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Emil Orlik

(1870 Prague - 1932 Berlin)

The Painter Ferdinand Hodler. Etching on Van Gelder Zonen laid paper. 20.9 x 12.9 cm. Signed, inscribed in the artist’s own hand: “4. Zu(stand) 5”. 1911. Glöckner 2007, 115.

Emil Orlik, a painter, printmaker and craftsman from Prague, was one of the most versatile and talented members of the Berlin Secession, a progressive association of artists founded in 1898. Trained at the Academy in Munich, Orlik subsequently lived in England in 1898 and spent 1900/01 in Japan studying Japanese coloured woodcuts. His lengthy period as a teacher at the Berlin Museum of Decorative Arts (1905-1932) enabled him to train a whole generation of young German printmakers, on whom he exerted a considerable influence. The present portrait of his Swiss fellow artist, Ferdinand Hodler, is remarkable for its artistic originality and astonishing presence. The eccentric artist fixes the beholder with a piercing, almost eerie gaze. Orlik’s etching technique is of great graphic delicacy and uses very fine tonal gradations. Given its private character, the work is of the utmost rarity, never having been printed in a large edition. A superb, nuanced impression with margins. Minor ageing, otherwise in excellent condition.

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