(b. 1857, Leipzig, d. 1920, Naumburg)

Elsa Asenijeff

c. 1900
White and coloured marble, opals, stucco, height 92 cm
Neue Pinakothek, Munich

The writer Elsa Asenijeff, née Packeny, met Klinger in 1898 and was his partner and model for many years. Coming from the Austrian upper middle class and previously married to a Bulgarian diplomat, she shone in Leipzig society with her education, elegance and extravagant demeanor. She has also written about Klinger's artistic work. The daughter Desirée emerged from the connection with Klinger, but the couple separated a few years before the artist's death. Elsa died on April 5, 1941 at the age of 73 in Bräunsdorf near Freiberg, Saxony.

Klinger portrayed Elsa Asenijeff several times, but only completed the present one, which Julius Vogel, a close friend of Klinger, described as his best female portrait bust. The conception and treatment are similar to the Salome (Museum der Bildenden Künste, Leipzig). She has the childlike trait that Klinger already captures in the preliminary drawing for Salome, a portrait drawing of a Parisian girl, called by the artist "the archetype of the new Salome".

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.