
    Photo: Jérôme Knebusch. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Rudolf Koch’s letter to Ernst Kellner, 1933. Typeset in Jessen.

    Unpublished flower, Kratzdistel [thistle].
    Photo: Jérôme Knebusch. Courtesy Klingspor Museum, Offenbach. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Waldkerbel [woodchervil], Rudolf Koch’s original drawing, undated.

    Unpublished flower, Kratzdistel [thistle].
    Photo: Jérôme Knebusch. Courtesy Klingspor Museum, Offenbach. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Waldkerbel [woodchervil], woodblock by Fritz Kredel.

    Unpublished flower, Kratzdistel [thistle].
    Photo: Jérôme Knebusch. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Typeset in Instant Heavy and Almost italic (unreleased).

    Unpublished flower, Kratzdistel [thistle].
    Photo: Jérôme Knebusch. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Typeset in Instant Heavy and Almost Italic (unreleased).

    Unpublished flower, Kratzdistel [thistle].
    Photo: Jérôme Knebusch. Courtesy Klingspor Museum, Offenbach. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Title plate of the limited portfolio edition. Calligraphy by Berthold Wolpe. Cut in wood by Fritz Kredel.

    Unpublished flower, Kratzdistel [thistle].
    Photo: Jérôme Knebusch. Courtesy Klingspor Museum, Offenbach. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Fritz Kredel’s signature at the back of a woodblock.

    1 Comment on “About the Blumenbuch

    1. Jérôme is too modest to mention it, but in addition to this pamphlet, his Poem Editions also offers a number of antiquarian copies of several of the historical editions of the Blumenbuch, ranging from pocket books (Insel-Verlag, 1933) to a quarto edition with hand-coloured woodcut prints, gold-embossed titles, and half-parchment binding (Insel-Verlag, 1942). This is a unique opportunity for lovers of the Offenbacher Werkstatt, or generally of books and flowers. But don’t wait for too long – the reprinted edition is already sold out. For those who want to take a closer look at the pages before ordering a book, the Internet Archive has a full digitization of the Blumenbuch.

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