Trier Walter

Berlin, Germany

25.06.1980 - 08.07.1951

Cartoonist, illustrator, artist.

German cartoonist, illustrator and painter born in Prague, Bohemia (then part of the Hapsburg empire, now in Czechoslovakia), on June 25, 1890. Walter Trier’s good-natured, uncomplicated, fanciful but never puzzling cartoons and illustrations were among the most popular in the Germany of the 1920s and 1930s. They celebrated tranquil love, innocence and simple joys. The writer Erich Kastner, with whom Trier was associated as illustrator and friend for over 20 years, has called him the 20th-century Spitzweg.

At the Munich Academy, Trier studied under Franz von Stuck, who had been a fine cartoonist in his youth. During these student days Trier sent drawings to Jugend and Simpicissimus. In 1910 he was called to Berlin to work on Lustige Blatter. In the years that followed he worked regularly for periodicals published by the gigantic Ullstein Verlag: Die Dame, Uhu and Der Heitere Fridolin (a children’s magazine); in 1926 he published three Fridolin tie-in volumes, Fridolins Siebenmeilenpferd (“Fridolin’s Seven-Mile Horse”), Fridolins Harlekinade (“Fridolin’s Harlequinade”) and Fridolins Zauberland (“Fridolin’s Magic Land”).

It was as a specialist in illustrating for children that Trier worked with Kastner on the writer’s first and most famous children’s book, Emil und die Detektive (“Emil and the Detectives,” 1927), and later on such novels as Arthur mit dem Longen Arm (“Arthur with the Long Arm,” 1931) and Das Verhexte Telefon (“The Bewitched Telephone”).

Trier was a connoisseur and collector of puppets and other folk toys, and his collection accompanied him on the many forced journeys of his later years. In 1922 he did color illustrations for a hook about toys (Spieizeug) that has been regarded as his artistic masterpiece.

Hitler’s rise drove Trier out of Germany in the early 1930s and then out of Austria in 1938. For about ten years after that, Trier lived in London, where he did monthly color covers for the magazine Lilliput. In the late 1940s he moved to Canada to he near his married daughter. Living in a mountain home near Collingwood, about a hundred miles from Toronto, he continued drawing for magazines and also did advertising art. He died in his mountain retreat on July 8, 1951.

Reference: The World Encyclopedia of Cartoons, 1981

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