Skip to main content
  • Want more images or videos?
    Request additional images or videos from the seller
1 of 2

Adolf von Menzel


$15,800Asking Price


LOWER MIDDLE: " AD. M." PROVENANCE PRIVATE COLLECTION, FRANKFURT AM MAIN During his long life, which spanned almost the entire nineteenth century and was spent mostly in Berlin, Adolph Menzel produced an exceptionally varied body of work marked by a realism that is both democratic in its approach and touched with brilliance in the complexity of the artist’s pictorial ideas. Menzel always gave pride of place to accuracy in his representation of historical subjects and sought to render contemporary images and scenes of everyday life with the utmost objectivity. The various phenomena presented by reality served as a constant wellspring for his artistic work, whose basis lay in observation. This is borne out by his principle of drawing everything, which accounts for the immense number of sketches that have come down to us. There are countless anecdotes that clearly convey how in any situation he encountered, Menzel would pull out one of the sketchbooks that he carried with him at all times, stop whatever he was doing – regardless of whether he found himself out in the street, away on a journey, at a formal dinner party, or in the midst of a conversation – and use his carpenter’s pencil to sketch something interesting that he saw and capture a slice of reality, in the process producing an aide-memoire that fed into his rich pool of motifs. The majority of these drawings are of seemingly random subjects taken from everyday life, and include heads, figures, animals, tools, and drapery. These not only provided a wealth of preparatory sketches for subsequent paintings, but attest rather to the simple pleasure Menzel took in applying his draughtsman’s eye to the world around him. This particular drawing, which probably dates from the period from the 1870s until the end of the 1880s, demonstrates what an unrivalled social commentator Menzel was. The heads of an older and a younger woman that we see here and the accompanying detail of a hand and face provide a unique snapshot of the figures he portrays –their tremendous psychological depth and expressiveness is achieved with just a few lines. These particularly empathic and profound studies are made all the more intriguing by the fact that Menzel is said to have been a positive recluse and was viewed as exceptionally unsociable. The drawings on this sheet are typical of Menzel’s work and are in all probability a study for the two ladies in the oil painting Nach Schluss des Hoffestes (After the Court Festival), which dates from the year 1889. Besides his interpretations of nature and reality, Menzel also gives sublime expression in the drawings of these later years to the most delicate strains and vibrancies of subtle ambient attractions and intimate confessions. The women in our sketch display just that subtlety of mood to be found in a fleeting moment – while the young girl casts a furtive and somewhat timid glance in the direction of something to which we are not privy, her older counterpart with her challenging look and frank expression is depicted almost as a caricature. These drawings, which Menzel probably executed purely for himself, provide the clearest expression of his artistic genius.


  • Creator
    Adolf von Menzel (1815-1905, German)
  • Creation Year
  • Dimensions
    Height: 5.52 in. (14 cm)Width: 10.24 in. (26 cm)
  • Period
  • Condition
    Very good.
  • Gallery Location
    Frankfurt, DE
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: G13071120284

You May Also Like

The Moonslayer - Parmis Sayous 21st Century drawing Iranian contemporary painter
By Parmis Sayous
Located in Paris, FR
Pastel and India ink on cardboard Created in 2019 in Paris, France Unique work Signed by the artist Parmis Sayous was born in 1982 in Teheran, Iran. Since 2015, She has lived and wo...

2010s Expressionist Figurative Drawings and Watercolors


Pastel, India Ink, Cardboard

Male Portrait
By Thelma Terrell
Located in West Hollywood, CA
A number of years ago, we acquired the balance of a Northern California estate of artist Thelma Terrell. Terrell lived in Oakland and was an illustator and commercial graphic artist....

1930s Art Deco Figurative Drawings and Watercolors


Paper, Pencil

Bell Ringers
By Karoly Fulop
Located in West Hollywood, CA
Presenting an original large pen and ink drawing by Hungarian/American artist Karoly Fulop. "Bell Ringers", is an original pen and ink drawing, executed in the signature style of...

1930s Art Deco Figurative Drawings and Watercolors

By Miette Braive
Located in West Hollywood, CA
Belgian artist Miette Braive(1916-2000), was classically trained in Belgium, before moving to Paris to pursue her art career as first a student and then a contemporary of the French ...

1940s Cubist Figurative Drawings and Watercolors


Graphite, Paper

By Stephen Longstreet
Located in West Hollywood, CA
An incredible original pen and ink drawing by American artist Stephen Longstreet. Longstreet authored more than 100 books, and worked extensively as a prolific artist. He also tr...

1950s Figurative Drawings and Watercolors

Untitled (Two Women in Fur Coats)
Located in New York, NY
Signed in pencil, l.l. Contact gallery for price. This work is offered by ClampArt in New York City.

Late 20th Century Figurative Drawings and Watercolors



Untitled Baseball Player
Located in New York, NY
Unknown Artist, "Untitled Baseball Player", Figurative Charcoal Drawing, 17.50 x 23.50 (In Frame 25.50 x 31), Late 20th Century Colors: Black, Brown, Red, Turquoise

Late 20th Century Abstract Figurative Drawings and Watercolors



Seated Young Lady (by leader of "Southern Art Renaissance")
By Ellsworth Woodward
Located in New Orleans, LA
Many of you clicking on this pen-and-ink of a pretty Edwardian-era lady are probably doing so because you know of Ellsworth Woodward, who with his brother William Woodward around the...

1890s Romantic Portrait Drawings and Watercolors



The 1stDibs Promise

Learn More

Expertly Vetted Sellers

Confidence at Checkout

Price-Match Guarantee

Exceptional Support

Buyer Protection

Insured Global Delivery