In these prints, Lovis Corinth illustrates Friedrich Schiller's play Die Räuber (The robbers; 1781), which explores the conflict between two brothers and the destructive forces of jealousy, betrayal, and greed. Karl, the first-born son, joins a band of robbers after his younger brother, Franz, deceives their father into disinheriting him. Later Karl returns, unrecognized, to see his great love, Amalia. Things end badly. Corinth's quick, loose draftsmanship conveys the moral ambiguity and confusion of identities in Schiller's play, and his dramatic use of light and dark reflects the horrors and the growing psychological despair that beset the characters.
Founded in 1919, Avalun Verlag focused on publishing luxury editions of classic literary works with illustrations by contemporary artists. In December 1922, the publisher approached Corinth about doing a project, leaving the choices of text, medium, and number of illustrations up to the artist. This resultant portfolio of twelve unbound lithographs based on Die Räuber was issued with the first fifty copies of the book edition. Corinth illustrated three works by Schiller in the 1920s, when printmaking provided financial security in an uncertain economy.
Publication excerpt from Heather Hess, German Expressionist Digital Archive Project, German Expressionism: Works from the Collection. 2011.