Fraktur

DEFINITION

A decorated Pennsylvania-Dutch document, especially a wedding, birth or baptismal certificate in 18th-century America, it served not only as historical records for families but as works of art in colonial America. The writing in ink was linked to German Gothic calligraphy, and the ornamentation usually in watercolor, often had botanics, birds, florals and other design motifs. Among 18th-century American fraktur artists are Karl Munch, Johannes Spangenberg, Martin Brechall, John Van Minian, Henry Young, Jacob Leith, Moses Connor Jr., Rev. George Geistweite, Christian Mertel and Daniel Otto. David Ellinger and Garnett French are 20th-century fraktur artists. Donald A. Shelley was the first scholar to attempt a classification of fraktur art by artists and by school, and documented his conclusions in his 1961 book, "The Fraktur Writings or the Illuminated Manuscripts of the Pennsylvania Germans". Source: Ralph Mayer, "A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques"; AskART database, "Maine Antique Digest", June 2007.

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