One of the rarest prints by Helene Mass. The location most probably can be found in the province above Hamburg (See also another and, to this day unique, haystacks print in this collection by Helene Mass).  

This copy was found with lower and upper margins trimmed (as above).  The lower margins key-block part was removed  together with about 1.5 cm. including where the original Helene Mass signature was found in the only other copy that came to my knowledge (above right). 

Finding such a casualty one can: weep, contemplate, accept, embrace or dismiss …….  

My personal (collecting) criteria and considerations concerning condition, edition numbers and survival rate of art on paper in relation with the destructions in Germany’s past can be read in the accompanying this collection book……. 




A different artist’s name-signature and date was added: By who? Deliberately by the wood-be artist? Or unknowingly, by mistake by the (a) new owner or framer ? Why 1965?

“Erntesegen” was published in the 1917 Wohlgemut & Lissner catalog (nr. 1916) with 10 others.  It was not mentioned (“available”) in the  firm’s 1924 catalog. 

Comparing shows she left out the monogram stamp in the only  known (complete) copy and she made several alterations to the composition (far hills, trees skyline, mill etc…..   

“Frühling” (spring) is  another example of a print by Helene Mass that was later slightly altered (new keyblock) and the monogram also left out in the 2. state version. 

“Findings” like this also underline the necessity of serious research into the making and technique.  Considered by many the Queen of modern  printmaking, a serious biography or “Werkverzeichnis” has never been undertaken. 

See the accompanying book for a first biographical sketch.  

The vandalised print was  acquired and made presentable to my best ability. Motto: it is better to have an affordable “reading copy” with flaws than no copy at all. 

A new suggestion of a printed block perimeter was created in an underlying layer of paper…………

Below: both known prints digitally overlayed: the missing 2 cm. 

Researching the artist couple Elisabeth Staimmer (1896-1973) and Arnold Balwé (1898-1983) some interesting facts came to light. The result can be found in the accompanying this collection Book of Biographies and the PDF. (Balwé having Dutch-Amsterdam roots !)

Finding a series of hayfield, hay-harvest etc.. paintings by the hand of Arnold Balwé and the rarity of this Mass print it is possible someone owning the already clipped print jumped to the wrong conclusions and added a wrong name in pencil (but why her and not him?)

A more dangerous assumption would be Elisabeth Balwé removed Helene Mass’ signature and signed it herself. Against this scenario is of course the pencil signature could simply be erased. But what if the original copy had a printed monogram ? Perhaps new copies in future may shed more light to the mystery. Ans or knowledge of Elisabeth’s handwriting……..

In the mean time all help and/or suggestions are very welcomed.

Below: Claude Monet and Arnold Balwé 

And what about to think about a possible connection or  relationship with Hamburg printmaker Else Zinkeisen. Her  version of a very similar landcape, location - village ?

We know Helene Mass visited Hamburg where she  created a very rare city view. Is it unthinkable the two artists may have met and even may have travelled and sketched together ?

“No answers without questions”