Marble bust of Elsa Asenijeff, from the album Intermezzi Max Klinger
This photograph depicts a marble sculpture by German Symbolist Max Klinger (1857–1920). A painter, printmaker, sculptor and writer, Klinger influenced the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch and has been identified as a connective link between the Symbolist movement of the 19th century and the Metaphysical and Surrealist movements of the 20th century. While his work entwines a penchant for metaphysical anxiety with the fantastical it also presents an element of social criticism. Klinger counterbalanced a predilection for illusion with a concern for reality, often using his work as a framework to address societal issues including the plight of women, urban violence and poverty.
The artistic output of his later career was dominated by sculpture. Much of his sculptural work, including this marble bust, projects an unsettling and eerie demeanour. With its pursed lips, raised eyebrows and furtive sideways glance the figure in this sculpture appears as if she were just about to spring to life in spite of the fact that half her torso is encased in a sheath of loosely shaped and globular marble. Elsa Asenijeff, the woman portrayed here, was a writer who was in a relationship with Klinger at the time he produced the sculpture.
gelatin silver photograph
16.6 x 11.8 cm sight
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Shown in 2 exhibitions
Max Klinger: Love, Death and the Beyond:
- National Gallery of Victoria [St Kilda Road], Melbourne 26 Feb 1981–12 Apr 1981
- Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide 02 May 1981–07 Jun 1981
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 04 May 1981–02 Aug 1981
Imprint, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Feb 2016–22 May 2016
Referenced in 1 publication
Memory Jockisch Holloway and Irena Zdanowicz, Max Klinger: love, death, and the beyond, Melbourne, 1981. cat.no. 9