Coffee in the Garden

07.06.2017

The top lot of the offering with 592,000 euro was a garden picture by August Macke. Further highlights included: a significant increase for a Montmartre view by Maurice Utrillo for 273,000, a portrait by Mela Muter for 118,000 and an early panel by Hermann Glöckner for 161,000. A watercolour landscape by Emil Nolde achieved 164,000.

Crowning the broad offering with 592,000 was the important painting Kaffeetafel im Grünen by August Macke. Painted in 1912, and up until now not publicly presented, the picture shows the artist's family in the garden of his house in Bonn. The garden played a central role in the Macke family - as seen not only in photographs, but also a whole series of drawings, watercolours and paintings by the artist. Macke's important painting is both a narrative family portrait as well as evidence of the artist's extraordinary talent in referring to the presence of the everyday in the world beyond their visible phenomena (lot 260, 400/500,000).

A considerable increase was achieved by Maurice Utrillo's 41 x 33 cm painting Place du Tertre et Sacré Coeur, Montmartre from 1938. With an updated expert report, a German collector fought against persistent rivals to push the 80/100,000 estimate up to 273,000. The present view of the square of Montmartre is an impressive example of that fine colouring which alongside the masterful differentiation of white, distinguishes Utrillo's work. The dense composition keeps its liveliness through the complex palette with its variegated colour accents in brown and green as well as Utrillo's characteristic figural depiction. With great ease, Utrillo achieves an exceptionally atmospheric view of the Place du Tertre, above which the bright white dome of the Sacré Coeur rises (lot 281).

Great success was also seen by Hermann Glöckner's Rechtwinklige Durchdringung: Zeichen F auf Schwarz, an early panel from 1932, for which an open collection had to invest 161,000 to obtain. Made from 1930, Glöckner's panels form a central work group within his rich oeuvre. The concept of the panel, developed by Glöckner in opposition to the traditional painting, is distinguished by its distinctive, object-like character and is not least acknowledged as an important contribution to constructive-concrete art (Lot 276, 40/50.000).

Emil Nolde's watercolour Weite Marschlandschaft mit Bauernhöfen from around 1930/1935 most likely depicts the Friesian marsh in Gotteskoog with the large farmsteads surrounding Seebüll. In 1927 the artist had a new home and studio based on his own designs built on the high ground of the Seebüll terp. With their intense as well as expressive colouring, the paintings and watercolours from that time are today undisputed masterworks within Emil Nolde's oeuvre. A bidder from America invested 164,000 (lot 274, 140/160,000).

Maria Mela Muter's Frau im Pelzkragen from 1919 also rose sharply to 118,000. Mela Muter came from Warsaw to the art metropolis of Paris in 1905 and after the First World War went on to become a sought-after portraitist - both intellectual figures and artists stood as models for her - and she likewise depicted children and old people from the poorest classes. Her very expressive portraits are based on a relentless realism. This is accompanied by an exquisitely splendid manner of painting which neutralises all physical deficiencies, and emphasises the peculiar individuality and human significance of their models (Lot 254, 40/50.000).

August Rodin's bronze Jean de Fiennes, vêtu, réduction from the group 'Bourgeois de Calais' is a cast from the Musée Rodin, and in the archive, by expertise and provenance, is well documented. It is the reduced version of one of the figures from the famous memorial to the citizens of Calais, cast posthumously by George Rudier between 1956 and 1963 in a final museum edition of eight examples. The bronze was sold for 74,500 to an American collector (lot 250, 40/50,000). Buste de Femme by Jean Léon Fautrier from 1929 went to the German trade for 74,500 (lot 272, 50/60,000). Like the works of his contemporaries Alberto Giacometti or Jean Dubuffet, Jean Fautrier's works want to capture the incomprehensible; they seek to depict something when the end of figure and space seems to have been reached long ago. Almost like an image of Gaia, the artist paints his female figures in a strict and monumental frontality, as though they were meant to conjure up the idols of an archaic culture.

An artist rarely seen on the market is Paul Adolf Seehaus whose work here sold to a German collector for 65,700, more than double the estimate. In his later colour pencil drawings from 1918/1919, Seehaus discovered a medium which gave him, different to that of watercolour, new qualities of colour and expression. The magnificent Keltische Landschaft also belongs to this group of important works conceived in the manner of paintings: here the possibilities of a rich and brightly resonant chromatic orchestration have been experienced as an obviously exhilarating revelation relished to the fullest (lot 262, 25/30.000). A result of 50,000 was seen for Franz Radziwill's Einmal nah, einmal fern from 1956. The picture theme in this single composition is doubled: as in a trompe-l'oeil, a sheet of wood painted in bold, shining colours pushes its way in front of a muted, greyish-brown background with an identical motif. It is a gentle play with optics and with the levels of meaning (lot 286, 35/40.000).
Tänzelndes Pferd / "Chinesisches Pferd" from 1943 belongs to the most well-known horse sculptures by Ewald Mataré. It is distinguished not only by its composition in the round, but also by its exceptional elegance, gracefulness and lightness. The sculpture cleverly represents the general, essential nature of the horse A German collector raised the price up to 54,600 (lot 275, 35/40,000). Estimated at 40/50,000, Cuno Amiet's Selbstbildnis (Selbstporträt vor Bergkette) from 1932 sold for 52,000 to a German collector (lot 277), whilst the 1920 canvas Im Atelier by Edward Cucuel changed hands for 89,000 (lot 278, 80/120,000).

Pablo Picasso was present with a charming Découpage. A private collector parted with 34,700 for this double-sided drawing of a Femme from 1940 - an impressive result for this small, 10 x 3.6 cm work once in the collection of Marie-Thérèse Walter (lot 283, 20/25,000).