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Georg Friedrich Adolph Schöner

(1774 Mannsbach near Hersfeld – 1841 Bremen)

Half-length portrait of Chodowiecki looking at an album of drawings. Lithograph on yellowish wove paper. 20.5 x 26 cm. “Sketched from nature and drawn on stone by F. A. Schöner”. (1816). Engelmann (Die Bild­nisse des Künstlers) 14; Drugulin 3417; Winkler 791. 1.

This very rare portrait probably derives from a drawn portrait study that Georg Friedrich Adolph Schöner executed in Berlin around 1800, shortly before Chodowiecki’s death in 1801. The aged artist is shown seated in half-length profile looking at an album of drawings. The curve of the back, the relaxed pose of the arms and subtly observed details like the downcast eyelids and the reading glasses that have slipped down the subject’s nose suggest total concentration and obliviousness to the outside world. At the time the portrait was done Chodowiecki was over seventy years old; the white wig with pigtail must have looked old-fashioned at the time and shows how closely attached the artist still was to the customs prevalent in the reign of Frederick the Great.

The author of this portrayal, the portrait painter and lithographer Georg Schöner, had studied under Anton Graff in Dresden in 1795/96. From November 1800 to May 1802 Schöner was active in Berlin, where he achieved prominence as a portrait painter, his sitters including Henriette Herz. Between 1816 and 1818 the artist produced two prints that belong to the incunabula of German lithography. This portrait was published by Betty Gleim, who had founded the first lithographic press in Bremen c. 1815/16.

An excellent, nuanced impression with wide margins. Minimal ageing, otherwise in excellent condition.

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