Resurfaced: A Painting by August Macke
Munich, 24 October 2007, (kk) - For over twenty years* it has not been on the market
and was only shown at a single exhibition in New York in 1952: now the August Macke oil painting
(1912) "Blondes Mädchen mit Buch" ["Blonde Girl with Book"] is to be sold at the Ketterer Kunst Modern
Art auction in Munich on 5 December. Measuring 50 x 71 cm, the work carries an estimate of € 300,000-500,000.
Readers occupy a special niche in August Macke’s work. Immersed in their books, they seem to have migrated
to another world. The little blonde girl represented here in a classic triangular composition, does,
however, seem fully aware of her role as model. The artist for his part is not concerned in his portraiture
with psychograms of his sitters. On the contrary, he portrays them in their surroundings, which he allocates
to them attributively in the form of still lifes in order to bring across his basic principle of contemplation.
Vladimir Georgievich Bekhteyev also chose a brief moment of serenity for his "Zirkusszene"
["Circus Scene"], in which horses and trainer fuse to form an image of artificial beauty. Deploying
the ornamental line that is typical of his handling, the artist presents the bodies of the blue-black
horses so that their supple elegance enters on a unique synthesis with the trainer’s grace.
A Bekhteyev had quadrupled its estimate last December at a Ketterer Kunst auction to achieve
a world record price and in summer Bekhteyev’s "Vier badende Mädchen" ["Four Girls Bathing"]
came close to doubling an estimate of € 240,000-280,000, fetching € 462,000. Now when the
present oil painting (estimate: € 180,000-240,000) is called, the auction room is bound to be on tenterhooks.
Carrying a similar estimate at € 180,000-200,000, the Marc Chagall portfolio "Sur la Terre des Dieux" is
a sequence (1967) of ten colour lithographs illustrating ancient Greek texts and informed by impressions
made on the artist when he went to Greece. Although Chagall did not turn to lithography until late in his
career, he attained an extraordinary mastery of the medium within a very short time.
Mastery is also evident in the 1923 "Meistermappe des Staatlichen Bauhauses" ["Bauhaus Master Portfolio"].
It unites the greats of the German avant-garde: Feininger, Kandinsky, Klee, Marcks, Muche, Moholy-Nagy,
Schlemmer and Schreyer. Apart from its aesthetic and technical quality, the portfolio (estimate: 150,000-170,000)
is fascinating for the stylistic range encompassed in these works by instructors at the Bauhaus.
A browse through this portfolio conveys an instant overview of the most important trends in 1920s art history.
Right at the top of the list are two works by Gabriele Münter. Her 1933 "Drei Madonnen mit dunklen Blättern"
["Three Madonnas with Dark Leaves"] (estimate: € 70,000-90,000) seem to be engaging in a mute sacra conversazione
expressive of the rustic qualities of vernacular art. In contrast, "Landschaft mit baumbestandenem Weg"
["Landscape with Tree-lined Path"] (estimate: € 100,000-150,000), painted two years before the former work,
focuses on Nature in her autumnal colours.
A batch of nine Emil Nolde watercolours could almost claim a small auction of their own. The anthology
begins with the flower still life Mohn, gelbe und blaue Blüten" ["Poppies, Yellow and Blue Blooms"]
(estimate: € 90,000-120,000), followed by "Rote Blüten" ["Red Blooms"] and "Agaven und Kaiserkronen"
["Agave and Crown imperial"], each carrying an estimate of € 80,000-120,000. In addition to three more
flower paintings (estimates: € 50,000-80,000), "Dschunken" ["Chinese Junks"], dating from 1913, and
"Zwei rote Fische" ["Two Red Fish"], painted in 1923/24
(estimate: € 40,000-60,000 each), will be a treat for lovers of the sea. Nor will mountaineers go
away empty-handed: carrying an estimate of € 50,000-70,000, "Almhütte" ["Alpine Chalet"] should be
just the thing.
Another highlight is a work by Amedeo Modigliani. Pablo Picasso’s "Demoiselles d’Avignon" may
well have inspired the Italian artist in 1911/12 to "Cariatide" ["Caryatid"] in pencil and chalks.
Modigliani, however, remains true to clarity of line as his formal principle, lending it a
sensuousness that conveys a subtle eroticism in the compact forms of this nude kneeling in such
an elegant pose. The estimate is € 100,000-120,000.
Otto Mueller’s watercolour "Mädchen im Dünengras" ["Girl in Dune Grass"] and Constantin Brancusi’s
"Mädchenporträt - Mademoiselle Pogany" ["Portrait of a Girl - Mlle Pogany"] drawn in pen and brush
(estimate: € 80,000-120,000 each) are stunning works in the Modern Art section. They are in good
company with a Salvador Dalí gouache "Projet pour une conférence surréaliste" ["Project for a Surrealist Conference"]
(estimate: € 90,000-110,000), Marino Marini’s "Cavallo" and Alexei von Jawlensky’s, "Stillleben: Grauer Klang"
["Still Life: Grey Sound"] (estimate: € 70,000-90,000 each).
In addition, works by Ernst Barlach, Lyonel Feininger, Karl Hofer, Oskar Kokoschka, Georg Kolbe,
Edouard Manet, Ewald Mataré, Giorgio Morandi and Pablo Picasso will be called as well as three by
Max Beckmann, whose 1946 "Zauberspiegel" ["Magic Mirror"] comes at just the right time for the
exhibition on the artist’s Amsterdam years now showing at the Munich Pinakothek der Moderne.
Contemporary art from the Post War era, which will be presented in a separate catalogue,
is well represented indeed by such great names as Rainer Fetting, Rupprecht Geiger, Alberto
and Diego Giacometti, Ernst Wilhelm Nay, Markus Prachensky, Arnulf Rainer, Rosemarie Trockel,
Cy Twombly and Tom Wesselmann.
At the top end of the roll of distinguished names is Gerhard Richter, with a 1960 oil
painting "Sich Ankleidende" ["Woman Dressing"]. The artist here has anticipated his intimate
family portraits. The work carries an estimate of € 150,000-250,000.
Pierre Soulages is bound to cause a stir in the auction room with "Peinture 127 cm x 99 cm,
23 september 1977" in stunning mixed technique with reserved perforations
(estimate: € 120,000-150,000).
Next to that, a Horst Antes cephalopod (Gnome) work looks almost classical: "Interieur mit Stillleben"
["Interior with Still Life"], entering the lists with an estimate of € 90,000-120,000.
A Jörg Immendorff bronze, "Sieger" ["Winner"] is not much lower at € 80,000-120,000. Another bronze
sculpture is by Markus Lüpertz, whose "Kleine Spanierin" ["Little Spanish Girl"] dates from 1995/96 and
is estimated to fetch € 50,000-70,000.
The established auction Byways of the German Avant-Garde is a high point of the auction agenda with nearly
90 works by Josef Eberz, Carlo Mense, William Straube, Arnold Topp,
Max Unold et al, seconded by another superlative offering:
the extraordinary Professor Robert Häusser Collection, to which again a separate
catalogue is dedicated.
Professor Robert Häusser, one of the few internationally acclaimed German photographers of the
early post-war era, amassed a superb collection of contemporary art from the 1960s to the 1980s.
Exhibitions of his own photographic work attracted the attention of artists such as Winfried Gaul,
Gotthard Graubner, Gerhard Hoehme and Georg Meistermann. Karl Fred Dahmen and Karl Otto Götz were
among the first to seek contact with Professor Häusser to have their work photographed.
Thus many personal ties were forged, which in turn exerted an enormous influence on the photographer
as collector. The special auction will include some thirty works from the Professor Häusser Collection,
none of which has ever been offered for sale on the market.
Pre-sale viewings in Germany have been scheduled for the following dates and times:
|19-22 November, 11 am-5 pm
||Ketterer Kunst, 1 Meßberg,
|24-30 November, 10 am-7 pm
||Ketterer Kunst, 70 Fasanenstrasse,
|1 December, 11 am-5 pm
2 December, 11 am-2 pm
3 December, 10 am-5 pm
4 December, 10 am-3 pm
|Ketterer Kunst, 61 Prinzregentenstrasse,
|HVB Forum, 1 Kardinal-Faulhaber-Strasse (Prannerstraße entrance), 80333 Munich.
Since it was founded in 1954, Ketterer Kunst has been firmly established in the front ranks
of auction houses dealing in art and rare books. While the Munich headquarters in the Prinz-Alfons
Palais is responsible for the two traditional annual auctions of Modern Art & Post War, the Meßberghof
in Hamburg is the venue for two auctions a year, each based on the following fields: Old Masters and
19th-Century Art /Marine Art and Rare Books - Autographs - Manuscripts - Decorative Prints as well as
Modern Art & Post War, with a focus on works on paper. In addition, exhibitions, special and benefit
auctions for charity as well as live auctions online are regular events at Ketterer Kunst.