ZINSER ON ART
Richard Zinser (1884–1984) wrote this letter on December 6, 1960, to his friend, the Stuttgart artist Kurt Reichardt. It provides a fascinating insight into the wide range of artistic interests of a man who was a jeweler by profession, a print collector out of passion, and who became an eminent print dealer due to the political circumstances of his time.
The letter describes a surprising counter-flow of certain artworks during those years. One always assumes the general direction old art took was from Europe to America. Writing from New York, Zinser describes, however, how German auctioneers regularly visited the US to secure especially Northern late-Gothic sculptures and paintings for their sales back home.
Equally fascinating are Zinser’s succinct opinions on styles and artists. He writes about “the tired swindle of the Pre-Raphaelites” but sees Constable as “a true giant,” even if he can’t help to add the qualifying remark “if one considers what else the British school has ‘achieved.’” That he could also be critical about German artists is shown by his remark about Max Klinger who, while Ruskin was trying to revive Gothic and Renaissance art in England, was “haunting” Germany with his attempts “to reconstruct Olympus.”