34
34
Adolf Wölfli
DER SAN SALVATHOR
Estimate
150,000200,000
LOT SOLD. 795,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
34
Adolf Wölfli
DER SAN SALVATHOR
Estimate
150,000200,000
LOT SOLD. 795,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Creating a Stage: The Collection of Marsha and Robin Williams

|
New York

Adolf Wölfli
1864 - 1930
DER SAN SALVATHOR
graphite, colored pencil and crayon on paper
58 1/2 x 83 in.; 148.6 x 210.8 cm
Executed in 1926. 
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Provenance

Phyllis Kind Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1990

Exhibited

New York, American Folk Art Museum, St. Adolf-Giant-Creation: The Art of Adolf Wölfli, February - May 2003, frontispiece, p. 99, illustrated in color

Literature

Elka Spoerri and Daniel Baumann, "St. Adolf-Giant-Creation: The Art of Adolf Wölfli," Folk Art, Vol. 27, No. 4, Winter 2002/2003, cover, p. 47, illustrated in color

Catalogue Note

The way in which the Williams family came to collect Adolf Wölfli’s Der San Salvathor holds a special place in Marsha’s heart. While working in New York and searching for a birthday present for Robin, Marsha spotted Wölfli’s masterpiece in Phyllis Kind’s gallery. “I thought it was actually maybe a rug kind of maquette, for lack of a better word, because it has that kind of mandala order to it that looks almost like a carpet. Once I saw that on the wall, I just couldn’t see anything else.” Marsha was not the first to be enamored by the work. Der San Salvathor had also caught the eye of an important American collector and a prestigious museum was interested in the piece for their collection as well. However, in the end, the work found its way to the Williams Collection. While it was not the artist's troubled history that initially drew Marsha to the work, Marsha quickly became fascinated by his story. She recounted, “With Wölfli there's a story in everything he did. I just think it is really captivating. Back then, if you had serious mental health issues, they gave you things like colored pencils and butcher block paper to encourage the exploration of expression of your personal stuff.”

It is Wölfli’s great achievement that he could create his art both within the domain of his illness and in spite of it. With the pictorial and literary means of his art, Wölfli was able to express the existential condition that this psychosis forced him to experience, and in so doing, he allows us an insight into his particular condition humaine.

Elka Spoerri and Dianle Baumann, "St. Adolf-Giant-Creation: The Art of Adolf Wölfli," in Folk Art, Vol. 27, No. 4, Winter 2002/2003, p. XX

Creating a Stage: The Collection of Marsha and Robin Williams

|
New York