Four lynxes in a mossy cave
with inscription ‘Caracal […]’ (on the mount)
black chalk, pen and brown ink, watercolor, watermark Seven Provinces, laid down on a contemporary mount

1212 x 1534 in. (32 x 40cm)
The artist’s studio (L. 5025).
Anonymous sale; Christie’s, New York, 22 January 2003, lot 132.
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Lot Essay

Tischbein’s interest in the animal world resulted in a large number of studies and more finished, independent works, mounted for presentation or direct sale, such as the present example. Many, including the present sheet, were dispersed in the sale of a private collection on 22 January 2003 in these Rooms (lots 130-176). A typical feature of all of them is the character and humanity the artist imparted to his subjects, inspired as he was by the physiognomic theories of Johann Kaspar Lavater.

Although common in Europe until the middle of the nineteenth century, the artst probably studied these Eurasian lynxes from animals kept in captivity, or from mounted ones. The heads of the standing lynx at left and the hissing lynx at right were etched by the artist in a plate similar (fig. 1), and perhaps intended for a continuation of Tischbein’s Têtes de différents animaux, published in Naples in 1796 (A. Griffiths and F. Carey, German Printmaking in the Age of Goethe, London, 1994, p. 134-135). A drawing in black chalk of the hissing lynx is at the Klassik Stiftung Weimar, while a contemporary copy in watercolor is at the Städtisches Museum Braunschweig (inv. 1620-0034-00). A pen study of the head of the standing lynx, accompanied by a long text by Tischbein titled ‘Why does the lynx have tufts of hair in its ears’, is in a private collection (H. Mildenberger in German Romantic Prints and Drawings, exhib. cat., London, British Museum, 2011-2012, no. 39, ill.).
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