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Key facts
Full title Portrait of Dr Ferdinand Mainzer
Artist Lovis Corinth
Artist dates 1858 - 1925
Date made 1899
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 75 × 58 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Accepted in lieu of Inheritance Tax by HM Government from the estates of Evan and Gisela Stone and allocated jointly to the National Gallery and the Henry Barber Trust, 2021
Inventory number NG6691
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Portrait of Dr Ferdinand Mainzer
Lovis Corinth
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Lovis Corinth (1858–1925), was a key figure of German modernist art. Active since 1892 in the Munich Secession, in 1899 Corinth participated in the first exhibition of the Berlin Secession. That same year he painted Dr Mainzer’s portrait, also in Berlin, and shortly afterwards he relocated permanently to the capital.

It was no accident that Mainzer was among the first people Corinth met when he joined the Berlin Secession, nor that the doctor should commission his portrait from the brash artist from Munich. Mainzer’s wife, Gertrude, was a pupil of Corinth’s old friend Walter Leistikow. Corinth captures sophistication, wit, perhaps superciliousness, in Mainzer’s ultra-refined personality, as the doctor leans back in his chair to peer at the artist through pince-nez. There is a wonderful play between the sitter’s raised eyebrows and his perfectly manicured moustache. This portrait is a key transitional work in Corinth’s career, painted in the Impressionist style influenced by his mentor Liebermann but already exhibiting – see the sombre palette and bravura paint handling – intimations of the Expressionism that would come to the fore in his art in the following decade.

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