Engraver and woodcut artist Albert Krüger produced brilliantly rendered copies of the old masters and his contemporaries’ work alike. Working all his professional life in Berlin, Krüger’s talent was indispensable to the publishers and art associations of Germany.
Born in Poland, Krüger moved to Berlin to begin his artistic studies at the Academy of Arts. Here he was taught by numerous artists such as Karl Gussow (1843-1907) and Paul Thumann (1834-1908).
Soon after, Krüger undertook various travels across Europe, travelling to cities such as Amsterdam, Paris, and Munich. In his early years, Krüger worked as a painter. However, upon his return to Berlin, he soon settled working as an etcher and woodcut printer. Here he began to receive numerous commissions asking him to reproduce the works of the old masters, such as Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), and Hans Holbein the Younger (c.1497-1543), as well as contemporary artists such as Max Liebermann (1847-1935).
In both his black and white etchings and his colour-printed woodcuts, Krüger displays a canny ability to translate the original works into carefully rendered, expertly executed prints. There is nothing lost in the translation from paint to ink.
He conjures in discerning lines the enigmatic smile of the Mona Lisa, the dignified profiles of Holbein’s sitters. He is able to imitate the depths of colour and shading in the paintings of Da Vinci, capturing rich russet, deep azure. His prints of contemporary work, too, are exquisite examples of the highly detailed, excruciatingly careful efforts etchers would have to undertake.
As a result of his impressive abilities, Krüger was much in demand. His work was often commissioned by publishing houses such as that run by Bruno Cassirer. The German Art Association in Berlin also often required his skills in publications handed out to their members.
Krüger also saw success in exhibitions. He exhibited well in Berlin and received both a commendation and a silver medal at the eminent Paris Salon. He was also awarded a medal for his work in Munich in 1892.
Albert Krüger’s work was essential to the publishing houses and art associations who relied on him to reproduce works of art for print. That he received so many commissions and recognition for exhibiting his works is a testament to his skill.
His works remain fascinating insights into the workings of the 19th-century German art world and demonstrate what a crucial role etchers and woodcut printers played in its sustainment.
Born in Stettin, Poland.
Awarded medal in Munich, Germany.
Awarded commendation at the Paris Salon.
Exhibited at the German Art Exhibition, Dresden, Germany.
Awarded a silver medal at the Paris Salon.
Became a member of the Prussian Academy of Arts, Berlin, Germany.