Marx, Karl, philosopher and economist (1818-1883). Portrait photograph.

London, 1872.

Albumen print (vintage) by John Mayall, London. Half-length portrait, carte-de-visite (58 x 92 mm) on studio card (63 x 99 mm).

(Includes:) carte-de-visite portrait of a young lady, probably 1870s or 1880s, inscribed on verso "Frl. v. Westphal" (56 x 88 mm on studio card, 62 x 96 mm), by C. Schulz, Trier.


Vintage photo print of the well-known 1872 portrait taken by John Mayall jr., which was used (in reverse) for the frontispiece of the French first edition of "Le Capital". The appealing half-length portrait shows Marx in a good suit and vest, an eyeglass dangling from his neck. It is pasted on the studio's original backing card, printed on the verso, "Mayall - 224, Regent Street London, W. and 914, King's Road, Brighton", and bears a later pencil note, "Karl Marx!".

Includes a head-and-shoulders portrait of a young lady in a black mourning dress, identified by a later pencil hand on the verso as "Miss von Westphal", written on the original backing card of the studio of Carl Schulz, active in Trier since ca. 1865 ("C. Schulz - photogr. Atelier Trier, Dietrichstr. No. 216").

Both photographs were offered together in 1984 by Dr. Helmut Tenner, Heidelberg, who identified the lady's portrait as one supposedly taken "ca. 1860" of Johanna (Jenny) Marx, née von Westphalen (1814-81), who had married Karl Marx in 1843. The purchaser returned both items to the trade in 2023; based on the lady's evident youth, the more recent auction house now attributed it "with a high degree of likelihood" to Jenny Julia Eleanor ("Tussy") Marx-Aveling (1855-98), Karl and Jenny Marx's third daughter, apparently in mourning for her mother and thus dated to 1881. However, visual comparison of the sitter with the known portraits of Marx's daughters would not appear to confirm this or similar attributions.

Further includes a typed letter from the Institute for Marxism-Leninism at the SED Central Committee, to be issued by Tenner to the successful bidder, requesting a "high-quality photocopy" and "precise description of the photographs" (10 Oct. 1984, 1½ pp., 4to), signed by the Institute's deputy director, Professor Dr. Heinrich Gemkow (1928-2017).


1) Tenner, Heidelberg, sale 149 (1984), lot 18 (catalogue entry included in photocopy).

2) German private collection.

3) Hermann Historica, Grasbrunn, 17 Oct. 2023, lot 3342.


Insignificant stains to both prints, but in good condition, the portrait of Marx in particular showing fine, well-graded contrast.