The Man



PARIS PERIOD 1899-1904



Upon arriving in Paris on September 16, 1899, Goetz' friend Buhse introduced him to Monsieur E. Philippe, the man Buhse worked for as a chaser. Philippe's business was in articles made of silver. In 1903, Philippe offered Goetz a place in his company as the man in charge of design and production. Goetz accepted and convinced Philippe that they had  to work on a backlog of orders with a view to the future. With the prospect of this proposal, he drafted a large number of designs for the articles they wanted to sell. The items were stamped in relief and sold to wholesale silverware dealers. Very much in demand were cigarette cases, ashtrays, decorative plates, toilet articles, and umbrella and walking stick handles. Philippe's role in this enterprise was that of the financier.


It was Goetz's idea to send Philippe on a sales trip to Switzerland. "The success was amazing," Goetz said. They moved to larger quarters, a studio with three large, airy rooms. One room became Goetz's office, workshop, and also living quarters. Orders came in faster than the pieces could be made.


The financial strength of Monsieur Philippe turned out to be weak and the company ran into cash flow problems. The weekly pay to the staff became smaller and smaller; there were harsh arguments and Goetz decided that the time had come to part company with Philippe. An additional reason contributing to the break-up was Philippe's insistence that Karl Goetz apply for his French citizenship. "It would be good for business," he said. "For heaven's sake, and what for?" Goetz replied.  Goetz quit on March 20, 1900 to become independant.  As noted here in his arbeitsbuch entries, Goetz entered his own record of work for the very first time.  And why not, he had more than ample time under his belt to fulfil his journeyman requirements as graveur.  The time was ripe to set out on his own path.


After leaving Phillipe, he supported himself by working freelance at designing and making bijouterie (jewelry) rings with figure compositions, accessories, and luxury articles cast in gold with intricate engravings put on them. He presented his designs to a wholesale jeweler in Paris and he purchased them from Goetz without hesitation. Whatever Goetz made, the jeweler wanted. At this time he also made his first medal for his own account, the St. George (K-83) and the wholesaler had no difficulties finding customers for it.

Despite the successful working of the jewelry manufacture, Goetz' main interest was the medal. He met Firmin Lassére, a pupil of Roty and a master medalist with all the latest equipment in his studio. Goetz worked there many evenings, often without pay, making sculptures and reliefs. Lassére recognized Goetz's talent for the composition—so he let him design and model and Lassére executed the designs. Later however, he also let Goetz finish his own designs.
It seems that the years in Paris laid a very valuable foundation for Goetz' future career as an independent medalist and entrepreneur. He was very proud of what he had accomplished so far. He was invited to exhibit in Paris' famous "Salon" and he presented some of his ring designs in wax, pendants, and a large bronze bowl with a scene of bathing children engraved on it; his St. George medal was also accepted.
From the appearance of the small sculpture "Dancer" (42.5 centimeters high) which Goetz created during this Paris period, it seems that the work he did with Firmin Lassére on sculpting and modeling bore rich fruit. He had come in his own right as an artist. His learning time was over, the path was open to return home. The year was 1904, Karl Goetz left Paris to settle in Munich. He was 29 years old.