Marcus Behmer (1879–1958, Radierer und Illustrator). Sammlung von 6 e. Briefen und 1 e. Postkarte an den New Yorker Kunsthändler, Sammler und Kritiker Martin Birnbaum (1862–1970). Zusammen 25½ Seiten 4° und 8°. – I: Berlin-Charlottenburg, 20. [d. i. 21.]–23. November 1947. E. Brief mit U. 6 Seiten Gr.-4°. „It is early in the morning, 4½ h, – but for me it is late, for I did not sleep yet, and officially I should have had to write the date of Nov. 21st. Today your parcel No. 2 arrived, with the shoes for little Werner. God bless you, my dear of friend! for I myself could never return (? reward = vergelten) your kindness [...] Now – all has changed. – More than 4 years and half, from March 43, I lived in fear and care for ONE human being and waited for him, in the war-time, he could have been killed, every day, but he could write me. Th[e]n, 2½ years ago, since March 45, he was a P.W., and he could, vraisemblablement, not be killed – but he could die every day – and we th[e]n would not have heard a word. [...] After a long time there came a word from an unknown, with greetings from Konstantin; and from another unknown [...] and Nov. 15th, 12:20 midday, 1947, he arrived! absolutely unannounced, surprising; dry as a skeleton, like these photographs of starving men in some famine-country..., and so weak; but NOT krank (ill? sick). His head – however always little, like his grandfathers Ernst Hardt –, so klein, winzig, as a childs head. – Hunger, hunger, hunger! [...] Did I write you of the wonderful thing, that I have got, now, many things, hundreds of e[t]chings (finest special-proof!), 90 drawings of my father, 48 (of 66) tools vor [!] book-gilding?? [...] A gentleman found them im Schutt (? rubbish?) in the far room of a Central-Heizung; they had to be burned there, as ‚Gerümpel’ [...]“. – II: Berlin-Charlottenburg, 30. März 1949. E. Brief mit U. 4 Seiten 8°. „I feel very bad toeday [!], but I must write you at once, for I have some of the ‚old’ Stamps, bought for Ost-Geld, which will become worthless to-morrow; – and the new stamps, needed for all letters after to-morrow, will cost West-money, i.e. 5 to 6 times the price of the old ones [...] That just now I am feeling so ill, seems to me one of these ‚cas’ of ‚Ironie des Schicksals’, for the outside conditions seem to become better for me [...] In ‚Der Tagesspiegel’, the greatest Berlin-Newspaper, Febr. 26. there was written in a critique of a little exhibition ‚Schönheit der Schrift’: ‚In Marcus Behmer haben wir einen Schreibkünstler von europäischem Range. Die kleinodhafte Kostbarkeit des von ihm Geschriebenen erscheint uns schon ferngerückt, nicht mehr erreichbar und vielleicht sogar nicht mehr erstrebenswert’ (Albert Buesche) – – Is not that nice?! Firstly giving the ‚rang’ of a classic, – that – totgeschlagen and einbalsamiert...! But the effect was – and is – good: poeple lean me to be of ‚europäischem Rang’ – and forget, what he is saying afterwards [...].“ – III: Berlin-Charlottenburg, 13. April 1949. E. Brief mit U. 4 Seiten 8°. „[...] a WONDER has happened: your HOLIDAY PACKAGE, type 92, – has arrived! It needed a long time: Nov. 26. 1948 – April 12 1949 – and I had lost any hope... –, but now it is a charming surprise for the Easter-Holiday [...] Winter seems to have found an end, as it seems; finally!, for this winter, though not so terribly cold as some other ‚winters’ (?) in the past, was awfull [!]: for coal and fire-wood were scarce – in a blockaded town. Now, after having survived the winter, a new catastrophe has happened: the new – ‚Währungs-Reform’, the third of that kind, I think [...] Another luck (= Glück) has happened: I have made the acquaintance of Renée Sintenis, whom you will know, no doubt, the great She-sculptor, a specialist for foal and every kind of youngsters: animals and men [...]“. – IV: Berlin-Charlottenburg, 9. Dezember 1949. E. Brief mit U. 1 Seite 4°. „[...] I am so unhappy: after having written you, that I was occupied with many sketches for Saint Martin I became ill, a kind of a ‚Grippe’ or Influenza. Always so extremely tired (= ‚müde’ and ‚schläfrig’), that I was not able even to write a letter [...] Now: the plate, St. Martin, with your wishes for a merry Christmas and a happy New Year has been drawn last week, Dec. 2.-4., etched 4. Dezember, and last Monday, 5. Dezember, the first proofs have been taken. Some little correction had to be done. – I think the plate is not bad, and I hope you will like it, but you cannot imagine all these difficulties now here. There is no possibility to send the plate by air mail! And the sole ‚Kupferdruckerei’ in the West-Sector, the old Firm of ‚Felsing’ cannot work for three days ( to-day till Monday). Monday next week only the proofs for you can be made, and I hope to find a possiblility to send off by air mail 50 proofs [...]“. – V: Berlin-Charlottenburg, 26. Juni 1950. E. Brief mit U. 4 Seiten auf gefalt. Doppelblatt. 8°. „What a pity! You are quite right: This is a real blow – you being so much nearer now from Berlin –, and yet not having the possibility to come here. – And I do not understand: why – or better: why NOT! I thought it to be the simplest thing in the world to get a visum – or visa – for Germany, and also for Berlin. So many people get it, and, I think, people of much less importance than a man who was, for years, f. i. the manager for the USA-Division of the Art-Biennale in Venice ... – You surely can realise what a joy it would have been for me, to have a Wiedersehn with you, one of my eldest (? not for your – and my – age, but for the many years of our frindship!) friends remaining (for how many of them have – disappeared...) [...]“. – VI: Berlin-Charlottenburg, 1.–2. November 1950. E. Brief mit U. 5 Seiten 8°. „I am not dead yet (it seems necessary to underline the word ‚not’, else you might think I was, and only my ghost writing to you). [...] I am sorry, dear friend, that you don’t feel well: heart palpitation and dizziness. You ask me, to send you, at least, a postcard saying I was well; alas! – impossible to do what you ask me, – for I am not well – since long time... We are old, Martin; and we have to consider, that few people only can do like G. B. Shaw and Gustav, King of Schweden. My father died 84 years old, but I don’t know whether I should – or could – wish to reach his age, especially when I imagine, what life can – or will – bring with these coming years...: sufferings, pain, grief, sorrows [...]“. – VII: Berlin-Charlottenburg, 1. Dezember 1950. 1½ Seiten E. Postkarte mit U. Kl.-quer-8°. „[...] I am too weak to write a letter (for: seeing a four-page-‚Briefbogen’ befor mine [!] eyes, or even a two-page-one, – it is impossible for me, to write one page only, and to let ‚bare’ (?) (unwritten) the back- or verso-page: horror vacui!!) [...] But let me tell you, that the beauty, clearness and the ‚Schwung’ (soaring?) of your handwriting has remained the same as ever [...]“. – Marcus Behmer, Sohn des Malers Hermann Behmer, war Autodidakt und begann um 1899 künstlerisch zu arbeiten. 1901 zog er nach München, zeichnete für den Simplicissimus und die Münchner Vereinigten Werkstätten, war dann für den Insel Verlag, später u. a. für die Verlage S. Fischer, Ernst Rowohlt als Buchgestalter tätig und arbeitete für die Zeitschriften Die Insel und Ver Sacrum. Mit seinen Entwürfen zu Oscar Wildes Salome nahm er an der Ausstellung der Berliner Sezession teil. Zunächst zeigte sich Behmer von Aubrey Beardsley beeinflußt, später von irischen Ornamenten und persischen Miniaturen.