This is a work so finely executed that it is difficult to believe that it is a drawing and not a print, but I absolutely guarantee it to be an original drawing. The subject is a priest or monk in an interior nook flooded with sunlight. He is holding a large pair of scissors and appears to be concentrating on a domestic task that is not quite clear to the viewer. At bottom in very poorly spelled German is the phrase "UEBERALL--LOCHER--IM--KIRCHEN--GUT--DA--TUHT--KAIN--FLICKEN--MAHR". The spelling of the German is so bad that it suggests a foreigner actually drew this. My broken German translates this literally as "Everywhere holes in church good that makes no more mending/cobbling/patching". The work is signed at lower right with what looks like "C. Kaelin" or "Wuelin" or "Huelin" and is dated there 1879 (the "7" is not written with the characteristic horizontal line through it, as a German would write it). The piece is really something of a mystery. The subject is mysterious, the fact that it is a drawing and not an etching is rather amazing, and the artist is not identified, and might possibly not even be German. There is a Charles Kaelin (1858-1929), an American artist of Swiss heritage, born in Cincinnati. I suppose it possible this could be a juvenile work by him, maybe after a print he had seen, but this would not be easy to prove. I do not see listings for other names that would correspond well to this signature. The work measures 10 1/4" by 7 1/2" inside the mat (16 1/2" by 12 3/4" in narrow simple black frame). Condition is excellent. Enjoy the work for the amazing pen work and the startling contrasts the artist was able to achieve between light and dark, as would be seen in an accomplished, advanced graphic work.
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