Ernst Wilhelm Nay - Grüne Flucht - image-1

Lot 17 D

Ernst Wilhelm Nay - Grüne Flucht

Auction 1200 - overview Cologne
01.06.2022, 18:00 - Evening Sale - Modern and Contemporary Art
Estimate: 200.000 €
Result: 226.800 € (incl. premium)

Ernst Wilhelm Nay

Grüne Flucht

Oil on canvas. 110 x 130 cm. Framed. Signed 'Nay. 51.' lower right in black and signed, dated and titled 'Nay - Grüne Flucht - 1951' verso in black on the upper stretcher bar.

Painted in 1951, when Ernst Wilhelm Nay relocated to Cologne from the rural idyll of his Hofheim studio, 'Die Grüne Flucht' captivates the viewer with a newly acquired dynamism. The colourfulness of the umber and dark red tones in the lower left half of the picture contrasts with the light green, almost cold upper right area. In fact, the compositional elements of this painting unfold on the emerging diagonal: the earthy tones are complemented by vermilion, and Nay creates further layers with the help of the black, leaf-shaped outlines. It is interesting to note that the painter - who was still working in Le Mans at the end of the 1940s - drew new inspiration from nature in his space in Hofheim. It was during this period that the so-called Fugal Paintings were created, in which Nay combined an almost musically-inspired style with the continuous exploration of colour. The move to Cologne followed the divorce from his first wife and marriage to Elisabeth Kerschbaumer, who later became known as the custodian of his estate. These private developments, coupled with technical advancements of modern life, paved the way for a new compositional lightness and for the reinterpretation of his formal visual language. In ‘Grüne Flucht’, we not only grasp this newfound dynamism, but also see allusions to the disc paintings, as well as hints of the eye form, a motif Nay would go on to explore further in the mid-1960s. Instead of coherently subdividing Nay's oeuvre into his various creative epochs, this painting is an example of how these focal points inspired and cross-fertilised each other. A comprehensive retrospective of Ernst Wilhelm Nay's works can be seen at the Hamburger Kunsthalle until the beginning of August 2022. The exhibition will move on to the Museum Wiesbaden from September 2022 to February 2023 and subsequently be shown at the Museum Kuppersmühle für Moderne Kunst in Duisburg, until August 2023.

Catalogue Raisonné

Scheibler 535


Private collection, Rhineland


Oldenburg 1951 (Kunstverein), E. W. Nay - Hans Uhlmann