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Fine view of Moscow from the Volga River, engraved by F.C. Wentzel.

Jean Frederic Wentzel Biography

Jean Frédéric Wentzel (1807-1869), was an engraver, lithographer and printer who founded a large printing press of popular lithographic and typographic imagery Wissembourg, France, (Bas-Rhin) about 40 miles north of Strasbourg.

Son of Philippe Frédéric Wentzel,and Catherine Lehr, he began his career as an apprentice with a bookbinder. His apprenticeship completed, later working as a binder in Paris.

Returning to Wissembourg, he was an early entry into the field of lithography. Encouraged and financially supported by friends, he founded his first workshop at Faubourg Landau in Wissembourg in 1831 . Initially he was devoted primarily to the production of religious images, over time he developed a broader business.

In addition to publishing various books and prints, the printer was best known throughout Europe for its popular imagery during the golden age.  The artistic quality of the lithographs working for Wentzel has been recognized for its varied production of religious images, prints , picture books, characters and construction games to cut, and finally his puppets and his military images.

By 1845, the workshop had nearly a dozen hand presses and employed artisans from Germany and Switzerland .

When Jean Frédéric Wentzel died in 1869, the company owned eighteen lithographic presses, one of which was steam, three printing presses, two printing presses and five engraving presses. It employed twenty-six typographers, sixteen cartoonists and lithographers, and more than one hundred and twenty colorists, mostly women and children.

Its production is widely distributed across Europe by hundreds of peddlers. The Paris World Exhibition of 1867 and the opening of a "Sales Office located at 65 rue Saint Jacques in Paris" dedicated to the production of the workshop completed its growth. The texts of his images are translated into German, English, Italian, Hebrew and Arabic.

The firm's demise occurred following 1870 and the decimation of the town during the Franco-Prussian War.