Several years ago I bought two etchings attributed to Hermann-Paul. They dated from the 1920s and differed dramatically from most of his work. Similar etchings with a “Paul Hermann” signature appear in museums and galleries with an attribution to René Georges Hermann-Paul (1864-1940). Since the style was so very different, I figured the artist wanted to compartmentalize them under an alias. It turns out, the artist did use an alias. It was Henri Héran.
That was the alias for Paul Herrmann, a German Symbolist artist who was born in Munich then emigrated to Paris. Herrmann changed his name to Henri Héran against the backdrop of international tensions. Like Hermann-Paul, his life years spanned from 1864 to 1940. It’s easy to see the source of confusion.
Over time, I’ve met some dealers who attributed these works to Hermann-Paul and others who were skeptical. The skeptics were right. But what about me and my Paul Herrmans?
The first rule of collecting is buy what you like and you won’t be disappointed. I like both pieces and my opinion of their aesthetic value remains unchanged. But what about their financial value? Funny thing. The dealers probably priced them based on auction records of Hermann-Paul’s lithographs. Most of this work is based on his magazine sketches and doesn’t command the prices of his fine arts. They sell for a few hundred dollars. Paul Herrmann’s etchings, on the other, fetch over five times what I paid for them.
|Works by Paul Herrmann that were attributed to Hermann-Paul:|
|The Chess Players||The Serenade||Two Nymphs|