Much as once a week I like to take time off to cover warships (Wednesdays), on Sundays (when I feel like working), I like to cover military art and the painters, illustrators, sculptors, photographers and the like that produced them.
Combat Gallery Sunday: The Martial Art of Franz Schmidt
Franz Schmidt was a German postcard artist probably best known for his series of city cards published from 1910-14 showing buildings and sites around his hometown of Nuremberg.
Nassauer Haus Nurnberg Germany, Franz Schmidt 1910.
However, when the Great War popped off, Schmidt was commissioned to produce a series of “fighting man” style postcards for Trautmann & von Seggern of Hamburg (T&S) showing German troops in action in 1914-15.
While I cannot find much information on Schmidt’s background or how he obtained the study for the martial series (i.e. whether he used models, traveled to the front, relied on newspaper imagery) they are very well done and mostly correct, even if they are clearly propaganda. Each shows a good example of early war uniforms including piping, brass buttons and covered Pickelhaube and Czapka.
The below come from The Rare Book Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Wilson Library has a massive collection of WWI postcards (nearly 10,000!)
Battle of St. Quentin. German soldiers on horseback, carrying swords, are riding toward English and Scottish infantry.
Color image on a postcard showing a German infantryman holding his rifle, standing in the woods.
Color image on a postcard showing a German Marine on a beach, carrying a rifle over his shoulder.
German 77mm field artillery defend from French cavalry in battle near the Aisne
German gunner at a gun park. He is standing in front of cannons, holding an artillery short sword
German troops attacking Indian troops at Ypres, in West Flanders. Throughout the war the Germans made a big deal of the fact that both France and Britain utilized colonial troops who the German media often characterized as savages– while they played up their own native Askari troops in Africa.
German soldiers fighting French soldiers at Neufchâteau
Hussar standing with his horse in a city that has been bombed. In his hand is a lit cigar.
Landstrum soldier at a railway station. There is snow on the ground, and a train sits on a track in the background.
Postcard showing a member of the German uhlan cavalry on horseback with lance.
Schmidt’s cards from time to time pop up online on eBay and others, typically at low ($5-$10) prices.
Thank you for your work, sir.