Hans Purrmann - Küstenlandschaft bei Sorrent - image-1
Hans Purrmann - Küstenlandschaft bei Sorrent - image-2
Hans Purrmann - Küstenlandschaft bei Sorrent - image-1Hans Purrmann - Küstenlandschaft bei Sorrent - image-2

Lot 61 D

Hans Purrmann - Küstenlandschaft bei Sorrent

Auction 1233 - overview Cologne
01.12.2023, 18:00 - Evening Sale - Modern and Contemporary Art
Estimate: 40.000 €
Result: 40.320 € (incl. premium)

Hans Purrmann

Küstenlandschaft bei Sorrent

Oil on canvas. 46 x 55 cm. Framed. Signed 'H. Purrmann' in black lower right. - In very good condition with fresh colours.

Travel was an important and constant element in the life of Hans Purrmann – beginning with his first journey through France with Henri Matisse in 1908. Over the following decades, Purrmann not only lived in France, Italy and Switzerland, he also regularly travelled round these countries. His stays left their mark in the form of numerous paintings capturing the sun-filled beauty of southern European landscapes in all their variety.
In the spring and summer months of each year between 1922 and 1924, Purrmann travelled with his family to Sorrento on the Gulf of Naples and to Rome. In the area around Sorrento he painted views of the rocky coast: through variations in his perspective as well as lighting and weather conditions, he fully savoured the special character of this landscape not just as a motif but also in terms of colour. A harmoniously rounded bay situated in front of a spit of land offered an interesting landscape formation for his “Küstenlandschaft bei Sorrent” from 1923 (Lot 61). The cresting waves moving towards the beach show the Mediterranean in gentle motion while the white rock pushed to the front establishes a striking counterpoint. The shimmering atmosphere of a summer day’s light becomes palpable in the innumerable nuances of colour in the sky and landscape.
The motif of “Uferlandschaft bei Hendaye” (Lot 56) lies at the southernmost point of France’s Atlantic coast, at the border with Spain; Purrmann and his wife travelled there in 1929. Hendaye is seen from the east, viewed from a spit of land across the bay, with the Basque mountain range of Jaizkibel rising up in the background. The painter presumably set up his easel at a bend in the hiking trail there; the slender trees rising up on the left in the picture lead our eyes over to the expansive landscape panorama which opens up before us. This work is defined by a delicate, light-filled palette; Purrmann realised the same view once again in a boldly coloured, semi-abstract version (cf. Lenz/Billeter 1929/16).
From October 1935 the artist lived in Florence, where he had been made responsible for the administration of the German artists’ foundation of the Villa Romana. During the following years, his time in Florence was overshadowed by the Nazi denunciation of his art as “degenerate” and the repeated consideration of his dismissal from the foundation. Hitler visited Florence in 1938, and Purrmann was placed in custody while he was there. No sign of these difficulties can be recognised in his works from this period. In “San Francesco di Paola bei Florenz” (Lot 57) the characteristic Tuscan landscape rises up strikingly in an abundant variety of extremely diverse shades of green. In the middle of the picture, nestled between cypresses, pines and fruit trees, stands the Villa di San Francesco di Paola, and the low-lying sun has set its walls aglow in a light pink and orange. This former monastery from the 16th century was converted into a private villa in the 18th century. In 1874 the German sculptor Adolf von Hildebrand purchased this estate to the south of Florence, receiving illustrious guests such as Richard and Cosima Wagner, Arnold Böcklin, Johannes Brahms and Empress Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary over the next three decades.

Catalogue Raisonné

Lenz/Billeter 1923/23


Kunsthandel Bellinger, Munich (1986); private collection, North Rhine-Westphalia