Cartoonist, graphic artist, illustrator
Nückel, who had exhibited skill as an artist in his childhood, was dropped out of medical school in Freiburg im Breisgau and moved to Munich where he resided for the remainder of his life. There he developed his skill in drawing and painting, joining the artists’ association, the Munich Sezession, and developing an interest in relief printing. Because of the scarcity of wood, Nückel made engravings for relief prints on lead plates. A pioneer in lead engraving, Nückel developed an accomplished mastery of this medium, distinguished by ample use of the multiple-line tool. He illustrated works by Thomas Mann, E. T. A. Hoffman and others before garnering considerable attention with his own publication Destiny: A story in pictures (Schicksal. Eine Geschicte in Bildern. Munich: Delphin Verlag, 1930). This wordless novel highlights the life and suffering of a female protagonist as a vehicle for a dark social critique. Much of Nückel’s work favors dark comedy, profound irony and an often scathing sarcasm.
Nückel’s series of “Studio Visits” (Atelierbesuche) to studios from Ensor to Bosch were famous. Nückel earned his living as an illustrator and cartoonist. He was a contributor to the satirical magazines Simplicissimus and Simpl, fantasy magazine Der Orchideengarten, and to children’s periodical Ping-Pong.
New editions of Destiny have been published in the US by Dover and in France under the title ‘Destin’ in 2005 (Éditions IMHO, Paris).