Gabriel von Max - IN MEMORIAM
Gabriel von Max
Oil on canvas. 100.5 x 81 cm.
Gab. Max 1892.
Gabriel von Max, who the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus in Munich honoured with a comprehensive retrospective exhibition with a brilliant catalogue in 2010/11, is today mainly known for his brilliantly painted depictions of monkeys. However in his own time he was also famed for his historic and figural paintings with literary, christian or spiritualist motifs, the public viewings of which often caused traffic jams near his studio in Munich (cf. exhib. cat. Gabriel von Max, p. 158). Gabriel von Max used a variety of different painting techniques in his works in order to achieve everything from a porcelain-smooth surface to textured structures using fabric pressed into the paintings.
The present work shows a young woman standing by a stele with the inscription "In Memoriam", and displays all the characteristics that made this artist a "star" among painters: Strong contrasts between dark and light; unusually pale flesh tones; large, dark-shadowed eyes and a skilfull use of numerous shades of white. According to Friedrich von Boetticher, whose standard work "Malerwerke des Neunzehnten Jahrhunderts" was published around the time the painting was made, states that von Max donated the work to the city of Hamburg to help the town's destitute.
Private collection, North Germany.
Friedrich von Boetticher: Malerwerke des Neunzehnten Jahrhunderts, Leipzig 1891-1901, Reprint 1941, vol. 1,2, p. 956, no. 148. For this artist, cf. exhib. cat. "Gabriel von Max. Malerstar Darwinist Spiritist", Munich, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus 2010/11.