Gallery of prints for sale

Wednesday 9 August 2023

August Gaber’s wood engraving, “Death on Horseback Approaching a City”, 1848, after Alfred Rethel

August Gaber (1823 –1891)

“Death on Horseback Approaching a City”, 1848, the second plate (“Zweites Blatt” or second sheet) from the series, “Auch ein Todtentanz” (aka “This, too, is a Dance of Death”), showing scenes depicting the dance of death in the context of the German Revolutions of 1848-49, after drawings by Alfred Rethel (1816–1859) and following the intermediary design by Hugo Leopold Friedrich Heinrich Bürkner (aka Hugo Leopold Friedrich Heinrich Bürckner) (1818–1897), with verses by Robert Reinick (1805–1852), published in Leipzig by Georg Wigand (1818–1858).

Wood engraving printed in black and a beige tone block on wove paper. The verso has a round violet ink-stamp of the art collector and postal inspector, Kasimir Hagen (1887–1965), featuring the Madonna and Child bordered with the lettering “KUNSTSAMMLUNG KASIMIR HAGEN.KOELN.” (see, slightly shining through to the image (recto).

Size: (sheet) 29 x 41 cm; (image borderline) 22.3 x 32.4 cm.

Lettered above the image borderline: “Zweites Blatt.”

Lettered below the image borderline in four columns: “Der Morgen schaut vom himmelszelt/ So klar wie sonst auf Stadt und Feld;// Da trabt mit wilder hast heran/ Der Freund des Volks, der Sensenmann./ Zur Stadt lenkt seinen Gaul er hin,// Schon ahnt er reiche Ernte drin./ Die hahnenfeder auf dem hut/ Glüht in der Sonne roth wie Blut,// Die Sense blitzt wie Wetterschein,/ Es stöhnt der Gaul, die Raben schrei'n!” ([Google transl.] “The morning looks from the heavenly tent/ As clear as usual on town and field;// There trots up wildly/ The friend of the people, the Grim Reaper./ He steers his horse towards the town,// He already senses a rich harvest there./ The rooster's feather on the hat/ Glows red in the sun like blood,// The scythe flashes like weather,/ The horse moans, the ravens scream!”)

Adriani 99 (Gert Adriani 1956, “Alfred Rethel: Auch ein Totentanz: Todesdarstellungen von 1828 bis 1852”, Düsseldorf, p. 29, 99).

The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print from the People's Edition of Augustus: (transl.) “Allegory of the Revolution in the German Lands of 1848: ‘Ein Totentanz aus dem Jahre 1848’" (

See also the description of the folio of engravings offered by the British Museum:

Condition: a strong and well-printed impression with full margins as published. There is darkening to the margins of the sheet and a pale stain of the collector’s stamp (Kasimir Hagen) printed verso is visible in the image; otherwise, there are no tears, holes, folds, or foxing.

I am selling this large wood-engraving that is the second plate in a macabre series of prints presenting a nineteenth century twist to the famous “Dance of Death” allegory—here the skeletal personification of Death holding a scythe and the scales of judgement rides a horse past scattering farm folk on a road leading to a walled city during the German revolution of 1848/9 (I suspect that the city may be Cologne with the twin spires of the Cathedral St. Peter?)—for the total cost of AU$224 (currently US$149.72/EUR135.47/GBP119.25 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 visually arresting engraving, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

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