Aus meiner Sammlung: Kontaktabzüge von Marvelli

Marvelli_sw_Kontaktabzug_2

Aus der Auflösung eines internationalen Fotoarchivs konnte ich kürzlich einen Bogen Kontaktabzüge ersteigern, von dem jedoch ein Bild schon ausgeschnitten war. Ich bin mir relativ sicher, dass es sich bei diesen Studioaufnahmen um Fredo Marvelli (Friedrich Jäckel, 1903-1968) bei der Vorführung seines “schwebenden Stabes” handelt.

Auf der Rückseite trägt der Abzug einen Stempel des Fotografen Konrad Weidenbaum, “Schriftleiter im R.D.P.”, was wohl für den Reichsverband der Deutschen Presse, der im Deutschen Reich bis 1945 bestand, steht. Vermutlich stammen die Aufnahmen aus den 1930er-Jahren.

Kennt vielleicht jemand ähnliche Bilder von Weidenbaum, ob von Marvelli oder anderen Zauberkünstlern seiner Zeit?


 

Blake Vogt’s Abracadabra by Design

Blake Vogt_Abracadabra_VanInc
Screenshot from Vanishing Inc. Newsletter

As you can see in this special section of my blog, I’m a sucker for magic art and art in magic. So I do get excited when a magician puts his artistry into art. Creative mastermind Blake Vogt has just designed a cool graphic poster which displays the word ABRACADABRA in a stunning, not-so-obvious way. You can order this piece from Vanishing Inc. while supply lasts.


 

The Magic Art of Orimoto

As I’ve learned from Roberto Giobbi‘s recent newsletter (always an excellent and inspiring read, by the way), his wife Barbara is involved in Orimoto or Book Origami, a handcraft for creating artful objects by folding book pages. As Roberto explains, it is quite a laborious work, as each page is cut and folded in a particular way so that a message or design will be visible relief-style. Look at these wonderful samples (reproduced by permission here):

I think these are not only beautiful, magical objects to grace your bookshelf or collection; I could also see them play well in a parlor show within a story trick or as a very special revelation of a chosen word or playing card.

Actually, these pieces of art are for sale. Depending on complexity, they cost between $ 80 and 160 plus shipping. You can even ask for your personal design. For details, contact Roberto directly at giobbi@bluewin.ch.


 

 

Titelseiten-Wettbewerb der “magie”

magie_kopf

Verspätet – ja. Aprilscherz – nein!

Ein Jahr ist es nun her, dass die magie-Redaktion ihre Leser zu einem kreativen Titelseiten-Wettbewerb aufgerufen hatte. Nun war endlich genug Platz im aktuellen Heft (April 2020), um die zahlreichen Einsendungen in halbwegs lesbarer Größe abzubilden und zur Abstimmung zu stellen.

Viele tolle Ideen sind bei der Redaktion eingereicht worden, wie man nun ab Seite 198 sehen kann. Auch ich fühlte mich damals direkt bemüßigt, knapp zwei Dutzend Entwürfe in einer nächtlichen Session zu erstellen und beizusteuern. Einige meiner Motive waren ohne Frage augenzwinkernd gemeint, andere stellten auf hoffentlich plakative Art Titelthemen dar, die ich tatsächlich selbst einmal gerne in der magie lesen würde. Nachfolgend drei von meinen liebsten Kreationen:

Wer also MZvD-Mitglied und damit magie-Bezieher ist, möge doch nun bitte gerne an der Abstimmung teilnehmen, damit durch ein möglichst breites Meinungsbild aus der Leserschaft der verdiente Sieger gekürt wird! Jede Stimme zählt, und bei 87 Entwürfen und geschätzt vielleicht rund 100 teilnehmenden Lesern kann auch jede Einzelstimme bereits über Sieg oder Platz entscheiden. Insofern freue ich mich, wenn viele von euch abstimmen – es muss ja nicht für einen meiner Entwürfe sein…

Einsendeschluss ist der 5. Mai 2020. Danke für’s Mitmachen!


 

Fundsache: Wie aus Feuer Zauber und aus Puncks Punx wurde…

Punx der Unfassliche

Ludwig Hanemann-Punx war nicht nur ein Meister der Zauberkunst, sondern auch des Wortes und der Ästhetik. Sein frühes, kleinformatiges Programmheft, “Punx der Unfassliche” betitelt, darf als wunderbarer Beleg dafür dienen und ist daher, obwohl nicht gerade selten, ein kleines Schmuckstück meiner Zaubersammlung.

In dem Heftchen schildert Hanemann auch, wie er als Schüler unter dramatischen Umständen zu seinem Künstlernamen kam:

Punx der Unfassliche_Puncks

Wenn’s denn stimmt, hat jener Dr. Kappe auf diesem Weg einem wahrlich zauberhaften Künstlernamen ins Leben verholfen, der um so viel magischer klingt als jeder dahergelaufene Scholzano oder Müllerini!

Mehr über das “Prairiefeuerzeug Punks” (hier nur mit ‘k’ geschrieben) findet sich übrigens in Karl Mays Der Scout, wie hier nachzulesen ist.


 

Do You Know this Magic Ad or Company?

On the cover of the latest issue of “Ye Olde Magic Mag,” editor Marco Pusterla has featured an old advertisement from his collection, which you can see below. It’s probably around 100 years old. However, the publishing “BM” company has not been identified yet. A textiles or yarn company? Or makers of fine linen playing cards? Or something totally different? Maybe from France or Belgium?

Any helpers or ideas?

Pusterla_MagicAd_CarteForcee

By the way, once you are interested in this, why don’t you consider subscribing to Marco’s wonderful little journal? It’s available both in print and in PDF format, and it makes for a great read on magic history and collecting four times a year!


 

Well said: Robert-Houdin on “False Bottom” Conjuring vs. Art

Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin, “The Father of Modern Magic,” 1868:

It is easy enough, no doubt, to play the conjuror without possessing either dexterity or mental ability. It is only necessary to lay in a stock of apparatus of that kind which of itself works the trick. This is what may be called the “false bottom” school of conjuring. Cleverness at this sort of work is of the same order as that of the musician who produces a tune by turning the handle of a barrel-organ. Such performers will never merit the title of skilled artists, and can never hope to obtain any real success.

Well said!

So beware of the “false bottom” or “push button” school of (pseudo) conjuring!


 

John Gaughan’s Chess Player at the Met

Chess Player_Gaughan_Met
The Chess Player at the Met Museum, NYC (snipped from the Met website, see links below)

If you happen to live or stay in New York City, you have but a few days left to visit the exhibit “Making Marvels: Science & Splendor at the Courts of Europe” at the Met Museum. Its magical highlight is the display of John Gaughan‘s famous reproduction of the even more famous Chess Player automaton (also called “The Turk” due to its costume back then). More than 800 books have been written on this marvelous, deceptive machine and its travels and encounters with the likes of Napoleon.

Which reminds me of a very funny anecdote Dai Vernon once shared in his column “The Vernon Touch” in Genii Magazine:

Concerning the „Chess Player,“ years ago it was on exhibit in Coney Island in the Dreamland Circus Sideshow. This show had twenty-one exhibits. Freaks of all descriptions such as the Ossified Man, Cuckoo the Bird Girl, Half Man/Half Woman, and many others.

The last one was Al Flosso, the Coney Island Fakir. One of these exhibits was the Chess Player. Flosso told me that the person concealed within the apparatus was an escaped prisoner from Sing Sing. It happened one day that another jailbird played the Chess Player and recognized the play of his ex-inmate. Smoking a pipe, he blew smoke inside the base. Presently he heard a cough and and the concealed guy inside had to exit the apparatus. This was a perfect hiding place.

(Genii, July 1989, Vol. 53, No. 1)

It might actually have happened. Even though the original automaton was already destroyed in a Boston fire in 1854, a similar Chess Player called “Ajeeb”, built in England by Charles Hooper, came to America in 1885. Later on, it was displayed at Coney Island until 1929, when it was also destroyed by a fire.

You can read some more about the Chess Player as a popular motif on postage stamps here and find some additional links and books there.


 

A Magic Square in Barcelona

For those of you who are interested in magic squares, here’s a fun fact: There is a magic square on the front of the world-famous and awe-inspiring Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona, Spain, which was envisioned by Antoni Gaudi. I happened to spot it on a recent trip to this magnificent city.

MagSquare

The numbers add up to 33 in the usual ways, which is supposedly the age at which Jesus Christ was crucified.

Second fun fact: If you look closely, you will realize that the creator had to cheat a little bit to make the magic square work. The numbers 12 and 16 are missing, and instead, the 10 and the 14 make a double appearance!


 

New Addition to My Collection

JFortuneVernon

Last year I was fortunate to snatch this lovely art work from fellow magician and painter Jay Fortune. Besides the delicate black ink lines I particularly like the fact that this Dai Vernon rendition was drawn on an original page from an old Genii magazine!

Check out Jay’s art work here – he also does pop art and “pet paw-traits”!