Georg Tappert - Portrait of Karl Jakob Hirsch - image-1
Georg Tappert - Portrait of Karl Jakob Hirsch - image-2
Georg Tappert - Portrait of Karl Jakob Hirsch - image-3
Georg Tappert - Portrait of Karl Jakob Hirsch - image-1Georg Tappert - Portrait of Karl Jakob Hirsch - image-2Georg Tappert - Portrait of Karl Jakob Hirsch - image-3

Lot 65 D

Georg Tappert - Portrait of Karl Jakob Hirsch

Auction 1223 - overview Cologne
06.06.2023, 18:00 - Evening Sale - Modern and Contemporary Art
Estimate: 40.000 € - 50.000 €

Georg Tappert

Portrait of Karl Jakob Hirsch
Circa 1917

Oil on canvas (relined). 76.4 x 59.2 cm. Framed. Signed 'Tappert' lower right. - Frame-related rubbing to the edges, otherwise in excellent condition with fresh colours.

This emphatic portrait by Georg Tappert depicts the painter and writer Karl Jakob Hirsch (1892 – 1952). Born in Hanover into an upper-class family receptive to the arts, Hirsch initially intended to pursue a career as a pianist before having to reorient himself in the direction of graphic art, painting and writing due to the partial amputation of his right index finger. He accordingly attended Hannover’s school of applied arts and then studied painting in Munich and Berlin. There Hirsch became friends with Franz Pfemfert and contributed prints and texts to his socialist magazine “Die Aktion”. From 1918 he worked as “artistic adviser” for the Berliner Volksbühne and designed stage sets as well as costumes. This is also the period when he met Georg Tappert, who instructed him in drawing and served with him in the air force, in Adlershof, during the First World War.
As documented by a photo from 1917, the two artists were close friends. That is also the year in which the pen-and-ink drawing of Hirsch conceived in the form of a caricature and the half-length portrait offered here were created. Tappert presents his student and friend in a flaming-red armchair placed before a luminously yellow background; the figure dressed in a dark suit stands out in relief before it. With a view to the painter and author’s intellectualism and diverse talents, Tappert has interpreted him with a strikingly large head, thick glasses and his mouth opened as if he were about to speak. At the same time, he has emphasised the slender hands of the thwarted pianist.
In 1925 Hirsch switched from visual art to writing, composing reviews of music, art and literature as well as the 1931 novel “Kaiserwetter”, which was published by S. Fischer Verlag and was a great success. He had already recognised the danger of Nazism early on and emigrated to the United States by way of Switzerland in 1934.

Catalogue Raisonné

Wietek 180


Annalise Tappert, Berlin (until 1967); Private ownership, Switzerland; Private collection, Hamburg


Gerhard Wietek, Georg Tappert 1880-1957. Ein Wegbereiter der Deutschen Moderne, Munich 1980, p. 44


Berlin 1918 (Galerie Buchkunst Axel Juncker), Georg Tappert. Paintings and Prints; Kassel 1959 (Kunstverein), Georg Tappert Gedächtnisausstellung, cat. no. 25; Berlin 1961 (Akademie der Künste), Georg Tappert 1880-1957, cat. no. 41; Hagen 1967 (Karl Ernst Osthaus-Museum), Zur Erinnerung - 10 Maler des Expressionismus, cat. no. 87; Berlin 1980/81 (Berlinische Galerie), Georg Tappert. A Berlin Expressionist 1880-1957, cat. no. 22 (label on the reverse); Schleswig/Nuremberg 2005 (Schleswig-Holsteinisches Landesmuseum/Germanisches Nationalmuseum), Georg Tappert. Deutscher Expressionist, cat. no. 46