Lot 168
  • 168

Max Pechstein

100,000 - 150,000 GBP
302,750 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Max Pechstein
  • Kastanienbaum (Chestnut Tree)
  • signed HMPechstein and dated 1922 (lower left)
  • oil on canvas


Frieda Mayer, Berlin
Private Collection, South America (by descent from the above)
Thence by descent to the present owner in 1995

Catalogue Note

Kastanienbaum, painted in 1922, is an extraordinarily vibrant and enigmatic example of Max Pechstein’s landscape painting. The vigorous and busy brushstrokes are counterbalanced by large blocks of colour such as the windowless façade of the building that capture the tranquil atmosphere and the idyll of the countryside. Kastanienbaum forms part of a series of trees in bloom, which Pechstein painted in Leba at the Baltic Sea, where he spent nearly every summer from 1921 until 1945. During this time, Pechstein developed an increasing interest in landscape scenes with houses, juxtaposing the organic shapes of nature with the geometric shapes of buildings. Pechstein's use of the luminous palette of reds, blues and greens reflects the latent influence of German Expressionism, a movement in which he was a universally recognised as one of the most prominent members.

Kastanienbaum was completed during the Weimar years immediately following the First World War. During this time, Pechstein travelled around the country and painted extensively. As the artist observed at the time: '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' (quoted in Bernhard Fulda & Aya Soika, Max Pechstein: The Rise and Fall of Expressionism, Berlin, 2012, p. 229).