Sculptor with a Clay Bozzetto (possibly a Self Portrait)
Oil on canvas (relined). 228 x 98 cm.
Signed lower right: A. Kampf.
The unusually large painting shows a sculptor at work on a clay bozzetto. The unfinished sculpture probably depicts the battle between Hercules and Antaeus, in the course of which Hercules tries to lift his opponent up from the earth to defeat him. This dramatic battle posed a particular challenge for many sculptors. The features of the depicted artist and the characteristic moustache resemble those of Arthur Kampf, so that the painting could be interpreted as a self-portrait, especially since the artist worked not only as a painter and illustrator but also as a sculptor, for example creating a bust of Fichte in 1919 (University of Jena). Kampf produced several self-portraits, mainly depicting himself in later years, including one with a cigar and another with a brush and palette in front of an easel.
A preliminary study for the head of our large-format painting was shown in 1954 at the Düsseldorf Kunsthalle as part of the "Memorial Exhibition for the Artist Born 90 Years Ago" (illustrated in the exhibition catalogue). The 1977 Lempertz auction also featured a counterpart to this work depicting a painter.
Lempertz auction 560, Cologne, 23.-26.11.1977, lot 431. - Private collection, Rhineland, subsequently in family ownership.