Karl Stauffer-Bern


signed proof impressions



Karl Stauffer-Bern (Trubschachen 1857-1891 Florenz)

Portrait of the artist Adolf Menzel in Profile facing Right



34 x 24 cm. (13.5 x 9.4 in.)

in pencil, signed lower right: "Stauffer Bern"

Lehrs 12

Karl Stauffer-Bern (Trubschachen 1857-1891 Florenz)

Portrait of the artist Peter Halm in three-quarter profile to the right


etching in reddish brown on firm wove paper

state V (of X), before the year and removal of the burr in the etched inscription

21,8 x 15,8 cm. (8.5 x 6.2 in.)

in pencil, dedicated and signed lower right: "sl. W. Liche [or Siche] freundschaftl von K. Stauffer Bern"

in pencil, dated lower right: "30 Oktober [?] 86"

Magnificent impression with a wide margin and with the deckle edge on the right.

Condition: minimally dusty and slightly foxed; otherwise, a very good copy. 

Lehrs 10

"This portrait of artist Peter Halm (1854-1923), etched from a photograph, occupied Karl Stauffer-Bern for over a year. He began work in the summer of 1885 and by January 1887 the plate was still unfinished. Stauffer-Bern often used the fifth state as a gift, as shown by the various specimens with detailed dedications mentioned by Max Lehrs in the catalogue raisonne. However, Lehrs was not aware of a colored print like the one presented here [which may be unique]."  B

Karl Stauffer-Bern (Trubschachen 1857-1891 Florenz)

Liegender weiblicher Akt [Lying Female Nude]


etching on light cardboard

proof impression

image 13,7 × 24,6 cm (5 3/8 × 9 5/8 in.); sheet 29 × 40,5 cm (11 3/8 × 16 in.)

in pencil, handwritten dedication, signature ("Stauffer"), and date ("13.1.88") lower right 

The dedication provides in part: "Es ist der einzige Druck den ich noch habe von dem Wallon, ein reiner Probedruck, ...." ["It's the only print I have left of the Wallon, a pure trial print, ...."]

Lehrs 22 Provenance: Paul Lindenberg, Berlin (1888 received from the artist); Martin Breslau, Berlin; Max Biach, Vienna (acquired 1906 from Martin Breslau, presumably until 1912); Dr. Heinrich Stinnes, Cologne (until 1932); Dr. Heinrich Stinnes estate (until 1936); Private Collection, Germany (acquired 1936 at Hollstein & Puppel, Berlin), thence by descent to the owner who sold at auction to Jack Daulton in 2019

Karl Stauffer-Bern (Trubschachen 1857-1891 Florenz)

Portrait of the poet Gustav Freytag



34.4 x 23.9 cm. (13.5 x 9.4 in.)

in pencil, handwritten dedication, signature ("Stauffer Bern"), and date ("14.2.87") lower right 

Lehrs 30

Karl Stauffer-Bern (Trubschachen 1857-1891 Florenz)

Portrait of the artist's star-crossed paramour Lydia Welti-Escher in three-quarter profile to the right with a Rembrandt hat


etching on firm copperplate paper

state I (of III), before the etched dedication was deleted

23x14 cm. 

dated and monogrammed below: "7. Juli 87. St B."

verso with the estate stamp: "Aus dem Nachlaß Justizrat Johannes Maximus Mosse"

Magnificent, harmonious, and photographic-looking impression.

Condition: slightly yellowed and light-stained; remnants of paper from an old mounting on verso; further signs of age; otherwise in very good condition. 

Lehrs 34 I (of III)


Johannes Maximus (Max) Mosse (1857-1920), judgewhose estate was auctioned on October 27, 1920 in Berlin, at Amsler & Ruthardt; this etching, Lot 31, was there described thus: "Of utmost rarity" ["Von grußter Seltenheit"].


"According to Max Lehrs [the author of Stauffer-Bern's catalogue raisonne], the portrait of Lydia Welti-Escher, on which Stauffer-Bern wanted to work "a good hour" according to the correspondence, was the artist's last work. The four copies known to Lehrs all date, as here, from July 7, 1887. On July 11, Stauffer-Bern sent Mrs. Welti-Escher her copy by post."  B

In 1888, under the sponsorship of his patrons, the Welti family, Karl Stauffer-Bern went to Rome to study sculpture. While there, he began an affair with Lydia Welti-Escher, daughter of Alfred Escher (railway magnate and co-founder of Credit Suisse) and wife of Friedrich Emil Welti, whose father was Emil Welti (a powerful government minister). The affair turned to love and a divorce from Welti was proposed, but he contacted the Swiss Embassy in Rome and used his considerable influence to separate them. Lydia was placed in an insane asylum and Karl was jailed after being charged with kidnapping and rape. (The Daulton Collection contains ten autograph poems about death that Karl Stauffer-Bern composed while in prison in Italy.)  In May 1890, a full psychiatric report showed no sign of mental illness and Lydia was released. Karl's release followed in June, due to lack of evidence. She was returned to her husband, although she soon filed for a divorce, which was eventually granted.

In a state of despondency over the loss of his love, Karl suffered a nervous breakdown and spent some time in the San Bonifazio mental hospital. After his release, he attempted suicide by gun. The shot barely missed his heart and left him permanently injured. In January 1891, unable to work and apparently suffering from persecution mania, he committed suicide with an overdose of chloral hydrate. Lydia's suicide followed that December, by opening the gas tap in her villa near Geneva.



Jack Daulton

The Daulton Collection

Los Altos Hills, California