Description & Technical information

Between August 1847 and March 1848 Adolph Menzel lived and worked in Kassel, in the province of Hesse; the home town of his dear friend Carl Heinrich Arnold. There he was engaged on a large historical cartoon of The Entry of Sophie of Brabant and her son, later Landgrave Heinrich, into Marburg in 1247, commissioned by the Kunstverein, or Art Society, of Kassel, through the auspices of Arnold. During this period, Menzel also produced a number of pencil studies of local Hessian farmers and peasants, as well as several landscapes. 

Drawn on a page from a sketchbook, the present sheet may be associated stylistically with a number of pencil drawings by Menzel of views in Kassel and the surrounding area. These include two sheets now in the Kupferstichkabinett in Berlin; a View of Houses and Gardens in Kassel, dated 1847, and a Farmhouse near Kassel, dated 1848. Also comparable is an 1847 drawing of A Spindly Tree in Kassel, of similar dimensions to the present sheet and thus possibly from the same sketchbook, in the Karen B. Cohen collection, New York.

As Susanne van Falkenhausen has noted of the Kassel drawings of 1847-1848, ‘The pencil Menzel used for these landscape-sketches is a coarser, softer one than that employed for studies made at the same time…Menzel’s handling of his soft pencil is energetic and broad. The surface details are increasingly treated in summary fashion. Menzel wanted to handle the surfaces and the impression of space tonally – in black and white, but nevertheless in a ‘painterly’ way.’

Date:  1847
Period:  1750-1850, 19th century
Origin:  Germany
Medium: Pencil on buff paper
Signature: Signed with initials and dated A. M. 47 along the right edge.

Dimensions: 12.8 x 20.2 cm (5 x 8 inches)
Provenance: Anonymous sale, Berlin, Villa Grisebach, 26 November 2014, lot 198
Private collection.

Categories: Paintings, Drawings & Prints