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Adolph von Menzel

1815 Breslau – 1905 Berlin

Adolph von Menzel was indisputably one of the 19th century’s most brilliant and versatile graphic artists. Largely self-taught as an artist, Menzel was an all-rounder as a draughtsman and absolutely omnivorous when it came to choosing subjects. The artist’s graphic œuvre is thus very extensive and covers all his creative phases. The young Menzel grew up under very adverse external conditions. In 1830 his parents had left Breslau and moved with their three children to Berlin in the hope of finding better conditions for bringing up a family there. The early death of his father forced Adolph to take over the running of his father’s lithographic press at the age of seventeen and assume responsibility for keeping his mother and two sisters. Only by means of unremitting labour and iron self-discipline did Menzel succeed in working his way up out of the modest circumstances of his youth and attaining great artistic prestige during his lifetime.