Max Slevogt - Der Ätna von Syrakus aus gesehen
Der Ätna von Syrakus aus gesehen
Oil on canvas (approx. 31.5 x 40 cm), old relining 32.5 x 41 cm Framed. Signed and dated 'Slevogt 1914' in blackish grey lower left. - Paper adhesive tape along the edges of the canvas.
This much noticed little landscape impression was created in April of 1914, when Max Slevogt made a stop in Italy on his way back from Egypt, together with his friends and companions Eduard Fuchs (1870-1940) and Dr Johannes Guthmann (1876-1956). Sicily, Naples, Rome, Siena, Florence and Venice were the next stations of his journey - in Venice the collector Carl Steinbart joined the small artistic tour group. They arrived in Syracuse by ship in late March. During their stay Eduard Fuchs kept a record of the excursions they made, including their visit to the ancient fort of Euryalos, near Syracuse; in this way not only the dates but sometimes also the times of day when Slevogt created his works were documented. Regarding the present painting, which was created in the afternoon of Saturday, 4 April 1914, Johannes Guthmann later noted:
“I recall how he [Max Slevogt] had painted a small little picture near Syracuse, with a view across the blue sea to the distant Etna, which had nearly vanished within the soft mists. The little picture seemed long since finished to me, as I gazed from a distance over the artist's shoulder. However, he had a fine brush with a very long handle, which he held at the very end, in order to gain a greater overview of the whole by distancing his eye from the surface of the painting and to guide the brush - with a precious and almost artificial grace in his wrist - across the high sky of his landscape again and again and again. The brush seemed to scarcely leave behind any paint anymore, but Slevogt could not get enough of stroking this friendly element in the image and giving an ever broader and higher arc to the zenith.” (cited after B. Geil, from: Johannes Guthmann, Berlin 1948, op. cit., p. 38, reprint in: H.-J. Imiela, Max Slevogt in Ägypten in: exhib. cat. Mainz/Edenkoben 1989, op. cit. p. 50)
Imiela 1968, p. 410, annot. 4 ("Blick auf den Ätna", with erroneous dimensions)
We would like to thank Bernhard Geil for significant confirmatory information as well as Harry Joelson-Strohbach, archivist at the Museum Oskar Reinhart, Winterthur.
Formerly collection Dr. Johannes Guthmann, Neu-Cladow; Collection Oskar Reinhart, Winterthur (probably acquired through Fritz Nathan 1950); Kornfeld and Klipstein, Bern, auction 17.6.1967; Private collection, Switzerland (in family possesion for three generations)
Johannes Guthmann, Schöne Welt. Wandern und Weilen mit Max Sevogt (Buchreihe der Berliner Hefte), Berlin 1948, p. 38; Johannes Guthmann, Goldene Frucht. Begegnungen mit Menschen, Gärten, Häusern, Tübingen 1955, p. 186; Kornfeld and Klipstein, Bern, catalogue no. 123/A, Auktion Depotbestände Nachlass Dr. O.R., 17 June 1967, lot 37 ("Weite Landschaft. Öl auf Leinwand. 32,5 x 41 cm") with illus.; Hans-Jürgen Imiela, Max Slevogt in Ägypten, in: exhib. cat. Max Slevogt. Ägyptenreise 1914, Mainz/Edenkoben 1989, p. 50 with illus. ("Syrakus, Blick vom Fort Euryalos auf den Ätna. Entstanden am 4. April 1914"); Bernhard Geil, Max Slevogts Landschaftsverständnis, in: exhib. cat. Liebermann - Corinth - Slevogt. Die Landschaften, Cologne/Houston 2010, p. 184
Berlin 1918 (Freie Secession, Ausstellungshaus Kurfürstendamm), Max Slevogt, Ausstellung zum 50. Geburtstag des Künstlers, cat. no. 178 ("Der Ätna von Syrakus aus gesehen. 1914. Höhe 32 cm, Breite 41 cm, Besitzer Dr. Johannes Guthmann, Neu-Cladow")