Paula, Emil, Willi and Eddy:
Hans Traxler for Children
Wilhelm Busch – German Museum for Caricature and the Art of Drawing, Hanover
23 February – 5 May 2019
On the occasion of the 90th birthday of cartoonist, children’s book author and co-founder of the satirical magazine Titanic, Hans Traxler, this exhibition presents more than 100 of his works for children. Traxler was honoured with the Göttinger Elch, the Deutscher Karikaturenpreis and the Wilhelm-Busch Prize, alongside other prizes for his life’s work.
Traxler wanted to be a caricaturist from an early age. And so, the fact that he sold his first caricature to a magazine at the age of 17 seems only logical. He enjoyed basic training in Max Geyer’s studio in Regensburg, where sculptural anatomy was on the agenda until you got sick of it. He then went on to Frankfurt am Main to study painting at the Städelschule. Traxler became instantly well known in 1963 thanks to his work called “Die Wahrheit über Hänsel und Gretel” (The truth about Hansel and Gretel), a parody about alleged excavations in the Spessart, related to the fairy tale. He received voluminous feedback from readers – from delighted to outraged.
In the 1980s and 1990s, he created cartoons and picture stories for Die Zeit, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and the Süddeutsche Zeitung. At the same time, Traxler produced several dozen books, such as his first children’s book, published in 1979 – “Fünf Hunde erben eine Million” (Five Dogs Inherit a Million), where the protagonist Miss Lily bequeaths her magnificent villa not to her two nephews, but instead to her five dogs and a parrot. The story was reprinted in 2008 and is part of the exhibition at the Wilhelm Busch – German Museum for Caricature and the Art of Drawing. The illustrations from the children’s book “Paula, die Leuchtgans” (Paula the Goose Lamp), are also on display. In the story, a supposed design object – a lamp in the form of a goose – comes to life and enjoys adventures in the South of France together with real wild geese. In his children’s books, Traxler deftly tackles life’ absurdities. The exhibition also showcases his most recent works, which throw a spotlight on the relationship between animals and people.
Traxler’s illustrations for children’s books on the lives and works of Goethe, Mozart, Darwin and Shakespeare represent yet another chapter.
Hans Traxler was himself involved in the conception of the exhibition. Accompanying events, special guided tours, drawing activities and workshops are also planned.