Adolph MENZEL (Breslau 1815 - Berlin 1905)

The Head of a Bearded Man, Facing Right

Carpenter’s pencil, with stumping, on paper backed with Japan paper.
Signed with initials A.M. at the lower left.
Inscribed Handzeichnung von Ad. v. Menzel, / auf sein Tod mir von seiner Schwester / Frau Krigar-Menzel geschenkt. / Dr. FSchmidt-Ott on the old backing board. 
126 x 73 mm. (5 x 2 7/8 in.)


It has been pointed out that, as Menzel grew older, he often chose to make drawings of elderly bearded men of his own, or a similar, age. While sometimes such character studies as this would be incorporated into a gouache composition, more often than not they seem to have been made for their own sake, and remained in the artist’s portfolios.

The present sheet may be dated to the second half of the 1880s, by comparison with a small sketchbook of that approximate date, with pages of similar size and containing a number of analogous head studies, in the Kupferstichkabinett in Berlin. A closely comparable late drawing of a bearded man, of identical dimensions and possibly from the same sketchbook, was sold at auction in Germany in 2013.

According to the inscription on the old backing board, this small undated drawing was given by Menzel’s sister Emilie Krigar-Menzel, following the artist’s death, to Dr. Friedrich Schmidt-Ott (1860-1956), a noted politician and lawyer who served at the Prussian Ministry of Culture from 1888 onwards, and was appointed Prussian Minister of Culture in 1917.

Given by the artist’s sister Emilie Krigar-Menzel to Friedrich Schmidt-Ott, Berlin
Anonymous sale, Auctionata Paddle 8 AG, 21 June 2013, lot 9
Anonymous sale, Berlin, Villa Grisebach, 3 June 2015, lot 237
Private collection.


The Head of a Bearded Man, Facing Right


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