Lot 66
  • 66

MAX KLINGER | Young Woman on a Divan

60,000 - 80,000 GBP
125,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Max Klinger
  • Young Woman on a Divan
  • ink, wash and pencil over etching on paper
  • sheet: 52.5 by 25.5cm., 20¾ by 10in.


Sale: Villa Grisebach, Berlin, 27 November 2013, lot 211
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner


Munich, Museum Villa Stuck; Hanover, Wilhelm Busch Museum - German Museum of Caricature and Drawings, Heinrich Kley 1863 – 1945. A Master of Ink Drawing in the Context of his Time, 2011, no. 54, illustrated in the catalogue

Catalogue Note

Born into an upper-middle-class family in Leipzig, Max Klinger was possibly one of the most well-read and cultured artists of his time. His knowledge spread from literature to philosophy, from music to any form of visual arts. Although his artistic genius manifested both in sculpture and painting, it was with his engravings and etchings that he accomplished his greatest masterworks. Executed circa 1880-85, the present work portrays a young woman, likely to be a prostitute, lying semi-naked on a divan. Self-confident in her nakedness, she stares at the viewer daring him to stare back, exposing the most intimate part of her body. Klinger’s interest in social issues of debauchery that characterized modern life had translated into A Life, a collection of fifteen etchings about a young woman forced into prostitution and refused by society, published in 1884. Young Woman on a Divan might indeed have originated from this body of work.

Whilst Klinger did not dislike the use of oil paint, he strongly believed painting could have no other purpose except the representation of nature. On the other hand, he thought drawing allowed the artist more freedom and more precision. It was drawing, therefore, that he chose as the most appropriate medium to represent the world of symbols, the realm of imagination.


The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by Dr Richard Huttel.