Modern Art – Impressive Expressionists

15.05.2015

This year’s spring auction will include several fine works by Alexej von Jawlensky and Hermann Max Pechstein consigned from German private possession. Jawlensky’s work is especially fascinating due to the fact that it is painted on both sides: An expressive portrait of a young girl from 1910 was discovered on the reverse of the early farm house scene (est. €400 – 500,000).

Pechstein is represented by two impressive views of the Baltic coast painted during the 1920s. The Expressionist works date from 1927 and 1928 and are estimated at €350 – 400,000 and €300 – 400,000. A large drawing by Alberto Giacometti is estimated at €200 – 230,000; a sketchbook page painted on both sides by Pablo Picasso during his Rose period (from the Marina Picasso collection) is expected to bring €150 – 160,000 and a famous and frequently exhibited watercolour by Amedeo Modigliani €130 – 140,000. Max Liebermann is represented by two coastal motifs for €110 – 120,000 and €90 – 110,000; Karl Hofer with an early, large format work for €80 – 100,000; Louis Valtat with a garden scene previously owned by Vollard for €80 – 120,000; Ernst Barlach with a cast of his Singender Mann for €100 – 120,000 and Emil Nolde with a floral watercolour for €100 – 120,000.

Pechstein’s Herbstwolken, painted in 1927, is a highly characteristic work. The 80 x 100 cm signed and dated canvas shows where the river Lupow flows into the Baltic sea near the town of Rowe in Pomerania. Pechstein’s images from the 1920s were often inspired by impressive natural phenomena. The artist has expertly staged the dynamism and the imposing rolling of the huge, light-bringing cloud formations with the help of the thickly applied paint and a forceful transition. The rowing boats lying in the water in the foreground also demonstrate that Pechstein not only knew how to charmingly place particular accents of colour, but that he was also a sovereign master of the composition of form (lot 206, €350 – 450,000).

Pommersche Fischerkaten, which Pechstein painted the year after Herbstwolken, is estimated at €300 – 400,000. The technique and colours used in the work clearly display the influence of Van Gogh, who had a lasting impact on Pechstein. The Arnold Gallery displayed 50 of Van Gogh’s paintings in 1902, and Pechstein was highly impressed by this display, visiting a further exhibition by Druet and Bernheim-Jeune in Paris in 1908 (lot 207).

Jawlensky’s works Garten am Bauernhaus and Mädchenbildnis, painted on two sides of the same canvas, present two fine examples of two different periods in the artist’s oeuvre. Garten am Bauernhaus was painted at the same time that Jawlensky was producing a series of colourful landscapes showing Wasserburg am Inn - works which form a small group within his oeuvre. The artist was at that time greatly influenced by the developments occurring within French art, such as the Post Impressionist and Fauvist movements, and by proponents such as Van Gogh and Cézanne. The reverse of the work displays a beautiful portrait of a girl painted in circa 1910. This piece is a major discovery and presents a fine example of the artist’s mature period, which was to reach a qualitative high point in the years 1911 to 1912. In works such as this we glimpse a quality which Jawlensky was later to describe as a “verhaltene Glut”, or “dimmed glow” (lot 204, €450 – 500,000). A further work by this artist, Meditation. December 1935 N. 21, will also be offered this season for an estimate of €50 – 60,000 (lot 205).

Drawings made by sculptors always elicit special interest, as they reveal the initial ideas from which the artist’s three dimensional structures arise. However, Alberto Giacometti never made any formal preparatory sketches for his sculptures, instead creating drawings after the pieces in his studio. The three motifs included on the large sheet offered in this seasons auction as lot 225 include Diego im Atelier surrounded by sculptures and paintings, a frontal portrait sketch of his brother – typical of the artist’s work – and the standing sculpture Le Chien upon a modelling pedestal amid studio accoutrements (est. €200 – 300,000).    

Pablo Picasso is not only represented by several fine quality prints, including a lithograph of his 1946 work Francoise (lot 232, €30 – 35,000), but also a watercolour from his famous and frequently exhibited 1905 sketchbook (of the so-called Rose period): Jeune Fille, with the ink drawing Étude pour Saltimbanque on the reverse. These early depictions are a double page spread removed from a sketchbook which entered the possession of Picasso’s daughter Marina from the artist’s estate and originally comprised of 51 pages. The works are dated “3 de Mayo 1905” in a hand written note on the page. The pieces are particularly interesting in relation to the famous period in which they were made, with its primary motifs taken from the world of circus performers and acrobats (lot 231, €150 – 160,000).

Two works on paper by Amadeo Modigliani will be offered this season, including the watercoloured drawing Odalisque blu from 1917/18. This frequently exhibited signed sheet shows a half-length female nude depicted in the artist’s typically elegant style (lot 236, €130 – 140,000). The equally fine, but slightly earlier, pencil drawn portrait of the distinctive Conrad Moricand will be offered for €20 – 30,000 (lot 236). The auction will also include one of Joan Miró’s charmingly poetic compositions from the 1950s (lot 237, €30 – 35,000).        

The German Expressionist Max Liebermann is represented by two versions of his Badende Knaben motif, both charming and fresh oil sketches from 1899 (lots 201/202, €110 – 120,000 and 90 – 100,000). Lesser Ury’s colourful impression Abendstimmung am Grunewaldsee from the 1910s is estimated at €80 – 100,000 (lot 200). The motif of Karl Hofer’s work Indisches Paar unter Bäumen, dated 1912 and exhibited in Berlin in 1919 by Paul Cassirer, derives from the artist’s trips to India in 1909 and 1911 and is estimated at €80 – 100,000 (lot 214). Also included are three sought after sketchbook pages by Franz Marc from 1911, 1912 and 1913: Zwei rote Jünglingsakte auf Schwarz in red ink and gouache (lot 209, €50 – 60,000); a pastel drawing of two recumbent female nudes for €35 – 40,000 (lot 210) and a landscape near Meran for €28 – 32,000 (lot 211). A particularly fascinating lot is a rare 1913 landscape painting by the Rhenish Expressionist Paul Adolf Seehaus entitled Segelboot vor Brücke, originating from the artist’s estate (lot 400, €15 – 20,000).   

Louis Valtat – one of the earliest proponents of Fauvism – created the vivid canvas La Maison in 1909. The piece was once owned by the renowned art dealer Ambroise Vollard and will be offered at auction for €80 – 120,000 (lot 203). Maurice de Vlaminck is represented by a characteristic still life from the early 1940s entitled Nature morte au Pain (los 212, €35 – 45,000). Further interesting works include two late watercolours painted by Emil Nolde sometime after 1950, estimated at €100 – 120,000 and €50 – 70,000 (lots 215/216); a large landscape with the title Landschaft im Nahetal by Erich Heckel, painted on canvas and estimated at €60 – 80,000 (lot 221a); an early rare 1925 still life by Georg Schrimpf appearing on the market for the first time and estimated at €45,000 (lot 223); a small floral still life by Franz Radziwill from 1932, also estimated at €45,000 (lot 223a) and an abstract reverse glass painting by Walter Dexel from 1924, estimated at 28 – 32,000 (lot 228). A further unusual highlight utilising the medium glass is a 16 piece stained glass window by Heinrich Campendonk, illustrating the nativity. The work was commissioned in 1943 by the Vicar of St. Kolumba’s church in Cologne (lot 229, €80 – 90,000).

The auction will also include numerous fine works on paper by the Expressionists, such as a tavern interior by Max Pechstein from around 1909/1912 (lot 208, €25- 28,000); a landscape in tempera pigments by Otto Mueller, as well as several lithographs by the same artist, including the fine, coloured work Fünf gelbe Akte am Wasser from 1921 (est. €25- 30,000 and 28 – 32,000). Another notable work is an almost complete and fully signed special edition example of Ecce Homo from 1922/23, one of the most important and well known portfolios of George Grosz, here estimated at €22 – 25,000 (lot 204).

The top lot among the sculptural works is a fine, older posthumous cast of Ernst Barlach’s 1928 Der singende Mann from private ownership. In this work, Barlach succeeded in capturing the man and his song in a timeless form which perfectly expresses the transcendent element of music in visual art. This quality explains the popularity of the bronze, which sold out shortly after the first production of the Flechtheim edition and was reproduced numerous times after the war until the 1970s (lot 218, €100 – 120,000). Barlach’s Flötenbläser from 1936 will also be offered in this auction at an estimate of €50 – 60,000 (lot 224). Fritz Klimsch is represented by the life size figure In Wind und Sonne from 1936, here offered at an estimate of €40 – 50,000 (lot 222). We will also be featuring works by Georg Kolbe, including Capriccio from 1926 (lot 314, €20 – 25,000); several small figures by Renée Sintenis, such as the collector’s pieces Fohlen, Junge Bär and Junger Elefant (est. up to €18 – 20,000) as well as works by Gerhard Marcks and Ewald Mataré.

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