SHEPHERD W & K GALLERIES European Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture
KOLBE, the elder, Carl Wilhelm   
19th Century

NUDE MAN SEEN FROM BEHIND RAISING A BOWL, A DOG ALONGSIDE, circa 1800

Dimensions: 9 1/2” x 6 1/2” (24.2 x 16.5 cm)

Upper right
Kolbe’s preference for landscape reflected the romantic era’s interest in nature. He especially adored Dessau’s oak trees, which figure in the background of the present etching. It is a companion piece to a print of a standing nude male facing the viewer, but excluding the dog. According to Martens, the present print was created from a copper plate and is the only state. Initially a French teacher (his mother was French), Kolbe became an artist by accident. Poor health forced him to change his career, and his uncle, artist Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, encouraged him to study art. Despite his age, Kolbe attended the Academy in Berlin and persevered at figure drawing but never painted. He learned to etch by himself, and became one of the best etchers of his time. He etched in a single bite, and worked over unsatisfactory parts with a burin. His chief inspirations were Swiss writer and etcher Salomon Gessner and Dutch artist Anthonie Waterloo. Prominent artists such as Philipp Otto Runge and Johann Christian Reinhart admired his etchings. A gifted linguist, Kolbe authored a book on French and German language as well as a brief autobiography. He spent his career as a drawing master and French teacher in Dessau until his retirement, punctuated only by a brief interlude in Zurich (1805 to 1808) etching gouaches by his idol, Gessner. References: Antony Griffiths and Frances Carey, German Printmaking in the Age of Goethe (London, 1994), p. 109. C.W. Kolbe (London, 1977), no. 2. Ulf Martens, Der Zeichner und Radierer Carl WilhelmKolbe (Berlin, 1976), p. 21, II.