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Auction world record for a work by Max Pechstein at the time of the sale in 2011

 
Hermann Max Pechstein - Weib mit Inder auf Teppich (Vorderseite), Früchte II (Rückseite)

Lot description
Oil on canvas, painted on both sides.
Soika 1910/3 and 1910/54. With still life "Früchte II" on verso, lower right monogrammed (in ligature) and dated. 71,5 x 82,5 cm (28,1 x 32,4 in).
The catalog raisonné by Soika (date of release October 2011) titles the two sides of the painting "Früchte" and "Inder und Frauenakt". The author of the catalog raisonné calls the work "Pechstein at its best" and points out that the still life was presumably made under the influence of a Cézanne exhibition in the Galerie Paul Cassirer, Berlin 1909, which Pechstein had visited together with Kirchner and Schmidt-Rottluff.
The painting is part of a series of illustrations of Indians, together a total of presumably 5, of which 2 are lost and 2 are in possession of the St. Louis Art Museum from the possession of Dr. Karl Lilienfeld, who had taken ca. 40 Pechstein paintings with him when he emigrated into the USA.
The female nude is Charlotte Kaprolat, the later wife of Max Pechstein. The identitiy of the Indian man in unknown, he was invited to sit for the series in the studio of Pechstein in Durlacher STrasse in Berlin-Friedenau.
The hand-carved and painted fruit bowl in lower left also appears on the paintings "Orangen" [Soika 1909/5] and "Inder, hockend" [Soika 1910/55].
Pechstein painted over a number of works or painted them on both sides. In 1910 he was in financial straits, it can be asssumed that he used both sides of this work for financual reasons. Initially, the side with the work "Weib mit Inder auf Teppich" carried a white panel in center with Max Pechstein's address and a price comment. [KD/EH].

PROVENANCE: 1920s to 1986 Private collection Bavaria.
Private collection Southern Germany.

EXHIBITION: Max Pechstein. Special exhibition of the Galerie Ernst Arnold, November - December 1919, presumably no. 8, there titled "Äpfel und Spiegel", no illu.
August exhibition of the Expressionists, Society for Visual Arts, Amsterdam, Municipal Exhibition Hall, Scheveningen, August 1920, presumably no. 31, there under title "Tisch am Spiegel, 1910", no illu.
Max Pechstein. Eine Ausstellung des Kreises Unna, Schloß Cappenberg 1989, unnumbered. Register of works on display p. 191 (with illu. in colors p. 53 and 69).
Figures du moderne. L’Expressionnisme en Allemagne 1905 – 1914, Dresden, Munich, Berlin, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris 18 November 1992 – 14 March 1993, no. 100, illu. in colors p. 134.
Max Pechstein. Sein malerisches Werk, Brücke Museum Berlin, 22 September 1996 - 1 January, 1997 / Kunsthalle Tübingen, 11 January - 6 April 1997 / Kunsthalle zu Kiel, 20 April - 15 June 1997, cat. no. 47 (with illu in colors.).
Brücke. Die Geburt des deutschen Expressionismus, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Fundación Caja Madrid, 1 February, 2005 - 15 May, 2005, cat. no. 125 (with illu. in colors p. 223) and Brücke-Museum, Berlin, 1 October 2005 - 15 January, 2006, cat. no. 134 (with illu. in colors p. 259).

LITERATURE: Expressionisme Allemand, Musées Beaux-Arts, Paris hors serie, 1993, illu. p. 6.
Barbara Lülf, Die Suche nach dem Ursprünglichen, Max Pechstein und Palau, in: Magdalena M. Moeller (editor), Max Pechstein, Sein malerisches Werk, ex. cat. Munich 1996, p. 83.
Janina Dahlmanns, Primitivismus, in: Magdalena M. Moeller and Javier Arnaldo (editors), Brücke. Die Geburt des deutschen Expressionismus, ex. cat. Brücke-Museum Berlin, Munich 2005, p. 253.

The "Brücke" artist see "Primitive Art" - the term stands for an aboriginal concept of art aside from Western European culture - as a pristine expression of art unaffected by sophisticated western culture. They feel that the foreign and unknown, which had become more familiar in the context of colonialization, as a sort of liberation from the forces of their traditional culture. The relaxed attitude the "Brücke“ artists have in common was a healing shock that fired art at the beginning of Modernism. The naked body, until then ususally shown embedded in a narrative surrounding, is now depicted in an immediacy that includes all disharmonious notions. The strong and self-confident Indian man in our depiction is contrasted by a soft reclined female nude, her yellow-greenish flesh tint making for a clear contrast to the red brown skin of the seated man. Their casual togetherness emanates a primeval sense of eroticism. The figure of the Indian man was sketched in an India ink drawing from 1910 (today in the Nationalgalerie, Berlin). Pechstein captured the figure's essence in a powerful line management: A distinctive head in a self-assured pose are proof of a new attitude towards foreigners, which seems to be the core element of our composition. The painting was made in a period of fundamental creative power, it is sconsidered the artist's best period of creation at all. Even Lothar-Günther Buchheim, who ususally holds a rather critical view on the Max Pechstein’s work, wrote about the year that "Weib mit Inder auf Teppich" was made: "The year 1910 marked the heyday of Pechstein's creation. He made paintings that seem perfect, because intention, temper and employed means are in perfect balance. Sensuality and an exuberant lust for life are expressed in a characteristic manner. [..]" (Lothar-Günther Buchheim, Die Künstlergemeinschaft Brücke, Feldafing 1956, p. 296). The still life also shows the groundbreaking development towards a reduction of the composition and a stringent color expression which Pechstein underwent, particularly the year the work was made. Max Pechstein showed three paintings in 1909 in the spring exhibition of the Berlin Secession, of which two were sold: a still life and a landscape. It presumably is for this reason that he continued to turn to these subjects, and it also explains why Pechstein favors the still life from the canvas's two works, as it is the work he signed and dated. [KD].

25
Hermann Max Pechstein
Weib mit Inder auf Teppich (Vorderseite), Früchte II (Rückseite), 1910.
Oil on canvas
Estimate:
€ 800,000 / $ 856,000
Sold:
€ 3,480,000 / $ 3.723.600

(incl. 20% surcharge)