This charming and delicate ink drawing portrays the legendary writer and society lady Rahel Levin Varnhagen (1771 – 1833). This artwork is signed by the Berlin artist ERICH M. SIMON and dates back to around 1910.
We are proud to have acquired a selection of drawings and watercolors from the estate of the well known Berlin artist Erich M. Simon (1892 – 1978). Erich M. Simon is a well-listed artist. I found a painting as well as a poster by him on Artprice that sold for $1.350.00 and $1.600.00.
With intriguing sense for detail Erich M. Simon drew this miniature artwork around 1910. It shows the legendary literary icon Rahel Varnhagen in a precious dress and holding a fan. The portrait is inscribed "Rahel" and "Anno 1796" and also bears the artist signature.
Rahel Varnhagen (born Levin) lived from 1771 till 1833 and was a German writer of Jewish descent who hosted one of the most prominent salons in Europe during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Rahel Levin was born in Berlin. Her father, a wealthy jeweler, was a strong-willed man who ruled his family despotically. She became very intimate with Dorothea and Henriette, the daughters of the philosopher Moses Mendelssohn. Together with them she knew Henriette Herz, with whom she later became most intimately associated, moving in the same intellectual sphere. Her home became the meeting-place of men like Schlegel, Schelling, Steffens, Schack, Schleiermacher, Alexander and Wilhelm von Humboldt, Motte Fouqué, Baron Brückmann, Ludwig Tieck, Jean Paul, and Friedrich Gentz. During a visit to Carlsbad in 1795 she was introduced to Goethe, whom she again saw in 1815, at Frankfurt am Main.
After the death of her father in 1806 she lived successively in Paris, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Prague, and Dresden. This period was one of misfortune for Germany; Prussia was reduced to a small kingdom and her king was in exile. Secret societies were formed in every part of the country with the object of throwing off the tyranny of Napoleon. Levin herself belonged to one of these societies.
In 1814 she married, in Berlin, the biographer Karl August Varnhagen von Ense, after converting to Christianity. At the time of their marriage, her husband, who had fought in the Austrian army against the French, belonged to the Prussian diplomatic corps, and their house at Vienna became the meeting-place of the Prussian delegates to the Congress of Vienna. She accompanied her husband in 1815 to Vienna, and in 1816 to Karlsruhe, where he was Prussian representative. After 1819 she again lived in Berlin, where Varnhagen had taken up his residence after having been retired from his diplomatic position. Though not a productive writer herself, she was the center of a circle of eminent writers, scholars, and artists in the Prussian capital. Rahel Varnhagen died in Berlin in 1833.
Erich M. Simon (1892 - 1978) was born in a little town in Pommern, and already at early childhood stage he was educated in drawing and painting by his mother. The family moved to Berlin in 1901 and young Erich's wish to become a professional painter constantly grew. At the age of 18 he was accepted as a student at the renown Berlin School of Arts and Crafts, and his teacher was the famous artist Emil Orlik. Besides his love for fine arts Erich M. Simon was fascinated with the world of literature and books. In the museum library he studied the illustrations of Menzel, Daumier, Guys, and Gavarni. Eventually he found his personal period of artistic life - the Biedermeier era.
As a young artist Simon created graphic designs for cigar boxes, chocolate packages, and other advertising products. His talent as an illustrator was soon discovered by the important publishers of the time: Kiepenheuer, Junker and Fleischel. Furthermore many members of the Berlin high society ordered their exlibris (bookplates) to be created by the more and more popular artist. In this busy period (1910 to 1913) Simon underwent two influential voyages to Paris where he discovered a deep love for antiques. From that time on he not only staged his imageries in a by-gone time, but also placed antique artifacts in his drawings.
During WW1 Simon was wounded and only slowly recovered in a military hospital. After being cured a change in his work, being less romantic and idealized, becomes evident. During this period the influence of his teacher Emil Orlik and his co-student George Grosz (1893 - 1959) becomes very clearly visible. COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Germany.
DATE: Around 1910.
ARTIST: Erich M. Simon (1892 - 1978).
MARKS: Artist's signature "Simon" at the lower right edge of the depiction. The drawing is titled "Rahel anno 1796".
MATERIAL: Ink on cardboard.
MANUFACTURING TECHNIQUE: Very fine hand painting.
CONDITION:Very Good ORIGINAL as found condition. Some pencil marks. NO RESTORATION!
SIZE: Size of the sheet is 4.6 x 7.2 inches.
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