Adolph MENZEL (Breslau 1815 - Berlin 1905)

The Head of a Fourteen-Year Old Girl, in Profile to the Left

Carpenter’s pencil, with stumping, on paper laid down on board.
Signed with initials A. M. at the lower right centre. Inscribed by the artist 14 jähr. at the upper left. Inscribed Im Original dem Heidelberger Kunsthistoriker / Dr. Wolfgang Merkel vorgelegt und für echt bestätigt! / 28.11.05/  Zu dieser Zeichnung, gab es ein Gutachten von / Hr. Dr. Baumeister München 1925 – seines zeichens, / damals Direktor der Graphische Sammlung München / nach einem erbfall der Zeit nicht auf find bar. Sammlung Ponto bis 2005. on the reverse of the former frame.
129 x 82 mm. (5 1/8 x 3 1/4 in.)


Throughout his career, Menzel produced a number of charming and incisive portrait drawings of young children. The present sheet, which has been dated to c.1875-1880, depicts an as yet unidentified fourteen-year old girl. (The artist has made a note of the sitter’s age at the top of the sheet.) It may be a portrait of the artist’s young niece, Margarete (known as Gretel) Krigar, who was born in 1860, or perhaps the daughter of one of Menzel’s friends. Whoever the sitter is, this small but superbly-drawn portrait highlights the artist’s undeniable skill as a draughtsman, particularly evident in the delicate use of the stumped pencil to achieve the subtle tonal gradations of the girl’s skin and hair, as well as the more freely drawn bow on the front of her dress. 

As recorded by the inscription on the reverse of the old frame, a note by the German curator and art historian Engelbert Baumeister, dated 1925, once accompanied the present sheet: ‘München 8. 5. 25. / Ein mit Adolf Menzels Signature versehene Bleistiftzeichnung / einer kinderjahrigem [?](130 : 82) macht einem echten/ Eindruck. / Dr. Baumeister / Konservator a. d. Graphischen Sammlung.’

Anonymous sale, Cologne, Kunsthaus Lempertz, 20 November 2004, lot 1600
Ponto collection (according to an inscription on the old frame)
Anonymous sale, Berlin, Villa Grisebach, 28 May 2014, lot 231
Private collection.


The Head of a Fourteen-Year Old Girl, in Profile to the Left


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