Im Freien. 1920. Oil on canvas, doubled. Soika 1920/29. Monogrammed and dated lower left. Signed in red pen on stretcher. 70 x 80 cm (27.5 x 31.4 in). An entry in the artist's studio book of 1920 documents this painting as number 24. As the work had not been monogrammed and dated on the image in the exhibtion catalog of Galerie Goyert, Cologne, from 1921, it can be assumed that Pechtein addedd the monogram and the date at a later point. Originally, the canvas was signed, titled and dated on verso, which today is covered up by the doubling executed in 1956. [KD/JS]. Expressive, dense composition from the artist's best period of creation. Similar strong figure compositions from 1920 are in possession of renowned public collections, such as the Folkwang Museums, Essen (Soika 1920/27), the Kunstmuseum Lucerne (Soika 1920/30 and 37) and the Albertina Vienna (Soika 1920/36).
PROVENANCE: Stuttgarter Kunstkabinett Roman Norbert Ketterer, 25th auction, 27/28 November, 1956, cat. no. 736 (there mentioned as "titled, dated and signed on rear"). Galerie Änne Abels, Cologne (ca. 1957-1959; with label "Kunstsalon Abels / Köln / Stadtwaldgürtel 32" on stretcher) Private collection (acquired from previously mentioned in the late 1950s - since 1999 in family possession). Sotheby's, London, German & Austrian Art, 6 October, 1999, cat. no. 150. Galerie Maulberger, Munich (2000) Private collection Germany (since 2000).
EXHIBITION: H. M. Pechstein und Rudolf Belling. Galerie Goyert, Cologne, February-March 1921, Drittes Buch der Galerie, no. 23 (with black and white illu. on p. 24, this image still without monogram and date).
Despite the deprivation ofWorld War I, Max Pechstein had soon recovered and felt the old strength and artistic drive again. Especially the landscape around the fishing village Nida on the Curonian Spit, where he regularly spent the summers as of 1909, gave Max Pechstein inspiration for a new creativity. The expressive excellence of Pechstein's figure compositions is owed to the sharp contours, as it also dominates and structures this canvas. This composition gains its expressive strength from the sharp contour which dominates and structures the canvas. The group of three, staged in lucent colors, shows a strong connection in both formal terms as well as with regards to content. The masterly rendered combination of figures and a landscape characterized by tides brings forth a both enthralling as well as expansive composition. The strong color accents are in the interplay of blue and white, the predominant color at the sea. In the distance it strikes the scarcely grown dune landscape. In letters from these days Pechstein still mentions his longing for the South Seas which he had visited before World War I, and this composition with its easy manner suggests this very longing. Hardly any other painter of these days aligned his art with a certain landscape as much as Pechstein did. In Nida he realized a large part of his vast oeuvre.