Contemporary
Art

Contemporary Art auction

Lempertz, Cologne
1 June 2019

The year in which man exited from a space capsule for the first time.

By Silke Hohmann

Rupprecht Geiger
424/65

 

Estimated price:
€ 60.000 – € 80.000

Viewed from a distance, one could assume a landscape. Perhaps a red desert; the painter has positioned the horizon high in the upper third of the picture in order to leave a lot of room for the merciless expanse of space. An image that today looks as if it were a transmission from Mars. If you get closer, does a shimmer become visible, or rather ‘perceptible’? It is a fine superimposition of textures and shades in a narrow spectrum of red that triggers this gentle visual shudder.

 

Rupprecht Geiger has dedicated his life to studying colour; his use of forms is extremely economical and carefully chosen. All formal decisions, it seems, are taken to increase the intensity of the colour. Thus, the assumed horizon is an invitation to spatial orientation. And then it plunges us into a shade of red bereft of coordinates or gravity.

Oil on canvas,
137 x 145 cm, 1965

Geiger went further than anyone else: long before fashion designers such as Yves Saint Laurent deliberately broke with prevailing style rules by combining pink and red, the painter had already ventured over the threshold of what was tolerable. Like two adjacent semitones, played simultaneously, the juxtaposition of almost identical notes produced a dissonance that was difficult to cope with.

 

But Geiger knew that new impulses would emerge from this tension, not just within one painting but for painting in general. So, as early as 1950, he noted in his diary, ‘The realisation that colour is the primary element in painting should lead to its rediscovery.’ Rupprecht Geiger was this discoverer, and he passed on his knowledge. He painted this picture in the year when he became professor of painting at the Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. It is also the year in which man exited from a space capsule for the first time.

 

Silke Hohmann works as an editor for the art magazine „Monopol“.

An Aesthetically Perfect Appearance

Tony Cragg
RUNNER

 

Estimated price:
€ 300.000 – € 400.000

Tony Cragg
RUNNER

 

Estimated price:
€ 300.000 –
€ 400.000

Bronze, height 150 x width 106 x depth 46 cm, 2014

It is not only in the spirited gesture of this sculpture that Tony Cragg imbues the human figure with new facets and develops it into a complex and surprising visual language. Cragg invents his forms through medium-sized perspective drawings, creating witty picturesque designs like the human profiles that often appear in his sculptures. Combining the moods and processes of the material, the artist welds together the possibilities of sculptural form with extreme, eccentric shifts in volume. The focus on surface texture and its aesthetic perfection is one of the artist’s particular strengths.

Curves, Knots, and Wads

Norbert Kricke

RAUMPLASTIK

 

Estimated price:
€ 30.000 – € 40.000

Steel, nickel-plated. On stone base,
height 35.6 cm (incl. base), 1950s

RAUMPLASTIK GELB-WEISS-SCHWARZ

 

Estimated price:
€ 25.000 – € 35.000

Steel, painted. Mounted on fieldstone base,
height approx. 59.3 x width 75.6 x depth 34.3 cm
(incl. base), around 1956

RAUMPLASTIK FLÄCHENBAHN

 

Estimated price:
€ 20.000 – € 30.000

Steel, nickel-plated and soldered. On slate base,
height 24.4 x width approx. 37.9 x depth 9 cm
(incl. base), 1950s

 

From the past season:
the incredible energy of Förg’s brushstroke

Dr. Mechthild Potthoff on

Günther Förg
OHNE TITEL

 

Estimated price:
€ 150.000 – € 180.000
Result:
€ 397.000

Dr. Mechthild Potthoff, Contemporary Art expert
T +49 (0) 221 925729-32 | potthoff@lempertz.com

Acrylics on canvas,
195 x 230 cm, 2007

“I immediately fell in love with the works of Günther Förg. Both his large format painting in bright colours and the watercolour from 2001, but especially the “Gitterbild” in yellow, red, and black. The colours are applied in many layers, and the way the brushstrokes cross each other creates astonishingly nuanced tones. The grid structure closes to form fields of colour, revealing rare glimpses of the white ground beneath which only serve to amplify the colours’ vividness. The energy in the brushstrokes and the tangible passion for painting is immediately visible to the viewer.”

From the past season:
the incredible energy of Förg’s brushstroke

Dr. Mechthild Potthoff on

Günther Förg
OHNE TITEL

 

Estimated price:
€ 150.000 – € 180.000
Result:
€ 397.000


Dr. Mechthild Potthoff, Contemporary Art expert
T +49 (0) 221 925729-32 | potthoff@lempertz.com

Acrylics on canvas,
195 x 230 cm, 2007

“I immediately fell in love with the works of Günther Förg. Both his large format painting in bright colours and the watercolour from 2001, but especially the “Gitterbild” in yellow, red, and black. The colours are applied in many layers, and the way the brushstrokes cross each other creates astonishingly nuanced tones. The grid structure closes to form fields of colour, revealing rare glimpses of the white ground beneath which only serve to amplify the colours’ vividness. The energy in the brushstrokes and the tangible passion for painting is immediately visible to the viewer.”

Art with Motors

Jean Tinguely
PROLETKUNST NR. 3

 

Estimated price:
€ 80.000 – € 100.000
Sculpture made of iron, roots, animal skull,
wooden wheel and various materials 138 x 99 x 100 cm,
on black wooden base 80 x 50 x 50 cm,
with electric motor, Bischofberger 873, 1989

Jean Tinguely
PROLETKUNST NR. 3

 

Estimated price:
€ 80.000 – € 100.000
Sculpture made of iron, roots, animal skull,
wooden wheel and various materials 138 x 99 x 100 cm,
on black wooden base 80 x 50 x 50 cm,
with electric motor, Bischofberger 873, 1989
The Importance of Line

Emil Schumacher
BLANCO

 

Estimated price:
€ 120.000 – € 150.000

„It’s the sensual quality of colour that drives my work”, said the artist in 1992.[1] Emil Schumacher is without doubt one of the most exceptional artistic personalities to emerge in European painting since the 1950s. His works are characterised by their physical and sensual blend of colour and material. He uses uneven surfaces created with layers and layers of colour, as well as aggressive gestures resulting from complex working processes in which the the damaging of surfaces, as a means of expression and as a motif, forms the overriding theme. The resulting images such as the large-format work “Blanco” shown here are suggestive of nature and of landscapes, both of which are essential sources of inspiration for the artist, used in order to depict imperceptible undercurrents without binding himself to them. Schumacher’s paintings almost seem like topographical studies done under a microscope then expanded to extraordinary size and painted in oils with the help of mixed media. He creates compositions of gestural, eruptive layers of overlapping paint ploughed through with deep craters expressively gouged into the medium to create geological portraits of islands amidst churning oceans of sea foam.

Oil on canvas.
125 x 170 cm, 1985

Colour and form are a part of my paintings, as are structural and tactile elements, but the defining aspect is always line.”[2] These lines do not draw form from their function as outlines, but are instead loaded with associations and seem more like “the result of gradual decisions” (Schmalenbach) or “snail trails” (Jens Christian Jensen).[3] The lines evoke the idea of horizons, borders, margins, or supports to convey the essence of a geography or the memory of a figure. “Many things manifest within a line which are not so easy to manifest with colour alone […] the line [is] an integral part of human expression”, were Emil Schumacher’s words in a 1992 interview.4

 

Schumacher does not always give his works such concrete titles as here, the Spanish word “Blanco”. He frequently creates allusions to the work’s content, such as the way here the extensive use of white and the bright colouring of the work allude to the place in which is was made: San José in Ibiza? The intensity of the dominant white colour is accentuated by small islands which spill out over the sides of the work and lead us to imagine a continuation of the space above, behind, or to the right or left of it. For Schumacher, the orientation on a horizon line is as evident as the tactile element. Colours naturally become like matter, yet they still mutate into an immaterial beauty, like the way the black contours of the red and brown islands contrast with the white expanse of the canvas. Expressive strokes of pale yellow and a hint of sky blue add a contrasting accent to Schumacher’s usually bright landscape topography.

 

Footnotes

[1] Michael Klant und Christoph Zuschlag, Emil Schumacher im Gespräch. „Der Erde näher als den Sternen“, Edition Cantz, Stuttgart 1992, p. 52
[2] See footnote 1, Schumacher im Gespräch, p. 55
[3] Cited from: Von künstlerischer Freiheit. Werkstattgespräch mit Christoph Brockhaus, in: E. Sch. Leben in der Malerei. Gespräche und Texte, ed. by Ernst-Gerhard Güse, Ostfildern 2008, p. 62
[4] See footnote 1, Schumacher im Gespräch, p. 52

 

by Mario von Lüttichau