© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Max Klinger, German (Leipzig, Germany 1857 - 1920 Grossjena, near Naumburg, Germany)
Study for the "Beethoven Monument"
Work Type
Physical Descriptions
Black chalk and pink and white opaque watercolor on brown wove paper
irregular: 65.1 x 50.1 cm (25 5/8 x 19 3/4 in.)
frame: 84.1 × 68.9 cm (33 1/8 × 27 1/8 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: lower right, black chalk: MK
  • inscription: verso, lower left, graphite(?): Hans (or Klaus) Meyer
[Shepherd Gallery, New York], sold; to Busch-Reisinger Museum, 1972
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Purchase in honor of David Farmer
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Label Text: Flowers of Evil: Symbolist Drawings, 1870–1910 , written 2016
For many symbolist artists and writers, the German Romantic composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) epitomized the figure of the visionary artist-genius. In the 1880s and ’90s, Klinger worked on a project for an elaborate monument in honor of the composer. Using a variety of precious materials, he created a life-size polychrome sculpture (now at the Museum of Fine Arts in Leipzig, Germany) to serve as the focal point of the Beethoven exhibition at the Vienna Secession in 1902. The idealized statue shows Beethoven in deep thought, wearing a toga, like a Greek god. This large, powerful drawing is a tonal study for the lower part of the monument. A man of many talents, Klinger was a sculptor, painter, printmaker, philosopher, poet, and musician.

Publication History

Peter Nisbet and Joseph Koerner, The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, ed. Peter Nisbet, Harvard University Art Museums and Scala Publishers Ltd. (Cambridge, MA and London, England, 2007), p. 205

Exhibition History

19th-Century German Drawings and Watercolors, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 07/01/1981 - 08/31/1981

From the Realists to the Expressionists: Works on Paper by Central European Artists from 1870 to 1918, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 03/14/1983 - 04/29/1983

19th-Century Drawings from the Permanent Collection, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 09/01/1983 - 10/09/1983

Before Expressionism: Art in Germany circa 1903, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 10/24/2003 - 02/15/2004

Flowers of Evil: Symbolist Drawings, 1870–1910, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/21/2016 - 08/14/2016

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu