Speyer 1880 - 1966 Basel
Sitzender Akt, nach links (Weibliche Aktstudie)
Oil on canvas. 70.5 x 55 cm. Framed. Signed 'H. Purrmann' in dark blue lower right. - With a fragmented paper label on the stretcher and frame resp., therein single-handedly titled by the artist 'Weibliche Aktstudie' and with the artist’s address 'Professor Hans Purrmann Berlin Grunewald Franz[ensbaderstraße 3]'. - In fine original condition. The canvas slightly undulated.
Lenz/Billeter 1924/39 (there erroneously "unsigned")
Formerly collection Consul H. Bomke Dortmund; Private collection, Rhineland
During the first half of the 1920s Purrmann repeatedly spent several months in Italy. His preferred destinations were Sorrento, Rome and Ischia, and he created numerous works at each of them - particularly landscapes, Roman cityscapes and light-filled interiors. In 1924 in his Roman studio, Purrmann painted a sequence of nudes which are very probably all from the same dark-haired model (cf. Lenz/Billeter 1924/38-44, not all of which have been preserved). In terms of size and similarity, our present variation is closest to the painting documented in the form of a 1926 photo (see comparative illus.). The work standing on an easel in the photograph is a somewhat larger version (94 x 75 cm, cf. Lenz/Billeter 1924/44): it bears a close resemblance, even if the background in that image appears to be depicted in a more expansive manner.
The light, richly nuanced depiction of the model's various flesh tones is strikingly set off against the dark colours of the surrounding space and simultaneously incorporates the red, green and blue-grey tones that dominate there. The opposition between the light surfaces of the skin and the coloured two-dimensional ornamentation exerts an exceptional visual charm, to which the artist devoted himself with great interest.
Regarding the special character of the nudes within Purrmann's oeuvre, Gotthard Jedlicka writes: “In each nude, as intensively as it may be articulated in terms of its formal appearance, drawing and colour, he takes the individual manifested within it seriously: even if only to the extent that the individual's distinctive figure is capable of being captured in drawing and colour. His development and transformation in the field of painting can also be represented through the development of his nude paintings. Nudes are relatively rare in his oeuvre as a whole, but when they are isolated out of it and placed together, it is possible to recognise that - over the course of his long life -Purrmann was unconsciously driven to occupy himself with all of the problems involved in nude painting: standing, seated, semi-reclining nudes and half-length nudes within an interior identified through a rear wall or other characteristic objects and spatial elements”. (in: Der Maler Hans Purrmann. Ölgemälde, Aquarelle, Zeichnungen und Graphik von 1898-1960, exhib. cat. Kunstverein Hannover, Hanover 1960, p. 14)