Historical office of Franz Grillparzer

Franz Grillparzer's office at the "Hofkammerarchiv", Vienna.

Franz Grillparzer’s office at the “Hofkammerarchiv”, Vienna.

The Austrian poet Franz Grillparzer (1791–1872) did not only write a lot of interesting plays, a bunch of pessimistic poems and an autobiography recapitulating his life in darkest colors. Maybe one of the reasons for his pessimism was his role as a part of imperial bureaucracy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire? From 1832 to 1856 he was the director of the “Hofkammerarchiv”, an archive of documents concerning the finances of the empire. He did not really like his job – but how could he, as a pessimist?

In the building of the “Hofkammerarchiv” at Johannesgasse 6 in the city of Vienna Grillparzer’s office was kept in it’s historical state. For a long time it was inaccessible, but in April 2015 the building – and with it Grillparzer’s office – was opened to the public as a Museum of Austrian Literature “Literaturmuseum” that is part of the Austrian National Library.

I visited it when it was opened and drew the office with it’s beautiful Biedermeier furniture. It took me about 30 minutes, is done with Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pen F black and Caran d’Ache Pablo colorpencils. 26,5 x 21,5 cm.

Drawing in the Italien Alps – Part 2: Remains from the First World War 1914-1918.

Fortifications from the First World War south of the Valparola Pass. Aquarell.

Fortifications from the First World War south of the Valparola Pass. Aquarell.

As you might already have read in my previous post, this summer my friends of the italian association of urban sketchers “Matite in viaggio” invited me to pass a weekend with them drawing at Falzarego-pass in the Dolomites in the italian alps. I reached them when they already had started to draw this view from the nearby Valparola Pass to the south. Sometimes the clouds opened and you could see the snowy peaks.

Equipment fron the First World War, Museo Forte Tre Sassi, Valparola Pass

Equipment fron the First World War, Museo Forte Tre Sassi, Valparola Pass

At the pass there is an old fort (a low, cubic building of stone with small windows) that was converted into a commemorative museum about the frontline between Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. One room of the museum is crammed with relics from the war: helmets, backpacks, gas-masks, machine-guns, metal dishes, iron stoves…

Equipment from the First World War, Museo Forte Tre Sassi, Valparola Pass.

Equipment from the First World War, Museo Forte Tre Sassi, Valparola Pass.

From the same museum. Above right you see a water-bottle for half a litre of water – the daily ration for the soldiers at the beginning of the war. Unimaginable.

Fortifications from the First World War at Col Gallina near Falzarego Pass.

Fortifications from the First World War at Col Gallina near Falzarego Pass.

The peaks of the mountains near the front line virtually were perforated by fortifications on both sides. We climbed up to the fortified camp at Col Gallina, south of Falzarego Pass. The place now is in use as kind of a memorial, being visited by numerous school-classes and other visitors.

The trip gave the motivation to learn more about this crazy war that cost the lives of millions of people.

My paintings and drawings and those of my colleagues were shown at the exhibition “Matite in viaggio 2014” from october 10-12, 2014, at Venezia-Mestre.

Drawing in the Italian Alps – Part 1

Monastery church of San Candido / Innichen.

Monastery church of San Candido / Innichen.

This summer my friends of the italian association of urban sketchers “Matite in viaggio” invited me to pass a weekend with them drawing at Falzarego-pass in the Dolomites in the italian alps. On my way there I visited San Candido / Innichen, a place I wanted to see for years because of it’s famous romanesque church. Now I could visit and even draw it.

Titian's birthplace at Pieve di Cadore

Titian’s birthplace at Pieve di Cadore

On my way back home I took a route via Italy, my first stop was Pieve di Cadore, the birthplace of the venetian renaissance painter Titian / Tiziano Vecellio. He was born there between 1476 and 1490, presumably in the house that is now called Titian’s House / Casa natale del Tiziano right in the centre of the village of Pieve di Cadore. It is a beautiful old building that can be visited and contains a small museum in the ground floor.

The lake of Pieve di Cadore in the evening.

The lake of Pieve di Cadore in the evening.

My next drawing shows the Lake of Pieve di Cadore in the evening.

Café Soffioni, Treviso.

Café Soffioni, Treviso.

I also visited the beautiful town of Treviso near Venice. There I met with a friend at Café Soffioni that is situated under the vaults of the town hall. Waiting for my friend I had some time to sketch the place.

The drawings that I drew at Falzarego-pass will follow soon.

Journey to Southern France – last part

The roman theatre at Orange.

The roman theatre at Orange.

On Aug 1st we had to start with our journey back home. At L’Estrechure we fetch our son and head on east to Orange with it’s famous roman theatre. It impresses by it’s vastness. 

It is starting to rain, as we drive on to the small town of Tullins, where we put up our tent in a short break of the rain.

The Mont Blanc in clouds.

The Mont Blanc in clouds.

Next day: We pass Grenoble and Albertville on our way to Chamonix. We want to see the highest mountain of Europe, the Mont Blanc. But the weather is still a little rainy and the Mont Blanc is covered by clouds.

Muzot castle, the place where Rilke passed his last years.

Muzot castle, the place where Rainer Maria Rilke passed his last years.

Via two passes, the Col des Montets and the Col de la Forclaz, we reach Martigny and finally Sierre in Switzerland. Above the village there is located the small “castle” of Muzot, where Rainer Maria Rilke passed his last years. Here he finished his “Duineser Elegien” and wrote the “Sonetts to Orpheus”. Finally I can see this magical place with my own eyes. And even draw it. 

We put up our tent at a nearby campsite, eat some spaghetti for dinner and finish our day writing diary.

Raron.

Raron.

On August 3rd we go on to Raron a few kilometres up the valley. On a steep hill there stands the small church.

Rainer Maria Rilke's tombstone.

Rainer Maria Rilke’s tombstone.

Rilke is buried at the church’s cemetery. Beside the church there is a small museum with a room commemorating the poet. Having seen all this we walk down the hill to our car, The rest of our journey leads via Furkapass and Oberalppass, Chur and Innsbruck home to Mödling.

Journey to Southern France 2010 – Part 9

The cathedral of Béziers.

The cathedral of Béziers.

Sketches from Musée Fabregat.

Sketches from Musée Fabrégat.

At Béziers we visit the Musée Fabrégat / Beaux Arts: It is a history of art museum in mini format, there are some quite remarkable works to admire, by Holbein, Rubens, Corot up to contemporary art.

My wife reading in a café in front of the museum.

My wife reading.

While I sketch in the museum, my wife reads in a café in front of the museum, sitting in a porch swing!

The stairs of locks.

The staircase lock.

We also visit a technical site of the 17th century: the staircase lock at the canal du midi. By 8 locks the boats get over a difference of height of 21 metres. We watch a boat mounting all the locks within half an hour. Pierre-Paul Riquet was the engineer that built the technical wonder. In the eighties of the last century a new water slope for ships was built, but it has broken down already and was abandoned in 2001, while the old staircase is still working without problems.

The tunnel of the canal du midi.

The tunnel of the canal du midi.

Oppidum d'Enserune with Étang de Montady in the background.

Oppidum d’Enserune with Étang de Montady in the background.

The canal du midi has to offer another interesting feature: a tunnel for ships, named “Malpas”. It is located near another historical site, the “oppidum d’Ènserune”, a celto-roman town of which remain some fundaments and a single column. Beyound the place there ist the “Etang de Montady”, a former lake that was drained already in 1247. What a remarkable colletion of different historical sites!

Place de la Comédie, Montpellier.

Place de la Comédie, Montpellier.

Next day we drive to Montpellier, where we go ‘bookshopping’ in the great bookshop “Sauramps” in the shopping center “Triangle”. I can draw poeple walking to and fro over the vast “Place de la Comédie”. It’s grotesque how such a big place is used for nothing else than passing it on foot as fast as possible, as lots and lots of people do it. The two fountains (I sit an the steps of one of them) are not in the middle, but far aside.

This was the last day of our stay here, tomorrow we have to go back…

Journey to Southern France 2010 – Part 8

Carcasonne: old bridge and medieval city.

Carcasonne: old bridge and medieval city.

On July 28 we visit not only the beautiful medieval city of Carcasonne, but also a nearby “book-village”: Montolieu. As both my wife and I are ‘bookaholics’, this village has a magical attraction for us – and it does not disappoint us.

Montolieu: bookshop "Le Phare Fouilleur"

Montolieu: bookshop “Le Phare Fouilleur”

We arrive at Montolieu at 11, an hour before the beginning of the ‘sieste’, when all the bookshops of the village are closed. So wie hurry into the first shop, get a plan of the village that shows all the attrractions: 15 antiquarian bookshops, some ateliers of book-related artists (illustrators, printers, paper-makers, …) and a book-museum. All in all we stay for five hours, which is far too short for all the things this place has to offer.

At noon we eat in the garden of a restaurant, and I draw the entrance of the bookshop “Le Phare Fouilleur”. I have hardly drawn the first lines, as the owner closes the big door. As he realizes, what I am doing, he opens it again, so I can finish my drawing. Later we visit his big shop: He sells second hand comics (‘bandes dessinées’).

Montolieu: ruins of the 'Manufacture'.

Montolieu: ruins of the ‘Manufacture’.

At last we visit the “Manufacture”, an old industrial complex partly in ruins, but with a vast bookshop.

Montolieu: Librerie Alcyon.

Montolieu: Librerie Alcyon.

Two days later we come a second time to complete our tour through Montolieu’s treasures. The shops are great again, not so much the ‘Salon de thé Les anges au plafond’, where we only get carelessly prepared food and tea. No wonder that no one is in here. We should have been warned…

At last I visit the ‘Musée du livre’, the book museum, which is quite interesting.

The books we bought at Montolieu.

The books we bought at Montolieu.

Journey to Southern France 2010 – Part 7

Wolfgang Krisai: Aparthé - Salon du thé, Pèzenas.

Aparthé: tea room and secondhand bookshop, Pèzenas.

On July 26 we move on to the Sea. On our way to Béziers we stop at Pézenas where Molière once stayed for some time as a member of a theatre-group, sponsored by a local count who dropped the theatre after a religious conversion. Molière had to move on. Nevertheless Pézenas now keeps the memory of Molière an offers an interesting multimedia-show about him. After the show we walk through the old city and find a lovely “Salon du thé”, a teahouse combined with a secondhand bookshop.

Our breakfast: Pussian Early Grey Tea and mulberry jam.

Our breakfast: Pussian Early Grey Tea and mulberry jam.

Near Béziers we put up our tent on an campsite near the beach. In the morning we drink a pot of deliciouse “Russion Early Grey” tea we bought in the supermarket, along with mulberry jam.

Raoul Dufy: Atelier at Perginan, 1943. Paul Valéry Museum, Sète.

Raoul Dufy: Atelier at Perginan, 1943. Paul Valéry Museum, Sète.

Raoul Dufy: The Big Orchestra, 1946. Foto of Raoul Dufy. Paul Valéry Museum, Sète.

Raoul Dufy: The Big Orchestra, 1946. Foto of Raoul Dufy. Paul Valéry Museum, Sète.

Paul Valéry: Selfportrait. Valéry's writing utensils. Paul Valéry Museum, Sète.

Paul Valéry: Selfportrait. Valéry’s writing utensils. Paul Valéry Museum, Sète.

Paintings by Roger Raissac, Toussaint Roussy and Albert Marquet at the Paul Valéry Museum, Sète.

Paintings by Roger Raissac, Toussaint Roussy and Albert Marquet at the Paul Valéry Museum, Sète.

At Sète we visit the Paul Valéry museum. It shows not only devotionals of the writer Paul Valéry (who is buried at the cemetery nearby), but also a good permanent exhibition of paintings and a special exhibition about Raoul Dufy.

Fishing-boats at Séte.

Fishing-boats at Séte.

After a picknick we go to the “Canal” at the city centre. I draw the fishing-boats the are moored there in the harbour. I am almost ready with my drawing when a big boat closes the gap in front of me. One of the fishermen wants to see my drawing and is enthusiastic about it.