Hermann Max Pechstein
Zwickau 1881 - 1955 Berlin
Lithograph on light, smooth, chamois-coloured paper. 28 x 38 cm (40.9/41.1 x 54 cm). Framed under glass. Signed and dated 'Pechstein 1910' in pencil lower right and titled 'Karneval V' lower left. Sheet 5 of the eponymous series of 10 lithographs. Hand-pulled proof. - Extremly rare. One proof known at the graphics collections of Albertina, Vienna. - Slightly browned and with minor light-stains in the former mat opening; small, localised fox marks.
Krüger L 119
Formerly Joachim (Jim) Mersmann collection, Wiesbaden, since then in family possession (third generation)
Berlin Jan. 1912 (Gutenberg-Kunsthandlung), Graphische Arbeiten von Max Pechstein, cf. cat. no. 17, 18
Waltraut Neuerburg, Der graphische Zyklus im deutschen Expressionismus und seine Typen 1905 bis 1925, Bonn 1976 (Diss.), p. 81 f.
Stage and dance played a well-known, extremely important role as motifs in the art of the turn of the century and in German Expressionism. Pechstein, as well, was inspired by the ballet pantomime "Carneval", which the Russian Ballet performed in Berlin's "Theater des Westens" in October 1910. In that year he created not only the series titled "Tanz", but also the loosely composed cycle of ten lithographs "Karneval", for which a title page also exists. Of these rare lithographs (only nine sheets from "Karneval" are photographically documented in the cat. rais.) two are offered here (lots 419, 420).
The lithographs for "Carneval" demonstrate Pechstein's early mastery in his exploration and handling of graphic media. Reduced entirely to the contrast of black and white, they exhibit great fluidity and freedom in the painterly recording of the individual scenes, as well as a highly expressive reduction of detailed description. The actions of the main characters of Pierrot, Harlequin and Columbine are nicely followed throughout their dynamic entrances and exits. The figurines are also unmistakably presented in terms of their differing characters: Pierrot's lovesick simplicity is confronted with the dextrous light-heartedness of Harlequin and Columbine. Pechstein's indications regarding the space of the stage are sparing and varied in each lithograph in particular fashion.