Treading the fine line between fantasy and reality, Klinger produced his first series of etchings in Berlin while at the same time painting this snapshot of social decay in the growing city that can be sensed nearby. Behind the long brick wall there will be a building site or factory. In front of it, the landscape is already ruined: a bleak void with hard, geometric boundaries that are only softened by the curve of a fence. A young man out for a walk, seeing himself threatened by members of a gang, is trying to defend himself and has drawn his pistol. The rhythmically varied distances between the figures and their harsh shadows underline their isolation. The somewhat sensational portrayal of tension seems, if anything, ironic.


  • Title: The Walker
  • Creator: Max Klinger
  • Date Created: 1878
  • Physical Dimensions: w86.0 x h37.0 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Technique and material: Oil on wood
  • Inv.-No.: A II 818
  • ISIL-No.: DE-MUS-815114
  • External link: Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Copyrights: Text: © Prestel Verlag / Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Photo: © b p k - Photo Agency / Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Andres Kilger
  • Collection: Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Artist biography: Max Klinger was a German Symbolist painter, sculptor and printmaker. He studied in Karlsruhe and admired the etchings of Menzel and Goya. Klinger became a very apt and imaginative engraver. His numerous journeys to the diverse art centres of Europe importantly informed his art. From 1897 he dedicated himself almost entirely to sculpture; his marble statue of Beethoven was a key highlight of the Vienna Secession of 1902. His artworks are characterized by their intriguing symbolism that anticipated the Surrealist movement. Paraphrases of the Finding of a Glove (1881), a series of ten etchings also on display in Berlin’s Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg, is his most famous work.
  • Artist Place of Death: Großjena, Germany
  • Artist Place of Birth: Leipzig, Germany
  • Artist Dates: 1857-02-18/1920-07-05

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