(Breslau 1815 - Berlin 1905)
Study of the Back of a Man Bending Down
Signed with initials and dated A. M./ 82 at the lower right.
226 x 303 mm. (8 7/8 x 11 7/8 in.)
Menzel drew numerous studies for the three pavers in the foreground of the large painting, many of which remained unused. Most of these drawings were based on initial studies in a sketchbook used during the artist’s trip to Verona in 1881. It has been suggested that, for figures of the pavers, Menzel may have been influenced by Gustave Courbet’s 1849 Realist masterpiece The Stone Breakers; a massive painting, destroyed during the Second World War, which he may have seen on one of his visits to Paris.
Other drawings by Menzel for the group of pavers in the foreground of The Piazza d’Erbe in Verona are in the Kupferstichkabinett in Berlin, the Kunstmuseum in Bern, the Kupferstich-Kabinett in Dresden, the Städtische Wessenberg-Galerie in Konstanz and a handful of private collections.
The first owner of the present sheet was the Prussian businessman and collector Gustav Henneberg (1847-1918), who settled in Zurich and there established the Seidenfirma Henneberg company. He assembled an impressive art collection, which included numerous drawings by Menzel, and which he displayed in his lavish house, known as the Galerie Henneberg, on the Alpen-Quai in Zurich. In October 1903 Henneberg sold over a hundred drawings by Menzel from his collection, including the present sheet, at auction in Munich.
Gustav Henneberg, Zurich
His sale, Munich, Galerie Hugo Helbing, 27 October 1903, lot 42 (‘Rückenansicht einer Arbeiters. Nur der Rücken mit dem Ansatz der Hose ist dargestellt. Der Arbeiter scheint ein Pflasterer zu sein – eine seltene Faltenwurfstudie – jeder Schatten wie jede Lichtstelle ist genau beobachtet. Armansätze sind angegeben. R. u. signiert: A.M. H. 21 1/2, B. 30 cm.’)
Herman Shickman Gallery, New York
Purchased from him in c.1972 by Joseph Goldyne, San Francisco and Sonoma