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“Best Not to Tangle with This Lot”: Three Grotesque Heads. Pen and grey ink, other grotesque heads verso. 8.9 x 24 cm. Entitled in the artist’s own hand and inscribed “Ludwig Grimm” in pen and brown ink; inscription verso reads “Im Octob 1847 die 3 Bände v. Vasari wieder auf Kurz (?) zurück gegeben”.
Caricatures and humorous drawings were an important element in Ludwig Emil Grimm’s drawn oeuvre all through his life. In his memoirs he has the following to say about his experiences as a young man: “The margins of my exercise books were always full of drawings. The other boys admired them and found them funny, but they often earned me a thrashing from our assistant teacher Mr. Robert.” (Wilhelm Praesent (ed.): Ludwig Emil Grimm. Erinnerungen aus meinem Leben, Kassel, Basel 1950, p. 365).
On his own admission Grimm was motivated at a young age by the calendar engravings of Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki. While a student in Munich he found further inspiration in the works of William Hogarth and George Cruikshank and came into contact with the comparative physiognomy of Charles Le Brun. A similar “scribble style” can be found in the 1830s in the illustrated stories of Rodolphe Töpffer. From the 1850s onwards Grimm, now aged over sixty, ceased to appear in public as an artist, although he continued to produce numerous other caricatures of a private nature right up to the year of his death. From the collection of Georg Denzel (not in Lugt).