Remembering Our Ancestors: Paul Heinrich Bücker

Last Sunday 37 years ago, (Great-) Grandpa Paul passed away in Gütersloh, Germany.

When Paul Heinrich Bücker was born on 26 January 1911 in Balve in the German Sauerland, both his father Josef Bücker and his mother Anna Hotmaker were 35 years old.  He had many brothers but only one sister, Auguste, or Gustchen for short, and she died fairly young.  They all missed her terribly; Paul named his first daughter after her.  From the quiet and beautiful Sauerland, the family moved into the Ruhrgebiet during the 1920s, most likely because Paul’s father had to find work in the city to feed his big family.  Times were hard in the Weimar Republic.

There, in the city of Dorsten, Paul grew into a man and married Anna von Hinten on 23 January 1939.  Paul moved his family out of the Ruhrgebiet to the more quiet Gütersloh close to the Teutoburg Forest – yes, the same area where the Cherusci Arminius (or rather, Hermann) beat the Romans in 9 AD -, where he worked for a private rehab clinic as a physiotherapist.  They had two daughters, one at the onset of WWII and the other when the war was over.  During the war Paul served in a medical unit in Danzig.

Paul with 2 grandchildren

In the late 1940s, Paul’s mother Anna, then widowed, lived with them for a few years in Gütersloh before she died in 1950.  His older daughter remembers well her ‘Strickoma’, and the time spent together.  Paul worked at the same place until he retired when he was 70 years old, so that would have been in 1981.

Paul with his wife Anni on a visit to Bremen, Germany, around 1975

Paul died of a heart attack only roughly two years later, on 12 July 1983, in Gütersloh, and lies buried there, see picture below.  His wife Anny followed him fourteen years later.

buecker hain grave 7-12-2020
Here, Paul and his wife Anny lie buried, together with their son-in-law Ingo Hain, whose 51st birthday it would have been on the day this picture was taken, 12 July 2020.

Rest in Peace, dear Opi.  You had a big heart, and from you, I first learned about Goethe’s Faust, the music of Richard Wagner, and why it is a good idea to eat smoked ham sandwiches with knife and fork.  You also were the most cunning Easter-egg-hider in the family!

We love you, and we miss you.

Paul liked to visit the harbor in Bremen. Here he is watching the ships being loaded and unloaded, in 1982.


Cultured Wednesday: Carus’ Vollmond bei Pillnitz

Atmosphere. It bypasses cerebral knowledge and speaks instead to different levels within Man.

I remember this painting from way back when.  There is nothing more moody or enchanting than predominantly blue paintings with a little yellow…

Vollmond bei Pillnitz

Carl Gustav Carus (3 January 1789 – 28 July 1869), German painter of the Romantic era from Leipzig, Germany, was a friend of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe‘s and, much like Goethe, a many-sided man: a doctor, a naturalist, a scientist, a psychologist, and a landscape painter who studied under Caspar David Friedrich.  In the latter capacity, we meet him today.  Many of his works are well worth attention, so the ones presented here are just meant as examples and incentives to look at Carus further.  I’ll add another one that I particularly like for its atmosphere.  It speaks of the Cistercians and reminds me of a place close to where I grew up, the Kloster Hude:


According to the Wiki, Uncle Carl credited Carus with pointing to the unconscious as the essential basis of the psyche.  It reflects in his paintings, I dare say.

Although various philosophers, among them Leibniz, Kant, and Schelling, had already pointed very clearly to the problem of the dark side of the psyche, it was a physician who felt impelled, from his scientific and medical experience, to point to the unconscious as the essential basis of the psyche. This was C. G. Carus, the authority whom Eduard von Hartmann followed.

~ C.G. Jung


Featured:  Crop of Carus’ painting of a Stone Age Mound.

Cultured Wednesday: Jacob More

Jacob More’s special quality was a strong sense of formal design that he combined with nature observations. 

Jacob More was a Scottish landscape painter who started out painting stage scenery at the New Theater in his hometown Edinburgh.  It appears as though his special quality was a strong sense of formal design, maybe acquired while he worked for the theater, that he combined with nature observations.

the eruption of mt vesuvius
The Eruption of Mount Vesuvius

Jacob More was born in Edinburg in 1740, but lived most of his adult life in Italy, from around 1773 until his death on 1 October 1793.  While he was living in Rome and only 4 years before his death, a then relatively young Johann Wolfgang von Goethe visited him, acclaiming More’s paintings as being ‘admirably thought out’.  How can a painter to whom formal style matters and who manages to incorporate it into his landscape compositions fail to please Goethe, himself very keenly aware of formal design, and how nature keeps falling back on it?

What Goethe was looking for in his own nature studies, and suggested others should look for rather than amassing disconnected data about the natural world, were the ideas, maybe even archetypes behind specific natural phenomena like the spiral tendency, for example.  In order to find such natural and lawful ideas in nature, one needed to immerse oneself in a living interaction with a natural phenomenon, with all available senses.  Looking at Jacob More’s paintings might very well have told Goethe that here, he had met a kindred soul.

If you are interested in Goethe’s approach, the Wiki entry about Goethian Science might provide a quick glance into his ideas, and what came of them.  When I read Goethe’s nature studies back in the day, I found them fascinating and rewarding.

jacob more

Back to Jacob More:  His most famous painting is probably The Falls of Clyde (Corra Linn) from his Clyde Falls series that was exhibited in London in 1771, and which the founder and first president of the Royal Academy of Arts, Sir Joshua Reynolds, himself a portrait painter, bought in that same year:

Cora Lynn
Corra Linn, from the Clyde Falls series (around 1771)

One last painting I would like to share today.  It shows Roman Ruins, and appears to be a sketch more than a painting.  Can you see the formal design spoken of above?

Roman Ruins by Jacob More circa 1740-1793
Roman Ruins

Featured is a slightly cropped version of More’s “The Eruption of Etna”.

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