GDT on Carlos Schwabe

CARLOS SCHWABE (Swiss-German, 1877-1926)

Two of the most inspiring artists in crafting both PAN’S LABYRINTH and HELLBOY II TGA are Schwabe and Arthur Rackham. Their interpretation of the Fairy world is not similar at all but both men seem to approach it as explorers, trying to document a reality- a world- only revealed to their eyes.

Althought Schwabe was born in Bavaria (Altona, Holstein, 21 July 1877) he grew up in Geneva (there he was trained the Ecole des Arts D’ratifs) and moved to Paris in his early twenties. There he was immediately embraced by the Symbolist movement.

Schwabe did splendid graphic work on texts by Zola, Mallarm’nd Baudeleire but his etchings, drawings and paintings are not regarded as mere illustrations for these works. Each one of them is suffused with a mystical energy and with Panteistic conviction.

I have always been partial to the symbolists and the Pre-Raphaelites (some of them) because they go against the avant garde to them the past was a source of awe and mistery. The Symbolist were by no means ‘soft’ artists painting pastel-colored vignettes, in fact, some of the most mordant images I’ve ever seen come from some of rops’ illustrations for newspapers.

You, see’ in this day and age we confuse hip smartness with intelligence and callousness with a point of view of the world. Knowing it all seems to be the way to gauge an artist’s worth.

But Schwabe, Redon, Rops et al- celebrate not knowing. They, in fact, celebrate the twilight of our knowledge’ to them, the supernatural is absolutely real and mistery is the supreme goal of art.