Tutzing: The artist who wants to make Karl Valentin unforgettable – Starnberg

A desk with a computer, printer and lamp, next to it a shelf, in the background a stand filled with postcards. It is a small corner of his living room from which Robert Wagner pursues great things. Here the 64-year-old – round glasses, full beard – runs the “Huraxdax-Verlag”. As a “lone fighter”, as he says himself. For 30 years he has been selling T-shirts, beer mugs, mugs and postcards here in the Kampberg district of Tutzing.

His main focus is on a well-known comedian, word acrobat, master of twisted humor, and yes, also critic of the system: Karl Valentin. And so in Wagner’s office there are mugs with the legendary saying “I would have liked to, but I didn’t dare to.” Beer mugs with the busy artist’s conference. T-shirts with the imprint “Down with your mind, long live nonsense”. His self-designed homages to Karl Valentin are available in bookstores and the Munich Pinakothek. Wagner is the only one with the appropriate rights. “It was coincidence,” he says.

In his living room there is a postcard stand with humorous sayings.

(Photo: Franz Xaver Fuchs)

Publishing anniversary: ​​Karl Valentin sayings on a mug.

Karl Valentin sayings on a mug.

(Photo: Franz Xaver Fuchs)

Publishing anniversary: ​​mugs bear the likeness of Karl Valentin.

Mugs bear the likeness of Karl Valentin.

(Photo: Franz Xaver Fuchs)

Wagner started making postcards 30 years ago. The trained graphic artist had sayings like “memory is a stubborn creature” printed on cards and sold them – with success, because to this day they are his main business. Over time he expanded the range. In addition to texts, graffiti and photos of Bavarian lakes can now also be found on the maps. He gets the pictures for this from a photographer friend, whom he met at his earlier work in a well-known publishing house.

Valentin was a pioneer in many things, says Wagner

If you stand in Wagner’s living room office in his small house on the outskirts of Tutzing and turn the filled postcard stand, your eye will quickly see Karl Valentin, an old friend of Bavaria. The comedian and author lived in Munich and Planegg until the middle of the 20th century and not only inspired his audience with his performances together with his stage partner Liesl Karlstadt.

Wagner is also impressed by his works. He speaks of a zeitgeist that stands for Bavaria “and was a pioneer in many things”. One of his favorite sayings: “I’m happy when it rains, because if I’m not happy, it’s raining too”. The joy was all the greater when Valentin’s great-granddaughter approached him at a trade fair and he obtained the rights to his works. He never met him himself, “unfortunately,” says Wagner. When he was born, Karl Valentin had been dead for ten years.

His latest highlight: a calendar with Karl Valentin sayings. “The world’s first,” he says

So he has been producing cards and other things with sayings and pictures by Karl Valentin for a good 15 years now. His latest highlight is a wall calendar with motifs and quotes from him and his beloved Liesl Karlstadt. It is the first Karl Valentin calendar in the world, says Wagner proudly, “and it is 100 percent made in Bavaria”. A corresponding emblem lights up red on the calendar, which customers like, says Wagner.

Publishing anniversary: ​​The latest highlight in the product range of the Karl Valentin marketer: a calendar with pictures and sayings by the scrawny master of twisted humour.

The latest highlight in the product range of the Karl Valentin marketer: a calendar with pictures and sayings from the scrawny master of twisted humour.

(Photo: Franz Xaver Fuchs)

It is also important to him that the products are made in the region. “The cups come from Schrobenhausen, for example,” northwest of Munich, he says. The print shop is in a neighboring town of Tutzing. “I sit down with the printer and talk about the printed matter. You have to be able to hold it in your hands,” he explains. Only his sales department is based in northern Germany.

Wagner himself is a creative person. “I always want to get through my stubborn head,” he says – a self-employed entrepreneur. Even as a child he liked to paint and draw. The fact that he runs the publishing house alone is more of an advantage for him: “As a lone wolf, I don’t have to make so many compromises,” he says and laughs. For many years he built it up according to the Huraxdax principle: It should just be fun. “I’m always trying new things,” he explains. You never know what people might like. It is important to him that he offers things for different interest groups. He prefers versatility to mainstream. “It should always be a little bit Bavarian,” he says, who himself has a good command of the language.

He wants to make sure that Karl Valentin is not forgotten

The connection to Karl Valentin was just right for him: “It’s always a happy coincidence when you get such rights.” Sayings like “The future was also better in the past” – that’s what Wagner calls his calendar – fit the current time better than ever, he says. He also wanted to ensure “that Karl Valentin is not forgotten”. With his humor, he says, Valentin was a pioneer in Bavaria.

Last but not least, the connection to Munich is common to the two. The two Bavarians share a profound sense of humor and joie de vivre. You have to take the time to understand Valentin’s sense of humor back then, he warns. “In today’s fast-paced world, not everyone can do that.” Despite Corona, the energy crisis and the sharp rise in paper prices, he laughs a lot. Stay relaxed, don’t lose your sense of humor, that’s his way. He is already considering launching a Karl Valentin calendar again in 2024. “That would be the second in the world,” he says.

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