I’m still in awe of my new Fritzi Brod picture, In the Workshop; but let me tell you about Fritzi Brod and how I came to love her artwork.
Bio: Fritzi Schermer Brod was born Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1900. She studies at Lycee in Prague and Kunstgewbeschule in Vienna. Fritzi met Oswald Brod in Austria and came to the United States in 1924 to marry him.
Fritzi attended the School of Art Institute in Chicago. She made a name for herself in the textile arts as a designer of textiles. Her designs were among the first displayed by Marshall Fields. She was part of the Chicago “bohemia” artists. She was a painter (both watercolour and oil), decorative painter, textile painter, printmaker and writer. During WWII she turned her talents into map making for the US government. She wrote 3 books on design: Decorative Designs; 200 Motifs and Designs, and Flowers in Nature and Design. She also illustrated 3 books that were included in sets of pictures to color: Flowers to Color; Birds to Color, and Scenes to Color. She died in Chicago 1952.
And Flowers to Color is how I came to know Fritzi Brod… When I was about 8 years old, my parents gave me the Flowers to Color box. The box contained a small box of crayons, 32 black and white plates of all the flowers listed in the accompanying booklet Flowers to Color with illustrations by Fritzi Brod. I would never color on these black and white plates but copied them and colored on another page. Over the years the black and white plates were lost but I still have the book.
Years later, my mother and a close family friend, Mr. Reiner were closing up an apartment of his first secretary after her death and there on the wall were three of the flower pictures from the book, Flowers to Color. I recognized them immediately and requested to have them if no one else wanted them. Mr. Reiner asked why I wanted them and I told him about the coloring box of my childhood. He then informed me that he and his wife had given these pictures to his secretary and they were the original plates from the book. He gave me these pictures, I had them reframed and they have hung in my home ever since.
Mr Reinier had been friends with Fritzi and Oswald Brod for years and he asked me one time if I still had the little Flowers to Color Book and I told him of course, it was one of my treasured positions of childhood. He asked me to bring it down to his apartment and of course I did. Mr. Reiner had six original watercolours that Fritzi had given him for his birthday, but due to space could not display them. Each picture is a couple in native Czechoslovakians peasants costumes. Mr. Reiner gave these to me and the accompanying cards describing each. I had these framed and they also hang in my home. I have a couple ads from shows that Fritzi had and these pictures are listed in the show.
Mr. Reiner was so pleased that someone enjoyed Fritzi’s art as much as he did that over the years he gave me three Christmas cards Fritzi had sent to him, one is an original. He also gave me 200 Motifs and Designs; a portfolio with design plates Fritzi had sent to him. Mr. Reiner also had three other pictures framed in his apartment that have remained in his family and a glass vase with nude etchings that is signed by Fritzi.
In the late 90’s I spent a great deal of time researching Fritzi Brod and even was in contact with Rose Brod (Rose was the second wife of Oswald Brod). She gave me permission to reproduce any of Fritzi’s designs in any media I so chose. I never had the opportunity to meet Rose Brod but we corresponded for many years. I have a 3 inch notebook on Fritzi Brod and her art work; it contains all the press releases I have found over the years and pictures of all the works I have ever found on the internet and elsewhere. I also have copies of all the books Fritzi wrote or illustrated. Fritzi Brod is a true inspiration to me, I love her work, even the ones that are baroque and yes, even her nudes. I would love to find more of the flower watercolours, especially the tulips. And of course I would love to find pictures like the ones Mr. Reiner had.
So, you can see why a few weeks ago I was speechless when a Fritzi Brod arrived at my house. What a gift …
Thank you for stopping by, I hope you find time to stitch today! ttfn…sue