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Sale: 416 / Post War / Contemporary Art, June 07. 2014 Lot 708

Lot description
Das Ding das sich zwischen dem Winter und dem Abend befindet. 1957.
Oil and watercolors.
Fürst 322. Signed, dated and inscribed "Cannes" lower right. Verso once more signed, dated "Aout 1957" and inscribed "Cannes" as well as with French title, dimensions, technique and work number "322", additionally with various sketches in watercolor and India ink. On primed laid paper. 47,5 x 62,8 cm (18,7 x 24,7 in), the full sheet. [KP].

Works from the late 1950s are among the artist's most sought-after works on the international auction market.

PROVENANCE: Private collection Switzerland.

EXHIBITION: Galerie H. Kamer, Cannes, 1957.
Der Unbekannte Hundertwasser, Kunsthaus Wien 20 November, 2008 - 15 March, 2009.
Friedensreich Hunderwasser - Gegen den Strich, Kunsthalle Bremen, 20 October, 2012 - 17 February, 2013.

The eccentric and playfully self-advertising Viennese artist known as Friedensreich Hundertwasser was born as Friedrich Stowasser on 15 December 1928. He did not assume his nom d'artiste until 1949 ('sto' meaning 'one hundred' in Slavic languages and 'Wasser' meaning 'water'). Even in adolescence Stowasser brought home reports from school attesting to his 'exceptional feeling for color and form'. After taking the examinations qualifying for university entrance, Hundertwasser spent three months at the Viennese Art Academy studying under Professor Robin Christian Andersen. Hundertwasser was, however, more indebted to the work of Egon Schiele and Walter Kampmann, which he saw at their exhibitions, than to the brief period of academic instruction. Hundertwasser travelled extensively in Italy, where he met René Brô, whom he accompanied to Paris. Hundertwasser had thought of continuing formal training at the École des Beaux-Arts but spent only one day at that institution. Instead he found the numerous and adventurous trips he took to Morocco, Tunisia, Nepal, Tokyo and Siberia inspirational for the path he intended to follow. Taking Viennese Jugendstil as his point of departure, Hundertwasser developed an abstract, decorative, two-dimensional and vibrantly colorful, utterly distinctive style distinguished by ornamental spiral and labyrinth forms, circles, meanders and biomorphic shapes.

All these shaped elements make for the special charme of the fascinating work offered in our auction. A wobbling, organic formation of spirals emerges from a dark blue backgroundin a glazingly applied lucent coloring. To Hundertwasser the spiral is essence of all life and death, as this central image element in its fertile-biomorphic and lively representation clearly shows. Additionally, Hundertwasser's art theoretic considerations show that the spirale and circular forms are not only means of artistic creation, but also metaphysic principles: "Our earth describes the course of a spiral, that means we are walking in a circle but we never get back to the starting point, the circle never comes close, we just get close to the points we once were. That is characteristic of the spiral, seemingly a circle that never closes. [..] My spiral grows, lives and dies, that means it meanders like rivers, following the laws of growth and decay. I let the course run free and let it guide me." (Transl. of quote afterFürst p. 27). Baring this concept in mind, our picture with its streams, spirals and meandering shapes becomes an image of growth and decay, making the unimaginable "thing" between winter and evening, according to the title, visible in its metaphysic existence.

During the 1960s Hundertwasser was extremely successful, with a 1962 retrospective in the Austrian pavilion at the Venice Biennale and a 1964 retrospective mounted by the Kestner Gesellschaft in Hannover. In addition, the first comprehensive catalogue of his œuvre was published. Active in the ecological movement, Hundertwasser was committed to making life liveable in a humane environment that was close to nature. He furthered his aims by issuing manifestos and making provocative public appearances, for instance giving a speech in the nude (1968) in Vienna. Between 1968 and 1972 Hundertwasser rehauled the old sailing vessel 'San Giuseppe T' at docks in the Venice lagoon, rechristened it 'Regentag' ['Rainy Day'], and going to see in it several times. So versatile and prolific was Hundertwasser that he also designed coins and stamps for Austria, Senegal and the UN from the 1970s. Moreover, Hunderwasser was the first European artist to have work carved by Japanese master carvers. In 1981 Hundertwasser was appointed head of the master classes for painting at the Viennese Art Academy. The famous Hundertwasser House in Vienna, begun in 1983, attests to Hunderwasser's skill as an architect. The year before he died, Hundertwasser was working on a catalogue raisonné of his works and presented the Uelzen Station architectural project. Hundertwasser died on a cruise ship off New Zealand in 2000.

Friedensreich Hundertwasser
Das Ding das sich zwischen dem Winter und dem Abend befindet, 1957.
€ 80,000 / $ 92,000
€ 122,000 / $ 140.300

(incl. 22% surcharge)

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Friedensreich Hundertwasser - Das Ding das sich zwischen dem Winter und dem Abend befindet - Frame image
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Friedensreich Hundertwasser - Das Ding das sich zwischen dem Winter und dem Abend befindet -
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