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Georg Friedrich Schmidt

(1712 Schönerlinde – 1775 Berlin)

Man with Fur Cap. Etching. 7.9 x 6.1 cm. 1735. Nagler 138; Wessely 142.

This very concentrated and finely executed print is of great rarity, being one of the artist’s first attempts at etching. Georg Friedrich Schmidt came from a poor background and discovered his artistic bent early. In 1727 he began a course at the Berlin Academy, where he was trained for three years by the engraver Georg Paul Busch. In 1730 Schmidt was called up for military service and spent six years in the artillery. He must have practised art in his free time, however, as this etching dates from 1735.

This neat little print reproduces a painting of Rembrandt’s and testifies to the reawakening of interest in the great Dutch master, which had begun in the 1730s and found its reflection in the graphic oeuvre of numerous German and Austrian etchers. Together with his coeval, Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich, Schmidt was one of the earliest protagonists of this Rembrandt revival.

What is remarkable is the amazingly high artistic standard of Schmidt’s interpretation. A maximum of atmosphere and texture has been achieved in the smallest of formats. The etching technique is extremely detailed and intricate, convincingly reproducing the flesh tints and different textures of fur, clothing and jewellery. The subtle distribution of light lends the portrait great vitality and expressiveness.

A superb and differentiated impression with small margins around the inky platemark. Minor ageing, occasional remains of old paper hinges at the corners verso, otherwise in perfect condition.

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