William E. Hentschel (1892 – 1962): Rookwood designer, Printmaker

This is a quick blog about a printmaker who developed two separate stencil printmaking techniques and had a career as a designer with Rookwood Pottery in Cincinnati, Ohio.

William Ernst Hentschel was born in New York on June 16, 1892.  He studied art at the Art Students League and Columbia University in New York, the University of Kentucky, where he got his degree, and the Cincinnati Art Academy.  In 1913 Hentschel was hired as a designer at Rookwood Pottery where he worked until 1932 and produced over 4000 designs for ceramics.

ink drawing

In 1921 he also began teaching at the Cincinnati Art Academy until his retirement in 1957.  In early 1928 he developed a printmaking method that involved using an airbrush with multiple stencils.  He showed these works at the Closson Gallery in 1929, Roullier’s Gallery in Chicago in 1930 and at the Cincinnati Art Museum in 1932.  He also had an exhibit of around 40 prints at the Traxel Galleries in Cincinnati in the early ‘30s.  He began to call this technique “Aquatone.”

In 1953 Hentschel developed another innovative technique, again using stencils, but this time utilizing gelatin brayers of different sizes and softness, printing with oil-base ink (rubber rollers with water-base inks).  This is similar to what was being experimented with at Atelier 17 in New York with intaglio.  He would cut around 10 stencils to create an image.  Each print is unique with this method.  Hentschel exhibited 15 works at the Closson Gallery in 1956. Hentschel’s first wife was Russian dancer Halina Feodorova, for whom he designed a dance school in Cincinnati.  In 1939 he married former student Alza J. Stratton.

William Hentschel died in Burlington, Kentucky in June of 1962.

About Annex Galleries

The Annex Galleries holds one of the largest original fine print inventories on the West Coast. With over 9,000 works, we specialize in (but are not limited to) original prints of the WPA era, Arts & Crafts movement, and Abstract Expressionism through the 1960's, with a focus on American and Californian artists both known and unknown. We have everything from Durer to Baumann to Picasso.
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2 Responses to William E. Hentschel (1892 – 1962): Rookwood designer, Printmaker

  1. Myrna says:

    Did Hentschel sign his prints? If so, where?

    • Hentschel signed most of his prints in pencil, usually in the lower margins but not always. His signature is usually a printed script in capital letters, but once again, not always.
      I hope this helps.
      Daniel Lienau
      The Annex Galleries

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