Completed British 20th C, except portraits, Maritime Subjects 12 Does anyone recognise this artist’s signature?

Topic: Artist

There is a signature bottom right beginning Paul and a date 1959.

Martin Hopkinson, Entry reviewed by Art UK

1 attachment

Completed, Outcome

This discussion is now closed. The artist has been identified as Paul Ernst Wilke (1894-1971). It is the first painting by this German Impressionist painter on Art UK.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the discussion. To anyone viewing this discussion for the first time, please see below for all the comments that led to this conclusion.


The Collection has commented: We have found a note in our records attributing this painting to Paul Curwin. We are not 100% convinced this is correct.'

Jacinto Regalado,

The signature could be Paul Curwin, but is there a known Paul Curwin who was an artist?

Jacinto Regalado,

The date looks more like 1959 than 1989 to me. When and how did the collection acquire this work? What does it know about its provenance?

Charles Payton,

Wilke was a well known Bremerhaven artist

Jacinto Regalado,

Yes, the signatures match, and a Bremerhaven connection looks like confirmatory proof. The date, obviously, must be 1959, not 1989, since Wilke's dates are 1894-1972.

Well done Charles: that looks pretty convincing, though his signature varies a bit across the large number of images accessible (mostly small scale) on the web. And there's an informative German Wki entry which notes, as others do, that his dates were 1894-1971 (d. 13 December):

Does anyone have anything to add before we wind this up? The present title doesn't need change, though its obviously the area of the harbour allocated to the local fishing fleet (trawlers?).

The identity of this artist with a near illegible and also misleading signature (other than the 'Paul') was a point well raised by Martin and I think satisfactorily decoded by Charles and friend. It's a nice thing to find (and in an appropriate collection) as by a German painter for whom there seems to be an abiding local memory at Bremerhaven in particular. As the problem appears solved and the picture does not raise other issues I suggest the matter is closed when Art UK and the collection are ready to do so.

Apologies for the delay here. I have asked the Collection if they too are ready to accept the Wilke suggestion so we can update the record and consider the matter closed.

Louise Bowen, Collections Officer, North East Lincolnshire Museum Service, email, 15/07/21
‘We will update our records accordingly. Thank you to all those who have worked so hard to find this information … it’s unlikely that we would have had the time to research this ourselves to find that out. Just goes to show how valuable the Art UK resource is to both the public and museums!’