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Sale: 406 / Modern Art, June 08. 2013 Lot 55

 
Lot description
Anlegeplatz am Fluss (Maasholm an der Schlei). 1956.
Oil on canvas.
Not in Grohmann any longer. Signed lower right. Signed, titled and with work number "5612" on stretcher. 76 x 101,3 cm (29,9 x 39,8 in).

The painting is documented in the archive of the Karl and Emy Schmidt-Rottluff foundation, Berlin.

PROVENANCE: Private collection Northern Germany, present from artist.

EXHIBITION: Karl Schmidt-Rottluff zum 100. Geburtstag. Sonderausstellung im Schleswig-Holsteinischen Landesmuseum auf Schloß Gottorf in Schleswig - Reithalle, 3 Juni - 12 August, 1984, cat. no. 72, with illu.

LITERATURE: Gerhard Wietek, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff in Hamburg und Schleswig-Holstein, Neumünster 1984, cat. no. 25, with illu. in colors p. 153.
Gerhard Wietek, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. Zeichnungen auf Postkarten, Cologne 2010, p. 101, with illu.

The painter, print-maker and sculptor Karl Schmidt was born at Rottluff near Chemnitz in 1884. His father was a miller. In 1905 he enrolled to study architecture at Dresden Technical University. The year he met Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel and Fritz Bleyl there, he co-founded with them the group of artists known as 'Die Brücke'. Their first joint portfolio of prints appeared in 1906. He outdid his colleagues in insisting on pure primary colors and his Expressionist paintings were dominated by forceful handling of the medium to achieve intensity and brilliance. Until 1912 he often stayed for quite some time in the Dangastermoor near Varel in Oldenburg, where he found a wealth of motifs for his landscape paintings. After moving to Berlin in 1911, he addressed himself to problems of form, developing an increasingly reductive geometric formal language, a development that was interrupted by the outbreak of war. While serving on the Eastern Front, he did a cycle of religious woodcuts in which he tried to come to terms with the horrors of war. It is regarded as his graphic masterpiece. In 1918 he returned to Berlin. During the 1920s he reverted to the work rhythm of travelling to paint during the summers and working in his studio during the winters. Stays in Pomerania, at Lake Leba in Ticino and in the Taunus Mountains as well as a stint in Rome to study at the German Academy in the Villa Massimo (1930) inspired his mature still lifes and landscapes. In 1937 his work was declared degenerate at the notorious Munich exhibition of 'Degenerate Art'. By 1941 he was forbidden to paint and was expelled from the painters' guild. After the second world war he was appointed to a chair at the (West) Berlin Hochschule für bildende Künste. His late work links up, as far as motifs are concerned, with his Expressionist phase although his palette is by now more subtle and less intense. In 1956 this renewer of art, who had been an arch revolutionary in his youth, was awarded the highest (West) German distinction, the 'Pour le Mérite' order, and was honoured as a classic.

After the days of Expressionism Schmidt-Rottluff developed a linear-expressive style, which will dominate his entire work in consequence. The strong contours, mostly in black, here in a dark blue, show the proximity to graphic art. However, the special feature is the unusually powerful color palette with which he captured the landscape. This painting originates in a time when non-representational painting was thought to have won against Realism. Back then gestural, lyrical and informal painting created pictures in which painting was practiced only for its own sake. However, Schmidt-Rottluff rejected contemporary spirit and remained faithful to figuration. Like no other artist colleagues from the 'Brücke' days has retained energies that determine his late work with youthful vigor.

In terms of motifs his late work continues the expressionist period, in terms of colors, however, it is more differentiate and less intensive. The Brücke Museum, which he had endowed with a collection of his works, was inaugurated in 1967. Numerous retrospectives in the Federal Republic paid tribute to this artist, who, as art historians unanimously agree, was one of the most important German Expressionists. [DB].

55
Karl Schmidt-Rottluff
Anlegeplatz am Fluss (Maasholm an der Schlei), 1956.
Oil on canvas
Estimate:
€ 140,000 / $ 168,000
Sold:
€ 648,000 / $ 777.600

(incl. 20% surcharge)
 


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