This is the famous Hohlwein signature that appeared on just about all his work. The umlaut over the u in München (Munich in English) is connected by a double slash to his name. Of course it looks like a Z and I have no idea why he chose it. It is discussed in the book Ludwig Hohlwein, (by Professor H.K. Frenzel, with an introduction by Dr. Walter F. Schubert, and translated by Herman George Scheffauer, and published in Berlin in 1926 by Phonix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag. The illustrations which follow are from the book.)
I don't know if it is the fault of the translation, which is almost as unintelligible as computer translation, or the ponderous obfuscation of German academia of the time, but to quote from the text:
"It goes without saying that this . . . like dozens of other original conceits of Hohlwein's, was seized upon by the petty pirates of advertising art, watered and botched and ruined. This passion for imitating the inimitable even went so far as attempts to ape the characteristic signature of the great Munich artist, that is, the two diagonal lines which run from the 'ü' in the word München and which connect the personal name with the place name. . . .
"But these poor-spirited imitators who clung to his heels everywhere, never felt a single trace of the essence and spirit of the master. The Hohlwein style may, of course, be copied like all others, that is, up to a certain degree, but the mystery of its great and magic power of attracting, which carries even the sober Briton and in a still greater degree the American along with it, remains a sealed book to them."
Well, it's nice to know where we stood in the great scheme of things. Speaking of books, the signature reproduced above was scanned directly from the hotstamped foil of the cloth binding.
This is a photograph from the book pages printed in gravure. Ludwig Hohlwein was born on 26 July 1874 in Wiesbaden, Germany, into a patrician family. After a privileged childhood he pursued the study of architecture, and we are told that he avoided recreational student drinking in favor of sports such as horseback riding and hunting. His study of architecture was soon dismissed in favor of illustration.
These magnificent examples of design and illustration are living proof of Hohlwein's prodigious talent.
These posters were published between 1906 and 1914. Berchtesgaden is a famous German Alpine resort where Adolf Hitler created his infamous "Eagle's Nest." Many expected it to be the final redoubt of the Third Reich until it was learned that Hitler had committed suicide in his Berlin bunker.