Ludwig Emil Grimm (German, 1790-1863)

Portrait of Balthazar von Speth, 1817

Portrait of Balthazar von Speth, 1817

Graphite on cream wove paper 7 9/16 in. x 6 9/16 in. (19.2 cm x 16.67 cm)

Crocker Art Museum, E. B. Crocker Collection


  • The brothers Grimm, linguists who collected the dialects and tales of the German peasantry, were active in western Germany in the first part of the 19th century. Their younger brother Ludwig Emil studied art instead, first entering the art academy at Kassel and then Munich, where introductions from his brothers proved extremely helpful. A trip to Italy in 1816 completed his education, and the following year he settled in Kassel, working as a portraitist and engraver. He was also a history painter, and it was this work that gained him the appointment of professor at the Kunstakademie in Kassel, a position he held from 1832 until his death.
    This drawing illustrates Grimm’s ability to capture the physiognomy and inner life of his subjects. A portrait of the Bavarian court preacher, art critic, and collector Balthazar von Speth, it is dated 1817, during the artist’s journey from Italy to Kassel. The inscription indicates that it was drawn from life.

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