Lot 361
  • 361

Ernst Barlach

Estimate
50,000 - 70,000 GBP
bidding is closed

Description

  • Ernst Barlach
  • Russische Bettlerin II (Russian beggar woman II)
  • inscribed E.Barlach, stamped with the foundry mark H. Noack Berlin and bearing numbering 8/10
  • bronze
  • length: 41.4cm., 16┬╝in.

Provenance

Estate of the Artist
Galerie Nierendorf, Berlin
Marlborough Fine Art Ltd, London (acquired from the above in 1968)
Saul P. Steinberg (sale: Christie's, New York, 18th May 1981, lot 12)
Private Collection, United States (purchased at the above sale)
Private Collection, United Kingdom (acquired from the above)
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Literature

Ernst Barlach, Ein Selbsterzähltes Leben, Munich, 1948, no. 9, illustration of the plaster
Friedrich Schult, Ernst Barlach, Das Plastische Werk, Hamburg, 1960, no. 71, illustration of another cast p. 65
Carl Dietrich Carls, Ernst Barlach, London, 1969, illustration of another cast p. 35
Ernst Barlach (exhibition catalogue), Wiener Künstlerhaus, Vienna, 1984, no. 7, p. 95
Ernst Barlach & Anita Beloubek-Hammer, Plastische Meister-Werke, Leipzig, 1996, illustration of another cast p. 27
Elisabeth Laur, Ernst Barlach. Das Plastische Werk. Werkverzeichnis II, Güstrow, 2006, no. 517, illustration of another cast p. 238

Condition

Attractive golden brown patina. Apart from some dust in the crevices and a few very minor spots of discolouration to the robe close to the right knee, this work is in overall good condition.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

Catalogue Note

Perhaps Barlach’s greatest contribution to early modern art was his ability to translate difficult subject matter into three-dimensional form and symbolically elevate it through pure sculptural values. Although trained in Germany and later France, he found his true inspiration not in Parisian society or in the nearby country landscape, but rather upon his arrival in Russia in the early 1900s; in so many ways, Russia was for Barlach what Tahiti was for Gauguin. It was the humble characters he encountered on the Southern steppe that inspired him to work in sculpture, later writing: ‘I think it superfluous to deny the legend that “only through Russia” I was led to expressing myself three dimensionally—or however else this has been formulated. The fact remains that to my eyes reality was three dimensional reality and that I brought with me an unsatisfied longing, a readiness and an ability to perceive the plastic values. Russia gave me her forms… Shape—mere shape?—No, the incredible realization dawned on me: All that is yours, the external, the internal, the pious gesture, the unruly gesture of rage, you may dare without hesitation, because everything, be it hellish paradise or paradisical hell, has its expression, as in Russia, where the one or the other has been realized’ (quoted in Ernst Barlach Handzeichnungen: Die Sammlung Niescher (exhibition catalogue), Ernst Barlach Haus, Hamburg, 1972, n.p.).

This Russian beggar woman was based on a real individual that Barlach encountered on his journey; he wrote about her in his diary and depicted her several times. He later compared an original pencil sketch to this finished sculpture, among his most acclaimed, and commented, ‘I have changed nothing of what I saw. I saw it like that because I saw simultaneously the vile, the comic and—let me say it unabashedly—the divine’ (quoted in Carl D. Cars, Ernst Barlach, London, 1969, p. 48).