Lot 48
  • 48

Franz von Stuck

100,000 - 150,000 USD
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  • Franz Von Stuck
  • An der Quelle (Lauschende Nymphe) 
  • signed Franz / Stuck (lower right)
  • oil on panel
  • 37 1/4 by 32 5/8 in.
  • 94.6 by 82.9 cm


Galerie Heinemann, Munich (acquired directly from the artist, 1901)
Bela Rudnyansky, Budapest (acquired from the above, November 1910)
Thence by descent 


Nice, Galerie Heinemann, Exposition des beaux-arts, 1902no. 169 
Munich, Galerie Heinemann, 1905-1906, no. 82 
Munich, Galerie Heinemann, 1908-1909, no. 148 


Die Kunst unserer Zeit, Munich, January, 1904, vol. 15, illustrated opposite p. 24
Heinrich Voss, Franz von Stuck: 1863-1928, Munich, 1973, p. 282, no. 214/235, illustrated p. 146


The following condition report was kindly provided by Simon Parkes Art Conservation Inc.:This work has been restored and should be hung in its current state. It is painted on a panel made of 4 pieces of wood joined vertically. All of these joins are stable and are not visible on the surface. The paint layer reads quite strongly under ultraviolet light in the blue above the rock on the left, but this is all original pigment. There may be slight retouching around the face, beneath the chin and possibly around the arm on the left to address some pentimenti. However, this could be original pigment, given the fact that much of the original pigment does read very strongly under ultraviolet light. The paint layer is certainly in beautiful state.
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.

Catalogue Note

Art in Munich around 1900 was so densely populated with nymphs, centaurs, fauns, and satyrs, that a Berlin satirical magazine reported “O! What happy days these were, when every man still had his horse’s or goat’s legs! Thank you, master-painters, for making these times come alive again” (Beate Dry-von Zezschwitz, “Der Faun und die Schöne,” Weltkunst, vol. 58, no. 20, 1988, p. 3059, as translated and quoted in Edwin Becker, Franz von Stuck 1863-1928, Eros & Pathos, Amsterdam, 1995,  p. 42).  Mythological and magical creatures allowed artists to explore sensual themes uncensored, with the half-man, half-goat horned satyr a particularly potent pagan symbol of unbridled joy.  Von Stuck had portrayed the creature as early as 1889 with Neckeri, in which a satyr chases a nymph around a massive tree.  In An der Quelle the satyr plays his pipes in a pose reminiscent of Antique depictions of Pan, the god of shepherds and the fields— a symbol of both renewal and virility, and renowned for his erotic prowess.  His music seems to entrance the nymph tucked away in a shadowy grotto, her outreached hand and focused expression suggesting the painting’s alternative title of Lauschende Nymphe (The Listening Nymph). As with his imaginative figures, von Stuck’s landscapes of varying tones and textures create mood and feeling as well; the rough rocks and dark pool contrasts with the swaying trees and flying birds against a bright sky, emphasizing the maiden's seclusion, seemingly ignored by the piping satyr. The grotto reappears in a number of von Stuck’s works in following years; seduction takes a more lascivious turn in Quellnymphe von Faunen belauscht, where a bathing beauty is spied upon by a group of fauns poised to pounce at any moment.  In all of these compositions, von Stuck invites the viewer to untangle and decode the narrative, engaging and implicating them in his painted interplay between sexes.  These compositional and thematic choices were influenced by the Swiss artist Arnold Böcklin (1827-1901) who often portrayed mythological creatures in mysterious landscapes (fig. 1).  Yet while Böcklin’s centaurs, mermaids, and satyrs cavorting in overgrown fields and raging seas seemed to represent some philosophical ideal, von Stuck’s creatures were (ironically) more humanly identifiable in their poses and pursuits, often fusing primitive urges with comic or erotic suggestions.

As with much of his production, Von Stuck gave An der Quelle to Galerie Heinemann, his main dealer, in 1901. It was later acquired by Baron Bela Rudyansky, a Budapest lawyer, art collector, and foreign minister to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and it remained with his descendants for over a century. The painting has only been known by a black and white image— exhibited today for the first time in well over a century, marking an important rediscovery in the artist’s oeuvre.

Please note that this work is sold unframed.