Various Highlights in Lempertz' Autumn Modern Art Auction
Numerous top lots from private possession will be offered in the Modern Art auction on 2 December 2016. The most expensive lot is a painting by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Mädchen in Südwester, a Fehmarn motif painted in 1912, estimated at € 1,300,000/1,500,000. A second Kirchner painting, Häuser im Schnee from 1917, valued at € 500/600,000, was on loan to the Von der Heydt Museum in Wuppertal. A further exceptional work is a market-fresh fantastic portrait by Emil Nolde from 1918, alongside two colourful watercolours by the same artist for € 80/100,000 each. Further important works come from George Grosz (€ 250/350,000), Erich Heckel (€ 60/80,000), Marianne Werefkin (€ 90/100,000) and two paintings by Serge Poliakoff (€ 60/80,000 and. € 80/100,000). The great German impressionist Max Liebermann is represented by three paintings (from € 150,000 to 300,000), and Auguste Rodin with a bronze, Le Minotaure, version à base carée (Faune et Nymphe), for € 100/120,000.
Furthermore, a great rarity will be offered, one of Dali's, as well as Surrealism's, largest remaining pictorial images: an 8.76 x 14.76 m stage curtain for the ballet Mad Tristan (Tristan Fou) after Richard Wagner, premiered in 1944 in New York. Depicting the lovers Tristan and Isolde in a surrealist manner, this is one of the artist's key works in terms of motif and content. The work will be on display in Brussels until 3 December when it will be offered for sale in a silent auction. Bids will be accepted continually up to the sale. The work of tempera, pastel and oil on canvas is presented in a separate catalogue.
The star lot of the auction is a museum-quality painting by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner from the year 1912, Mädchen in Südwester (Gordon 246; lot 210, € 1,300,000/1,500,000 million). In this very productive year, the artist travelled repeatedly to Fehmarn; and the pictures produced here belong to his best and most significant. The present painting is a portrait of Erna Schilling, who would become his model, muse and partner. The frame was also designed by the artist himself. The painting has been exhibited many times, most recently in 2011/2012 in Davos in the Kirchner Museum. The work is from his private estate and was worked-over by the artist. The original state can be seen on one of Kirchner's photographs from 1912. Five years later, at another time and place, Kirchner painted Häuser im Schnee, (Gordon 474, lot 213, € 500/600,000): in January/February of the war year of 1917 he painted probably his first picture in Switzerland, an early and rare Davos winter landscape. Karl Ernst Osthaus conveyed the work direct from the artist in 1918 to an important West German private collection at Gut Schede, where it was presented in an Art Nouveau interior designed in 1904 by Henry van de Velde. It has remained in the family ever since.
Der Jäger by Emil Nolde (Urban 821, lot 215, € 500/600,000) is one of the artist's most expressive male portraits. The bold image stands out not just through its typically powerful technique, but also through the composition. The portrait is extended by background motifs, which are not to be understood as purely aesthetic or colour-arabesques; the buddha and the flowers symbolically impart an extended, spiritual dimension. The painting was entrusted to the artist Ludwig Schames, one of the most important dealers in Expressionism at the time. Further highlights include a flower still life from Nolde, Roter Mohn (Mohnblumen, Iris und Sonnenhut) (lot 218, € 80/100,000) and Marschlandschaft mit Strohdiemen with the same estimate (lot 219, € 80/100,000).
The large, colour-fresh watercolour Soirée by George Grosz can correctly be classed as an important sheet, produced in colour and released in 1922 as part of the culturally historically and socio-politically important, as well as famous, portfolio 'Ecce Homo'. The watercolour is a typical work for Grosz, a biting Berlin commentary on social conditions after the First World War in the young Weimar Republic. Accompanied by an expertise by Ralph Jentsch, it has an estimate of € 250/350,000 (lot 225).
Three paintings by Max Liebermann are on offer. Konzert in der Oper from 1919 has the highest estimate of € 250/200,000. Concert scenes from the opera can be found in a series of variations from the years 1919-1924. The present work is one of the earliest interpretations of this subject (lot 216) Lot 204 offers Pferdeknechte am Strand, painted by Liebermann in 1909. From 1872 he regularly spent the summer on the Dutch North Sea coast, and through contact not least with Isaac Israels he painted horses in motion for the first time at the beach of Scheveningen in the summer of 1900 (€ 220/250,000). Judengasse in Amsterdam, from 1905, is painted in broad, quick brushstrokes. During the course of his annual stay in Holland, Liebermann painted in the Jewish quarter for the first time at the suggestion of the Director of the Amsterdam Academy of Fine arts (lot 203, € 150/170,000).
Marianne von Werefkin produced the work Rosalia Leiß in 1908/1909. It not only offers us a stunning portrait, but also a typical, intriguing work from the partner of the Russian Alexej von Jawlensky, co-founder of the N.K.V.M., which would later develop into the Blauer Reiter arts group (lot 208, € 90/100,000). Adolf Erbslöh, who originally belonged to the Munich Group and was particularly influenced by Jawlensky, offers us a market-fresh work Am Meer bei Positano from 1923, at one time in the collection of Dr. Richart Reiche of Barmen (lot 222, € 40/50,000). With an estimate of € 80/120,000, Les Amoureux IV (Roi David), a painting by Marc Chagall from 1955 will also be auctioned (lot 220). Serge Poliakoff is present with two paintings: the large-format Composition abstraite from 1966, at € 80/100,000 (lot 232), and Composition rouge orange gris bleu from the year 1852, and estimated at € 60/80,000 (lot 231). Meerlandschaft (Ostende) by Erich Heckel is a beautiful and expressive tempera work from 1917 (lot 229, € 70/80,000). Willi Baumeister offers Lyrik mit Kammzug auf Blau-Grün from 1954 (lot 229, € 70/80,000), and a further work of interest is from Wilhelm Morgner, Allee, painted in 1910 (lot 207, € 55/65,000).
A select number of Expressionist works on paper and graphic works will also be auctioned, including for example an early double-sided drawing of a female nude by Franz Marc from around 1904/1906 (lot 201, € 30/40,000), and from Otto Dix, a dynamic and beautiful chalk drawing Badende Soldaten, 1917 (lot 212, € 25/30,000). From E.L. Kirchner we have drawings as well as wood cut prints including the very rare print Drei Wege. Made in 1917, the sheet belongs to a group of important graphics in this technique, originally made in Switzerland (lot 214, € 25/30,000). Christian Rohlf is present with, amongst others, two impressive flower pieces in water tempera, Sonnenblume (lot 223, € 25/30,000), and Canna Indica (lot 359, € 2/30,000). Furthermore we have a self-portrait in pencil by L.T. Foujita from 1924 (lot 226, € 25/30,000), and important large-format lithographs from Pablo Picasso, for example Buste au corsage à Carreaux (lot 228, € 25/30,000).
The bronze group Le Minotaure, version à base carrée (Faune et Nymphe) (lot 202, € 100/120.000) by Auguste Rodin, famous as well as unusual, is one of the top sculpture lots. The 58 cm high erotic sculpture is from a large plaster cast by the artist which he had made from the marble of 1903 (acquired by Karl Ernst Osthaus for the Folkwang Museum Hagen, today the Museum Folkwang Essen). The present posthumous bronze cast, E.A. IV/IV from an edition of 12, was cast in 2013 by Susse, Paris. A 37.5 cm high bronze by Aristide Maillol Baigneuse se coiffant (Femme les deux mains aux cheveux) from the Edition Ambroise Vollard, Paris, is estimated at € 35/45.000 (lot 200). Ernst Barlach is also yet again present with three works: Der Verschwender I from 1921 (lot 205, € 30/35.000), Der Einsame from 1911 (lot 206, € 35/40.000) and the Sänger (Singender Klosterschüler) from 1931 (lot 221, € 35/40.000). The offer is rounded off by Georg Kolbe's bronze Kauernde from 1917, a lifetime cast from the edition of Ferdinand Möller, Berlin (lot 211, € 35/40.000) and Renée Sintenis' 18 cm high Kleines Mädchen , a bronze unicum from 1926 (lot 217, € 22/25.000).