Kühler Morgen. 1909. Watercolor. Signed and dated in lower left. Verso signed and dated. On wove paper. 47.5 x 65.5 cm (18.7 x 25.7 in) , the full sheet.
• Wonderful example for the significance of the watercolor for Schmidt-Rottluff in the year 1909. • Watercolors from this year are rarely offered on the art market. • Excellent depiction of the Dangast coast. The watercolor is registered at the Archive of the Karl and Emy Schmidt-Rottluff Foundation.
PROVENANCE: Artist's studio (unitl 1922). Collection Arnold (Aron) Zuckermann and Augusta (Gittel) Zuckermann (neé Hutschnecker), Berlin-Dahlem / as of 1938 New York. Otto Gerson Gallery, New York (according to Leonhard Hutton). Leonard Hutton Galleries, New York (1979, Leonhard Hutton Hutschnecker was the brother of Augusta Zuckermann). Private collection.
EXHIBITION: Künstler-Gemeinschaft Brücke, Galerie Arnold, Dresden, September 1910, no. 73. Herbstausstellung des Oldenburger Künstlerbundes, 1911. Dangaster Künstler im Lappan, Oldenburg, Vereinigung für junge Kunst, 1922, Schmidt-Rottluff - Aquarelle, Galerie Ferdinand Möller, Berlin 1922, no. 5. A Collection of Modern German Art, W. R. Valentiner, Anderson Galleries, New York October 1 - 20, 1923, no. 232. German Expressionism: Selected Drawings, Prints and Watercolors, College Art Gallery/State University of New York, November 4 - 21, 1979, no. 23, with illu.
LITERATURE: Hauswedell & Nolte, Hamburg, auction on June 5/6, 1980, lot 1164. Ewald Gäßler, Schmidt-Rottluff und Oldenburg, in: Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. Retrospektive, Munich 1989, p. 21. Gerhard Wietek, Schmidt-Rottluff, Oldenburger Jahre 1907-1912, Mainz 1995, no. 59, color illu. on p. 317 (erroneously titled "Weg im Herbst"). "Watercolors from 1909 can be seen as a homogenous work group. They count among Schmidt-Rottluff's greatest accomplishments" (M. Moeller, in: ex. cat. Werke aus der Slg. des Brücke-Museums Berlin, Hypo Kulturstiftung, Munich 1997, p. 19)
Karl Schmidt-Rottluff became intensively occupied with watercolor painting during a summer stay in Dangast on the North Sea in summer 1909. He rendered the landscape around the small tranquil coastal village in many works, putting focus on capturing the atmosphere with the newly attained expressiveness. Remarkable creations came into existence, among them our sheet "Kühler Morgen" (Cool Morning). Entirely autonomous and free from any notions of randomness, they are at eye level with his paintings, an intention that he also underlined with the large formats he chose for these works. Early watercolors are characterized by a swift and strongly gestural flow, while the grounding remains visible between the color fields. Even though these works are created from the colors, strong traces of a graphic flow can still be observed, the direction of the brushstroke determines the composition. The contrasting complementary colors red-green and blue-yellow increase the impression of freshness and a spontaneous execution, at the same time their visual aggressiveness is significant for a radical break with the tradition. 1909 was the year that Karl Schmidt-Rottluff began to define pictorial elements with black contour lines. The liberation of watercolor art from its shadowy existence and a rebirth in its true element pure color was the merit of the artists of Expressionism. Significant watercolors from these years are in museum ownership nowadays, such as the work "Fabrik" (1909) at theBerlin Brücke-Museum. Magdalena Moeller states: "Watercolors from1909 must be regarded as a homogeneous group of works. They count among Schmidt-Rottluff’s most fascinating accomplishments." (M. Moeller, in: Ex. cat. Werke aus der Slg. des Brücke-Museums Berlin, Hypo Kulturstiftung, Munich 1997, p. 19).By restoring the force of expression of the watercolor, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff achieved nothing less than a renaissance of an art form in danger of drowning in decorative colorist painting. From that point onward it was on an equal footing with the paintings and drawings of its era. [EH]