This is a fabulous and strangely unsettling image by the great German artist, Alfred Rethel (1816 - 1859).
It dates to 1851 and is a very rare German wood engraving / woodcut from the 19th century.
It is entitled Death as the Strangler and shows death as a skeleton playing on a violin made of human bones... yikes! He is playing to amuse revellers at a masked ball - and they are all falling into a permanent sleep. The subject relates to the loss of 20,000 lives in a cholera outbreak that struck Paris in 1831 - and even today it remains almost a topical subject.
As you might imagine - Rethel suffered from intermittent bouts of mental illness and this prevented him for complete some of his more major public commissions - he turned instead to printmaking. He looked for inspiration to earlier German artists - whose work features studies of death.
The print has Rethel's monogram bottom left: AR - and added in the manner of Durer. The right-hand side is signed in the image: Steinbrecher Sc. 1851 (who cut the blocks after the artist's design).
This is a very rare German print - and an impression is in the British Museum in London. Another impression is in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in California, the National Gallery of Canada, The Cleveland Gallery of Art, USA, and other such prestigious collections - so this is an original mid-19th century woodcut of museum quality.
Image size: 30.8 x 27.3 cm. Frame size: 54 x 44 cm
These do not come on the market that often - so my asking price for this rare print is indeed a fair one. It is being sold as an original wood engraving print - and NOT a reproduction or copy! It is in good antique condition - one little spot to the image on the upper left-hand side (as photographed). There is a little repaired tear to the upper left-hand corner - but this is concealed by the window mount - but it on the sheet outside of the image and below the mount edge. There is some very light discolouration to the edge of the sheet - again not obvious when the print is framed (see my last image of the loose sheet, before it was framed).
I haven't found another one of these offered for sale - so a rare chance to find an original impression of this work.
It has a new cream coloured window mount and simple thick black frame - all ready to just hang on your wall.
SADLY WE WOULD BE ABLE TO POST THIS WORK OUTSIDE OF THE UK.