Sale: 554 / Modern Art Day Sale, June 08. 2024 in Munich Lot 489

Horace Pippin
Winterlandschaft, Um 1940.
Oil on cardboard
Post auction sale: € 30,000 / $ 31,500
Winterlandschaft. Um 1940.
Oil on cardboard.
Signed in lower right. 23 x 30 cm (9 x 11.8 in).

• Works by Horace Pippin are extremely rare on the auction market.
• This is the first time the work is offered on the auction market.
• The artist left an oeuvre comprising only around 140-200 works.
• Notable provenance: art dealer Robert Carlen (1906-1990). Carlen Galleries, Philadelphia, met the artist in 1939 and represented him ever since.
• Pippin's works can be found in the most renowned US collections like the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, the Philipps Collection and the National Gallery, Washington, as well as the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Washington

PROVENANCE: Robert "Bob" Carlen (1906-1990), Philadelphia/USA.
Marcus M. and Tilly Kohn Collection, Philadelphia/USA (acquired from the above in 1976).
Private collection Southern Germany (acquired from the above).

"My opinion of art is that a man should have love for it, because […] he paints from his heart and mind. To me it seems impossible for another to teach one of Art."
Horace Pippin, quoted from: Masters of popular painting: modern primitives of Europe and America, exhib. cat. Museum of Modern Art, New York 1938, p. 126.

"Pictures just come to my mind, and then I tell my heart to go ahead."
Horace Pippin, quoted from: American folk painters of three centuries, exhib. cat. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York 1980, p. 216.

Horace Pippin's art is closely linked to his personal experiences. It grew out of the need to record the reality around him, as well as his memories and ideas, on the canvas. For the African-American, who grew up in Goshen, a small town north of New York City, access to what was celebrated as art in the metropolis seemed a long way off. His widowed mother worked as a servant and Pippin earned his living as a porter and furniture mover in an America in times of racial segregation. In 1917, at the age of 29, he enlisted in the army and was deployed to France at the end of the year. On December 27, he landed in the port of Brest in Brittany. For a year, he experienced the war as a member of the 369th Infantry Regiment, the so-called Harlem Hellfighters, which consisted mainly of African-Americans, until he was evacuated after he was shot through the shoulder during a battle in the Ardennes, after which his right arm was impaired. During the war, Pippin kept a journal, in which he wrote and sketched with astonishing objectivity and apparent inner detachment. After his return to the USA, he settled in his hometown of West Chester near Philadelphia, and lived on a disability pension. He began to paint in the 1930s. His first painting "The Ending of the War, Starting Home" (1930-1933, Philadelphia Museum of Art) is an impressive depiction of his memories of the battle of Séchault, in which he was wounded. According to his own description, he could tap into his creativity as a result of his war experiences and his physical injury. He gradually used the entire reality of his life as a motif, including domestic life, interiors and still lifes, but also biblical images and scenes from the history of slavery, which seem all the more drastic in their objectivity. He exhibited his works in the windows of local stores, hairdressers and shoemakers.

Meanwhile in Paris, still the center of the avant-garde, a new view of Modernism emerged. After so-called Primitivism from Africa and Oceania, the focus shifted to "naïve painting", which was far off the ideal of art and took place outside the system. The movement became widely known through the international traveling exhibition "Les maîtres populaires de la réalité" (The Popular Masters of Reality), which began in Paris in 1937. Henri Rousseau, Séraphine Louis and Camille Bombois were prominently represented, however, no American artists were included. The show also stopped at the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1938.
Due to their quality, Pippin's paintings were included in the 1937 annual exhibition of the Chester County Art Association, founded by Christian Brinton, an important collector, curator and donor of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This was where Pippin caught the attention of MoMA curators Holger Cahill and Dorothy Miller, who borrowed four of his paintings for the American section of the exhibition, now entitled "Masters of Popular Painting: Modern Primitives of Europe and America". Alongside, among others, John Kane, John Pickett and Edward Hicks, Pippin represented US art. Naive painting as the product of an instinctive, deeply human urge for expression and not as a civilized product yielded by academies, thus became vital part of the new modernist concept of art. This was also linked to a search for identity, which, from the point of view of the curators at MoMA at the time, also concerned the position of Black people and their role in society.

The gallery owner Robert Carlen, who had recently founded a gallery for American "folk art" in Philadelphia, added Pippin to his program. He was able to win over the important collector and philanthropist Albert C. Barnes, who already owned several works by Henri Rousseau, as author of the preface for the catalog of the first solo exhibition in 1940. Barnes acquired some of the 20 oil paintings by Pippin that were on display. His fame rose rapidly. In the few years between his discovery and his early death in 1946, numerous solo exhibitions followed in San Francisco, Chicago and New York City, his work attracted the attention of international art critics and he sold the majority of his works to major museums and collectors. In less than ten years, the self-taught artist made a meteoric rise into the canon of American art history.

The landscapes covered in thick snow are unusual in his work. As in Henri Rousseau's jungle paintings, they are also infused with a diffuse eeriness. Due to the painterly alienation of the motif, in which it is often impossible to clearly distinguish between dreamlike imagination, memory and actual reality, the viewer's belief in the naive idylls also becomes fragile. Impenetrable masses of snow and a freezing cold are the first impressions that awaited Pippin on his arrival in France and which still haunted him years later: "I were in France, when the old year, of 1917 were out and the new year, of 1918, came in. And I do not believe, I ever seen it snow so, in my life, like it did in Brest.“ (quoted from: Journal, October 4, 1920, Horace Pippin notebooks and letters, box 1 folder 2, Archives of American Art, Washington, D.C.). Last but not least, his works also include the seemingly endless, irritatingly bright white cotton fields, such as in "Cabin in the Cotton" (1931-1937, Art Institute, Chicago), the painting that triggered the start of his stellar career when it was exhibited in a shoemaker's shop window in 1937.
Pippin's work currently seems more topical than ever. Important exhibitions such as "Welche Moderne?: Insider und Outsider der Avantgarde" (May to September 2023, Sprengel Museum, Hanover) and "The Harlem Renaissance and Transatlantic Modernism" (until July 28, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), in which Pippin's self-portrait and the portrait of his wife Jennie are shown, deal with the new perspectives that emerge in his work. [KT]

Horace Pippin
Winterlandschaft, Um 1940.
Oil on cardboard
Post auction sale: € 30,000 / $ 31,500

Buyer's premium and taxation for Horace Pippin "Winterlandschaft"
This lot can be purchased subject to differential or regular taxation.

Differential taxation:
Hammer price up to 800,000 €: herefrom 32 % premium.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 800,000 € is subject to a premium of 27 % and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 800,000 €.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 4,000,000 € is subject to a premium of 22 % and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 4,000,000 €.
The buyer's premium contains VAT, however, it is not shown.

Regular taxation:
Hammer price up to 800,000 €: herefrom 27 % premium.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 800,000 € is subject to a premium of 21% and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 800,000 €.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 4,000,000 € is subject to a premium of 15% and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 4,000,000 €.
The statutory VAT of currently 19 % is levied to the sum of hammer price and premium. As an exception, the reduced VAT of 7 % is added for printed books.

We kindly ask you to notify us before invoicing if you wish to be subject to regular taxation.