Theodore Kautzky 1896-1953


Armand Cabrera

Theodore Kautzky was born in Budapest Hungary in 1896. He attended the Royal University of Hungary studying to become an architect. He Graduated in 1921.

Kautzky married and immigrated to the United States in 1923 and became a full citizen in 1929. He was hired as an architect working for the New York City parks Department. It wasn’t long before he established himself as a talented and hardworking artist of the highest caliber. Kautzky began teaching art classes in the 1930’s at Pratt Institute in New York, The University of Pennsylvania, New York University and the University of Toronto.

 He was a well-respected teacher and after the end of World War II he wrote one of the most successful books on watercolor ever published in America. Ways with Watercolor was published in 1949 and is still in print today as a Dover book. He followed that book with Painting Trees and Landscapes in Watercolor which is also still in print as a Dover edition.

Kautzky was also an avid draughtsman and published two books on pencil technique that are also influential and a great addition to any serious artist’s library. The first was Pencil Pictures a Guide to Their Pleasing Arrangement followed later by Pencil Broadsides: A Manuel of Broad Stroke Technique.A combined edition of the two volumes called the Ted Kautzky Pencil Book was published after his death in 1979.

Another Watercolor book Ted Kautzky Master of Pencil andWatercolor was published in 1959 posthumously and is also still available as a print on demand title.

Kautzky was a member of the National Academy of Design, The Rockport Art Association, The North Shore Arts Association and The American Watercolor Society. He won many awards for his work including the Birch Burdette Long Prize for Architectural Illustration, The medal of Honor from the American Watercolor Society in 1941, top prize from the Salmagundi Club Annual Members Exhibition in 1948 for Watercolor and the top prize for oil painting that same year, The Gold Medal from The Allied Artists of America, The Oberg Prize from The National Academy of Design and another top award from the Salmagundi Club 1952.

Theodore Kautzky died unexpectedly after a month long illness at the age of 56 in 1953.


Ways With Watercolor

Ted Kautzky

1949 Reinhold Publishing

The Pencil Book The Combined Edition

Ted Kautzky

1979 Reinhold Publishing

Ted Kautzky Master of  Pencil and Watercolor 

Charles R. Kinghan

1959 Reinhold Publishing

Artists of Cape Ann: A 150 Year History

Kristen Davies


Twin Lights Publishers


There are certain principles of proportion, balance, rhythm, contrast, etc., that are followed either consciously or instinctively by all artists.These principles can be learned and applied by anyone who is in earnest about wanting to make pictures.Upon how intelligently they are applied depends the excellence of the results.

~ Ted Kautzky

Gunnar Widforss

Armand Cabrera
Gunnar Mauritz Widforss was born in Stockholm Sweden in 1879. Gunnar’s father was a prominent business man and store owner. Gunnar attended the Stockholm Technical School and began studying art there. 

Upon his graduation from the Technical School Gunnar traveled to St Petersburg Russia to work as a decorative painter. After 18 months he returned home for a brief time before leaving for ten years to travel through most of Europe and then America, painting commissions in watercolor and living a bohemian lifestyle.  By 1912 Gunnar had begun to achieve some success for his watercolors, two watercolors were accepted into the Paris Salon that year and six paintings were acquired by the king of Sweden. With the outbreak of the First World War Gunnar could not travel until the conflict was over.

When Gunnar began travelling again he headed to America working his way west. His plan was to eventually travel to Asia but he ran out of funds. In 1921 he was in California. In March of that same year Gunnar made it to Yosemite and lived there on a regular basis in 1928. Gunnar became a citizen of the United States in 1929.

It was in Yosemite that Gunnar met Stephen Mather, the first Director of the National Park Service. Mather encouraged Gunnar to paint the National Parks and Gunnar took the advice to heart painting most of the Western National Parks, Yosemite, Sequoia, Zion, Bryce, Yellowstone and The Grand Canyon. He also painted up and down the California coast, Death Valley and Catalina Island.

Yosemite and the Grand Canyon are the parks that Gunnar would become most famous for in his travels. Gunnar preferred to paint on location sometimes spending weeks travelling to a spot to finish his paintings outdoors.  Even though he was warned to avoid the high altitude of the Grand Canyon after being diagnosed with a weak heart he continued to live and paint there. He died at the south rim of the canyon at the age of 54.


Gunnar Widforss Painter of the Grand Canyon

Bill Belknap and Frances Spencer

Northland Press 1969

Rien Poortvliet

Armand Cabrera

I have been planning to do a post on Poortvliet for some time when I found this video in English on YouTube put up by Erik Fernström  its about 20 minutes

He is most famous for his book of Gnomes but had many other books including Journey to the Ice Age, Noah’s Ark, The Living Forest and He Was One of Us. He was the first artist I ever came across that produced books that seemed to be based on sketches loosely built around a theme. They were very organic, and looked to be created the way one would create a personal sketchbook.

While there have been many artists who have produced books of sketches or drawing going back to the beginning of representational art, those books always seemed planned and very formal to me. His books are a marvel, filled with hundreds of drawings and watercolor or oil vignettes stuck all over the pages. Each book also has full page finished paintings every few pages to anchor the rest of the work.  Usually the accompanying text is in script.

I don’t have any biographical information from any of his English language books that I own but Wikipedia has some information here

If you are not familiar with his work I suggest picking up one of his books, The Farm Book, My Grandfather’s House or Dutch Treat are a good place to start. All of his books show a joy of drawing and painting.


The Living Forest

He Was One of Us

The Farm Book

 Co-authored with Wil Huygen


Dutch Treat

Secrets of the Gnomes

Noah’s Ark

In My Grandfather’s House

The Book of the Sandman

Daily Life in Holland in the Year 1566


Journey to the Ice Age

Hans Heysen

Armand Cabrera

Hans Heysen was born in Hamburg Germany in 1877 his family moved to South Australia in 1884 when Hans was 7. In 1899 he was sent to Europe by four local patrons in exchange for the work he would produce there. Heysen studied at the Academie Julian under Benjamin Constant and Jean Paul Laurens and the Academie des Beaux Arts.

Heysen returned to South Australia in 1903 and He started a studio in Adelaide where he taught art classes and displayed his paintings. . In 1904 he was married to Selma Bartels. After a few successful exhibitions Heysen was able to purchase a home near Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills which he called the Cedars. The couple raised their eight children there. He built his studio on the property with limestone from the local quarry. 

He made many trips into the countryside to paint and draw the landscape. Heysen worked in watercolor and oils. His watercolor paintings of Eucalyptus were highly sought after. His paintings won him many awards during his lifetime including nine times for the coveted Wynn prize for best Australian Landscape.

The 148 acres Cedars property is a museum today and contains hundreds of works of art by Heysen and his daughter Nora, who was also an artist. The house and studios of both artists are preserved along with the gardens and can be visited by the public.

Heysen was made an officer of the British Empire in 1945 and he was knighted in 1959. Hans Heysen died in 1968 at the age of 90.

Here is a link to The Cedars Museum for people interested in finding out more about this artist and his work.

Hans Heysen

Andrew MacKenzie

Oz Publishing 1988