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ID number:  BIRBI-92.1
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker:  Klinger, Max (1857-1920)
Title / Object name:  The Philosopher
Object type:  Print
Place made:  Berlin
Culture:  German
Date made:  1910
Materials:  Etching with aquatint
Measurements:  Plate: 740 x 520 mm; mount: 820 x 600 mm
Provenance:  Purchased from Garton & Co., London, 5 February 1992

Possessing traditionally ideal bodies, a naked man contemplatively points to his reflection whilst a female nude in mist reclines below. A dialogue between the body in performance and the mind in contemplation are displayed. This suggests a relationship between conscious reality and the subconscious imagination. Klinger believed that printing had the ability to portray the inner struggles of humans.

Kollwitz’s exposure to Klinger’s prints in the early 1890s
influenced her decision to become a graphic artist. His
thematic invention and technical ingenuity were seminal to
the revival of German printmaking, and his work exemplified
its potential for social commentary. Klinger believed that
graphic art could confront the unbeautiful and the repugnant,
unlike painting that provided ‘pure enjoyment’. The Philosopher
shows a nude, male philosopher confronting himself in a
mirror imagining his fate - death. The female figure and
mountainous landscape symbolise themes of sensuality and
nature as central experiences of existence.

Inscriptions / Translations:  Inscriptions, sale stamps & c: inscr. in monogram, l. l., within plate mark: M.K 10; signed and dated in pencil, l. r., outside plate mark: M. Klinger/28.6.10; inscr. in pencil, l. l.: def.3.

Notes:  Exhibited: 'Barber Goes North: Treasures from the Barber Institute', Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, UK, 15 October 2010 - 15 December 2010; 'Age of Expressionism', Slade School of Art, London, UK, 08 February 2011 - 25 March 2011

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