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Fritz Eichenberg

Ecclesiastes, 20th Century

Pencil and Ink on Paper



Fritz Eichenberg was a prominent 20th century illustrator who worked primarily in wood engravings. Originally from Germany, Eichenberg lived through both World Wars, Weimar Germany, and the post-war social activism which followed World War II. Much of his work provides observations and commentary on the major social and political events of the 20th century by examining the human condition though caricature. In his early career, Eichenberg worked as an advertising and magazine illustrator, but fled Germany for the U.S. in 1933 to avoid persecution for his opposition to and mockery of the Nazi party. Once established in America, Eichenberg taught wood engraving for the New School for Social Research while continuing to create images for organizations like the Federal Arts Project and The Nation magazine. Eichenberg was asked to produce illustrations for major literary publications such as Shakespeare, the Brontë sisters, Edgar Allen Poe, and Russian classics. In 1949, Eichenberg became involved with Christian social justice activist Dorothy Day and began printing a large series of religious images, like this one titled Ecclesiastes, for Day’s Christian newspapers, The Catholic Worker.

Current Condition of the Artwork:

The paper is vulnerable as a result of the corner cuts, folds, and relatively weighty paper attachments.

Conservation Treatment Proposed:

  • Remove extraneous paper tape and green paper.
  • Bridge corners with Japanese paper and wheat starch paste or conservation quality, heat-setting, adhesive-coated tissue.
  • Tone mending paper to match the paper color.
  • Humidify and flatten, although the folds have caused permanent damage to the sheet.
  • All materials used will be appropriate and conservation quality. All work will adhere to the highest standards of the field.

Estimated Cost of Treatment:  $900.00