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Drawings and Paintings

Drawings and Paintings

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Drawings and Paintings

5/5 (2 évaluations)
201 pages
50 minutes
Jul 19, 2016


"To draw everything is good, to draw everything is better still," declared Adolph Menzel, one of nineteenth-century Berlin's premier artists. In keeping with his motto, Menzel exhibited tremendous powers of observation, technical perfection, and an interest in a wide range of subjects. This volume contains 98 black-and-white images and 32 color plates of his works, many of which have rarely been seen outside of Germany.
The first major naturalistic artist of his era, Menzel came of age in a country still in the grip of Goethe's romanticism. In addition to founding Germany's realistic school, the artist laid the groundwork for the development of Expressionism. His skillfully rendered illustrations faithfully re-create details of anatomy, costume, and composition. This volume's drawings and paintings were selected by Dinotopia author James Gurney, who also provides an informative Introduction. Serious students of fine art as well as those with a more casual interest will rejoice in this original compilation of extraordinary images by an unjustly overlooked artist.
Jul 19, 2016

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Drawings and Paintings - Adolph Menzel

Title page: Plate 80.

Adolph Menzel Selbstbildnis [Self Portrait]. 1882.

Pencil on paper.


Copyright © 2016 by Dover Publications, Inc.

Introduction copyright © 2016 by James Gurney

All rights reserved.

Bibliographical Note

Drawings and Paintings, first published by Dover Publications, Inc., in 2016, is a new compilation of the artwork of Adolph Menzel gathered from a variety of sources. A new Introduction has been written specially for this edition by James Gurney. Claude Keisch has contributed Menzel’s Studio, and Claudia Czok has contributed About the Drawings at the Kupferstichkabinett.

International Standard Book Number

ISBN-13: 978-0-486-49732-7

ISBN-10: 0-486-49732-1

Manufactured in the United States by RR Donnelley

49732101 2016




The Shock of Truth: An Introduction by James Gurney

Menzel’s Studio by Claude Keisch

Adolph Menzel’s Drawings at the Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin, by Claudia Czok

List of Illustrations



I would like to thank Christian Schlierkamp for his invaluable assistance with research, making innumerable trips to locate the original works in museum collections, translating primary documents, and interviewing experts in Germany. I am indebted to those experts: Claudia Czok, Andreas Heese, and Claude Keisch, for answering questions and sharing the treasures of the Menzel archives at the Kupferstichkabinett and the Museum Georg Schäfer. I would also like to thank Christoph Heuer for his help and enthusiasm from the beginning of the project.

James Gurney

I would especially like to thank James Gurney: thank you for your trust in me and the extraordinary collaboration and encouragement I experienced through and with you.

Thank you to Katharine Maller, Janet Kopito, John Riess and everybody involved in this project at Dover Publications, for your commitment and enthusiasm!

I would furthermore like to thank Andreas Heese of the Kupferstichkabinett Berlin, Dr. Claudia Czok of the Adolph Menzel Society in Berlin, and Dr. Claude Keisch for your advice, support, and help while researching for this book.

Thank you to Dr. Sigrid Bertuleit and Mrs Karin Rhain of the Georg Schäfer Foundation in Schweinfurt, Mrs. Katrin Stoll and Mrs Petra Lüer of the auctioneer Neumeister, and Mr. Daniel Lamprecht of auctioneer Villa Grisebach for the smooth and sound cooperation.

Thank you to my friends Christoph Heuer and Renate Lilge Stodieck for your irreplacable support, encouragement, and advice. Thank you to Caroline Brechenmacher for helping me out on my little French.

In particular I want to thank my family, my wife, Lifei, and my sons, Kai and Benny: thank you for your patience with me, your support, and your love! It means the world to me.

Christian Schlierkamp



Adolph Menzel’s drawing supplies accompanied him everywhere, whether on a short walk or a long journey. He was always prepared to draw. One of his overcoats had eight pockets, each filled with sketchbooks of different sizes. On the lower left side of his coat was an especially large pocket which held a leather case with a big sketchbook, some pencils, a couple of shading stumps, and a gum eraser.¹

His personal motto was "Nulla dies sine linea" (Not a day without a line). He drew ambidextrously, alternating between the left and the right, sometimes on the same drawing.² If he was ever caught without drawing paper, he sketched on whatever was available, even a formal invitation to a court ball. Whenever he was spotted at a social event, the whispered word went abroad that Menzel is lurking about.

He was known to interrupt an important gathering by pulling out his sketchbook, sharpening his pencil, casting an eye around the room, and focusing on a coat, a chair, or a hand. This sometimes brought the proceedings to a halt until he finished.³ He preferred to draw people unawares, often catching them in unflattering moments of eating, gossiping, or dozing. Once his friend Carl Johann Arnold awoke from a nap to find the artist busily drawing his portrait. You just woke up five minutes too early, Menzel told him.

Menzel’s long life spanned most of the nineteenth century. His drawings filled over 100 sketchbooks and thousands of individual pages. They are my memories, he said. They contain things that are extremely personal to me.⁴ Rarely seen by other artists during his lifetime, his drawings came fully to light only after his death. At his memorial exhibition there were thousands of drawings displayed together with paintings and other works. Among his admirers was Edgar Degas, who attempted to copy some of his works from memory. According to Max Liebermann, Degas considered Menzel to be the greatest living artist.⁵ But today Menzel’s drawings are not well known outside of

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  • (5/5)
    I'm really amazed that I had never heard of Adolph Menzel before requesting this book from Netgalley. His work has almost all of the characteristics that attract me the most in art – clear-eyed realism, compelling subject matter, and a gift for portraying that subject matter in a non-stereotypical manner. He's almost the artist I would have liked to be. I loved this collection. The usual disclaimer: I received this book via Netgalley for review.