Ferdinand Staeger

Various Etchings,

from circa 1919 forward


Ferdinand Staeger (1880-1976)

"Der jünge Adalbert Stifter" ["The Young Adalbert Stifter"], also known as "Glückliche Kindheit" ["Happy Childhood"]

circa 1919

watercolor over etching on paper

28 x 20 cm (image); 48.5 x 37.5 cm (sheet)

signed in pencil lower right: "F Staeger"

inscribed in pencil lower left: "Der jünge Adalbert Stifter"

Provenance: from the collection of the painter and graphic artist Fritz (Friedrich Rudolf) Cernajsek (Vienna 1910-1996 Perchtoldsdorf ).

The Austrian writer Adalbert Stifter (1805-1868) has been enjoying somewhat of a renaissance in the English-speaking world since the publication in 2021 of Isabel Fargo Cole’s translation of Stifter's novella cycle Motley Stones [Bunte Steine, 1853].  In The Wall Street Journal, critic Martin Riker, reviewing Motley Stones, observed:

“[Stifter’s] vision of the world is largely the result of a disregard for literary convention that places human experience at the center of everything, anticipating contemporary calls for an ecological literature that recognizes Nature—what critic Amitav Ghosh calls “nonhuman presences”—as an equal part of the Reality that novelists seek to represent. . . . The collective result is like a map to a particular literary sensibility, a worldview in which storytelling is at the center of humanity, but humanity is not the center of the world.” 

Martin Riker, "'Motley Stones' Review: More Than Human," The Wall Street Journal, May 7, 2021.  

The same can be said of the art of Ferdinand Staeger, whose etchings also recognize nature and other nonhuman presences as equal, indeed often overshadowing, parts of the magical worlds he creates.


Jack Daulton
The Jack Daulton Collection
Los Altos Hills, California