Georg Schrimpf - Stilleben
Oil on canvas 63.5 x 48.5 cm Framed. Signed and dated 'G. Schrimpf 2.5.' in dark brown lower left (faintly legible). Verso inscribed on the stretcher "Georg Schrimpf Stilleben mit Kaktus" in pencil by an unknown hand. - Professionally cleaned; with occasional localised retouchings, primarily to the margins.
The author of the catalogue raisonné had previously known this painting only through a photo in the unpublished dissertation by Adamiak. Due to its stylistic closeness to the still lifes of 1924, the present work was chronologically associated with these - quite rare - examples. The arrangement is very similar to the few painted compositions created before it (cf. “Kakteenstilleben” and “Stilleben mit Gummibaum”, Präger 1924/9, 1924/10). Here the familiar basic elements (exotic plants in an interior, in front of a view through a partially cropped window) are once again taken up and reinterpreted in a puristic style. In the narrowed vertical format (the painted canvas has been folded back at the right), the objects in the painting are presented within a strict structure and in only a few - as though savoured - nuances of colour, which receive additional emphasis through the elegant distribution of lighting contrasts, of illumination and shadow. Within Georg Schrimpf's oeuvre, the present painting is among the “highest quality works of the twenties” (Christmut Präger, expertise). The essence of his art seems to naturally crystallise in the still life: as in his best figure paintings, the objects reflect a distanced privacy and magical stillness.
The succulents, which were fashionable in the 1920s, stand in an interior with reddish cherry-wood furniture. There seem to be almost imperceptible, subtle allusions between references to the contemporary period and elder tradition. Eberle once stated that, in an epoch shaken by violence, social turmoil and chaos, Schrimpf held fast to “what seemed to him to be worth preserving, holding on to: moments, states of an only barely still attainable, only barely still discoverable happiness - as endangered, rare and fragile as it may be. [...] If we follow Freud's argumentation, then it lies outside the reality principle. In Schrimpf's case, past and future are suspended in a calm present that is free of intentions. This makes his figures seem as though frozen, motionless and construed. They are set against time.” (Mathias Eberle, Gegenüber Neuer Sachlichkeit und Romantik, op. cit., p. 13).
List of works
Hofmann/Präger 1924/11 o.D. (without indication of dimensions, attributed to 1924)
With an expertise by Christmut Präger, Heidelberg, dated 30 March 2015, the painting will appear in the second edition of the catalogue raisonné under no. "1925/14".
Old German private collection, Rhineland; since then in family possession
Josef Adamiak, Georg Schrimpf. Ein Beitrag zum Problem der Neuen Sachlichkeit (dissertation Humboldt University Berlin, unpublished manuscript), Berlin 1961, p. 71 with illus. 109; cf. Mathias Eberle, Gegenüber Neuer Sachlichkeit und Romantik. Notizen zu Georg Schrimpf, in: Wolfgang Storch, Georg Schrimpf und Maria Uhden, Leben und Werk, Berlin 1985, S. 12 f.