Schumann, 1846

Clara und Robert Schumann

Clara (1819 - 1896) and Robert Schumann (1810 - 1856)
Relief by Ernst Rietschel, 1846, plaster cast

This double portrait by the hand of the well-known German sculptor Ernst Rietschel (1804 - 1861) who belonged to the circle of friends of the Schumann couple in Dresden, was deemed to be particularly true to life and successful by the friends and contemporaries of Clara and Robert Schumann. How many orders of original casts there must have been, is shown by Rietschel's response to a request by Clara Schumann of 2nd December 1854 (Robert Schumann had at that time been at the Endenich sanatorium for nearly a yearalready) to deliver a cast for Franz Liszt:
"[.] Leider ist die Form nicht im besten Zustande, teils sind sehr viele Abgüße gemacht worden, teils ist seit dem letzten Abguß eine geraume Zeit verstrichen und die Form ist vom Former weniger gepflegt worden, so daß sich manche Beschädigungen zeigen." "[.] Unfortunately, the mould is not in its very best state, partly because too many casts have been made already, and partly because a fairly long time has elapsed since the last cast, and the mould has been less cared for by the moulder, so that quite some damage is showing."]
Still, Liszt received the cast as requested, and it has been preserved in Weimar (Liszt House). The great demand led to consider at an early stage whether to perhaps produce replicas at a smaller scalefor sale, which were indeed documented on the market by 1858 at the latest. This relief was also theprototype of a steel engraving found on the market as from 1850 (cf. Fig. 2) and of a small ivory relief sold as a brooch (cf. Fig. 3) which was offered in Leipzig at the beginning of 1851 for "4 Friedrichsd'or" ["4 Prussian gold coins (pistoles)"]. 
The medallion with the composer's image designed by Adolf Donndorf for the funerary monument of Robert Schumann in Bonn - although a very free reproduction- also goes back to the double-portrait relief of Donndorf's teacher, Rietschel. 

(I.B., translated by Thomas Henninger)

Clara und Robert Schumann
[Fig. 2]

Clara and Robert Schumann
Steel engraving by Friedrich Schauer after Rietschel's relief
Robert Schumann House in Zwickau

With a handwritten dedication by Clara and Robert Schumann of March 1850.

Clara und Robert Schumann
[Fig. 3]

Clara and Robert Schumann
Ivory relief by Theodor BenediktKietz, 1850, after Rietschel's relief of 1846
Heinrich-Heine-Institute in Düsseldorf