Berky, John: The "Musik-Ornamente" of Ferdinand Eckhardt

Berky, John: The "Musik-Ornamente" of Ferdinand Eckhardt
Ferdinand Eckhardt (1876-1952)
Ferdinand Eckhardt (1876-1952) was a printmaker active in Vienna during the first half of the 20th century. His substantial body of work consists primarily of prints of buildings in Austria and Germany. These include, incidentally, the birth houses of Schubert, Mozart and Beethoven.

In addition to his skill as an artist, Eckhardt had a keen love of music and he expressed it in an unusual and highly creative way. During the 1920's and 30's Eckhardt created a series of "Musik-Ornamente" which were graphical representations of the music of Wagner, Beethoven, Bruckner and other composers.

The graphical figures were created by reading the printed score, and not by listening to a performance or a recording. They were conveyed in a series of friezes that went on for 30-40 pages.

While Eckhardt's prints are housed in many collections, his Musik-Ornamemte, created entirely for his own pleasure, are presently housed in the collection of the Museum fuer Angewandte Kunst in Vienna. See some examples below.

Another interesting musical anecdote connected to Eckhardt is that his son, Ferdinand Eckhardt Jr, (1902-1995) was an art critic and educator in Vienna and married the composer Sonia Gramatė. They moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba in Canada where she composed some of her most original compositions. Her pen name was Sophie-Carmen Eckhardt-Gramattė. The home in which they lived is now the home of the Eckhardt-Gramattė Foundation.

Graphics shown here are from the Foundation's publication:
Ferdinand Eckhardt, Ein Weiner Graphiker. They are used with the Eckhardt-Gramattė Foundation's permission. The booklet was published by Auslieferung Wolfrum Verlag, Wien as part of their Triart Editions.

Special thanks to Paul von Wichert, Music Coordinator at the Foundation for his assistance.

For more information, see:

Goldhan, Wolfgang; Musik-Ornamente Von Ferdinand Eckhardt Sen : Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Rachmaninov, Wagner; Edition Q; 1993; The 10 digit ISBN is 3861242397 and the 13 digit ISBN is 9783861242390.

For more information about the Eckhardt-Gramattė Foundation, click here.