84
84

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

Carl Spitzweg
"DER ARME POET" (THE POOR POET)  
Estimate
60,00080,000
LOT SOLD. 542,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
84

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

Carl Spitzweg
"DER ARME POET" (THE POOR POET)  
Estimate
60,00080,000
LOT SOLD. 542,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Old Master Paintings and Sculpture

|
New York

Carl Spitzweg
MUNICH 1808 - 1885
"DER ARME POET" (THE POOR POET)  

Provenance

Adolf Alt, Munich, by 1924;
With Schoenmann & Lampl, Munich, 1927;
Hofrat Dr. Michael Berolzheimer, Munich, Obergrainau and New York;
His sale, Munich, Weinmüller, 30 November-1 December 1938, lot 158, illustrated;
Melitta Berolzheimer (widow of the above, formerly Schweisheimer, née Dispeaker);
Dr. Waldemar Schweisheimer, Munich and New York (son of the above);
Thence by descent to the present owner.

Literature

G. Roennefahrt, Carl Spitzweg: Beschreibendes Verzeichnis Seiner Gemälde, Ölstudien und Aquarelle, Munich 1960, cat. no. 1363, reproduced;
S. Wichmann, Carl Spitzweg. Der arme Poet-ein Flohfänger, Munich 1982, pp. 30-1;
S. Wichmann, S.: Carl Spitzweg. Das Große Spitzweg-Album, Herrsching 1984, p. 33, no. 20;
S. Wichmann, Carl Spitzweg : Kunst, Kosten und Konflikte, Frankfurt and Berlin 1991, pp. 18-35;
S. Wichmann, Carl Spitzweg : Verzeichnis der Werke : Gemälde und Aquarelle, Stuttgart 2002, p. 147, cat. no. 127, reproduced.
R.M. Hagen and R. Hagen, What Great Paintings Say, Köln 2002, p. 393.

Catalogue Note

This is a study for what has become one of Germany's most famous and popular paintings, "Der Arme Poet". It depicts an impoverished poet writing in a cold attic under the shelter of his umbrella which protects him from a leaky roof. It exemplifies a romanticized movement of genre painting which embodied values strongly associated with the Biedermeier era. The image quickly attracted popular attention and still resonates with a contemporary audience. 

According to Wickmann (see Literature), the present work is a preliminary study painted circa 1837 for Spitzweg's two versions of the subject, both completed in 1839. One is now the Neue Pinakothek, Munich (inv. No. 7751, Fig. 1). The second version was formerly in the Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin (inv. no. 1118) until it was famously stolen in 1976. On that occasion, the painting was returned after only a few hours. Following this, the Berlin version was moved to Schloss Charlottenburg, Berlin, until it was stolen again in 1989, together with another picture by Spitzweg entitled The Love Letter. Both pictures are still missing today.

Spitzweg here offers a sparse composition in relation to his more finished, and fully realized versions. Comparing this study with the Munich canvas (see fig. 1), variations are clearly noticeable: in the present work, on the left side of the room, the coat, the pot next to the stove, the cane, and the newspaper bundles are missing. His blanket covers the mattress which is visible in the Munich picture. On the floor next to him the poet has fewer books and the box at his side is missing; Spitzweg also omitted the eye mask on the wall next to him. It is less crowded than the two finished versions. The rapidity with which it is executed is particularly striking; it is painted in an unusually spontaneous manner for the artist whose work is usually characterized by an incredible attention to detail. Spitzweg addressed his iconic composition in the present oil in a much rawer and more minimalist manner.    

 

Important Old Master Paintings and Sculpture

|
New York