Peter Behrens

Der Kuss (The Kiss),

woodcut, 1898

rare signed proof impression


Peter Behrens (Hamburg 1868-1940 Berlin)

"Der Kuss" ("The Kiss")

six-color woodcut on Japanese laid paper

27,3 × 21,6 cm (sheet 50,8 × 32,5 cm) (10 3/4 × 8 1/2 in. (sheet 20 × 12 3/4 in.))


signed in pencil lower right: Peter Behrens


A rare signed proof impression of this iconic Jugendstil print, published in the periodical Pan, vol. IV, no. 2, July-August-September 1898, Berlin, as an insert before page 117; subsequently published in a smaller format in L’Art Décoratif (1899) and in Die Kunst (Volume [Band] 2, third issue, 1900, Munich, as an insert before page 1).

"Considered by Behrens' contemporaries Friedrich Carstanjen and Otto Julius Bierbaum as one of the seminal images of the late nineteenth century, this print breaks with traditional graphic images and has the distinction of being the best known German woodcut of the period. The image is at the same time erotic and asexual. The decorative and symmetrically organized composition consists of two shown faces in profile surrounded by a mass of entangled hair against a dark green background. While apparently portraying a man and a woman, the openly linear modeling and the flat treatment of positive and negative spaces cancel the definition between the sexes, resulting in an androgynous couple. The braided locks suggest an indissoluble fusion, from which participants cannot extricate themselves."  Gr

Art historian Rainer Haaff describes Behrens' "Der Kuss" thus:

"Beispielhafte provokante und erzürnende Jugendstil-Kunst, die sich bewusst konträr zum konservativen und moralisierenden Gesellschaftskontext implizite des tradierten Kunstschaffens stellt. Wie viele andere auch, ist dieses Jugendstil-Sujet im gründerzeitlichen Sinne als "Unzucht" zu bezeichnen, und derartiges steht seinerzeit noch streng unter Strafe. Der Künstler, der auch wegweisend moderne Jugendstil-Möbel entwirft, ist einer der wichtigsten Vertreter der neuen Kunstrichtung um 1900."  Rainer Haaff, Gründerzeit und Jugendstil (Leopoldshafen: Kunst-Verlag Haaff, 2014), pg. 332 ["consciously contrary to the conservative and moralizing social context implicit in traditional art" of the time]

Max Oppenheimer (Vienna 1885-1954 New York City)

"Peter Behrens, Kopf nach links gewandt"

["Portrait of Peter Behrens, with head turned to the left"]


drypoint with plate tone on Van Gelder laid paper

18 x 13,9 cm (sheet 33 x 25,3 cm)

a rare trial proof of a pre-final state, possibly a unique impression

lower right in pencil signed: "MOPP."

lower left in pencil inscribed: "Zustandsdruck" ["state impression"]

The Daulton Collection

literature: Pabst 51, Stix/Osborn 47

A brilliant, fine-grained and wonderfully clear condition print with a wide margin.

"The architect and designer Behrens in a three-quarter portrait to the left with finely differentiated facial features, while the neck and background are only hinted at. The edition of 30 copies was published by Bukum AG, Vienna." B

Peter Behrens (Hamburg 1868-1940 Berlin)

"R. Dehmel," portrait of the poet Richard Dehmel

circa 1905/06

woodcut on firm Japan paper

33,7 x 25,8 cm (image), 46,4 x 31 cm (sheet)

signed in pencil lower right: Peter Behrens

The Daulton Collection


The Daulton Collection