Bust of a Woman, Seen from Behind

Bust of a Woman, Seen from Behind


Adolph von Menzel

(German, 1815-1905)

Graphite (carpenter's pencil), with stumping

Support: Cream(2) wove paper perimeter mounted to a false margin of cream(2) wove paper

Sheet: 41.4 x 28.9 cm (16 5/16 x 11 3/8 in.); Secondary Support: 53.3 x 39.2 cm (21 x 15 7/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1994.103


In the last two decades of his life, Menzel executed numerous studies of heads of models. Here tonal gradations, from velvety blacks to the palest gray, create a rich effect. The immediacy of the image-the illuminated profile with a mouth slightly open-suggests how the artist captured a fleeting moment. Such drawings are, as the artist wrote, "true to nature" without "being copied from nature with fearful exactitude."

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