This Article is About
edgar allen poe
henry david thoreau
haight ashbury
hippie movement
Who Were The Counterculture Icons At The Turn Of The Century?
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Who Were The Counterculture Icons at The Turn Of the Century?

Much has been written about the the migration of young people to San Francisco during the 1960's, Haight-Ashbury Street and the counterculture (or hippie) movement. Many of us are not aware of counterculture icons before this and what part they had in forming the bohemian life style of The Beat Generation and Hippies of the 5o's and 60's.

The terms "Romanticism" and "Bohemianism" might even be more familiar (to history buffs) than the movements we'll discuss today. Romanticism was a revolution of art, literature and intellect against the industrial age for fifty years starting in 1800. At its core Romanticism is about total freedom of artists expression and dismissal of principle conventions. This is not completely crossing the turn of century but it is important to note the luminaries (and their works) that strongly affected this movement.

Authors

Jane Austen - "Pride and Prejudice"

Victor Hugo - "Le Miserables", "The Hunchback Of Notre-Dame"

Lord Byron - "Don Juan"

Mary Shelley - "Frankenstein"

Edgar Allen Poe - (legendary author)

John Keats (English poet)

Henry David Thoreau - "Resistance To Civil Government"

Artists

Horace Vernet

Eug�ne Delacroix

William Blake

Francisco Goya

Thomas Cole

ART examples are too many to list. Do yourself a favor and search "Romanticism Art" to view these extraordinary masterpieces. I like The Metropolitan Museum of Art site.

Bohemianism 1850 thru 1910 was connected to unorthodox lifestyles of artists (of all types), nomads and drifters with like-minded antiestablishment views. Now it is becoming clearer how counterculture icons of mid-20th century came about.

Although you see many comparisons to the "hippie development" in both of these movements, I think it is more closely related to what was happening in Germany. In and around 1890 movements called Wandering Birds and Life Reform were actually described as bohemians. Many of the "-isms" evolved from here. We have vegetarianism, communalism, nudism, spiritualism, etc. The ideals of youths "being one with nature" growing hair long and wandering far on camping trips in groups was the norm.

Professor Arnold Ehert would grace our shores in 1914 from Germany. (California in particular) He would author the book Rational Fasting probably one of the very first health food books published. Other counterculture icons of the old guard would arrive in California, like Maximillian Sikinger. Maximillian would start a group what would be called The Nature Boys. "Gypsy Boots" Bootzin would emerge from that counterculture movement starting the first health food store, famous health instructor and TV personality.

Last but not least is Fidus (Hugo H�ppener) the artist. Although he remained in Germany, he was a great influence to life-reform through his art. Depicting man in nature and beautifully painting the lifestyle and purpose of the movement. One of his most famous pieces being "Prayer To The Sun" (1913) is depicted in this article. His work was nearly wiped from the planet by Nazi Germany - but, rediscovered in the 1960's and was a huge influence on psychedelic poster artists.

The concept of man's union with nature is a deep seeded concept in Germanic history. It was a natural religion (so to speak) worshiping things in nature they could see...like the sun, the moon, the stars, fire and rain. Ergo their (turn of the century) migration from Germany to sunny California.


Street Talk

Hey Jumpin', fascinating article as usua.! Man, your landing page is rad!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thanks Lewis, been working on that glad you like it!

Reply
  about 8 years ago
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