Rather than showing all of Klinger's work, in total nearly 400 plates, this exhibition presents for the first time in France the Brahmsphantasie, published in 1894, a spectacular score measuring twenty-six metres in length which demonstrates more than any other work Klinger's wealth of invention and his technical mastery.
The original scores by Brahms that inspired Klinger will also be displayed, allowing the visitor to follow the singular relationship between the two artists: a relationship that was at first distant, slowly established over some twenty years, but which concluded magnificently in the dedication of Brahms's Four Serious Songs to Klinger, a year before the composer's death.
An excellent amateur musician, Max Klinger held Brahms, his elder by twenty-four years, in boundless admiration. His first attempts as an engraver met with scepticism on Brahms's part, but as he read the Brahmsphantasie, the composer wrote to Klinger: " I can see the music… without my knowing it, your drawings transport me; as I contemplate them, it seems the music continues to resonate in the infinite and thus expresses all I meant, more clearly than music alone could and at the same time with the same amount of mystery and anticipation. Sometimes I envy you the power of being so clear with your pen. Sometimes I feel happy that I am not. But finally I must think that any art is the same and expresses itself through the same language".