E. Brief mit U.
Autograph ist nicht mehr verfügbar
Daniel Chodowiecki (1726–1801), German painter and etcher. ALS. [Berlin], 27 April 1793. 8°. 8 pp. In German. Very long, important letter to the Dresden writer and collector Wilhelm Gottlieb Becker, full of valuable information about several parts of Chodowiecki’s oeuvre as well as about his method of work. Apparently, Becker has sent a list of etchings he desired to complete his collection, and the artist replies with an extensive discussion of some 20 motifs and their origins, press runs, states, variants, failed printings, remaining copies, and prices. Becker has requested to receive an answer somewhat faster than the last time, to which the artist replies with some irritation: “[...] What shall I do, after all – draw, etch, and execute the etchings. This strains the eyes even more and is done every winter evening until 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning, if I have nothing to write or read; it has never done my health any harm and my eyes are accustomed to it; besides, my fate is such that if I wish to support myself, my five children and eight grandchildren adequately, I have not much choice [...]”. Chodowiecki proceeds to discuss Becker’s questions in detail, informing him which versions of his etchings are rare and adding that he usually avoids selling prints which he makes for booksellers if the owner of the plate has not yet made use of the image – “the most I will do is give them away as a gift, and occasionally my conscience will fall asleep”. Apparently, Chodowiecki interrupted the letter for four weeks because the booksellers buried him in work, and so he apologizes for keeping Becker and his friend, the portrait painter Anton Graff, waiting for so long.