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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Olaf Gulbransson: Master of Line

Today kiddies, I bring you more German cartoon goodness!! This time, we have the undisputed master of line, Olaf Gulbransson! This is the man that Al Hirschfeld looked to for inspiration.

Olaf Gulbransson was born in Oslo, Norway on May 26, 1873. At 17 years old, he began to contribute illustrations to Norwegian magazines such as Tyrihans, the Norwegian satirical magazine. During this time, he studied at the prestigious Academie Colarossi in Paris. He began to contribute to Simplicissimus in 1902. In 1929, be became a professor at the art academy of Munich. I would love to have him as my teacher.

He was a well-known artist, even gaining an exhibition at the art academy in Berlin in 1933. Two days later, the Nazi party shut it down. He continued to contribute to the magazine until it's cancellation in 1944.

He died in Tegernsee, Germany on September 18, 1958.

I shall be translating from the original German.

"You have no children, Mr. Guschelhauer?"
"No, we aren't acrobats, you know."

In the Night Spot
"Miss, do you too have something in your character that you constantly have to fight against?"

A Friendly Suggestion
"We can now bring the stories in the Bible into agreement with the natural sciences. According to the latest research, Adam did not accept the apple from Eve; our first mother therefore gave it to a gorilla. An thus Darwin's theory is proven."

Isadora Duncan
"Orpheus and Eurydice. Rhythmic study based on Euripides' Bacchae. Bacchus and Ariadne, a dance based on Titian's painting of the name. "Mein kleine Danz is finished"."

"Min, I wish you could have the same sensation that I do of seeing the inventors of the splendid grammatical construction facere non possum ut non or quin walking amongst these ruins in the flesh." *

A Fit of Debility
"Look at that!" ... "Eh, old man, now I've got to help you up again?"

The Height of Fashion
Inspired by Rabindranath Tagore, fashionable Berlin practices contemplation of the navel.

*Appendage: This is the town of Tivoli outside of Rome. The Latin construction admired by this Gymnasium teacher means "I cannot help (doing something)".

All of these cartoons and translations come from a book called Simplicimuss, a collection of 180 cartoons from the magazine, collected and edited by Stanley Aplebaum.

I hope you enjoyed this first batch of Gulbransson cartoons. Stay tuned for more!!


Steven Hartley said...

I believe that the Nazi party closed down the Art academy that Olaf was in because they were probably anti-Nazi; and Hitler wanted everyone to support Hitler; and anyone that was Jews, Communists or Social Democrats, homosexuals, gypies, and anyone who opposed the Nazis, would be sent to those horrible death camps.

These are some great drawings here, I don't think I've heard of him before; but I think I saw one of his drawings in one of my History books!

Eric Noble said...

Steven, Olaf Gulbransson is another artist who influenced Disney artist Joe Grant.

I don't believe the Art Academy itself was shut down, but the exhibit of Gulbransson's work. I think it was more that the Nazis took over and reorganized the Art Academy to fit their purposes.

Kirk said...

Wonderful stuff! The conte crayon work reminds me a little of Munch, and early Latrec-like Picasso. Wonderful economy of form and line.

Eric Noble said...

Indeed it is Kirk. Thanks for commenting.

Will Finn said...

A good bit of Daumier too... Really excellent! Thanks for the generous scans!

And yes, Joe Grant was a big fan of SIMPLISIMUSS (sp?) and other publications like it. He had a considerable trove of them at his house in Glendale....

Ignacio Ochoa said...


I discovered Olaf Gulbrasson through Oscar Grillo's blog. He posted some stuff some time ago.
Thanks for sharing!!