His different findings deserve some additional pages or posts on this blog as well, for now I’ll let him speak:
There has been a lot of confusion over the years regarding the unknown artist named ‘Ric’—who he actually was, identity questions from various blog sites, numerous auctions, retail and online sales over the years. His more modern abstract, cubist and realist styles of his oil and watercolor paintings and etchings have been bought and sold, as well as posted on various sites online in recent decades with no clear answer as to his identity. Even some specific blog sites devoted to, and about this unknown and collected artist, have popped up in recent years with people all trying to solve the mystery of this extremely elusive artist.
The artist name of Fritz Neumann had even entered the picture since some of his mid century color etchings featured the same publisher blindstamp initials of ‘JCB’ (J.C. smaller letters intertwined with a larger ‘B’ inside a shield/crest) in the outer paper margins (usually lower left under the image/plate area). The publisher blindstamp just furthered the mystery, as no one has been able to correctly identify the publisher either, let alone both artists definitively. After many years of us here at Meibohm Fine Arts, selling works by both Ric and Fritz Neumann alike, we are happy to announce the puzzle has finally come together and can for the most part, be answered! I have finally figured out the mystery for the artist ‘Ric’ (pseudonym of Fritz Neumann) as well as the mysterious publisher ‘JCB’, from years of my own research and digging into our internal company records from the 1960’s through the 1980’s. See Full Story Below…
Publisher & Etching Info: The artist’s pseudonym signature ‘Ric’, appears in graphite lower right in the margin area just beneath the image/platemark, with the publisher’s blind-stamped logo ‘JCB’ (smaller ‘J.C.’ letters at top intertwined with a bigger letter ‘B’ below inside a shield/crest) as appears lower left respectively—which is for the German art publisher Kunstverlag J.C. Blumenberg Lübeck, Germany (German Art Publisher, c.1920-c. mid 1980’s), See Brief Company Bio Below too…. The Etching is on a nice heavy cream-colored watercolor-like wove paper stock with lightly deckled edges and we also have a ‘B&W Style Version’ of this same scene available, so please have a look! The inventory number ‘481B’ appears written in pencil lower middle in the outer margin area near the edge.
Size & Condition: The size with wide margins is 30” x 14-15/16”, Image size 21” x 10”. This Etching is in Excellent Rare+ condition for its vintage age with absolutely no color fade—rich, crisp & fresh color! The Etching has been in one of our archive drawers amongst other prints & etchings since it was purchased by the Meibohm family and hasn’t seen the light-of-day in all this time—it’s as beautiful as the day it was printed and is as ‘mint’ as any collector could hope to find in its original never framed condition. This will look stunning all framed-up! No tears! No real or significant damage at all to this beautiful Etching, with the small negligible exceptions of: Extremely minimal (only a couple) very tiny & faint foxing specks scattered here & there on the sheet (none noticeable in image area) and aren’t even worth mentioning; Extremely minimal (only a couple) very slight & small crescent-creases here & there in the image area which aren’t even noticeable (except from behind) and aren’t even worth mentioning either; Other very minimal, slight & small creases here & there in the outer margin areas, in a few outer margin corners and a few outer margin edge dents & dings—all of which are completely negligible since the margins can easily be trimmed off or matted & framed out; Negligible toning of stock from age which isn’t even noticeable amidst the cream color of the paper stock itself and isn’t worth mentioning either. Pretty much mint & simply beautiful! This Etching has never been framed which is always more desirable to collectors since it has never been exposed to older non-archival materials, matburn or lightfade.
A Little Back Story & New Research Finds!: Meibohm Fine Arts has sold numerous paintings and color etchings by both Ric and Fritz Neumann in the 1960’s-1970’s and also more-recently since 2006 for Ric. As the webmaster, biographical writer and representative for Meibohm’s, I have tried in vain for the last fourteen years to identify the unknown artist ‘Ric’. Being a researcher, I’m pretty good at digging up information about artists and publishers, and I am usually able to put together decent biographies and chronologies of their lives and art and/or business careers. But when it came to this unknown artist named Ric, I have been as equally frustrated as everyone else at not being able to find anything, not even a scrap, regarding this enigmatic artist aside from other examples sold or posted online. I even have clients from Germany who avidly collect Ric’s works, and are just as mystified and aren’t able to find anything for this ghost-of-an-artist. Sometimes what seemed like promising leads for them or myself, all turned up empty, and of course have furthered frustrations. As of March of 2020, I had been planning to list a few other etchings of both Ric and Neumann in our eBay Store that I had found, as it’s been a few years since I’ve sold any from our archives. I thought I’d give it another serious attempt at researching to see if I could turn up anything new, or if anything else had turned up online about the Ric since last I looked.
As a researcher, I frequently have to search in different languages, which is a lot easier these days thanks to Google Translator. Thinking that Ric was a German artist from what little info I have found or could glean from other people’s comments, I of course began researching in German. Sadly, nothing really new turned up…aside from the fact that the artist and etcher, Fritz Neumann used the same paper for his etchings as Ric did, and both even featured the same publisher blindstamp ‘JCB’. On the colored etchings from the early 1960’s the publisher blindstamp appears in the outer paper margin lower left (from all examples I’ve seen). So I began trying to research the publisher JCB online as well, but was coming up empty-handed with them too. I had a few possibilities, but nothing definite.
Frustrated, I then went back into my own records and files for Ric, and was looking at old painting examples we had sold in the past, and I zoomed in on one particular painting. I was trying to see if I could read our old internal company cataloging number in the outer margin, so that I could then somehow match it up hopefully to an old wholesale dealer name from our old company files. Thankfully, I was barely able to make out the blurry four digit number on the bottom, so I went straight to our old mini filing drawers to see if I could find any other cards (of unsold paintings) close to that number—Our old files from the 1950’s-1980’s go past 9,500 or more, so I was trying to find a relatively larger needle in smaller haystack. So I started poking around the 8,000 range within maybe 50 cards or so, and voilà!,… I found only one card from 1963 which had Ric’s name written on it—which was all I needed…Written on the card was also the dealer name—which was typical as the Meibohm’s kept a pretty good file system—of the dealer abbreviation of ‘Neu’, which I instantly associated and guessed would stand for Neumann, hoping it to be Fritz Neumann…so I asked my boss, Grace Meibohm if she knew who this dealer abbreviation was for and proceeded to tell her about my re-attempt at researching the artist Ric. So she promptly went downstairs to our main filing cabinets and came back a few minutes later with a few files from 1963, the 1960’s in general and one for the dealer Neumann, who indeed turned out to be Fritz Neumann! It only took a few turned pages in the Neumann file to find the Holy Grail of letters which clears up a few large chunks of the Ric/Fritz Neumann mystery. I exclaimed “Yes! Finally!” with my arms raised in celebration when I saw the letter and started laughing. In September of 1963, when Walter Meibohm was attempting to clear paintings purchased from Neumann (and also ones under his pseudonym of Ric), through U.S. customs, he requested that Neumann write a statement saying that they were indeed original oil paintings. Neumann promptly sent back a signed letter which indicated Neumann’s pseudonym alias of Ric, written as follows: “Berlin, Germany, 24. 9. 1963. [date written in blue ink], I, Fritz Neumann, declare that I am the painter of certain works of art: 9 oil paintings painted by me under the name of Ric – and I further declare these paintings are originals. [signed in blue ink] Fritz Neumann, [with artist stamp] Fritz Neumann, Maler und Graphiker, Berlin – Haselhorst, Gartenfelder Str. 132h, Tel. 38 48 57” (See pics on listing above). We couldn’t believe it! We had just figured out the connection between Ric and this other artist of Fritz Neumann through odd happenstance of finding this valuable and much-needed information—very serendipitous…
Well it didn’t stop there… As I briefly glanced at the 1960’s folder she had pulled, I saw the name of J.C. Blumenberg on an old invoice from an art dealer named Walter Tetzlaff and immediately thought it had to more than likely be the ‘JCB’ publisher name I was looking for! I told Grace about the ‘JCB’ shield blindstamp on the Ric and Neumann etchings and she began to tell me that her father also worked with the German dealer Walter Tetzlaff whom they knew very well. She thought there may be more information in Tetzlaff’s file perhaps, so she went back down and grabbed the file. Right off the bat, as I opened the Tetzlaff file, I noticed a letter addressed to Walter Meibohm with the company name of ‘J.C. Blumenberg’ and there at the top was the ‘JCB’ shield logo! Mystery #2 solved, which was very exciting for both of us! Over 13 years of searching for this one mystery artist and putting all the odd occurrences and small puzzle pieces together in less than ten minutes to solve the riddle(s) of Ric! So after digging through the scant paperwork in the various files, I started researching the company, dealers and artist and compiled as much information as I could find. You can read the brief J.C. Blumenberg biography below, and see images regarding the various company logos and associated company names above as well.
Walter Meibohm of Walter Meibohm Fine Arts (W.M.F.A., now simply Meibohm Fine Arts) from our gallery located in East Aurora, NY, directly worked with the artist Fritz Neumann in the late 1950’s-60’s buying not only his own paintings and etchings, but also paintings and etchings under the artist name of ‘Ric’. As we discovered from happenstance and from diligently searching our old records, ‘Ric’ was the pseudonym of Fritz Neumann! Neumann’s as well as Ric’s etchings both featured the ‘JCB’ blindstamp on the paper, which I was able to correctly research and identify in our records for the publisher J.C. Blumenberg! Fritz Neumann also mentioned Mr. Tetzlaff in one of his letters to Mr. Meibohm which completes the connection.
As far as our more-contemporary artist Fritz Neumann’s artwork goes, many dealers, collectors and people have accidentally and incorrectly misattributed his paintings and etchings to that of a couple different older mid-late 19th-early 20th century artists to include: Hermann Fritz Neumann (1858-1920); Fritz Neumann-Hegenberg (German, 1884-1924) and also Friedrich “Fritz” Neumann (German, 1881-1919 [some state aft. 1930]) whose biographical dates, earlier art styles and signatures don’t match the more mid-century style of the artworks and signatures for this particular painter and graphic artist with similar name of Fritz Neumann. I, along with other people, have doubted those particular attributions over the years with no correct identification to really go on. The artwork was obviously by a different and more-contemporary artist named Fritz Neumann, whose etchings and paintings has been and still are getting pushed through art auctions, eBay & other online auction sales routes, as well as other retail settings under those misattributed artist names.
I had found one painter and graphic artist by the name of Fritz Neumann (German, 1928-2014), whom others have noted previously on certain blog sites, who I believe is the exact artist everyone has been looking for and as such we are comfortable attributing the work to him. After researching entirely in German (since nothing significant was turning up in English), I scoured the internet (again) and had found the artist listed online from the ‘Neumann German Family Name’ (list of people’s names at Wikipedia/Wikiwand Germany), listed as: “Fritz Neumann: Deutscher Maler, Graphiker und Bildhauer” which translates to: “German painter, graphic artist and sculptor”. That specific wording was quite similar to the text ‘Maler & Graphiker’ printed on his aforementioned letters and invoices to Walter Meibohm (his death dates would absolutely have been after 1963, which is the last correspondence date we have from our internal company records). From there, I continued researching only in German, and after a while I was able to then find his obituary listing as well as biographical information and exhibition history (See biography below). The biography in German mentioned that over the course of his life, Neumann had created a large number of paintings, drawings, etchings, woodcuts and sculptures—so this artist seems to make the most sense to us and fits the timeline perfectly. If I’m wrong, than at least we’ve got the rest of the other info to go on…
Brief Biography for Fritz Neumann:
Fritz Neumann, AKA Pseudonym of Ric (German, 1928-2014) painter, sculptor and graphic artist primarily known for his oil paintings, etchings in color and B&W, drawings, woodcuts and sculptures—under both his own name and that of his pseudonym artist name of ‘Ric’.
Fritz Neumann was born on October 27, 1928 in Berlin, Tempelhof, Germany. After leaving high school, Neumann worked as a stonemason intern in Minden, Germany from 1948-1949, where he was involved in restoration work on Minden Cathedral. From 1949-1953, he studied at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Braunschweig, Germany (Braunschweig University of Art), in the ‘Free and Applied Plastics’ department. From 1954-1957, he studied at the Universität Oldenburg, Germany (University of Oldenburg) and also worked as an art teacher. Fritz Neumann married Erika (née Rühe) Neumann (German, 1922-2019), also an artist, and they had two children to include Christoph Neumann and Andreas Neumann.
In 1971, Neumann became a member of the Bund Bildender Künstlerinnen Landesgruppe (BBK, Association of Visual Artists) in Oldenburg. He began exhibiting in the early 1970’s and over the course of his artistic career, he created a large number of paintings, prints, drawings and sculptures. Notably: From May, 16–June 6, 1982, Neumann particpated in the group exhibition of the BBK in the Stadtmuseum Oldenburg (Oldenburg City Museum), which included his wife listed as Erika Neumann-Rühe, on the occasion of the “Dokumentation zum 35jährigen Jubiläum des Bundes Bildender Künstler Landesgruppe Oldenburg” (“Documentation on the 35th anniversary of the Federation of Artists in the Oldenburg State Group”) with a sand-limestone sculpture. Fritz Neumann died on March 23, 2014 in Oldenburg with his funeral and burial held at the Auferstehungskirche (Church of the Resurrection), Oldenburg, Germany.
The Neumann, Tetzlaff/JCB & Meibohm Connection: Circa the early 1960’s, Neumann had been working as a painter and graphic artist (Maler und Graphiker), as well as under his pseudonym artist name of ‘Ric’. During that time, he worked directly with the publisher and dealer Walter Tetzlaff of Kunstverlag J.C. Blumenberg, Import-Export (JCB, For: Josef Carl Blumenberg [German, 1880-1949]) located out of Heiligenhafen in Holstein, Germany for his etchings. Neumann’s etchings for both his real name and also that of his pseudonym ‘Ric’ were distributed through J.C. Blumenberg on nice wove paper that featured their ‘JCB’ shield blindstamp in the paper margin. Neumann also sold his etchings as well as his paintings (under both Neumann and Ric) directly to Walter Meibohm of Walter Meibohm Fine Arts (W.M.F.A.) in East Aurora, NY. According to our old invoice records, Neumann resided and operated from his Gartenfelder Strasse 132 h address in Berlin and also maintained a Haselhorst location (unknown address).
1928- October 27, born in Berlin, Tempelhof, Germany.
From 1948-1949- After leaving high school, Neumann worked as a stonemason intern in Minden, Germany where he was involved in restoration work on Minden Cathedral.
From 1949-1953- He studied at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Braunschweig, Germany (Braunschweig University of Art), in the ‘Free and Applied Plastics’ department.
From 1954-1957, he studied at the Universität Oldenburg, Germany (University of Oldenburg) and also worked as an art teacher.
1972- Participated in a group show with other artists from the Bund Bildender Künstlerinnen Landesgruppe (Association of Visual Artists, [BBK]) in an exhibition by the Künstverein Nordenham (Nordenham Artists’ Association) in the Rathausturm (City Hall Tower), Nordenham, Germany.
From Jan. 20–Nov. 19, 1974- Participated in the group exhibition of the BBK “Junge Gruppe” (Young Group) of the Oldenburger Künstverein (Oldenburg Art Association) in the Augusteum Museum with a wooden sculpture, Oldenburg, Germany.
From Dec. 12, 1975–Jan. 11, 1976- Participated in a group exhibition of the BBK in the Stadtmuseum Oldenburg (Oldenburg City Museum) on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Bundes Bildender Künstler Landesgruppe Oldenburg (Federal Visual Artist Oldenburg Group) with a sculpture and a pen & ink drawing, Oldenburg, Germany.
1976- Summer, participated in an exhibition in the Oldenburger Schlossgarten (Oldenburg Palace Gardens) with sculptures and sculptures, Oldenburg, Germany.
1977- February, exhibited his “Plastische Ideen” (“Plastic Ideas”) in the control center of the Nordwest Zeitung Newspaper (NWZ) presshouse, Oldenburg, Germany.
From Dec. 3, 1978–Jan. 7, 1979- Participated in the “1. Grosse Oldenburger Kunstausstellung” (“1st Great Oldenburg Art Exhibition”) in the Stadtmuseum Oldenburg (Oldenburg City Museum) with two pen & ink drawings.
From May, 16–June 6, 1982- Particpated in the group exhibition (which included his wife, listed as Erika Neumann-Rühe) of the BBK in the Stadtmuseum Oldenburg (Oldenburg City Museum) on the occasion of the “Dokumentation zum 35jährigen Jubiläum des Bundes Bildender Künstler Landesgruppe Oldenburg” (“Documentation on the 35th anniversary of the Federation of Artists in the Oldenburg State Group”) with a sand-limestone sculpture.
1983- January, participated in a group exhibition of the BBK in the Oldenburger Künstlerhaus (Oldenburg Artist House) located at Gartenstrasse 2 (Garden Street), Oldenburg, Germany.
From June 19–August 14, 1983- Participated again in the exhibition “Plastik im Freien” (“Plastic outdoors”) in the Oldenburger Schlossgarten (Oldenburg Palace Gardens), Oldenburg, Germany.
1984- Exhibited in a group show, Nordenhamer Woche (NorWo) in the Jahnhalle Cultural Center and Music Forum, with sculptures, portraits, landscape drawings, Nordenham, Germany.
1985- October, particpated in an exhibition of the Zusammengeschlossenen Niedersächsischen Künstler (Lower Saxony Artists) affiliated with the BBK in the Orangerie (Orangerie Building) with a sculpture, Hanover, Germany.
1987- May, participated in an exhibition in the chapel of the St. Lambertikirche (St. Lamberti Church) in Oldenburg, Germany.
1990- September, exhibited sandstone sculptures in the Artothek Oldenburg (Arthotek Art Gallery) in Oldenburg, Germany.
From September–November 5, 1995- Exhibited sculptures, drawings and gouaches at Kreismuseum Syke (The District Museum of Syke), Syke, Germany.
From February 4–March 4, 2001- The Stadtmuseum Oldenburg (Oldenburg City Museum) presented a retrospective exhibition titled, “Fritz Neumann: Zeichnungen, Malerei, Skulpturen 1949 - 2000 ; eine Retrospektive” (“Fritz Neumann: drawings, paintings, sculptures 1949 - 2000; a retrospective”), Oldenburg, Germany.
2014- March 23, Fritz Neumann died in Oldenburg, Germany.
(Compiled, translated and written by Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc., East Aurora, NY, 14052, main sources: de.wikiwand & de.wikipedia, “Neumann: German Names A-Z; Fritz Neumann (Künstler, 1928) (1928–2014), Deutscher Maler, Graphiker und Bildhauer”; derschy Germany, online translated biographical information, “Homepage von Jürgen Derschewsky Biografien Oldenburger Künstler: M-N; ” (Homepage of Jürgen Derschewsky Biographies of Oldenburg Artists); nwzonline Germany, online obituary listing, “Fritz Neumann”; and too many others to list…)