H.A.P Grieshaber - Totentanz von Basel
Totentanz von Basel
Portfolio of 40 original colour woodcuts on Kochi Japan paper Mostly 45 x 35 cm (67 x 52 cm) Individually signed. Exemplar 19 of 30 copies numbered in Arabic numerals. - In original linen portfolio, printed in colour 70 x 53 x 4,5 cm, numbered in the colophon. VEB Verlag der Kunst Dresden, 1966. - Partly with marginal defects. The text pages with light-stain, otherwise in fine condition.
The “Totentanz von Basel” (Basler Dance of Death) is one of Grieshaber's best-known series of woodcuts. Thematically it deals, on the one hand, with the revival of a visual tradition handed down since the Middle Ages: The starting point for the present graphic work was the “Dance of Death” on the graveyard wall of the Dominican abbey in Basle, created in the mid 15th century. Merian recorded the later destroyed work in engravings in 1621. At the same time, the present cycle by Grieshaber additionally makes reference to contemporary politics and is also the expression of a highly personal experience: A minor heart attack had warned the artist that our lives are always hanging by a thread. Grieshaber sketched with great care his designs for the series from October to December 1965. The first finished woodcuts were then completed before the end of the month.
List of works
Acquired from the artist's circle; since then in private possession, South Germany
Cf. i.a.: Hans Martin Rotermund, Totentanz von Basel / HAP Grieshaber, Dresden 1968 n. pag..; Heinz Spielmann, HAP Grieshaber, Hamburg 1976, p. 18; Karl-Heinz Kukla / Horst Zimmermann, HAP Grieshaber Holzschnitte, Berlin/Rostock/Dresden 1978/79, p. 8; Margot Fürst, Grieshaber. Die Druckgraphik Werkverzeichnis Band 2, 1966 - 1981, mit einem Text von Heinz Spielmann, Stuttgart 1984, p. 10f; Ludwig Greve/ Manfred Schneckenburger/ Heinz Spielmann/ Gunther Thiem, Grieshaber. Ein Lebenswerk 1909 - 1981, Stuttgart 1984, p. 52.