Sale: 496 / Evening Sale, Dec. 06. 2019 in Munich Lot 154

Anselm Kiefer
Hero und Leander, Ca. 1990.
Mixed media
Post auction sale: € 70,000 / $ 77,000
Lot description
Hero und Leander. Ca. 1990.
Mixed media . Lead, dried roses, collage on board.
Titled. 68 x 40 x 8 cm (26.7 x 15.7 x 3.1 in).

• Masterly implementation of a literary theme in Kiefer's characteristic pictorial language.
• Perishability as part of the artwork

PROVENANCE: Private collection Northern Germany (since 1997).

LITERATURE: Sotheby’s London, December 11, 1997, lot 194.
"I tell stories in my pictures in order to reveal what is behind them. I open up a hole and walk right through it."
Anselm Kiefer, quote after: Dieter Ronte, In Bildern denken, in: Anselm Kiefer, Memorabilia, p. 51.

Artists of all genres have been occupied with the myth of Hero and Leander for many centuries. It can be traced back to the first century B. C. and over the course of time it was used by renowned poets like Ovid or Schiller. They are among the best known love couplein European literature. Hero, a priestess of Aphrodite, dwelt in a tower in Sestoson the European side of the Hellespont. Her lover Leander lived on the opposite side of the strait. Leander fell in love with Hero and would swim every night across the Hellespont to spend time with her. Hero always lit a lamp at the top of her tower to guide his way. But one stormy winter night, the waves tossed Leander in the sea and the breezes blew out Hero's light; Leander lost his way and drowned. When Hero saw his dead body, she threw herself over the edge of the tower to her death to be with him. The tragedy was not only fancied by poets and writers, it also became subject of works by visual artists. Peter Paul Rubens and William Turner – to name the most prominent examples– made the myth subject of their art. Today the story may have fallen into oblivion, bu tAnselm Kiefer brings it back to light, however, he does not make it easy for the observer as he presupposes certain humanistic knowledge. If that’s not given he makes us look things up in an encyclopedia, in order to fathom his creations. He only provides hints as to which myth he refers by adding the lettering Hero and Leander – a characteristic feature of Kiefer’s works. It is then up to the observer to unravel the picture. The depiction addresses themes like literature, classic myths and nature, all of which provide reoccurring motifs in Kiefer’s oeuvre. Hero and Leander were not meant to be together, but the strong affection is their impossible bond. This impossible bond is symbolized by the materials Kiefer used for this artwork. He combines toxic lead, actually an enemy of everything natural, with the delicate beauty of a rose. Things that must not go together find meaningful perfection. A calm melancholic moment resonates, ultimately everything natural is fugacious, just like Hero and Leander, but the symbol of their all transcending love remains. [SM]

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Buyer's premium, taxation and resale right apportionment for Anselm Kiefer "Hero und Leander"
This lot can be purchased subject to differential or regular taxation.

Differential taxation:
Hammer prices up to € 500,000: 32 % buyer's premium
Hammer prices above € 500,000: for the share up to € 500,000: 32%, for the share above € 500,000: 27% buyer's premium
The buyer's premium contains VAT, however, it is not shown.

Regular taxation:
Hammer prices up to € 500,000: 25 % buyer's premium plus statutory sales tax Hammer prices above € 500,000: for the share up to € 500,000: 25%, for the share above € 500.000: 20% buyer's premium, each plus statutory sales tax

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Resale right apportionment:
Objects made by artists who have not died at least 70 years ago are subject to a resale right apportionment of 1.5% plus statutory sales tax.