(Bublitz 1865 - Leipzig 1920)
Study of Trees
Signed, dated and inscribed M. Seliger VIII 1886 Ernsthöhe. in red gouache at the top of the sheet.
Further inscribed, signed and dated Ernsthöhe VII.86 / M. Seliger at the lower left.
316 x 219 mm. (12 1/2 x 8 5/8 in.)
A similar, slightly larger oil sketch of a single tree by Seliger, also drawn at Ernsthöhe and dated 1886, was with Stephen Ongpin Fine Art in 2008 and is today in a private American collection.
A member of the Deutscher Künstlerbund, Seliger also worked as an illustrator and graphic artist, providing a design for the title page of the December 1898 issue of the Kunstgewerbeblatt, depicting Dürer’s Self-Portrait Adored by the Personification of Art. His most significant and influential role, however, seems to have been as a teacher. Between 1901 and his death in 1920 Seliger served as the director of the Königliche Akademie für graphische Kunst and Buchgewerbe (the Royal Academy of Graphic Arts and Printing) in Leipzig, where painting and drawing were taught alongside bookbinding, lettering, typography and printing techniques. In 1920 his book Kunstbetrachtung und Naturgenuss (Viewing Art and Enjoying Nature) was published.
As part of his teaching, Seliger was interested in the relationship between an artist’s handwriting and the way in which he drew, and to this end asked numerous artists of his day to provide him with examples of both their writing and drawing on a single sheet of paper. He eventually amassed a collection of 236 examples, which was posthumously published in 1924 as Handschrift und Zeichnung von Künstlern alter und neuer Zeit (Writings and Drawings by Artists of Old and New Times), and is today in the Altona Museum in Hamburg.
Among the relatively few works by Max Seliger in public collections are ten drawings for the mosaics of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, in the Kunstbibliothek in Berlin, and a group of landscapes, urban views and portraits acquired by the Stadtgeschichtliche Museum in Leipzig from the collection of local collector Armin Hüchelheim. Individual drawings by the artist are in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere.
Galerie de Loës, Geneva, in 2007.