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.
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”.