A flea market find? Not if I can help it.

Thinking of selling your unwanted stuff at a flea market?

Do your homework first – and DON’T GIVE UP until you have all of the answers. When it comes to antiques and collectibles, persistence does pay off.

Emmy Hennings

For years, I’ve wondered who drew this unsigned portrait, and who the subject was. It was given to me by my great Aunt Nan, whose 18th Century home was filled with antiques. My brother had a similar drawing, which he passed on to me. His, however, had a notation on the back that read “Signed RRB 1939 Silk.” Finally, a clue!

Mary Wigman

But it didn’t help much at first.

It isn’t my kind of art, but I didn’t want to sell the drawings until I did more homework. A designer friend said it resembled the work of Käthe Kollwitz, and while the mood and era were similar, no cigar. I searched endless lists of artists, looking for “RRB.” I hounded artist friends. I scoured art books. Finally, I assumed that it was the worthless drawing by some long-forgotten art student, and decided to sell it on Etsy for $25 or $30.

You know what they say about assuming!

Something told me to try one more time. I Googled “artist initials RRB” and found a site – Find Art Info — that let me search by monogram.

“RRB” brought up a list of similar names – and there was my drawing!

The woman is Emmy Hennings, revolutionary poet and wife of Dada founder Hugo Ball. The artist is the rather obscure Reinhold Rudolf Junghanns.

Emmy Hennings

Emmy Hennings

He also drew the famous European Expressionist dancer Mary Wigman — I think she’s the woman in the other drawing.

Mary Wigman

Mary Wigman

I still have no idea what the drawings are worth, and I can’t imagine they’d bring in much. But if nothing else, thanks to persistent effort I’ve finally met Emmy, Mary and Reinhold. The drawings now have a story – and meaning. They’ll probably live with us for a while longer.

After the Cabaret
I see the early morning sun
At five a.m. I homeward stroll
The lights still burn in my hotel
The cabaret is finally done
In shadows children hunker down
The farmers bring their goods to town
You go to church, silent and old
grave sound of church-bells in the air,
and then a girl with untamed hair
wanders up all blear and cold:
“Love me, free of every sin.
Look, I’ve kept watch many nights.”
-Emmy Hennings, translation from German

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About sarathurston

I'm a marketing communications writer who also loves antiques and collectibles. You can find my shop on Etsy at http://www.etsy.com/shop/JanvierRoad
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2 Responses to A flea market find? Not if I can help it.

  1. Pingback: The Search for Wally Hindle. | Janvier Road: Where old becomes exciting and new

  2. Pingback: Do. Not. Throw. Anything. Out. | Janvier Road: Where old becomes exciting and new

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