The Papercuts by Erich Proksch

Born June 2nd, 1910 in Reichenberg (present-day Czech Republic), Erich Proksch studied art in Prague between the World Wars. Having served as a soldier in Russia during WWII, he returned as a refugee to Thuringia, where he taught at an elementary school in Römhild. In 1954 he fled to West Germany with his wife and three children. There, they found a new home in Bad Mergentheim, where he was able to work as teacher again. Next to, and after his profession as a full-time teacher, Erich Proksch was an exceptionally gifted papercuts artist, a potter, a watercolorist and a pianist. Furthermore, he also played the church organ and led the choir. Erich Proksch passed away on Dec. 7th, 2003.

In October 1999 he gave his grandson Tommy Bacherle, photos of some of his papercuts, so that he may scan them and “hand them over to the internet”. The reason he decided on this medium of communication after some initial skepticism, was his “abhorrence of any contact with an art adept or art shrew” at a usual exhibition. He crafted several hundred papercuts, measuring between 20x30cm and 50x70cm. A few motifs, he picked up again and again, refining them through the decades. These motifs display multilayered settings, sending the beholder’s imagination on a trip, contemplating on how and why the depicted situation may have arisen, and how it might continue. Contrary to many other papercuts, Erich Proksch’s pictures are not static (as classic portraits might be) or romantically kitschy. He manages to allegorize whiffs of air, faint breezes and sylphs. Plants (or perhaps a statue) develop a life of their own, or turn out to be animals. Even everyday situations, like taking a walk with the stroller, become transcendent through these supplements, though only at a second glance. This second (or perhaps third or fourth) glance is important for understanding Erich Proksch’s pictures, and it is what makes them special, calling for lasting delight and interest, even amongst non-silhouette-fans.

By coincidence, Connaisseur’s graphic artist Maximilian Pfisterer discovered Proksch’s works in the internet. He showed them to the makers of Connaisseur, and together, they recognized their potential. Thus, the idea of the Erich Proksch cover artwork series, consisting of ten papercuts, was born. Connaisseur is more than proud to be able to present these works of art to the public in this unconventional manner.