Inscribed with foundry mark Berlin H. Noack
Bronze, with a rich dark brown and green patina
Height: 17 1/4" (44 cm)
Conceived 1948 and cast within the artist's lifetime.
Fritz Klimsch first studied painting at the Hochschule fur Bildende Kunste in Berlin before later changing to sculpture. Between 1886 and 1894 he studied under Albert Wolff and then under Fritz Schaper, both followers of the School of Christian Daniel Rauch.
During this period, he produced his first major works, including Achilles with The Body of Patroclus (1886) and Christ and Mary Magdalene (1892). On completion of his studies he won the Grosser Staatspreis a prize which included a year’s scholarship in Rome.
In 1894 Klimsch visited Paris where he became familiar with the sculpture of Auguste Rodin. The work of the great master influenced Klimsch deeply and the following year he went to Italy, visiting Rome, Florence, Genoa and Naples to see the work of the great Renaissance and sculptors.
Back in Berlin, Klimsch established his own studio and regularly contributed to the Great Exhibitions in Berlin. He achieved recognition with Dancer (1898), which was bought by the National Gallery, then a yardstick of artistic quality. The sculpture, depicting the dancer Valentine Petit, is one of the most important works of the Berlin Jugendstil. In 1898 Klimsch became a founding member of the Berlin Secession group along with Lovis Corinth and Walter Leistikow. He remained on the board of the group until 1910 and when the association dissolved in 1913, he joined the Freie Secession.
The present work is typical of Klimsch’s female nudes, combining sensitive naturalistic modelling with a refined elegance. The work has a crisp nervous surface and a wonderful original multi toned patina, combining a range of green and brown tones. Klimsch used to refer to this work as ‘the cat’, and indeed there is something coy and feline in the girls’ pose, with her face turned to peer surreptitiously over her shoulder.
Hermann Braun, Fritz Klimsch Werke, Hannover, June 1980. No. 44, p105 ill. p104
Hermann Braun, Fritz Klimsch: eine Dokumentation, Kunsthaus am Museum Carola van Ham, 1991.
Hermann Braun, Fritz Klimsch. Eine Dokumentation, Van Ham Art Publications, Cologne 1991 (mentioned on p. 35).