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Johann Gottlieb Glume

(1711–1778, Berlin)

Self-portrait of the Artist Drawing. Etching. 12.9 x 10.7 cm. 1749. Heller-Andresen 1; Soldan 9; Schultz 9 II.

The painter and etcher Johann Gottlieb Glume was the son of the sculptor Johann Georg Glume. He trained under Johann Harper and was later the apprentice and assistant of Antoine Pesne. Born in 1711 in Berlin, he was only one year older than the Prussian king Frederick the Great, who was crowned in 1740. His printed oeuvre, comprising a total of 30 etchings is, however, inspired less by the splendor and wealth of the Friede­rican Rococo, than by an immediate and intimate picture of Berlin life of the 18th century. The oeuvre consists mainly of informal portraits of people in the artist’s immediate circle: members of his family, friends and colleagues. Moreover it contains a number of remarkably beautiful, spontaneous images of children, which rank among the best in German printmaking of the 18th century.

Glume’s portraits convey a strong sense of authenticity, draw­ing the viewer into a peaceful, modest and organized world, far removed from the exuberance and splendor of courtly life. The majority of Glume’s etchings were executed between 1747 and 1750. They are done in a free, loose etching manner, creating freshness and spontaneity in the images and emphasizing their informal character.

This sensitively observed self-portrait shows the artist from the front sitting at his work table. He looks out at the viewer with an alert, open gaze. Glume’s expensive jacket, decorated with rich trimming, is an indication of the artist’s respectable social status. The concentrated etching technique with its varied, confidently executed hatching is of great visual appeal. A very fine, harmonious and contrasting impression with even margins. Slightly yellowed, minimal foxing, otherwise in excellent condition.

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