Gallery of prints for sale

Monday 20 April 2020

Ernst Moritz Geyger’s drypoint, “Wisdom Enlightens Meanness”, 1899

Ernst Moritz Geyger (1861–1941)

“Die Klugheit Beleuchtet die Gemeinheit” (aka “Wisdom Enlightens Meanness”; “The Cleverness Illuminates the Meanness”; “Wisdom Lights the Community”; “Wisdom Relieves Vulgarity”), 1899, from the series/portfolio, “Das Mappenwerk der Inse” (The Island Portfolio), published in Leipzig in 1900. This may be a proof-state impression before the edition of 100 impressions, as it does not feature the publisher’s drystamp of Die Insel depicting a sailing ship within a circle.

Drypoint with pale plate tone on grey wove imitation parchment paper.
Size: (sheet) 35.3 x 27.9 cm; (plate) 30.4 x 22.5 cm; (image borderline) 29.7 x 21.7 cm.
Inscribed on plate: (upper left) “DIE/ KLUGHEIT/ BELEUCHTET DIE/ GEMEINHEIT”; (lower left in reversed letters) “E.M.G. 99”.

The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print:
(transl.) “An owl with a mirror in its claw is enthroned on a monster with the head of a boar”

See also the description of this print offered by the Winckelmann-Museum Stendal:
(transl.) “A mixture of warthog and various big cats lies on a plinth and stares annoyingly past the viewer on the right. An owl sits on the being, holding a [mirror] with the left foot, which it directs towards the being”
( [click on the information (“i”) button when the window opens]).

Condition: a faultless impression in pristine condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, losses, abrasions, stains, foxing or signs of use).

I am selling this masterwork of German printmaking executed at the close of the 19th century illustrating in an allegory how reflective wisdom may enlighten primal instinct—symbolised by an owl holding a mirror towards a primordial beast formed with the head of a warthog, the legs and tail of a wild cat and the teats of some udder animal—for the total cost of AU$480 (currently US$305.01/EUR280.94/GBP244.80 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world (but not, of course, any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries).

If you are interested in purchasing this remarkable drypoint—an image epitomising the age of psychoanalysis—in a faultless and rare impression, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

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