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Grock – Vintage poster – Ludwig LEIDENBACH – 1945

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Vintage poster Grock

Ludwig LEIDENBACH ((Luzern))

circa 1945

CHF 1860.–

Backed on fine cellulosic Japan paper

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Rare Grock poster in Swiss size. . . . Grock Biography: Karl Adrien Wettach, one of the most famous clowns of the first half of the 20th century, was born on Jan 10, 1880 in Reconvilier in the Swiss Canton of Bern. His watchmaker father was an amateur musician and acrobat, and he taught the young Karl the basics of music and tumbling. Karl became hooked on performing, and he worked up a variety show with his sister Jeanne Subsequently, he joined up with a caravan of gypsies, in whose company he learned his craft and gained experience with a broad variety of musical instruments. He became fluent in a many languages, and mastered fourteen musical instruments, including a miniature violin. At the age of 14, he made his professional debut in Fiame Wetzel's circus.He partnered with a clown named "Brick," and they made the rounds of the international circuit, appearing in France, Africa and South America. In 1903, Wettach took the stage name "Grock," under which he became one of the most famous clowns in Europe. "My birth name doesn't mean anything. I am Grock. The first is the name of the dark years," he said. As a clown, his life became a quest for perfecting the synthesis of the man, with his hidden human face, and the clown, the mask occluding the man beneath the greasepaint. This synthesis was "Grock," a figure intended to entertain while remaining forever mysterious, a beloved figure who never could be fully understood by the audience, hidden as he was by his mask, hidden as the man Karl was by the mask Grock.By 1913, Grock had polished his most famous and endearing act, appearing as a simpleton among a plethora of musical instruments, fumbling with the instruments as if he knew nothing about them, instruments that the "real" Karl Wettach had mastered. But the clown Grock would absentmindedly flip a fiddle over, then try to play it, wondering where the strings went. It was an act that helped develop his reputation as King of Clowns. Soon, Grock was performing before European royalty.A composer of popular ditties, Wettach became a music publisher and achieved success in the music business with his own songs. Wettach departed England in 1924 for the Continent, which remained his home for the rest of his life. He settled in Imperia, Grock established his own traveling circus in 1951. Initially, he struggled due to the large initial layouts of capital, but he soon achieved financial success as the circus performed shows all over Europe. His last performance was in Hamburg, Germany, on October 30, 1954, in front of a crowd that included scores of reporters from all over the world. He then retired to the Villa Bianca, Grock died in Imperia, Italy, on July 14, 1959. He was inducted into the Clown Hall of Fame in 1992

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