Illustrations by
Felix Schwormstaedt

Illustrator for der 'Illustrirte Zeitung'

war-time covers of the 'Illustrirte Zeitung'


left :the coverpage of the 'Illustrierte Weltkriegschronik'
with an a-typical illustration by Felix Schwormstaedt
right : self-portrait of Felix Schwormstaedt
from a 1915 issue of the 'Illustrirte Zeitung'


Felix Schwormstaedt was one of the star illustrators of the 'Illustrirte Zeitung'. His strikingly realistic illustrations were published in many issues of that well-known German newsmagazine as well in serial history magazines such as 'Illustrierte Welkriegschronik' and other publications world-wide. Occasionaly Entente magazines were not above publishing his work, a serious tribute to his artistic capablities, for generally speaking, Allied magazines were very loath to use German material, even if copyright compensations were probably not even adhered to.

At times, especially in the Allied press, Felix Schwormstaedt was referred to as 'the German Matania', which coming from the enemy was a compliment of sorts. The comparison is of course valid insofar as both were commericial artists, specialized in portraying specific scenes or events in a highly realistic manner. This was a genre which was much in demand at the time, since reproduction of photographs had only but recently become inexpensive enough to be used profusely in periodicals. Even so, photography had its limitations, especially during the Great War, when cameras were still relatively bulky and cumbersome and exposure times relatively long and battlefields often off-bounds for journalists and photographers and very dangerous places to be in the first place. To fill the void and supply the public with heroically stirring scenes of battles and fighting, editors commissioned artists to produce artwork and illustrations of events otherwise difficult to photograph.

Felix Schwormstaedt's Great War work is less known today and seldom used in present-day publications, most likely by simple virtue of the German defeat in 1918. An otherwise accomplished and talented artist, his illustrations are just as worthy of consideration and appreciation as those of his Allied counterparts. In the following links are a number of Felix Schwormstaedt's war-time illustrations.


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from a 1917 issue of the 'Illustrirte Zeitung' - Schwormstaedt painting in Flanders


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