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The Man with the Knife, 1926

Leopold Museum,
Lithograph on paper
32.5×23.5 cm


  • Ernst Barlach

    (Wedel 1870–1938 Rostock)

Unfortunately not on display at the moment
Placed slightly askew into the portrait format and framed by an outline, the sculptor and graphic artist Ernst Barlach (1870–1938) depicted an archetypal figure in this lithograph: Only the distinctive, rather coarse face, rendered in profile, and a hand clutching a pointed dagger, appear from underneath the cohesive shape of the cloak. As if about to commit a crime, perhaps a politically motivated murder, he is leaning forward and lying in wait. The figure, cast into the soft lines of the lithograph, conveys a sense of timelessness. Outlined against the fabric of the gown, we can discern the arms and a fist concealed by the cloth, which looks as if it harbored the solidified figure’s true secret. The slightly angular-naive characteristics and the clear lines carried by curves reveal Barlach’s singular form language, which is also inherent in his sculptures.

Object data

  • Ernst Barlach
The Man with the Knife
Art movement
Graphic work
Lithograph on paper
32.5×23.5 cm
Signed on the stone lower right: EBarlach
Credit line
Leopold Museum, Vienna, Inv. 1810
Inventory access
Contributed to the Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung in 1994
Selection of Reference works
  • Deutsche Expressionisten. Mit Meisterwerken aus der Sammlung Thyssen-Bornemisza, hrsg. von Rudolf Leopold/Michael Fuhr, Wien 2006 (Ausst.-Kat. Leopold Museum, Wien, 28.09.2006-10.01.2007).
Catalogue raisonne
  • Schult II 1958: 270

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Provenance research
Leopold Museum i
Dr. Rudolf Leopold, Wien (o.D.);
Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung, Wien (seit 1994).

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