Sale: 520 / Evening Sale, June 18. 2021 in Munich Lot 323

 
323
Erich Heckel
Blaue Iris, 1908.
Oil on canvas
Estimate:
€ 400,000 / $ 480,000
Sold:
€ 1,062,500 / $ 1.275.000

(incl. 25% surcharge)
Lot description
Blaue Iris. 1908.
Oil on canvas.
Hüneke 1908-12. Vogt 1908-18. Signed and dated in lower right on the reverse as well as monogrammed in upper left. 76 x 56.5 cm (29.9 x 22.2 in).

• 1908 was Heckel's most fruitful creative period.
• Most of the paintings made in Dangast in 1908 were destroyed or have gone lost.
• One of the few surviving flower pictures by Heckel from the "Brücke" period.
• To date the work has been in possession of only two German collections.
• The garden picture with the ornamental ribbon of flowers is an extremely delicate color symphony
.

PROVENANCE: Collection Hanni (Johanne Helene) Gramberg, widowed Tapken, remarried Junkermann (1884-1961), Dangast (local innkeeper, obtained from the artist, presumbaly until after 1957).
Galerie Aenne Abels, Cologne.
Collection Ilse von Martius, Hattingen/Ruhr (acquired from the above in the 1960s, ever since family-owned).

EXHIBITION: Erich Heckel, Städtisches Museum Duisburg, 1957, no. 5.
Maler der "Brücke" in Dangast von 1907 bis 1912, Kunstverein im Schloss, Oldenburg, 1957, no. 33.
Expressionisten in Dangast, Franz Radziwill Haus, Dangast, 1998, no. 74.

Essay
The early "Brücke" years
With the foundation of the artist group "Brücke" in 1905, a rapid artistic development began, which in initially bore witness to the experience of van Gogh's pictures. For the Dresden period up to 1910, in spite of individual characteristics, one can definitely speak of a real common "Brücke" style, which emerged from the artist‘s close cooperation and in which the artists alternately took over leading role. In Berlin from 1911 on, each of the artists more and more went their own way, which was the real reason for the group's break-up in 1913. Officially it was Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's unauthorized chronicle of the "Brücke" was said to have caused the group‘s end. The dynamism of this development produced extraordinary achievements for all those involved right from the start of their artistic career. In 1908, at the transition to the flat style of a pronounced Expressionism, something emerged that Kirchner called "monumental Impressionism" in the "Brücke" chronicle.
The summer in Dangast
Only a few of Erich Heckel's flower pictures from the early "Brücke" years have survived: two backsides of paintings from 1906/07, the "Blühende Kresse" from 1907 and the "Blaue Iris" from 1908. They are all determined by the spotty application of paint in energetic brushstrokes, which dominated the paintings of the "Brücke" artists at that time, and which was gradually replaced by larger, contrasting areas of color as of 1908. The painting “Blaue Iris” exactly marks this stage of the development. Here the entire surface of the picture is no longer filled with leaves and flowers. The lilies - in a dominant green and blue tones with violet accentuations - rise in pyramid shape from the lower edge of the picture to the upper, framed by yellowish and orange surfaces that suggest a house‘s wall on the left and a path on the right. The blue-painted wing of an open window, is a reference to the northern German coastal region. The picture was made in Dangast, where Heckel and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff had spent the summer for the first time the previous year, and where they now stayed from April to early October. In Dangast the focus was not so much on the nudes, as it had been the case in Dresden or at the Moritzburg ponds, but on the landscape instead. They felt that the vast sky made the colors particularly clear and strong. "It is unbelievable how strong the colors you can find here are, an intensity that no pigment has," said Schmidt-Rottluff, describing the Dangast experience (quote from: Gerhard Wietek, Schmidt-Rottluff in Hamburg und Schleswig-Holstein, Neumünster 1984, p. 59). He adopted new forms of design only slowly and thoughtfully, which explains why he created relatively few paintings in 1908. For Heckel's overall creation Gerhard Wietek speaks of his “most fruitful creative period” with “around a hundred apparently effortlessly produced works” (Gerhard Wietek, Schmidt-Rottluff. Oldenburger Jahre 1907-1912, Mainz 1995, p. 41). Most of the at least 44 Dangast paintings by Heckel from 1908 show dissolved areas that incorporate the ground, as is the case with the watercolors made around the same time. He was the first of the "Brücke" artists to tap the potential that diluted colors offered. They allowed for faster, even more spontaneous work and at the same time ensured a fresco-like, dull drying, as the artists had already sought with the impasto colors with particularly absorbent primers.
The flower pictures and their special charm
In addition to the landscapes the artists also tried out still lifes. The garden pictures can be understood as an intermediate form - on the one hand a landscape section, on the other hand a still life with flowers. Both Heckel and Schmidt-Rottluff had created them since 1906 and it is possible that they were inspired by similar motifs of Emil Nolde, who had just been invited to become a member of the "Brücke". A comparison with the painting “Blühende Kresses”(Blooming Cress) from 1907 shows how masterfully Heckel characterized the plants. In the cress the entire picture surface is filled with patches of color of almost consistent intensity. And yet we believe to see how the salmon-red flowers and light green leaves on the delicate stalks of the tendril plant sway in light wind. The painted blue iris with its blue-green leaf tips that point slightly upward develops a very own dynamic. In between we find the typical iris blossoms with three of their leaves, here in dark blue to violet, and the three lighter, almost white leaves around the rich yellow-orange of the stamens. The wing of the window, which slides into this upward movement like wedge coming from the left, is unable to halt it, especially since it is supported by the perspective line of the path‘s edge in the upper right corner of the picture. The rich colors that subtly interwoven in the flower pyramid, are echoed by their surrounding surfaces, which add a calm atmosphere to the motif. The picture is an exceptionally delicate color symphony.
Andreas Hüneke
323
Erich Heckel
Blaue Iris, 1908.
Oil on canvas
Estimate:
€ 400,000 / $ 480,000
Sold:
€ 1,062,500 / $ 1.275.000

(incl. 25% surcharge)