WILHELM BUSCH (1832 - 1908)
Boy Resting his Chin on his Hand (ca. 1857)

This portrait is impressive due to the perfectly perceived and quite communicative gaze of the boy. This small portrait is filled with a level of soulful immanence that Busch had rarely reached before in his earlier works. The evenly measureful accuracy and the unusual balance dominating this intimate portrait are evidence of the artist's profound mastery of his means. The composition is extraordinarily steady even though there is an initial trait of compunction attempting the contours of the head.

Nothing in this picture tries to leap forward, everything is subordinated in regard to the boy's gaze which emanates so intensively from the clearly and brightly presented face. And especially because this gaze is not directed at the viewer but passes us slightly, dreamily, it takes us even more into his spell. By means of the hand led to the face, our attention is carried even more to this face. It's impeccable plane modelled only with a few tender hatchings is the main content and the center of the whole drawing. Busch's hatching technique has reached a level of enormous subtlety here.

A second portrait in this gallery shows us the same boy reading who is quite probably part of the artist's relatives in Lüthorst with whom Busch was staying in Sping 1857.