This too is a story about gifts.
Ludwig Aloysius Joutz (1910 – 1998) was an architect noted for his work with religious and educational institutions primarily in the Washington, DC area. I learned of this gentleman while researching Joseph Anthony Horne as part of my Interlude Series.
By the time Horne meets Joutz, Joutz had already earned his doctorate. His 1936 thesis is still referenced with regard to medieval church architecture. In 1939/40 he was awarded a travel grant from the German Archaeological Institute but was perhaps unable to use it because of the outbreak of World War II. He would be drafted into the German army and become a prisoner of war.
Exactly how he and Horne originally met is unclear. It might have been as early as the Invasion of Italy where Joutz was captured but certainly by the end of the war they were fast friends. The earliest document that I’ve been able to find so far is dated May 1947. In that year, Horne was working with the Monuments, Fine Arts & Archives unit.
As the Monuments Men continued their efforts to find, catalog and restitute items looted by the Nazis and others during the war, Joutz would become a valuable resource. German-born, he was fluent in English and several other languages and knowledgeable about the art and literary worlds. Horne, American-born and fluent in German thanks to his immigrant parents, was culturally sensitive and knowledgeable about the arts. They apparently worked well as a team.
Between June 1, 1947 and March 1948, Joutz would serve as an operations specialist on books and archives at the Offenbach Archival Depot. During that period, he and Horne, by then director of the Depot, would become great friends. Horne would aid Joutz in resettling in the U.S. where he would establish himself as architect. They would become godparents to each other’s children and remain friends until the end of their days.
Throughout out his personal and professional life, Joutz would travel around the world. As part of those travels, whether for work or for pleasure, he would view his surroundings with an artist’s eye and try to capture what he saw. Yes, with a camera like his friend Horne, but Joutz would also explore many different forms and techniques of art. He experimented with pen and ink, pastels, watercolor, woodblock prints, papercutting and more. How do I know this? By a gift he painstakingly assembled for his son.
When visiting Joutz’s son, Frederick, a noted economist, I noticed a stack of suitcases tucked in a corner. Now these suitcases were the old-school, at least 1950’s if not earlier, kind of suitcases that are deep enough to curl up and go to sleep in and strong enough to, well, last a lifetime. Frederick explained that they contained his father’s artwork. Now at first I thought he meant prints related to his father’s architectural practice, photos of completed projects, etc. But that was not so.
Inside the suitcases was artwork spanning nearly five decades. Joutz had carefully organized his artwork, everything from sketches on the back of used envelopes to sweeping washes of color applied to delicate Japanese papers. It was all layered in stacks in these deep suitcases. The son remembered his father engaged in the process and how he culled items along the way. One can only imagine what the father may have considered not worth saving.
What I managed to see, the content of only two of the many suitcases, was breathtaking in its scope, in the diversity of imagery, and the range of techniques attempted. Each image suggested a story. On some of the pages were notes. What did they mean?
Some of the works were clearly copies of masterpieces, as done by any art student spending a day in an art gallery might do, but many images appeared to be of ordinary people. Perhaps seen in European town squares or along desert routes when he traveled in Egypt?
Then there are the images that are ecclesiastical in nature … were they the early concepts or cartoons for church murals? Did the murals still exist or had they become lost and all that remains are these vestiges?
Those are stories that others may choose to research and tell one day. I am grateful that his son allowed me to see just a fraction of what is contained in those suitcases. And a salute to Mr. Joutz for preserving his own artwork as he helped to preserve the works of others throughout his career.
Sources and Additional Readings …