DUTCH CONSUL GENERAL VISITS THE LIBRARY
Last Saturday we had the pleasure of hosting a visit by the Dutch Consul General stationed in New York, Gajus Scheltema and Joseph Weterings, ambassador at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands, and their spouses. The Wolfsonian-FIU library is renowned for its collection of Dutch Nieuwe Kunst book bindings, calendars, and illustrations from the 1890s-1920s and has been visited over the years by numerous Dutch scholars.
But the Consulate General was especially interested in and excited about seeing some of our original proofs and illustrated books by one Dutch artist in particular: Ludwig Willem Reymert Wenckebach—the Consul’s great grandfather.
L. W. R. Wenckebach (1860-1937) was a talented and prolific artist and is very well represented in the Wolfsonian collection, with more than 125 items in our library. Most of the book bindings Wenckebach designed are typical of that era when nature served as inspiration for all that was beautiful in art. Plants, flowers, orchids, butterflies, and the curvilinear female form adorn most of the bindings he designed.
But Wenckeback was also a talented graphic artist, as is attested to by our collection of original proofs and illustrated books. Wenckebach provided illustrations for many children’s books. This, of course, was the age when children’s books did not shy away from vivid (and even gruesome) images that modern publisher’s generally eschew in books aimed at a juvenile audience. Wenckebach’s images of the Nutcracker, for example, are both profoundly moving and disturbing.
Thanks to a National Endowment of the Arts grant, much of the Wolfsonian’s Art Nouveau book bindings, printed ephemera, and museum objects from the Netherlands are now available on line in high resolution via PALMM (Publication of Archival, Library, and Museum Materials). http://palmm.fcla.edu/wolfmdc/