Max Klinger (1857–1920) was a German Symbolist painter, sculptor, printmaker, and writer. His best known work is a series of ten etchings entitled Paraphrases about the Finding of a Glove (printed 1881). These pictures were based on images which came to Klinger in dreams after finding a glove at an ice-skating rink. In the leitmotivic device of a glove—belonging to a woman whose face we never see—Klinger anticipated the research of Freud and Krafft-Ebing on fetish objects. In this case, the glove becomes a symbol for the artist's romantic yearnings, finding itself, in each plate, in different dramatic situations, and performing the role that we might expect the figure of the beloved herself to fulfil. Semioticians have also seen in the symbol of the glove an example of a sliding signifier, or signifier without signified—in this case, the identity of the woman which Klinger is careful to conceal. The plates suggest various psychological states or existential crises faced by the artist protagonist. Klinger was cited by many artists (notably Giorgio de Chirico) as being a major link between the Symbolist movement of the 19th century and the start of the metaphysical and Surrealist movements of the 20th century.
|From the Cycle "Intermezzos" Cupid, Death and the Beyond, 1881|
|From the Cycle "A Glove": Abduction, 1893|
|From the Cycle "On Death Part I": On the Tracks, 1897|
|From the Cycle "On Death Part II": Plague, 1898-1903|
|From the Cycle "On Death Part II": Dead Mother, 1898|
|Death in the desert|
|From the Cycle "A Love" Death , 1903|