Michael Osterweil
Art 1959 - 2017
. Index . Water Colors . Oils . Pencil Paintings . Lithographs . Art Prints .
"A Midsummer Night's Dream" (scroll down)
William Shakespeare. Watercolors 1988

Foreword to the museum's tour catalog   1994 - 1996  Germany

William Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream was originally written for a wedding at court and possibly first performed in 1595. It was soon played at public playhouses and theatres and especially that company referred to on the cover of the 1600-Quarto of Shakespeare’s works as sundry times publicly acted by the Right Honorable the Lord Chamberlain his servants. . soon became the focus of attention, it was Shakespeare’s company.

“Midsummer Night” the night of the 24th June had traditionally been the day of the festival of St, John and at Shakespeare’s time this event was linked to the celebrations of folk-customs and pagan performances originating from still firmly established superstitions. The protagonists of A NI idsummcr Night’s Dream’ the iries, Puck, Oheron and others could therefore look bath onto a long tradition ofEiiglisli. but also Germanic, folk tales dating back to the 12th century. Various sources, such as the innovative interpretation of the old folk-tale on the maliciousness of the fairies and the dark, cobold-, but also demon-like, role of Puck (Robin Goodfdlow), the reference to Cheucer’s The Knights Taleu and obviously Ovid’s “Meraniorphoses can all be found in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Nightis Dream<<.

Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a comedy. It is no ted ior its unsurpassed ease a rid i nge i ous comb nat ion ofvari OLIS plots, obtaining their rhythm from surprising confrontations and unusual assignments of the main characters. ‘l’hemes such as Free dom and bonds are reflected upon in the plot as well as in the structure ofrhe play and become evident by originality and a wealth of Ideas.

Having become a classic in the international history of the theatre, A Midsummer Night’s Dream las inspired artists. to create various pain ti figs again arid again, first as ill usia ions closely Ii riked to the literary source, later as independent works of art in which Shake speare’s coniedy can only be traced as a — so to speak — literary echo. Many of these depictions found their way into so called Shake speare Galleriesc becoming popular in the 18th century, the most famous one being that of Boydell’s. More than 800 pictures of all


sorts have been created since the play first appeared, among the painters have been artists such as Sir John Reynolds. J. H. Fussli, Bell, Rackliani. Slevogr, Trnka, Jim Dine and of course Michael Osterweil who a great deal of this exhibition has been dedicated to. The cycle A Midsum flier Night’s I )rcn In’, by the English Painter Michael Osterweil is part of this exhibition which is solely devoted to this play. The large-sized works by Osterweil are not meant to present stage designs, but show their own character, only obliged to their literary soutce, showing once again the up-to-dateness of Shakespeare’s plays in the eyes of contemporary artists.

The rurbulent love-affairsi, ofTitania and Oheron, Lysander, Puck, the fairies and the other lovers unfold the complete magic of the subject just as well in epochal productions of the English theatre and ballet. Peter Hall’s and Peter Brooks a productions of

*A Midsummer Night’s Dream thr the Royal Shakespeare Compa ny and Sir Frederick Ashton’s choreography of the ballet The Dream have become classics, photos of which have also been in eluded in the exhibition as well as a documentation by the Interna tional Shakespeare’s Globe Centre on the traditions and particular ties of the English theatre going back to the design and intentions of Shakespeare’s legendary Globe Theatre.

The productions by the Royal Shakespeare Company and other companies are proofto the lasting efficacy of shakespeare’s “A Mid summer Night’s Dream. Actresses and actors such as Vivian Leigh, Vanessa Rcdgrave, Sir Ralph Richardson and Charles Laughton have established their reputation in the history of the theatre with their roles in A Midsummer Night’s Dream Not should it be forgotten that the great actor Peter OToole gave his debut in a Brighton production of Midsummer Night’s Dream exactly 40 years ago.


The cooperation of the Museum Langes Tannen Uetersen, the Amtsrichterhaus Schwarzenbeck, the Burgkloster zu Lubeck and the Nordfriesisches Museum Nissenhaus Husum enabled this inter national exhibition project and the preparation of the accompany ing catalogue to be done. Numerous institutions at home and abroad have been given much assistance in the development of this touring exhibition, which was conceived and realized by the Muse um Langes Tannen.

We wish to express our most sincere gratitude for their support and close cooperation to The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. London. The Theatre Museum. A Branch of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London The International Shakespeare’s Globe Centre, London The Shakespeare Centre, Stratford upon Avon Sparkassen- und Giroverband Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel ‘ Provinzial Versicherungen, Kiel . Sparkasse des Herzogtums Lauenburg . Firma Poto Schweim Firma Rosen Tantau . Firma Bona-Kuhler Firma Meister Sievers . Teehaus Ronnefeld von 1825 Firma Kai Bru notte, Graphik Design.

We must acknowledge a debt of gratitude to those who have helped in the preparation of this catalogue and the exhibition Tracy Cronin, Brighton. Francesca Franchi, London ‘Barry Norman, London Nicolas Robins, London . Patrick Spottiswoode, London . James Shaw, Stratford Pauline Tambling, London . Sarah Woodcock, London . Yvonne Brunotte . Irene Klietz . Burckhardt Klietz . Manfred Roser. Reinhold Bauerfeld Heide Aschnewitz and Anne liese Ehrsam.

We are much indebted to the Landesmuseumsdirektor, Herrn Professor Dr. Heinz Spielmann for the admission of this volume to the series “Kataloge der Museen in Schleswig-Holstein”. Without his help and the engagement of Dr. Helmut Sydow this international project would not have been possible. We are enormously indebted to the amount of time and care that Hans-Hermann Jespersen (Schleswiger Druck- und Verlagshaus) and Dr. Joachim Raeder devoted to working for this exhibition catalogue.

Finally our most grateful thanks are due to the artist Michael Osterweil (New York) for his encouragement and for allowing to show his paintings.

Bottom a Fairy Puck and Fairy II Puck and Fairy I
Watercolor 58" x 45" Watercolor 58" x 45" Watercolor 58" x 45"
Lysander and a Fairy II Bottom the Ass and a Fairy Titania and Bottom
Watercolor 58" x 45" Watercolor 58" x 45" Watercolor 58" x 45"
Demetrius and Helena Puck and Hippolyta Oberon and a Fairy
Watercolor 58" x 45" Watercolor 58" x 45" Watercolor 58" x 45"
Lysander and a Fairy Demetrius and a Fairy Thisby and a Fairy I
Watercolor 58" x 45" Watercolor 58" x 45" Watercolor 58" x 45"
Hermia and Puck Portrait of Oberon Thisby and a Fairy II
Watercolor 58" x 45" Watercolor 45" x 30" Watercolor 58" x 45"
Puck and  Fairy III Puck II  
Watercolor 58" x 45" Watercolor 48" x 45"  


Watercolor 58" x 45"

Fairy Hermia and Puck
Watercolor 48" x 45" Courtesy of the The Wiseman Collection
  Watercolor 58" x 45"
Puck III   Portrait of Puck
Watercolor 45" x 30"   Watercolor 20" x 15"
Portrait of Thisby Portrait of Titania Portrait of Demetrius
Watercolor 20" x 15" Watercolor 20" x 15" Watercolor 20" x 15"
Portrait of Helena Portrait of Theseus Portrait of Lysander
Watercolor 20" x 15" Watercolor 20" x 15" Watercolor 20" x 15"
Portrait of Egeus Portrait of The Philostrat Portrait of Bottom as Ass
Watercolor 24" x 15" Watercolor 24" x 15' Watercolor 24" x 15"
Puck 4 Lysander Puck 5
Watercolor 24" x 19" Watercolor 24" x 19" Watercolor 24" x 19"
Puck 6 Puck 7 Puck 8
Watercolor 24" x 19" Watercolor 24" x 19" Watercolor 48" x 45"

© Michael Osterweil 2006