[Joachim, Joseph. (1831–1907)] Schmutzer, Ferdinand. (1870–1928)

"Das Joachim-Quartett" - Large Original Etching

Enormous original 1904 etching depicting the renowned Joachim Quartet (Joseph Joachim, Robert Hausmann, Emanuel Wirth and Carl Halir) rehearsing a Beethoven quartet. Etching and drypoint. Signed in the plate and by hand by the engraver, Ferdinand Schmutzer. Described as "perhaps the largest plate ever etched." (Thieme-B. XXX, 184: "Wohl die größte Platte, die je radiert wurde.") Weixlgärtner VIII, 77. Image size 33.5 x 48.5 inches (85.5 x 123 cm). Framed. Some light scratches, foxing and toning.

The printmaker, photographer and portrait painter Ferdinand Schmutzer came from a well-known family of Viennese artists; his great-grandfather, Jacob Matthias Schmutzer, was the founder of the "K. K. Kupferstecher-Academie" in Vienna. Schmutzer's interest in etching developed while studying in the Netherlands, where he was influenced by Rembrandt's works. In 1901 he became a member of the Vienna Secession, and in 1908 was appointed as a professor at the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Vienna. He was the first to work with oversized plates—an innovation which was hitherto unknown in the field of etching.

The great violinist Joseph Joachim was honorary president of the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn and in 1890 presided over the most comprehensive Beethoven exhibition to date, reflecting a renewed interest in the composer's works.  At the time, many of Beethoven's late works were still not widely performed, even more than 60 years after the composer's death and it wasn't until 1903 that the Joachim Quartet performed all of the Beethoven String Quartets in a complete cycle. (18210)

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