"Original Hummel Art" are artworks created by the hand of Berta Hummel (1909-1946), who took the name of Sister Maria Innocentia in 1933 as a sister in the Franciscan Order. Hundreds of sketches, drawings, paintings, designs and other works were composed by Hummel in her brief but prolific life, and a large portion of these have been catalogued. Many other original Hummel artworks likely exist in private collections, since - from an early age - the artist created sketches of friends, drawings of landscapes, etc., and delighted friends and schoolmates by giving these personally as gifts. As a Sister, sometimes she encouraged and rewarded her pupils with small pictures she painted as achievement cards. It is said "No scrap of paper was safe from her...."
These original Hummel artworks were created in a variety of media, including charcoal, pencil, pastels, watercolor, oil, gouache, mix media and others, on different types and colors of paper, canvas and other surfaces. As you can see from the many examples shown on this site, Hummel's techniques also encompass a wide variety, such as monochromatic sketches, detailed pastel drawings, watercolor renderings, and fine oil paintings. Subjects cover a broad range as well, including rural children, scenes from Bavarian life, religious iconography, portraits, holiday motifs, illustrations for cards, and much more. Original Hummel art was signed in various ways, such as "H", "Berta Hummel", "Bertl Hummel", "B.H.", "B. Hummel", "M.I. Hummel" or "Hummel". The signature can sometimes indicate when the original Hummel artwork was created.
It is important to note that an owner of an original artwork does not necessarily own the rights to reproduce that art (to make prints for retail sales, for example). This is true with Original Hummel Art. Various licensees and copyrights are described below.
The name "Hummel" is widely recognized today, and most often associated with collectible figurines of children. These figurines are based upon Original Hummel Art, then reproduced as three-dimensional ceramic figurines by W. Goebel Porzellanfabrik, Roedental, Germany. With assurances that she would personally approve the sculpting and painting of each piece...that a facsimile of her signature would appear on each piece...and that Franz Goebel himself would oversee the production process, Sister Hummel and the Convent of Siessen granted sole rights to Goebel to create ceramic figurines based on her original artwork. Goebel has manufactured Hummel figurines, plates, and bells since 1935. Goebel is the sole M.I. Hummel figurine manufacturer worldwide, authorized by the Convent at Siessen. As the Licensee of the Convent, Goebel has the three-dimensional rights to the original pictures from Sister M.I. Hummel's convent days. Hummel was first and foremost a painter, not a printer or sculptress, but she attend seriously to the reproductions of her work in three-dimensions. Many examples of "Original Hummel Art" shown on this site include those used as a basis for Goebel's M.I. Hummel figurines.
Hummel's art was reproduced as printed pieces beginning in the 1930s. In the recollections of her mother in 1947: "The first children pictures came to be printed. These made her famous. Then followed a series of Madonna pictures and jolly representations of all kinds. The publishers: Gesellschaft fuer Christliche Kunst Muenchen, Ver sacrum Rottenburg, Emil Fink Verlag, Stuttgart, Ars sacra Muenchen and Lauterbacher, tried to give it their best. So all the world has become acquainted with the printed, colored Hummel cards, which found approval and a large market." These early printed works are highly collectible reproductions to this day.
The Publishing house of Ars sacra, owned by Joseph Müller in Munich, was involved in increasing the fame of the Hummel pictures in the two-dimensional area. The cooperation of the artist with the Munich publishers began in March 1933. The publishers had great experience and were internationally recognized in the field of colored art prints. The verbal agreements between the Convent of Siessen and the Ars sacra Publisher were put into writing on April 17, 1933, whereby the Publisher received the exclusive copyright of pictures submitted to him. During the following years, the scope of the exclusive rights was more precisely defined. The result of this relationship led to the first contract giving Ars sacra the exclusive copyright and ownership of the Hummel pictures they commissioned.
In the years following Sister's death, the Mueller family of Ars sacra has endeavored to preserve the genuine spirit of the Hummel art through the faithful printing of more than three hundred drawings commissioned between the years 1933 and 1946. Today, family members operate the publishing business as arsEdition Munich. ArsEdition is the Licensee of the Convent at Siessen for the two-dimensional publishing reproduction rights, including lithographs, of the original Hummel art from Sister M.I. Hummel's convent days.
ARS AG, Zug/Switzerland, is the Licensee of the Convent at Siessen for the two-dimensional rights to the original Hummel art from Sister M.I. Hummel's convent days (2D of 2D), and to the illustrations of the M.I. Hummel figurines manufactured by W. Goebel Porzellanfabrik (2D of 3D). ARS AG company possesses and continues to grant licenses for many products, especially in the area of collectibles and decorative objects.
The Convent at Siessen is Guardian and preserver of the "personality rights" of Sister M.I.Hummel. The Convent's collection of original Hummel art includes preconvent works as well works done while Sister M. Innocentia was at the Convent.