Ulrich Leman - Kloster am Hymettos, Kesariani (Nonnenkloster Kesariani)
Kloster am Hymettos, Kesariani (Nonnenkloster Kesariani)
Oil on canvas, the borders relined 60.8 x 50 cm Framed. Signed, dated, and inscribed 'Ulrich Leman/ Kesareanie 1924/ Hymettos' [sic] in black lower right and additionally signed, dated and inscribed in white brush '1924/ Ulrich Leman/ Kesarianie/ "Of the nuns" [in Greek]' verso on canvas. - Some minor craqueleur; minor losses of colour in the lower right half of the painting.
The painter Ulrich Leman spent his childhood and adolescence in Danzig; after the war, in 1919, he returned to Düsseldorf and quickly became active as a member of the board of “Junges Rheinland”, the new secessionist artists association in the town of his birth. A member of Heinrich Nauen's master class at the academy, just like Otto Dix in the early 1920s, Leman was directly influenced by the first generation of Rhineland Expressionists. The present early oil painting - from a period in his oeuvre that is now almost impossible to present on account of destroyed and lost works - also develops the architectural motif entirely on the basis of colour, depicting it in harmoniously modulated chromatic and formal contrasts, almost in the sense of Orphism. According to annotations written by the artist himself, this work presumably represents a detail from the historical complex of the Kaisariani Abbey. This abbey dates back to the 11th century and is located in the suburb of the same name, which lies to the east of Athens, in the valley of Hymettus.
Leman had also become decidedly politically active in the Rhineland during those years and he had to escape the threat of mistreatment by journeying to Greece, the Balkans and Italy. The works he brought back to Düsseldorf were presented to the public for the first time in 1926/1927, as part of the art exhibition at the GeSoLei exposition and at Johanna Ey's gallery. The local press quickly made a “Vlaminck of the Balkan landscape” out of him (Ulrich Leman, exhib. cat. Düsseldorf 1985, op. cit., p. 17), using this description to refer to the expressive substance and power of his striking compositions of colour. Here we are presented with a beautiful as well as rare painting from this intense and also vibrant period in his oeuvre.
Formerly Dr Karl Nagel collection, Düsseldorf (an old friend of the artist), estate; German private posession; Private collection, North Rhine-Westphalia
Wieland Koenig (ed.), Ulrich Leman, Gemälde, Graphik, Zum 100. Geburtstag des Künstlers, exhib. cat. Stadtmuseum Düsseldorf 1986, p. 17 (the painting "Nonnenkloster Kesariani" is mentioned in an exhibition review from Danzig dated 13 July 1925) and p. 19
Düsseldorf 1985/1986 (Stadtmuseum), Ulrich Leman. Gemälde - Graphiken. Zum 100. Geburtstag des Künstlers, cat. no. 14 with illus. ("Griechisches Nonnenkloster")