Sleeping boy
  • Adolph von Menzel
  • Breslau 1815 - 1905 Berlin
  • Sleeping boy
  • Watercolour, gouache and partly white chalk over pencil
    on cardboard (drystamp Bristol upper left)
  • 221 × 179 mm

The boy depicted in this drawing is the son of Dr. Carl Anton von Maercker (1803-1871), head of the Berlin superior court and later Prussian Minister of Justice.

From 1845 to 1847 the Menzel and Maercker families were next-door neighbours at Schöneberger Straße 18. From that time on, a warm friendship linked them, as attested by Menzel’s numerous portraits of all members of the Maercker family. The mother in particular served as the artist’s muse for nowfamous pastels and paintings.

But the elder sister of the sleeping boy also sat for a portrait by Menzel in 1848 that is almost a pendant to the watercolour shown here (Fig. 1). This work remained as well in the Maercker family’s possession as a gift from the artist when they moved from Berlin to Halberstadt in 1850.