Max Klinger Biography

Max Klinger




Printmaker, painter, and sculptor, Max Klinger was born in Leipzig, Germany on February 18, 1857. He began his art education at age seventeen at the Art School in Karlsruhe and, in 1875, he followed his teacher, Karl von Gussow, to the Berlin Academy in 1875. In 1878, Klinger exhibited a suite of drawings entitled “The Glove” at the Art Union in Berlin and later that year his work was included in the Annual Art Exhibition. Critical acknowledgement of the works shown in these initial exhibitions launched Klinger toward a successful career. He was recognized as a modern Renaissance genius for his work in painting, sculpture, and printmaking. Klinger’s work would influence Käthe Kollwitz, Edvard Munch, Max Ernst, Salvador Dali, and many other artists. 

Printmaking seems to have been Klinger’s favored medium of expression and he explained in his essay “Malerei und Zeichnung” that drawings (any works in black and white, especially prints) were particularly suited to embody the domain of fantasy, or one’s attitudes about the world; such works could better deal with the sordid or grotesque, both in imagination and in reality, and could be less complete, but more suggestive, in the image they gave the viewer.

Max Klinger died on July 5, 1920 near Naumburg, Germany.