February 15, 2005

Max Klinger

I’ve mentioned Max Klinger’s etchings here before, specifically his renowned series Ein Handschuh (A Glove, 1881). Klinger (1857-1920) published several other eye-catching graphic series during the 1880s, of which the following, scanned from the Dover book The Graphic Works of Max Klinger, form a sample. Note that the images below are details: click on them to see the works in full.

'Second Future', etching from Max Klinger's 1880 series 'Eve and the Future.'


'Third Future', etching from Max Klinger's 1880 series 'Eve and the Future.'

The first two images, above, are from Klinger’s 1880 series Eve and the Future. In this series, three depictions of Eve’s original sin are juxtaposed with three ‘futures;’ imagined visions of that sin’s dire consequences. The first image above, the second future, depicts a demonic figure holding a spear, sitting on an enormous fish he has presumably just killed. One contemporary account conjectured that the demon was meant to personify ‘death that arrives unexpectedly.’ The second image is the third future: a powerfully pessimistic representation of ‘the triumph of death.’

'Pursued Centaur', etching from Max Klinger's 1881 series 'Intermezzi.'


'Cupid, Death and the Beyond', etching from Max Klinger's 1881 series 'Intermezzi.'

The third and fourth images are from Klinger’s 1881 series Intermezzi, and are entitled, respectively, Pursued Centaur and Cupid, Death and the Beyond. In these grotesquely imaginative works, Klinger was distantly influenced by Goya, and by ‘the fantasies, often horrific, of early nineteenth-century romantic literature, especially in the work of E.T.A. Hoffmann and Jean Paul.’

'In Flagranti', etching from Max Klinger's 1883 series 'Dramas.'


'A Mother, I', etching from Max Klinger's 1883 series 'Dramas.'

The final two images are from an 1883 series entitled Dramas. In these etchings, the inspiration comes not from the fantastic, but from newspaper accounts of everyday tragedies, or more indirectly from the realist novels of Zola and his followers. Even so, in the first of the two images above, In Flagranti, the lushly-detailed setting of the crime-of-passion depicted lends the image a near-hallucinatory intensity.

Posted by misteraitch at February 15, 2005 09:21 AM

Just curious: what are the sizes of these? I'm always amazed at the amount of detail in etchings, especially when many are are no bigger than a postcard.

Posted by: Peggasus on February 14, 2005 04:08 PM

Ah! Another fantastic entry. The simpleness and mystery of "In flagranti" somehow reminds me of Mikkel McAlinden, whose photos are presented in a retrospective exhibition in Stenersenmuseet in Oslo right now. As you appear to live in Sweden, the journey over here is absolutely worth your time. He doesn't exhibit that often, and his work is so very gratifying to see in real (big!) size.

Posted by: Brosme on February 23, 2005 12:38 AM

I'm looking for Klingers' etching of "Brahm's cello sonata". Would you happen to know where an original is held and/or where I could find a copy 9 (ie in a book etc.)



Posted by: Kristin De Vargas on May 9, 2005 11:05 PM

Kristin—the book I mention above contains a few images from Klinger’s 1894 Brahms-Phantasie sequence, but nothing with that particular title. It looks like two volumes containing Klinger’s complete graphic works have been republished with English text by Alan Wofsy Fine Arts of San Francisco—these would be a good as place as any to look. There would also presumably be earlier German catalogues raiseones too. There was a fairly comprehensive book (albeit in Italian) about Klinger published in 1996 in Ferrara, edited by Beatrice Buscaroli Fabbri: I used to own a copy of it, but have no idea whether the etching you’re looking for was included therein.

Posted by: misteraitch on May 10, 2005 02:55 PM

Thanks, misteraitch! I'll try and track down the leads you have given me. Much appreciated!


Posted by: Kristin De Vargas on May 11, 2005 12:19 PM
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