Adolph MENZEL (Breslau 1815 - Berlin 1905)
Studies of a Man Wearing a Hat and Coat and Bending Forward
Charcoal and black chalk, with stumping.
Signed with initials A. M. at the lower right.
211 x 121 mm. (8 3/8 x 4 3/4 in.)
This drawing is a study for the figure of a man helping a woman through a door partially blocked by scaffolding in Menzel’s ink and wash drawing of Painters Preparing aTransparent Panel in the Akademie of c.1871, today in the Kupferstichkabinett in Berlin. The drawing depicts a scene in the Akademie der Künste in Berlin, during the painting of a series of monumental portraits of generals intended as ephemeral decorations for the facade of the Akademie building on Unter der Linden. These large transparent paintings were intended to be displayed at the time of the triumphal procession of the victorious troops entering Berlin in June 1871, after the end of the Franco-Prussian war. Menzel himself painted two larger-than-life portraits of Otto von Bismarck and General Helmuth von Moltke for this project; these are today in the Stiftung Preussische Schlösser und Gärten in Potsdam.
As Marie Ursula Riemann-Reyher has described the composition of the Berlin drawing of Painters Preparing a Transparent Panel: ‘A kind of scaffold has been built behind a large opening, possibly a door. A plank has been laid across the gap, on which a painter is standing with a paintbrush in his hand, and underneath this a man wearing a hat is helping a woman to bend underneath the plank to get through...The lines seem to have been drawn quickly and vigorously with the thin, hard side of a carpenter’s pencil, a technique used only from this late time on. The vague blurred effect of the scene is also characteristic of his last period...’ Another preliminary study for the composition is also in the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett.
Anonymous sale, London, Sotheby’s, 29 November 1979, lot 86
Anonymous sale, Berlin, Galerie Bassenge, 26 May 2006, lot 5729