Georg Schrimpf - Am Morgen
Oil on canvas 86.4 x 60.3 cm Framed. Signed 'G Schrimpf 36' in dark brown lower right. - A few minor retouchings towards the lower margin, to the right shoulder of the left figure and within the skirt of the right figure.
Schrimpf's museum-quality pictures featuring windows and balconies are surely among his most beautiful paintings and are of particular artistic interest. These include the present composition “Am Morgen”, which has been in private hands for many years. There are very comparable precursors to this motif from 1927, such as “Mädchen auf dem Balkon” (Kunstmuseum Basel, formerly Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Munich, confiscated after 1933 as “degnerate art”) or “Auf dem Balkon”, as well as paintings like “Ausschauende” of 1931 (also formerly Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen). In particular, variations on the pairing of the figures of two girls seen from behind can be found here: Schrimpf contrasts subtle and sensitive human movements between standing and gracefull bending, which define the pictorial architecture and space in general while suggestively drawing the viewer in. In a classic manner, the selected detail and motif coincide virtually with the actual format of the painting. If we grasp the striking austerity and ostensible simplicity of the composition as well as the muted reduction of the colours and forms as expressing the style of the New Objectivity, a link back to the atmospheric visual traditions of German Romanticism - particularly to the work of Caspar David Friedrich - nonetheless remains palpable alongside the modernity and contemporary quality of this articulation of forms. In this context elements like the centring of the composition, the figures viewed from behind, the contrasting of spatial and emotional distances from nature and the landscape and, not least, the staging of light in a manner that is to be described as mystical and transcendent can all be compared directly. The emotions stirring within the figures are not explicitly stated here and only suggested and transferred to the viewer. Thus the work of Georg Schrimpf, which was progressing towards its pinnacle around 1930, was certainly received at that time as “neo-Romantic”. What remains modern is the stylisation of every detail, down to formal repetition - for example, in the icy mountain range, which takes on a magical aspect beyond its realistic, objectified description. These visual incidents of defamiliarisation, which also include the peculiar light and atmosphere of sunrise, nonetheless ultimately appear to be balanced out on the level of content, as they are directed towards something marvellous and encompass something profoundly human, a difficult to grasp “primary experience”.
Graphisches Kabinett Günther Franke, Munich (1939; label verso); Private collection North Rhine-Westphalia; in family possession since
Matthias Pförtner, Georg Schrimpf, Berlin 1940, illus. p. 55; Josef Adamiak, Georg Schrimpf. Ein Beitrag zum Problem der Malerei der "Neuen Sachlichkeit", Berlin 1961 (unprinted thesis of the Humboldt-Universität), p. 44 with illus. no. 69
Munich 1939 (Graphisches Kabinett Günther Franke, Palais Almeida), Georg Schrimpf. Gedächtnis-Ausstellung, cat. no. 22 with illus. on the cover