Walter Trier (25 June 1890, Prague – 8 July 1951 Craigleith, near Collingwood, Ontario, Canada) was a Czech-German illustrator, best known for his work for the children's books of Erich Kästner and the covers of the magazine Lilliput.
Trier was born to a middle class German-speaking Jewish family in Prague. In 1905, Trier entered the Industrial School of Fine and Applied Arts; he later moved to the Prague Academy. In 1906, he entered the Royal Academy, Munich, where he studied under Franz Stuck and Erwin Knirr. In 1910, at age 20, Trier moved to Berlin where he spent most of his career. There he became known for his caricatures and children's book illustrations.
Trier married Helene Mathews in 1913; a daughter, Margaret, was born a year later.
An anti-fascist, Trier's cartoons were bitterly opposed by the Nazis. In 1936 he emigrated to London. During the Second World War, Trier helped the Ministry of Information produce anti-Nazi leaflets and political propaganda. He and his wife became British citizens in 1947, the same year that they moved to Canada to be near their daughter, who had moved to Toronto with her husband in the late thirties.
Trier's works for the periodicals Simplicissimus and Jugend appeared in 1909. The next year, Otto Eysler, the editor of Lustige Blätter, persuaded him to move to Berlin and work for that magazine; Trier worked for Berliner Illustriete Zeitung as well.
Trier provided the front cover design for every issue of Lilliput from its start until 1949. Each time, the design employed a man, a woman, and a dog. The man and woman were usually young and almost always a couple, the dog was almost always black. It seems the original dog was Trier's. It was run over by a tram and killed, and after that Trier immortalised him in his Lilliput covers; the idea was light-hearted and the settings and styles varied considerably.
On his arrival in Canada, Trier started work on illustrations for the company Canada Packers.
Exhibitions and murals
In 1934 Trier held a one-man exhibition in Prague.
Trier also created various murals: in the Kabarett der Komiker at Kurfürstendamm (1929, destroyed by the Nazis in 1933), on the liner SS Bremen (1929), and for Hoffmann–La Roche (Welwyn Garden City, 1938). He also staged designs for Spielzeug (1924) and The Bartered Bride (1931).
Trier held an exhibition of oils and water-colours in the University of Toronto in 1951, his death year.
The Walter Trier Gallery at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) features small rotating exhibitions of the artist's watercolours, drawings, paintings and sculpture along with satirical works on paper by other artists from the AGO collection.
In 1976 the AGO received a gift from the Trier-Fodor Foundation of over 1100 works by Trier and 345 folk toys. The gift was accompanied by an endowment to support the acquisition of humorous, satirical and illustrative art.
Books by Trier
- Nazi-German in 22 Lessons, Broadsheet, London, 1942. Reprint: Favoritenpresse, Berlin 2022, ISBN 978-3-96849-053-3
- Brer Rabbit, Harmondsworth, Middx: Penguin, Puffin, c. 1944
- Dandy in the Circus, New York: Dodd, Mead, 1950
- Dandy the Donkey, London: Nicholson & Watson, 1943
- 8192 Crazy Costumes in One Book...For Children from 5 and under to 75 and over, London: Atrium
- 8192 Crazy People in One Book, London: Atrium, c. 1950
- 8192 Quite Crazy People in One Book, London: Atrium, [1949?]
- 10 Little Negroes: A New Version, London: Sylvan, 1944
Books by others illustrated by Trier
Erich Kästner: Das doppelte Lottchen · Erich Kästner: Lisa and Lottie · Erich Kästner: Der 35. Mai · Erich Kästner: Emil und die Detektive · Erich Kästner: Emil and the Detectives · Erich Kästner: Emil und die drei Zwillinge · Erich Kästner: Emil and the Three Twins · Erich Kästner: Das fliegende Klassenzimmer · Erich Kästner: The Flying Classroom · Erich Kästner: Der kleine Grenzverkehr · Erich Kästner: Die Konferenz der Tiere · Erich Kästner: Pünktchen und Anton · Mark Twain: Die Abenteuer des Tom Sawyer
- Colman, Fred A. "Artisten" (1928)
- Földes, Jolán, Peter verliert nicht den Kopf (translated from Hungarian by Stefan J. Klein)
- Harris, Joel Chandler, Brer Rabbit
- Hirschfeld, Ludwig, Wien und Budapest
- Hochstetter, Gustav, Maruschka braut gelibbtes!
- Kästner, Erich, Das doppelte Lottchen (Lisa and Lottie)
- Kästner, Erich, Der 35 Mai (The 35th of May)
- Kästner, Erich, Till Eulenspiegel the Clown, Till the Jester, and Eleven Merry Pranks of Till the Jester
- Kästner, Erich, Emil und die Detektive (Emil and the Detectives)
- Kästner, Erich, Emil und die drei Zwillinge (Emil and the Three Twins)
- Kästner, Erich, Das fliegende Klassenzimmer (The Flying Classroom)
- Kästner, Erich, Des Freiherrn von Münchhausen wunderbare Reisen und Abenteuer zu Wasser und zu Lande (Baron Munchhausen)
- Kästner, Erich, Der gestiefelte Kater (Puss in Boots)
- Kästner, Erich, Der kleine Grenzverkehr, oder, Georg und die Zwischenfälle (A Salzburg Comedy)
- Kästner, Erich, Die Konferenz der Tiere (The Animals Conference)
- Kästner, Erich, Pünktchen und Anton (Annaluise and Anton)
- Kästner, Erich, Das verhexte Telefon
- Kipling, Rudyard, Das kommt davon
- Meyer, Alfred Richard, Die Reise in die Jugend
- Meyer, Wilhelm ("My"), Fridolins Harlekinder
- Meyer, Wilhelm ("My"), Fridolins Zauberland
- Meyer, Wilhelm ("My"), Fridolins Siebenmeilenpferd
- Morgan, Diana, My Sex Right or Wrong
- Nelson, Claire, The Jolly Picnic
- Roda Roda, Die verfolgte Unschuld
- Schloemp, Felix, Der Allotria Kientopp
- Schloemp, Felix, Schabernack und Lumpenpack
- Seth-Smith, David, Jolly Families
- Seyffert, Oskar, Spielzeug
- Twain, Mark, Die Abenteuer des Tom Sawyer
- Wiseman, Herbert, Singing Together
Periodicals to which Trier contributed
- Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung
- Daily Herald (London)
- Die Dame
- Lustige Blätter
- New Liberty
- New York Times
- Saturday Night
- Die Zeitung (London)
Books about Trier and anthologies of his works
- Clements, Warren, ed. The Many Worlds of Walter Trier: Inimitable Drawings of Baron Munchausen, Tom Sawyer, Emil, Brer Rabbit and Many, Many Others. Toronto: Nestlings Press, 2019. ISBN 9781775343639
- Humorist Walter Trier: Selections from the Trier-Fodor Foundation Gift. The Art Gallery of Ontario, 1981. ISBN 0-919876-56-0
- Jesters in Earnest. London: Murray, 1944. Cartoons by Trier and four other Czechoslovakian artists.
- Kästner, Erich, ed. Heiteres von Walter Trier. Hannover: Fackelträger-Verl., 1959.
- Lang. Lothar, ed. Walter Trier im Eulenspiegel-Verlag. [East] Berlin: Eulenspiegel-Verlag, 1971. Munich: Rogner & Bernhard, 1971. ISBN 3-920802-59-4
- Lang, Lothar, ed. Das grosse Trier-Buch. [East] Berlin: Eulenspiegel-Verlag, 1972; Munich and Zurich: Piper, 1974. (New editions: 1984 and 1986.)
- Lilliput: Walter Trier's World. Tokyo: Pie, 2004. ISBN 4-89444-367-8 Presents 99 of Trier's covers for Lilliput; text in both Japanese and English.
- Neuner-Warthorst, Antje. "Da bin ich wieder!": Walter Trier - die Berliner Jahre. Berlin: SMPK, 1999. ISBN 3-88609-189-9
- Trier, Walter. Kleines Trier-Paradies. Zurich: Sanssouci-Verlag, 1955.
- Trier Panoptikum. Berlin: Eysler, 1922.
- Neuner-Warthorst, Antje, Walter Trier: Politik - Kunst - Reklame, Zürich: Atrium 2006.
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