Max Klinger / Johannes Brahms: Engraving, Music and Fantasy

Max Klinger Accords© Gerstenberger, Museum der bildenden Künste
In parallel with the retrospective devoted to Böcklin, the Musée d'Orsay has chosen to present another aspect of "Germanic" art. Max Klinger (1857-1920), a painter, sculptor, engraver and German writer is little-known to the French public. He offers a relevant counterpoint to his Swiss elder, whom he particularly admired. The most intimate part of Klinger's art is certainly his engravings (over four hundred plates), deriving its singularity from music, especially that of Johannes Brahms (1833-1897). The Brahmsphantasie, a spectacular group of forty one plates inspired by scores by Brahms will be exhibited as a whole. Klinger conceived them as a visual complement to the music and they demonstrate the wealth of his invention and his technical virtuosity. Specialists consider it to be the masterpiece of 19th-century German engraving. A selection of Brahms's autograph manuscripts evokes the relationship established between the two artists over some twenty years.

Portraits, annotated scores, prolific exchanges of letters between Brahms and his editor Fritz Simrock about Klinger reveal the artistic universe that both creators shared. The score of the Four Serious Songs, dedicated by Brahms to Max Klinger, is a last homage by the musician to the painter.


Emmanuelle Héran, curator, Musée d'Orsay and Pierre Korzilius, musical programmation, Musée d'Orsay.


48/14, La revue du musée d'Orsay, issue # 13, Autumn 2001
Musée d'Orsay / Réunion des musées nationaux
€ 11

2 October 2001 - 13 January 2002
Musée d'Orsay

Chauchard Gallery

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