Saturday, February 5, 2011

Fraktur Motifs, ca. 1770–1800

Johann Heinrich Otto (American, ca. 1773–ca. 1800)
Watercolor, pen and iron gall ink, and graphite on off-white laid paper

By 1770, the German émigré Otto had begun to make various forms of fraktur, a style of decorative calligraphy named after a sixteenth-century German typeface. His skill is evident in the pleasing balance of color and form achieved in the composition of repetitive motifs. For example, the parrots perched at either side of the sheet and the two peacocks that cross necks above the tulip are nearly identical in their respective form but vary in the patterning on their wings. Touches of blue enhance the harmony among the greens, reds, and yellows that dominate Pennsylvania German fraktur designs.
Source:Johann Heinrich Otto: Fraktur Motifs (66.242.1) | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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