Strong performance by Kirchner and Grosz

The Modern Art auction was crowned by the colourful picture of a girl by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner which sold for 1.58 million euro. One of George Grosz’ most important sheets, Soirée made 446,000, with further six-figure results for pictures by Erich Heckel (124,000), Marianne Werefkin and Emil Nolde (111,600 each), as well as Max Liebermann (155,000).

The top lot of the auction was the museum-quality painting by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner from the artist’s productive year of 1912 on Fehmarn. It was here he produced many of his best and most important works. The present piece Mädchen in Südwester most likely depicts Kirchner’s muse, model and partner Erna Schilling. Exhibited many times, the expressionist painting is in a frame made by the artist himself. The impressive, colourful painting acquired much interest and eventually sold for 1.58 million to a telephone bidder (lot 210, 1.3/1.5 million). His second painting Häuser im Schnee, produced five years later in the winter of 1917 was probably one of his first paintings in Switzerland, a country which would become his second home. The canvas was sold under reserve and after sale negotiations just started (lot 213, 500/600,000).

A further highlight was George Grosz’ flawless and colour-fresh large watercolour Soirée which sold for 446,000. One of the artist’s most important pieces, the sheet was published in the culturally-historical and socially-politically important portfolio ‘Ecce Homo’ of 1922/23 (lot 225, 250/350,000).

Max Liebermann had success with Judengasse in Amsterdam from 1905, painted in broad, quick brushstrokes. During his annual stay in Holland, Liebermann first painted in the Jewish quarter on recommendation of the director of the Amsterdam Art Academy. It seems the painter was particularly attracted to a spot on the main street Jodenbreetstraat with a view down the Uilenbergersteeg as it featured in a number of his works. The painting eventually went to a North German collection for 155,000 (lot 203, 150/170,000). Liebermann’sKonzert in der Oper from 1919 was sold under reserve, and is under negotiation (lot 216, 250/300,000).

A German collector parted with 111.600 for Marianne von Werefkin’s portrait Rosalia Leiß from 1908/1909. It is not only an impressive portrait, but also depicts a characteristic and exciting work by the Russian partner of Alexej von Jawlensky, co-founder of the N.K.V.M, later the Blauer Reiter (lot 208, 90/100,000). Erich Heckel’sMeerlandschaft (Ostende), a tempera work from 1917 was pushed by a Swiss bidder from 60/80,000 up to 124,000 (lot 209), whilst the watercolour Roter Mohn (Mohnblumen, Iris und Sonnenhut) by Emil Nolde was pursued by a Dutch bidder to 111,600 (lot 218, 80/100,000).

Serge Poliakoff’sComposition rouge orange gris bleu from 1952 reached 87,000, selling to a German collector (lot 231, 60/80,000), whilst Allee by Wilhelm Morgner from the year 1910 was sold to a private collector for 68,000 (lot 207, 55/65,000). Adolf Erbslöh's cubist-style painting Am Meer bei Positano from 1923 made a German collector happy, paying 50,000. The picture illustrated came from the collection of Richart Reiche, who became the head of the Barmer Kunstverein in 1907, and was until now only documented in a black and white photograph by the artist (lot 222, 40/50,000).

A picture by Wladimir Baranoff-Rossiné had great success. Painted in 1905, Barques created an intense bidding war, catapulting the price from 4,000 to 23,600 (lot 237). A steep rise was also seen by Paul Adolf Seehaus' mixed-media Herbstfeuer from 1917, changing hands for 37,000 (lot 363, 6/8,000). Walter Ophey's Dorf im Wald from around 1925 sold for 35,000 (lot 335, 28/32,000), whilst increases were also seen for Erich Fritz Reuter (lot 355, 27,200), Franz von Stuck's Amazone (lot 375, 27,300), Hermann Stenner (lots 377/378, up to 30,000), and Eberhard Viegener'sDorfstraße from 1925 at 27,300 (lot 382, 12/15,000).

 An original lithograph by Picasso, Buste au corsage à carreaux from 1957 rose from 25/30,000 to 40,000 (lot 228, 25/30,000), and his ceramics were also sought after. An untitled gouache from 1958 by Hans Arp changed hands for 37,000 (lot 230, 30/35,000), and Otto Dix's chalk drawing Badende Soldaten from 1917 for 30,000 (lot 212, 25/30,000).

One of the top sculpture lots with a result of 59,500 was the 1940/41 sculpture Jugend by Fritz Klimsch. Estimated at 35/40,000, the 158.5 cm bronze went to a German collector (lot 308). Ernst Barlach's bronze Der Einsame from 1911 sold for 37,000 (lot 206, 35,000), Georg Kolbe's bronze Kauernde from 1917 for 42,000 (lot 211, 35/40,000) and Renée Sintenis had success with the 18 cm high Kleines Mädchen from 1926 (lot 217, 22/25,000). Chéri Bibi, a sculpture by Max Ernst jumped from 10/12,000 up to 32,200 (lot 275), whilst a Mataré cow doubled the upper estimate with 30,000 (lot 328). Even greater was the jump for Richard Martin Werner's Kniende mit ausgebreiteten Armen (lot 383, 8/12,000).