Gnarly Winter Oak
Color woodcut (woodblock print) on Japan paper, no date.
Edition unknown, but likely small.
Signed in pencil.
Image size: 15 3/4 x 11 5/8 inches.
Born in Hamburg in 1898, artist Paul Oscar Droege's parents moved the family to the beautiful town of Müritz in 1905. Located on the largest lake in Germany, it is a city defined by its gorgeous natural location. The artist would seek inspiration from nature and enjoy travel by water throughout the rest of his life. Like so many creative spirits, Droege's early school record shows him to have been a disinterested student. But a young artist's path may be forever changed by meeting one or two influential people at just the right moment. Oscar Droege's impressive catalog of lush, atmospheric color woodcuts might never have been made if he hadn't met Leopold Karl Walter Graf von Kalckreuth, painter and graphic artist, in the 1920s. He also studied with Professor Hans Kohlschein at the Darmstadt Artists' Colony, founded in 1899 by Ernest Louis, the Grand Duke of Hesse.
The same can be said of his friendship with fellow artist Werner Lange. In the late 1920s, the two friends traveled together throughout Germany, France, and Scandinavia, sometimes by bicycle, sometimes by paddleboat. They belonged to the artists' colony started on the grounds of the home and studio of the painter Heinrich Blunck, located in Heikendorf on the Kiel Fjord – another location defined by spectacular natural water views. Most of the colony was destroyed during the bombing raids of WWII, but Blunck's original house remains and is now a museum.
Droege served in both World Wars, held as a prisoner by the Soviets until 1948. At the age of 65, the artist moved back to Hamburg, where he was born and lived there until his death on October 8, 1983.