Ernst Wilhelm Nay - Harfespielerin
Ernst Wilhelm Nay
Oil on canvas. 70 x 55 cm. Framed. Signed and dated 'Nay. 48.'. Signed and dated 'NAY - Harfespielerin' verso on stretcher and dated '1948' on canvas. - Minor traces of age.
Harfespielerin belongs to a small group of paintings created end of the 1950s whose image composition is described by Werner Haftmann as “circulating mobility”. He denominates the painting Harfespielender David, which was created in the same year as the present work, as the model for this group. Both player and harp are figuratively depicted on the left hand side of the pictorial space and flow into an abstract image composition. “The streams of movement and swirls […] now detach themselves from the paint surface and organise themselves into autonomous, graphically strongly defined curves, arabesques and loops. Formality predominates. The line carries the movement. With sweeps and loops it sets the surface into agitated motion and restlessly swings back into itself. The alarming and convulsive aspect also penetrates the figurative symbols.” (Werner Haftmann, E.W. Nay, Cologne 1991, pp.148-150) The works are related to each other both in pictorial design as well as colour composition. The colouring is kept in cold, matt tones, which in the case of Harfespielerin, seems particularly obvious due to the clear white and the interplay of the bluish-green and brown. Thus, it is “stripped of its splendid coat of colour which obscured the tension of form with its beauty. The skeleton and tendons of the painting's body are manifest and the dialectics of the painting arise from the rigidity of the construction and the furious dynamics of the strategies of motion”. (Werner Haftmann, E.W. Nay, Cologne 1991, p.150)
Private collection, South Germany
Cologne 1954 (Galerie Der Spiegel), Ernst Wilhelm Nay, exhib.cat.no.10