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Sale: 400 / Modern Art, Dec. 08. 2012 in Munich Lot 16

Lot description
Die Quelle. 1906.
Oil on canvas.
Soika 1906/4. Monogrammed and dated lower right. 102 x 112 cm (40,1 x 44 in).
"Die Quelle" is the first female nude in Hermann Max Pechstein's oeuvre of paintings. The unique painting is one of the artist's earliest works on the international auction market.

PROVENANCE: Private collection Southern Germany.

EXHIBITION: Max Pechstein. Unna, Schloß Cappenberg, 8 August, 1989 - 15 October, 1989, p. 25 (with illu. in colors).
Max Pechstein. Sein malerisches Werk. Berlin, Brücke-Museum, 22 September, 1996 - 1 January, 1997, Tübingen, Kunsthalle, 11 January - 6 April, 1997, Kiel, Kunsthalle, 27 April - 15 June, 1997, cat. no. 1 (with illu. in colors).
Die Brücke in Dresden 1905 - 1911. Galerie Neue Meister, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, 20 October, 2001 - 6 January, 2002, cat. no. 70, (with illu. in colors p. 99).
Brücke. El nacimento del expresionismo alemán. Museo Thyssen - Bornemisza and Fundación Caja Madrid, 1 February - 15 May, 2005, cat. no. 28 (with illu. in colors no. 98).
Brücke und Berlin. 100 Jahre Expressionismus. Berlin, Neue Nationalgalerie, 8 June - 28 August, 2005, München, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, 24 February - 21 May, 2006, cat. no. 30 (with illu. in colors on p. 130).
Eine Liebe. Max Klinger und die Folgen. Leipzig, Museum der bildenden Künste, 11 March - 24 June, 2007, cat. no. 154 (with illu. in colors p. 263).
Max Pechstein. Ein Expressionist aus Leidenschaft. Kiel, Kunsthalle zu Kiel, 19 September, 2010 - 9 January, 2011, Regensburg, Kunstforum Ostdeutsche Galerie Regensburg, 6 March - 26 June, 2011, Ahlen, Kunstmuseum Ahlen, 10 July - 30 October 2011, cat. no. 24 (with illu. in colors on p. 29).

LITERATURE: Petra Lewey, Mensch und Natur im Werk von Max Pechstein, in: Max Pechstein. Das ferne Paradies, ex. cat. Reutlingen/Zwickau 1995/96, p. 8 (with illu. in black and white).
Aya Soika, Im Dienste der Architektur. Die Brücke-Künstler und die Dresdner Raumkunst. In: Die Brücke in Dresden 1905 - 1911, ex. cat. Dresden 2001/2002, pp. 276 and 277.
Gerhard Leistner, Max Pechstein. Blauer Tag 1911, Regensburg 2003, p. 10 (with illu. in colors).
Aya Soika, Max Pechstein, Außenseiter oder Wegbereiter? In: Jahrbuch der Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Berichte, Beiträge 2005, vol. 32, Dresden 2007 (with illu. in colors no. 80).
Saarlandmuseum Saarbrücken, Max Pechstein, Liegender Akt (Nidden), Berlin /Saarbrücken 2007, p. 23 (with illu. in colors).
Aya Soika, Ein ungeliebtes Vorbild. Max Klingers Einfluß auf Max Pechstein und die "Brücke", in: Eine Liebe. Max Klinger und die Folgen, ex. cat. Leipzig/Hamburg 2007/08, p. 71 (with illu. no.1).

Max Pechstein's artistic talent was discovered and encouraged at a very early age. His conventional career, first as an apprentice with a Zwickau painting master, then at the Dresden School of Arts and Crafts and finally at the Dresden Academy under the decorative painter Otto Gußmann, provided Pechstein with a sound craftsmanship. His ceiling painting at the Dresden Arts and Crafts Exhibition in 1906, with such an unconventional color scheme that the organizers had it sprayed with gray paint to soften the colors, attracted Erich Heckel's attention. He then invited Pechstein to join the artist group ’Die Brücke' which had been founded the year before in opposition to Impressionism. The group's aim was to "attract all revolutionary and restless forces" (Schmidt-Rottluff).

The whereabouts of this work "Die Quelle" (The Source) were unknown for a long time. Rolled up, the painting outlasted the times on an attic in Dresden, until it was finally discovered by chance. In the course of the following research it turned out that it was a sensational discovery. Since found it was the highlight of every important "Brücke" exhibition. It is one of the earliest known paintings by Max Pechstein, additionally it is his first nude. Made in 1906, the year that Pechstein joined the artist group "Die Brücke". At that point Pechstein was still master student under the Art Nouveau decoration painter Otto Gussmann at the Dresden Academy. The painting is dominated by a naked female figure who looks the observer straight in the eye. Pechstein placed the nude in the Elbe Valley, at which the characteristic river bend hints, while the surrounding rock formations call reminiscence of those found in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. In its gold and yellow coloring, the flowing, partly clearly contoured forms and the planarity evoked by the high horizon, early influence of Symbolism and Art Nouveau can be observed. As the work’s title hints, the monumental female figure is a symbol for the source of all life and fertility, at the same time it symbolizes the artistic and cultural reformation that Pechstein and the other representatives of the avant-garde attained at the turn of the century. The work’s title alone is connected in many ways with the motifs found on the painting - woman, water, mother nature - and to Pechstein it is also an allegory of a muse, his anima of a both erotic and motherly psyche.

In this environment Pechstein's Expressionist style developed further, concentrating on elaborating the focal point of the painting with a sparse painting technique. Pechstein moved to Berlin in 1908 and became a co-founder of the ’Neue Sezession'. He painted figures, still lives and landscapes in a moderately Expressionist style. Perhaps it was this, which lead to the artist's early and continuing success. From 1945 Pechstein taught at the Berlin Academy of Arts. Before that time, during the Third Reich, he was slandered as a "degenerate" artist. Apart from paintings his oeuvre includes more than 850 woodcuts, lithographs and engravings. [KH].

Hermann Max Pechstein
Die Quelle, 1906.
Oil on canvas
€ 300,000 / $ 339,000
€ 341,600 / $ 386.007

(incl. 22% surcharge)

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