Lot 171
  • 171

Max Pechstein

220,000 - 280,000 GBP
245,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Max Pechstein
  • Saas-Almagell
  • signed HMPechstein and dated 1924 (lower left); signed HMPechstein, dated 1924, titled, inscribed Berlin-Grunewald, Warmbrunnerstr 20 and Switzerland on the reverse
  • oil on canvas


Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner in the 1950s


Zurich, Kunsthaus Zürich, Kunst in Deutschland 1930-1949, Verzeichnis der ausgestellten Werke, 1949
Berlin, Ausstellungshallen am Funkturm, Juryfreie Kunstausstellung, 1953, no. 1033
Berlin, Galerie Gerd Rosen, Max Pechstein, Gemälde aus der Brücke-Zeit und den zwanziger Jahren, 1954, no. 8
Berlin, Charlottenburg Kunstamt & Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg Kunstverein, Max Pechstein, Tuschzeichungen und Aquarelle (und Gemälde) 1923-55, 1960, no. 47
Kiel, Stiftung Pommern, 1997-99 (on loan)
Greifswald, Landesmuseum, 2000-2002 (on loan)
Kiel, Kunsthalle zu Kiel, Die Sammlung, 2007, illustrated in colour in the catalogue 
Kiel, Kunsthalle zu Kiel; Regensburg, Kunstforum Ostdeutsche Galerie Regensburg & Ahlen, Kunstmuseum Ahlen, Max Pechstein. Ein Expressionist aus Leidenschaft. Retrospektive, 2010-11, no. 166, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Kiel, Kunsthalle zu Kiel, 2004-14 (on loan)


Aya Soika, Max Pechstein: Das Werkverzeichnis der Ölgemälde, Munich, 2011, vol. II, no. 1924/3, illustrated p. 321

Catalogue Note

In March 1923 Max Pechstein travelled to Zurich for the first time, in order to visit an exhibition at the Kunsthaus Zürich, where 74 of his paintings were being shown. Pechstein enjoyed the sun and light of Switzerland, especially in contrast to Berlin, where a split from his art dealer that year had left him down at heart. This Swiss escapade was made possible by the generosity of one of his patrons, Walter Minnich, who was a Swiss doctor then living in Montreux, on the shores of Lake Geneva. Minnich extended an open invitation to Pechstein, putting him up in a small flat with a view of Lake Geneva and the mountains. In late May Pechstein was on his way to Venice, where he intended to spend some time on Chioggia, a seafaring island in the Venetian lagoon. On his way he paid a brief visit to Minnich in Montreux, before continuing over the Alps to Italy.

Saas-Almagell is about 80 miles due east of Montreux. Pechstein’s rendering of this scene is indicative of an expressionist approach towards form; something is amiss in the layout of paths, the perspective of the foreground house – both are sacrificed to allow for the intimacy of the scene; an entire valley is distorted and foreshortened to allow us, the viewer, the opportunity to experience it as Pechstein had. Spreading out as the composition develops, we follow lines of primitively painted cows through ever darkening greens, purples, blacks, until we reach his vibrant and magical sky. An exceptionally rare and original subject, Pechstein has managed to distill all the hallmarks of German expressionism into his landscape, and the result is quite mesmerising and overwhelming in its expansiveness.