An admirer of Chavannes, Goya, and Daumier, Klinger did much of his printmaking as series, portfolios done as 14 major cycles, comprising of 265 plates. Based on personal observations of what underlies daily life: love, death, poverty, sex, obsession, and violence he tackled predominant social and political issues on the one hand, while giving shape to fantastic and sometimes terrifying dreamscapes on the other.
The 'Intermezzi' was a portfolio of 12 etchings and aquatints. Heather Hess wrote in the 'German Expressionist Digital Archive Project, German Expressionism: Works from the Collection. 2011.' at MoMA:
"The sea threatens to sweep away a young woman. A fallen rider is trapped by his horse, and faces a lonely death, a victim of bad luck. Centaurs wage an epic battle, fighting over the meager reward of a tiny rabbit. A simple boy, Simplicius Simplicissimus, who found refuge with a hermit during the Thirty Years' War, must once again face the cruelty of the world after his benefactor's death.
Max Klinger's Intermezzi (Intermezzos) offers a diverse selection of amusements, like brief comedic interludes at the opera.The portfolio highlights the capriciousness of life and includes a sequence of four prints on the mythological lives of centaurs, four prints based on Hans Jakob Christoph von Grimmelshausen's seventeenth-century tale The Adventurous Simplicissimus, and four individual compositions further elaborating Klinger's favored themes of desire, death, and fantasy. The twelve prints vary in size and format, but all reveal sublime vistas and demonstrate Klinger's mastery of the vocabulary of Romantic landscapes and lessons he learned through studying Japanese prints.
Klinger dedicated the portfolio to engraver and art dealer Hermann Sagert, who had encouraged him to disseminate his work more broadly by making prints. It also honors the composer Robert Schumann, whose musical Intermezzi are opus four in his own career."His work would come to influence Käthe Kollwitz, Edvard Munch, Max Ernst, Salvador Dali, and many others.