WILHELM BUSCH (1832 - 1908)
The Penultimate Trouser Button (1854)
The name of this little boy was Konrad Kretzer. He was the son of a day labouer. His report of being a model has survived: " Hei het meck mehre Male afemoaln, denn moßte eck meck hensetten orre nehnstelln un denn gaw hei meck auk Geld dafarr." In essence, the statement says that Wilhelm Busch had portrayed him several times for which the boy had to sit or to stand and then he would receive some money.
The drawing comes from a period during which Busch experimented with various methods of drawing. Here, he combines a linear drawing style with painting-like soft features. With very soft plumb, he creates a shaded tone similar to lavation above which he then forcefully repeats expressive lines and brings on several slightly unflexible hatchings. The face is also - aside from a few hatchings by the sharp pencil - modelled through the soft, almost levigated tone. Finally, the shadow of the hand on the trousers is completely painting-like.
There are several traits of compunction around the whole figure which indicate that it must have been rather strenuous for the artist to work out the form.
This could be due to the very lively little model.