Max Klinger, Untergang, Blatt 12 der Folge „Ein Leben“, 1884

Max Klinger. Opus VIII

A Life

In Opus VIII "A Life", completed between 1880 and 1884, Klinger once more turns to the historically traditional path of female suffering. Whereas he used the Bible as a ‘literary template’ in ‘Eve and the Future’, in ‘A Life’ he traces the universal situation of the female sex on the basis of one single fate and assisted by allegories resulting from his own fatalistic worldview. In this, Klinger is one of the first German artists to approach the problem of prostitution. Contemporary works of French literature, also the novel Albertine by his friend Chgristian Krohg, published in 1886 in Norway and promptly banned, whose process of emergence Klinger closely followed, may have served as possible inspiration.

The 15-part cycle of etchings in ‘A Life’ are created in a painstaking work process that Klinger is forced to interrupt on several occasions as he is also occupied with designing the villa owned by the High Court Assistant Judge Julius Albers in Berlin-Steglitz. Both Albers and the Danish author Georg Brandes, to whom this Opus is dedicated, are closely involved in the development of this cycle and encourage the artist in his work. There are the few peers to appreciate the oeuvre once completed.