Thursday, April 16, 2009

The source

After my recent post on the various Secessions, I can’t resist posting this perfect representative of the art of the Vienna Secession. I particularly love the way the lettering is incorporated in the image. It’s an etching with aquatint by the German Symbolist Max Klinger, created in 1889. Two years earlier, Klinger (1857-1920) had met the older Swiss artist Arnold Böcklin (1827-1901), and this etching is a kind of tribute or homage to Böcklin. Essentially it is a playful reinterpretation of one of Böcklin’s classic images, the 1875 painting Flora. But Klinger uses Böcklin’s painting simply as a starting point, finding it necessary, among other adjustments, to remove the lady’s clothes.


Max Klinger
Die Quelle
Etching with aquatint, 1889

So this is no simple interpretative work, copying the original as closely as possible; it is a completely new work of art, wittily and gracefully commenting on its model. The title is Die Quelle (The Source), and it is item 325 in Hans Singer’s catalogue Max Klinger: The Graphic Work. The lettering etched in the plate reads, Die Quelle, mit benutzung eines bildes von Arn. Boecklin. Which in my translation means, The Source, with apologies to a painting by Arnold Böcklin. Benutzung literally means “making use of”.

10 comments:

Philip Wilkinson said...

A lovely print. And to make play with sources, when you adapt your original, is interesting and resonant.

Jane said...

It would be interesting to know what Flora thought about having her clothes removed. Pehaps, fourteen years later, she was still alive to have an opinion. My hunch is that words like adapting and reinterpreting might not have entered into it. The facial features are compelling; the body seems (to me) more like a work of the imagination. A thought-provoking piece, Neil!

Roxana said...

it's interesting how he changed the direction of her gaze, thus enhancing the eroticism...

illusoryconfections said...

Wonderful. As usual, you unearth such treasures!

Neil said...

Glad you all like it - it is a lovely piece, and interesting as a comment by one artist on the work of another. The kind of thing Picasso did in his relentless old age, almost challenging Velazquez or Manet to a duel - as currently to be seen in the Picasso: Challenging the Past exhibition at the National Gallery in London.

Anonymous said...

would you happen to know how much a print of this one would cost, or sell for?

Neil said...

Well, buying and selling are two different things... Five of these have sold at auction since 1993 for the following sums in US dollars (plus auctioneers' commission for the buyer, minus it for the seller):
93 $817
93 $1508
95 $1395
04 $1098
06 $1235
Gallery prices would be higher than auction prices, inevitably. But as you can see, prices will also vary unpredictably.

Anonymous said...

I received a print(I think?) of this from my grandmother and I really don't know where she got it but has had it for a very long time. Where should I go to have it appraised? I live a small town and we don't have any Gallery's or anything here.

Neil said...

I'd take a good photo and email it with a description to the print dept at a major auction house (assuming, that is, you want to sell it). They will be able to advise you.

Anonymous said...

thanks!