Wilhelm Busch

Half-length portrait of a boy


Gmelin 172.

Hans Georg Gmelin, Wilhelm Busch als Maler, Berlin 1980, S. 235, Kat.-Nr. 172, mit Abb.

Aus dem Besitz von Helene Haase, geb. Kleine (Nichte des Künstlers), seither in Familienbesitz;
Karl & Faber, München, Auktion 82, 30.11.1962, Los 569, mit Abb., eingeliefert von Köhler-Kleine;
Sammlung Georg Schäfer, Schweinfurt (Inv.-Nr. 4426), verso mit dem Etikett, erworben in obiger Auktion;
Privatsammlung, Süddeutschland.


Even though Busch remained childless as a bachelor, he occasionally looked after the grandchildren of his uncle, the pastor Georg Kleine from Lüthorst. From the 1850s onwards, rural life became the focus of his attention and he produced a series of portraits of children, often from the rural milieu. Here he shows a small boy as a half-length figure, set in a tall oval, strictly in profile up to the elbow. The boy wears his straw-blonde hair parted and looks to the side with a sceptical frown – he probably no longer wants to keep still and would much rather romp with his comrades. Gmelin refers to a preliminary drawing in Otto Nöldeke’s sketchbook, facsimile, Munich 1924 (p. 39), which shows the same model.

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