Classical modern at the top of the offering26.05.2018
One of the crowning lots of the auction, painted in around 1919, is Heilandsgesicht by Alexej von Jawlensky with an estimate of 400/500,000. Beginning with the impression of nature, in his famous series such as “Mystische Köpfe”, the “Heilandgesichter” and the “Abstrakte Köpfe”, von Jawlensky declined to an underlying form secured in its focus, composition and detail, whose representation became increasingly purer and more condensed in its abstraction. As with few of this artist’s works, our “Heilandsgesicht” distinguishes itself through its unusually strong expressiveness in the depiction of the eye area. The eye embodies a central quality of the present work, the communicative-suggestive and “holy” look simultaneous (lot 253). A second work by this artist, a strongly expressive Mystischer Kopf is also from this period and a characteristic example for this artistic composition. This work was on long-term loan to the Mannheimer Kunsthalle where it hung for twelve years (lot 254, 200/250,000).
Also with an estimate of 400/500,000 is a further highlight, this time from Max Liebermann: Blumenstauden im Nutzgarten nach Südwesten, painted in 1926. In 1909 Liebermann acquired a piece of land on the bank of the Große Wannsee. The design of the garden is the result of detailed planning he undertook with Alfred Lichtwark, director of the Hamburg Kunsthalle. The resulting, numerous paintings using the garden as motif make visible the various garden areas and their splendid colouring. Liebermann painted his garden for more than ten years and from the beginning, in addition to the familiar themes, a new facet emerged in his extensive work – with an increasingly freer and easier painterly view of the place of tranquillity far from the big city of Berlin (lot 248). Liebermann is further represented by two other paintings: Kompositionsstudie zur "Flachsscheuer in Laren" from 1886 valued at 150,000 (lot 244) und Nähende Mädchen in Huyzen (Holländische Näherinnen) from the year 1890 with 80/100,000 (lot 245).
Another top lot is from Emil Nolde. The artist normally wrote the title of the picture directly in the reverse of the canvas or the frame. This is also the case here, titled in 1918 Der Jäger, but he does not personalise the portrayed any further, just with the job title of “Hunter”. This is characteristic for Emil Nolde; only a few of his portraits and then only those of his wife Ada, and after her death the portraits of his last great love Jolanthe had their names in the title. With the provenance of Ludwig Schames, one of the most important dealers in Expressionist art at that time, the painting has an estimate of 350/450,000 (lot 250). In addition, four watercolours by Nolde are offered for sale – three flower pictures (up to 120,000) and a landscape Am Nachmittag (lot 267, 130/160,000).
Paula Modersohn-Becker offers a further highlight: Kinder vor Bauernhaus, a double-sided canvas painted around 1900. In the years following 1900, the Worpswede landscape became the main theme for the artist; landscapes with figures and figural pictures set in nature are the focus. The Worpswede children feature in particular, alone or in groups, deep in thought, isolated, or playing together in the agricultural land (lot 242, 300/400,000). A further painting by Modersohn-Becker from the same period has an estimate of 80/120,000 and depicts a Landschaft mit Moorkanal, from the Essen collection of Heinrich Conrad (lot 243).
Also worth noting is a terracotta bust by Wilhelm Lehmbruck. Büste der Knienden (geneigter Frauenkopf) from 1912-1914 is a unique piece with the Flechtheim and Hugo Simon provenance. One of only six old terracotta examples documented, our bust demonstrated his outstanding abilities in the variation of his key works. Unlike hardly any other of his contemporaries, his was able to transfer the impression of classical forms in sculpture in the 19th century into modernity through fragmentation. Lehmbruck impressively staged a soulful aura in the terracotta which retains an expressiveness, a convincing gesture full of touching grace despite the reduction in form (lot 249, 250/300,000).
In Mit Tropfenketten, Ernst Wilhelm Nay opens a free, unconstrained play of colours and lines. If the title suggests order and refers to representational world, it leads the viewer into an area of the incomprehensible: what we see is a rhythmic-expressive structure of colours, forms, lines and black dots, those chains of drops that still allow associations but are not assigned to concrete things. The colours are released of material objectuality and emancipated from the precision of geometric ties (lot 282, 150/180,000). Nay is further represented by four watercolours (for example, lot 284, 70/80,000).
The son of a sculptor, Oskar Jespers’ noticeable Vrouwehoofd (Frauenkopf), female head, was made in 1930 of white marble and belongs to the artist’s central works. Constantine Meunier and George Minne represented the modern sculptors at the turn of the century in Belgium. During his studies, Jespers became aware of Auguste Rodin and he shared the same sculptural approach as his contemporaries Constantin Brancusi, Amadeo Modigliani, Alexander Archipenko, Jacques Lipchitz, Ossip Zadkine and Pablo Picasso. The noteworthy head has an estimate of 60/80,000, (lot 315).
Leo Putz is present with his large-format canvas Reigen 2.1. from 1921 (lot 240, 80/100,000) and Heinrich Vogeler with a portrait of his wife Martha in profile in front of a snowy mountain backdrop (lot 241, 90/100,000). Ernst Ludwig Kirchner impresses with his woodcut skills with Tänzerin mit gehobenem Rock, an original woodcut print from 1909 (lot 251, 60/80,000), whilst Hermann Stenner offers a double-sided painting Christuskopf, on the verso a female likeness, painted in 1913 (lot 251A, 70/80,000).
Works estimated between 30,000 and 50,000 include a river landscape by Maxime Emile Louis Maufra (lot 246, 30/35,000), an original colour lithograph Le chapeau épinglé, 2e planchet from Auguste Renoir from around 1898 (lot 247, 30/40,000), a 42.9 cm high Statuette I in bronze made in 1917 by Georg Kolbe (lot 255, 35/45,000), and from Matisse – alongside an engraving for 18/22,000, lot 457 – the drawing Jeune femme assise from the period around 1908-1919 (lot 260, 25/30,000).
Top lots amongst the Expressionist works on paper include a sheet by Kirchner, an ink drawing by Max Beckmann, Lesende Frau, from 1946 (lot 268, 35/40,000), and an original Radierung das Karrussell from 1921 also by Beckmann (lot 367, 15/20,000). Otto Mueller is present with his colour lithograph Stehende Zigeunerin mit Kind auf dem Arm from the year 1926-27 (lot 256, 30/35,000), and Gert Heinrich Wollheim with an ink drawing Porträt Otto Dix from 1921 (lot 343, 20/25,000), and a Selbstporträt mit Braut from the same year (lot 345, 30/40,000).
Lastly, a Rhenish private collection of a total of 66 paintings, works on paper and sculptures from between 1918 and 1933 is also worth noting. The collection unites a number of the artistic lots and is concentrated, alongside landscapes and still lifes, on human and figural pictures (lots 288 - 353, up to the 60/80,000 for the aforementioned female head by Jespers).