more blix

27 03 2020

Ragnvald Blix, 1882 – 1958, was a Norwegian illustrator, caricaturist and magazine editor. he was particularly known for his anti-Nazi drawings World War II.
Ragnvald Blix was born in Oslo, the son of a theologian and Norwegian minister of the church. Blix was an entirely self-taught artist. he quickly gave up studying painting, he preferred to draw caricatures. when his older friend Olaf Gulbransson moved to Germany in 1902, Blix followed him as a cartoonist for the Tyrihans newspaper. an inheritance enabled him to travel through Europe in 1903. from 1904-08 he stayed in Paris and worked for the satirical magazine L’Assiette au Beurre, among others. In 1907 a first drawing in Simplicissimus appeared and in 1908 Blix moved to Munich, publication city of the satirical magazine Simplicissimus, where he lived until 1918. after a short stopover in Oslo, where he founded the magazine Exlex (bird-free) in february 1919 based on the model of Simplicissimus, he moved with it to Copenhagen only nine months later, where he spent the rest of his life. after two years, however, Blix had to give up the magazine again. from then on he worked for various Scandinavian newspapers and magazines. after the occupation of Denmark by Germany during the Second World War, Blix fled to Sweden, where he was able to continue working. after the war he returned to Denmark.
between 1907 and 1925 Blix published 466 drawings in Simplicissimus. Two contributions appeared in the Munich youth. Blix was internationally active, published for example in the New York Times and in Swedish newspapers.
his drawings were initially characterized by a combination of line and surface, as is typical of the art of Jugendstil. However, as early as 1908, he took up Gulbransson’s clear line drawing, which he was in no way inferior to in his ability to characterize contemporary politicians. in the 1930s, biting anti-Hitler caricatures were created and even in Swedish exile he was able to expose leading Nazi politicians under the pseudonym Stig Höök.
( from german wikipedia )
see as well my earlier post

JOE GRANT, who had the complete edition of the german magazine SIMPLICISSIMUS in big volumes in his house, was the first to introduce me to BLIX. in the beginning I was more in favor of GULBRANSSON’S style and characters, and we had discussions about the two artists. joe preferred BLIX, and now after so many years I understand why. you can judge yourself, today with some of BLIX work, tomorrow GULBRANSSON will follow. whoever might be your favorite, I think everybody can get a lot of inspiration out of the two absolute masters of caricature.

© simplicissimus, blix




3 responses

30 03 2020

We can see here where Carlos Nine found some inspiration. The faces are so well rendered.

from hans –
you are right, in his own genius way. that’s why I had already planned carlos for one of
the next posts. after karl arnold

3 04 2020

I decided to write my own post about Blix, browsed the Simplicissimus ’ archive and made some bad discovering. It’s quite difficult to read the text (I understand German but the Gothic Font is a pain) but there is a very crude illustration about Feminist Movement and two others you can consider racist (about Chinese people wearing occidental clothes and Black soldiers in French Army). Black soldiers is a recurring theme in Germany after WW1 as they were a good part of occupation forces in West Germany and the “jokes” about them are not politically correct and quite rude.

from hans –
you forget that these caricatures were done over 100 years ago. don’t compare them to the way we see the world today, or even things we laugh about today. but something else – I found this incredible danish illustrator otto nielsen on your blog! thank you for digging him out

4 04 2020

Well, I well aware about historic misunderstanding about how people saw the World one Century ago but Hitler began to write mein Kampf in 1924 (so only some years after these drawings), Josephine Baker is acclaimed in France in 1925 and Civil War in the USA was over since a long time. Not every illustrators from this period made “funny caricatures” about Black people (and Blix drawings are not fun at all on this subject). In Simplicissimus, there are a lot of pictures showing how brutal German colonisation was. I prefer these last ones.

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