Lot 131
  • 131

Max Pechstein

300,000 - 400,000 GBP
434,500 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Max Pechstein
  • Kind auf Dorfstraße (Child on a village street)
  • signed HMPechstein (lower left)
  • oil on canvas


Mr Gröger, Pforzheim
Private Collection, Pforzheim (acquired from the above in the 1950s)
Private Collection, Baden-Württemberg (a gift from the above in 1985)
Thence by descent to the present owner


Aya Soika, Max Pechstein: Das Werkverzeichnis der Ölgemälde, Munich, 2011, vol. II, no. 1923/27, illustrated p. 310

Catalogue Note

Recognised as one of the most prominent painters of the German Expressionist movement, Max Pechstein’s paintings exemplify the confident brushwork, bright colours and exaggerated forms that characterise the Die Brücke group’s approach to art, which was quite evidently influenced by the French Fauves. While the present work depicts a quiet scene on the streets of a village in the German countryside, a certain sense of agitation and tension is exuded through the artist’s choice of simplified forms, energetic brushstrokes and a sombre palette punctuated with vivid orange pigment. The emotional force of the imagery runs in conjunction with the German Expressionists’ desire to capture the immediate atmosphere of a scene rather than its formal qualities and exact likeness. In this way, the fundamental tenets of the Die Brücke artists echoed those of their Impressionist predecessors; they largely believed that process took precedence over product, and that impressions should be captured spontaneously.

Painted in 1923, the present picture was completed during the Weimar years immediately following WWI. During this time, Pechstein travelled around the country and painted extensively. He once observed in a letter: 'I drown everything in colour, my brain is filled only with paintings, and the idea of what to paint drives me from one place to the other, already at eight in the evening I fall into bed dead tired, and yet I have still got mountains [of work] to deal with, if it were possible I would have to spend three years here without interruption and work like a horse to finish it at some point. [...] Only painting still keeps me going, once it is over, I will certainly collapse, so [one has to] harvest, bring into the barn, as long as still possible' (Bernhard Fulda & Aya Soika, Max Pechstein: The Rise and Fall of Expressionism, Berlin, 2012, p. 229).