Ernst Wilhelm Nay - In Blockformen - image-1
Ernst Wilhelm Nay - In Blockformen - image-2
Ernst Wilhelm Nay - In Blockformen - image-1Ernst Wilhelm Nay - In Blockformen - image-2

Lot 10 D

Ernst Wilhelm Nay - In Blockformen

Auction 1177 - overview Cologne
17.06.2021, 18:00 - Modern/Contemporary Art - Evening Sale
Estimate: 180.000 € - 220.000 €
Result: 275.000 € (incl. premium)

Ernst Wilhelm Nay

In Blockformen

Oil on canvas, painted on both sides. One of the compositions rotated by 180° 100 x 110 cm Framed.. Each signed and dated 'Nay 53'. - On the recto, the lower margin with minor retouching. Borders relined in order to be able to present both of the work's sides.

In 1953, Ernst Wilhelm Nay painted the double-sided work "In Blockformen", revealing his complete renunciation of all representational forms. This development towards pure abstraction paralleled Nay's move from rural Taunus to Cologne in 1951. Elisabeth Nay-Scheibler characterized these works from 1952/1953, produced in a lively big city atmosphere, as 'Rhythmical pictures', moulded by the artist's affinity to new music. Nay frequently attended concerts by composers such as Arnold Schönberg, Béla Bartok and Paul Hindemith as well as the avant-gardists Pierre Boulez and Luigi Nono, with whom he exchanged ideas about musical and painterly parallels.
The abstract compositions of this period show, for the most part, light and dynamic rounds of loosely placed, open colour forms and line structures.
These features are also found on the reverse of "In Blockformen" - a composition which, according to information from Aurel Scheibler, the artist had originally discarded and overpainted and which was released posthumously in 1990. It is dominated by large coloured areas of brown and orange tones, which are animated by black zigzag lines and contrasting blue and blue-grey colour forms, producing a powerfully dynamic composition. The composition on the front however shows a somewhat quieter character with soft, rounded forms. The complete lack of lineal structure here hints already at the Scheibenbilder which Nay worked on from 1955. White, light blue and dark blue ellipses sway together with small, rounded square shapes in front of a harmonious colour combination of black, dark red, dark blue and ochre. The remaining white areas do not stand as individual forms, but as illuminated background areas, underscoring the impression of swaying lightness.
Nay himself wrote about this phase of his work: "1952, following strict constrictions, came an intense dispersal of the pictorial form. However a formal objectivity is always a direct requirement for my art; increasingly rhythm came to discharge - rhythm of the surface. The theme of the surface area, which actually remained constant, was conceived in terms of ellipsoidal light processes. It took me years to create a complete and obvious clarity for the picture, and I have keenly observed the transformations from this viewpoint." (quoted from: Retrospektive E.W. Nay, exhib. cat. Cologne/Basel/Edinburgh 1992, p.34).

Catalogue Raisonné

Scheibler 694


Dr. Wickert, Berlin; Private collection, Berlin; Lempertz Cologne, Auktion Zeitgenössische Kunst 1042, 29 Nov. 2014, lot 514; Private collection, North Rhine-Westphalia