British 19th C, except portraits, Continental European after 1800, Maritime Subjects, North West England: Artists and Subjects 15 Can we establish if Max Sinclair and Max Crouse are the same artist?

NML_MMM_55_99_1_2_3_B
Topic: Artist

There are no census records for an artist under the name of Max Sinclair. However, I’ve found an advertisement for a work by this artist being sold and quoting that he was the only pupil of the master Franz (Francis Krause). This may be his father – as the German painter Franz (Francis) Krause https://bit.ly/3pzMd4w had a son called Max. Max Krause (aka M. Crouse, H. Max Krause, Frederick Heinrich M. Krause, Henry Max Crouse) appears on Art UK here https://bit.ly/3gnmBUm. Did he also use the name Max Sinclair https://bit.ly/3w7takN?

Heather Phillips, Entry reviewed by Art UK

15 comments

Mark Wilson,

It seems unlikely. The first ArtUK picture ascribed to Max Sinclair is dated to 1864 (https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/loch-goil-120886) while Max Crouse's dates seem to be 1861-1931 - more plausible for the son of someone born in 1836.

As the Manx Museum website notes (https://www.imuseum.im/search/collections/people/mnh-agent-20021.html) there's a lot of confusion around the younger Crouse/Kraus/etc so it's not impossible there is some link, especially Loch Goil painting is misdated.

Mark Wilson,

More information on this entry (https://bit.ly/2SrNr5R) on Antiques Atlas regarding Max, presumably written by Heather Phillips herself which I put at length as it expands the Manx stuff and to prevent duplication of effort. It does suggest Max Sinclair may be yet another identity:

H. Max Krause was born in Biesdorf in Germany in 1861, to Franz (Francis) Emile Hermann Krause 1836-1900 and Johann Henrietta Amelia Stock daughter of a German painter J. F. A. Stock. The family moved to the UK and settled in Lancashire and the 1881 Census found the 20 year old Max living at 28 Bignor Street, Cheetham, Prestwich, Lancashire with his parents and 5 siblings. He and his brother the artist Emil Albert Krause, later Emil Albert Stock, after he changed his name by deed poll in 1916 due to anti German feeling, were both taught by their father. ( Emil Albert is frequently called Emil Axel due to confusion between him and a Danish artist)

In 1885, Max married Mary Jane Mansell (1861-1930) and he is listed officially as Frederick (Friedrich) Heinrich M. Krause in the marriage register. To our knowledge, he painted under the names Max Krause, H. Max Krause, H. M. Krause, H. M. Crouse and M. Crouse (as in these paintings) and, it is our contention that he also painted under the pseudonym Max Sinclair, although as yet we have been unable to prove it. (There is absolutely no official record of an artist by the name of Max Sinclair in the late 1800s and the similarity of his paintings and those of both Franz Krause and Max Krause are unmistakable. We came across a mention in a Victorian newspaper cutting that Max Sinclair was the only pupil of the Master Franz Krause, so it seems fairly obvious to us that he and Max Krause are one and the same.)

In the 1911 Census, he was living at Ashleigh, Dane Road, Sale, Cheshire and was listed as a German, naturalised British Subject in 1886. Although even that is in doubt, as in 1916 he was accused of being near a prohibited area in Southport as he was not a British citizen as other family member were. Later he and Mary Jane moved to Southport, where two of his brothers were set up as carvers, gilders and frame makers, and Mary Jane died at 197 Portland Street, Southport, leaving her assets of £366 to her husband Henry Max Crouse, artist. Max himself died a year later.

Heather Phillips,

Having looked at date on the one you mention, it appears to me that it is far more likely to be 84, than 64. I have attached a photo of the date on the only one of our Sinclairs to be dated.

All three of the Krause family paint in a very similar way, not surprising since Francis taught both of his sons. Their subject matter is very similar, particularly the coastal and harbour scenes and bears a very great resemblance to that of Max Sinclair, who, incidentally doesn't exist, as I have spent considerable time going through the census records of the period and found nobody by that name. There are no biographies of him and he isn't mentioned in any of the reference books, other than in Hidden Talents by Jeremy Wood, who states that the majority of his works date from the 1880s. Also, both Emil Albert (not Axel, who is Danish) Krause and Max Krause are known to have used pseudonyms. I have a good deal of information on this family, as I have sold several paintings to a descendant, who gave me a lot of family history and copies of photographs.

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Mark Wilson,

Looking more closely at the Loch Goil painting, the date seems more like '84 than '64 to me. This also matches with the dates for the other ArtUK pictures signed 'M Sinclair' which are all in the 1880s. Three of them are also of the Mersey and the Manx Museum entry points to Crouse living in Toxteth Park in 1891 (the mangling of details being presumably due to them being given by the lodging house keeper).

I wonder if Sinclair is an artistic identity that Crause used in his 20s to distinguish himself from his father (who is also F Krause) before settling on Max Crause as a sort of half-way house.

Mark Wilson,

I see our posts crossed there about the date. I also managed to spell the surname differently in the same post which rather illustrates the problem!

Kieran Owens,

In 1880, Max Sinclair is described in several newspapers as being an A.R.S.A. and that some of his works were "painted for illustrating the well known work "Scenery of the British Isles", including views in Wales, Scotland, Ireland and the Lake District." He also appears to have illustrated "Our Scottish Scenery" in the same year. Oddly, these books do not appear in any Google searches.

In 1886, he is referred to as "being of Manchester" and in 1889 as "a young north of England artist who is making a name for himself."

His name appears many times in newspapers between 1880 and 1899, but almost exclusively in the context of advertisements for the sale or auction of large numbers of various artists' paintings. He appears hardly at all in any exhibition review.

Heather Phillips,

The whole Krause family live in the Southport area, in fact, I have seen a painting of Southport by Franz (Francis), although he moved to North Wales to the Conwy area where he died and is buried. Max Sinclair, Max Krause and Emil Albert Krause all painted harbour scenes in a very similar style and, due to the sons' use of pseudonyms and the way that artists used to give exclusivity to different dealers, it wouldn't surprise me if they or the dealers invented stores about book illustrations.

I would not want to terminate this prematurely if anything new about Krause/Crouse/ Sinclair or others of the family is likely to come out, but (Heather) nothing short of documentation of a formal name change by deed-poll or some other credible contemporary assertion is going to 'prove' that Sinclair is an alias of Max Krause/Crouse any better than you have already appear to have done.

The 1880s are a bit early for serious reasons of British 'anti-Germanism' as a reason (though other plausible ones are suggested above), but it is not the only case, or the only one in which the choice of pseudonym is not easily explained.

For example: the real name of his sea-painter contemporary David James (1860-c.1904) was James Donahue (or Donoghue) -though why he disguided it is not known- and we have already had a specific Art UK case with a strong circumstantial proof that 'J.L. Vychan' was pseudonym of the landscape painter John Lloyd-Elsegood, (c.1830/34–1912), though in his case this may have been related to Welsh background, albeit nothing close in discoverable family terms.

The 'A.R.S.A.' assertion ought to be demonstrable, if true.

Mark Wilson,

Which it doesn't seem to be as the dealers also seem to have invented the idea of him being an ARSA as well. None of the numerous aliases appear on the RSA's comprehensive spreadsheet of all their members and associates since foundation:

https://www.royalscottishacademy.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/RSA-Academicians-1826-presentA-Z_web-version-1.xlsx

Oddly enough his dates are very close to Alexander Garden Sinclair (1859-1930) whose painting style is very different though (https://bit.ly/3woT8jJ) and who doesn't become ARSA till 1918, so it's probably just a coincidence.

Presumably it was felt more appropriate marketing British landscapes and marine pictures from a more British-sounding artist. It seems to have started early (1881 at least - https://bit.ly/3iKX3Dk) and gone on for a couple of decades at least. Maybe other dealers got other names - it's noticeable "M(ax) Crouse" only appears on Isle of Man paintings for example. As well as the five in Douglas there's also one in Lytham:

https://www.lythamstannesartcollection.org/sulby-glen-by-max-crouse.html

which has a photo of the artist along with more information.

As with Henry Garland/Guirlandi it may be that comparing signatures could be helpful. There's certainly a lot of similarities in the shape of the capital M with its longer second leg, the distinctive 'r' and the way the 'S/s' is formed. Both signatures normally slop backwards (maybe showing left-handedness) and have the surname underlined.

Heather Phillips,

Ro Pieter, I never stated that anti-Germanism occurred in the 1880s, but that it was generally applied to people with German sounding names during WWI, which is probably Emil Albert Krause changed his name by deed poll to E. A. Stock (his mother's surname which, although German inorigin, sounds more English). Also, no artist would change their name by deed poll, simply to use a pseudonym! Pseudonyms were simply a ruse to enable the artists to give exclusivity to different dealers. Also, I think that not only the ARSA, thank you Mark, was fiction, but the Scottish Scenery book too,

It may well be that the one at Lytham signed Max Crouse, was the one exhibit by M. Crouse who lived at Ashley (six) Villa, Dane Road, Sale Cheshire, which was actually Max Krause, who lived at Ashleigh, Dane Road, Sale, Cheshsire, as in the Dictionary of British Artists, a single exhibit at the Walker in Liverpool was listed as being my M. Crouse in 1907.

I agree that there is some similarity in the signatures and there are also little tails on the capital M and S occasionally.

My observation of the 1880s not being a period of serious anti-Germanism was simply that, not to refute a suggestion anyone had made. His brother Emil's later formal change to 'Stock' looks more likely to be for that reason, but even that is only a probability. Proof is proof: everything else is a circumstantial judgment call. The question I and other group leaders have to consider is how long we leave open what already looks like a good case for concluding the congruence of Max Krause/Crouse/ Sinclair as the same man. There's no rush.

Submitted by Marjorie Gregson, Friends of the Lytham St.Annes Art Collection which owns a Max Crouse painting

'As Max Sinclair did not appear to exhibit his work, although a quite prolific artist, little is known about his life. The only biographical information we could find about him is listed in Jeremy Wood's excellent book 'Hidden Talents', as follows:-

'Painter of landscapes and marines in oil and watercolour. This prolific artist does not appear to have exhibited, although much of the work was inscribed and dated giving some indication of the period of his work and the location of the subjects. Most of the landscapes are views in Wales and Scotland and the majority date from the early 1880s. The marine subjects include views of the London and Liverpool docks. Many of his paintings were signed with a monogram.'

However, although we can't prove it, as yet, it is our contention that Max Sinclair is actually H. Max Krause. H. Max Krause was born in Biesdorf in Germany in 1861, to Franz (Francis) Emile Hermann Krause 1836-1900 and Johann Henrietta Amelia Stock daughter of a German painter J. F. A. Stock. The family moved to the UK and settled in Lancashire and the 1881 Census found the 20 year old Max living at 28 Bignor Street, Cheetham, Prestwich, Lancashire with his parents and 5 siblings. He and his brother the artist Emil Albert Krause, later Emil Albert Stock, after he changed his name by deed poll in 1916 due to anti German feeling, were both taught by their father. ( Emil Albert is frequently called Emil Axel due to confusion between him and a Danish artist)

In 1885, Max married Mary Jane Mansell (1861-1930) and he is listed officially as Frederick (Friedrich) Heinrich M. Krause in the marriage register. To our knowledge, he painted under the names Max Krause, H. Max Krause, H. M. Krause, H. M. Crouse and M. Crouse (as in the watercolours that we have currently listed), so using different names is not unusual and there is some similarity in how they both form letters. (Also, there is absolutely no official record of an artist by the name of Max Sinclair in the late 1800s in birth records or the Censuses of the period and the similarity of his paintings, colour palette, technique and locations, and those of both Franz Krause and Max Krause are unmistakable. We came across a mention in a Victorian newspaper cutting that Max Sinclair was the only pupil of the Master Franz Krause, so it seems fairly obvious to us that he and Max Krause are one and the same.)

In the 1911 Census, he was living at Ashleigh, Dane Road, Sale, Cheshire and was listed as a German, naturalised British Subject in 1886. Although even that is in doubt, as in 1916 he was accused of being near a prohibited area in Southport as he was not a British citizen as other family member were. Later he and Mary Jane moved to Southport, where two of his brothers were set up as carvers, gilders and frame makers, and in 1930 Mary Jane died at 197 Portland Street, Southport, leaving her assets of £366 to her husband Henry Max Crouse, artist. Max himself died a year later.'

Marjorie Gregson usefully gives the whole passage from Jeremy Wood and much the same biographical entry that Mark Wilson (11/06/2021 15:35) posted near the start of this discussion from an Antiques weblink. Marjorie's is from the version she co-authored on the Lytham St Annes web entry on their Crouse painting (Sulby Glen) at https://www.lythamstannesartcollection.org/sulby-glen-by-max-crouse.html

I'm sure we are all familiar with the often unsourced copying that populates the web, but it would be good to know which is the more original (i.e. who dug out the family details and who are the 'we' originally speculating on Sinclair and Krause/Crouse being the same person). The original 'Victorian' press cutting mentioned that stated Sinclair to be only pupil of Krause senior would also be useful to see. One can certainly believe it in some of his more tonally blue-grey subjects.

There's also a much larger representation of Sinclair than Crouse/Krause junior on the web and despite similarities in some instances the visual case for 'same man' is not self-evident. The upright Sinclair signature and the Crouse one -sloping for those I can see- also look different

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