Lot 149
  • 149

Max Pechstein

350,000 - 550,000 GBP
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  • Max Pechstein
  • Landschaft mit Pferd und Reiter (Landscape with Horse and Rider)
  • signed Pechstein and dated 1911 (lower right)
  • oil on canvas
  • 51 by 70.5cm., 20 by 27 3/4 in.


Dr Willy F. Storck, Mannheim
Private Collection, Mannheim & Canada (acquired in 1927)
Private Collection, Canada
Private Collection, Los Angeles (sale: Hauswedell & Nolte, Hamburg, 7th June 1975, lot 1428)
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner


Aya Soika, Max Pechstein: Das Werkverzeichnis der Ölgemälde 1905-1918, Munich, 2011, vol. I, no. 1911/3, illustrated in colour p. 296


The canvas is not lined. UV examination reveals a thick varnish which is difficult to read through, however two spots of retouching are visible in the upper left quadrant. Further faint spots of fluorescence indicate possible old retouching to the upper part of the trees at the left and in the foliage on the bank of the pathway in the lower left quadrant. There is a repaired tear of approximately 2.5cm. to the treetops at the centre of the composition, visible from the reverse. There are fine lines of craquelure throughout, some of which are slightly lifting, particularly towards the right part of the upper edge. There are a few spots of paint loss in places, notably along the extreme edges. 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.

Catalogue Note

Painted in 1911, during one of Max Pechstein’s extended stays by the Baltic Sea, Landschaft mit Pferd und Reiter is a wonderful example of the artist’s celebrated Brücke style and a powerful reflection of Pechstein's search for the bond between man and nature, both in his life and in his art.

Although Pechstein was the first Brücke artist to move to Berlin in 1908, attracted by the dynamic urban life, he never lost his need and his romantic desire for the primitive. In his search for natural beauty Pechstein discovered Nidden, a small fishing village on the Baltic coast unfettered by the constraints of Western civilization. Pechstein immediately fell for its charming, preindustrial landscape, which allowed him to experience perfect harmony with nature. Following his first visit in 1909, Pechstein returned to Nidden repeatedly, spending the summer months in a state of great excitement and productivity. The freedom he found here led him to explore his creativity without inhibitions and develop his own, mature style, characterised by a confident mastery of form and colour.

Pechstein’s interest in radical freedom of expression and bold use of colour as well as in the exotic and ‘primitive’ was shared by fellow artists Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. Together they found stimulus in a wide variety of artistic currents, including the Post- and Neo-Impressionists and particularly the Fauves. In December 1907, Pechstein travelled to Paris where he had the opportunity of meeting the Fauves and seeing their works first-hand at the Salon des Indépendents in March 1908. Pechstein became friends with Kees van Dongen, forging one of the most significant links between German Expressionism and French Fauvism. This experience, in particular, had a significant impact on Pechstein’s approach to colour.

Whilst the members of Die Brücke absorbed the influences of their French counterparts, they also invested their art with a freshness and naïvety that expressed the self-confidence of their youth. Theirs was the first distinctly German artistic movement of the twentieth century, and their bold aesthetic established Pechstein and his colleagues as a reckonable force among the European avant-garde. The group’s manifesto, written by Kirchner in 1906, heralded their revolutionary mission: ‘With faith in growth and in a new generation of creators and those who enjoy art, we call all young people together, and as the young that bear the future within it we shall create for ourselves elbowroom and freedom of life as opposed to the well-entrenched older forces. Everyone who renders directly and honestly whatever drives him to create is one of us’ (reprinted in Masterpieces of German Expressionism at the Detroit Institute of Arts, New York, 1982, p. 11).