Freitag, 8. August 2014

Poul in Berlin

My friend Helmut Poul Dohle and his lovely wife Teresia are visiting us in Berlin.

Yesterday we made an expedition exploring Adolph Menzel's work.

 We went to the study-room at the museum for prints and drawings, the Kupferstichkabinett at the Kulturforum at Potsdamer Platz and examined Menzel's prestudies for his painting the Iron rolling mill. Here are some of his drawings of workers that you can find on the website

For those studies Menzel mainly used a broad carpenter's pencil which then became his favourite drawing tool. You can see the nearly caligraphic qualities of the rectangular, broad tip on those studies. I will deepen some thoughts on Menzel's drawing equipment in a future post.

Here me and Poul are examining the folder which contains the studies of the mechanical items and devices seen in the final painting. Menzel even noted the size of them in Zoll (the german word for inch). In the painting Menzel arranged them according to the observations of Max Liebermann in a pretty free way. He didn't do a complete preliminary drawing which he then transferred to the canvas but sketched the positions and proportions roughly in and then began to develop figures and surrounding by thoroughly sticking to his pencil studies done on site.

We also had a look at the amazing Menzel folder no. 155, which contains his breathtaking portraits in watercolour and Gouache from the 1850s.
The Kupferstichkabinett holds about 6000 single drawings and 77 sketchbooks by Adolph Menzel. It offers the free service for the public to examine originals in their study room.
Concerning the amount of drawings it is still quite challenging for the very supportive staff to search for folders or single drawings per description.

 Here is an offer I make for art enthusiasts: if you are planning on an art trip to Berlin and want to research Menzel's drawings in the  Kupferstichkabinett and you know approximately what drawings you are looking for, feel free to contact me at .
I know a couple of folders and numbers of drawings and may be able to help you.

We then went on to visit the alte Nationalgalerie, which contains a most exquisite collection of 19th century realism and romanticism.
There we examined Menzel's paintings. here's the somewhat not really sharp photo of evidence:

Luckily the museum is on the Google-Art project, where you can come even closer to the paintings than in the museum itself (and at least without releasing the alarm...).

 The collection contains among others works by Böcklin, Fritz von Uhde, Max Liebermann, Carl Spitzweg, as well as of the Berlin artist families Begas and Meyerheim.

Here is the breathtaking sculpture "Pan comforting Psyche by Reinhold Begas:

 Tomorrow we'll be having a closer look at what Poul sometimes is finding in his attic...

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