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Details & Cataloguing

French Cancan by Natalie Seroussi

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Paris

Arthur Segal
1875 - 1944
DER SÜNDENFALL
signed and dated 1920; signed and inscribed "Der Sündenfall" A. Segal. Charlottenburg on the back of the frame
oil on canvas in the artist's frame
69,5 x 90 cm; 27 3/8 x 35 3/8 in.
Executed in 1920.
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Provenance

Private collection, Paris
Sale: Christie's, London, Impressionist and Modern Art, 5 February 2009, lot 417
Natalie Seroussi, Paris (acquired in this sale)

Exhibited

Paris, Galerie Michel Rein, Talkie Walkie, 2013

Catalogue Note

Of Rumanian origin, Arthur Segal arrived in Germany in 1892. At this period, under the influence of Van Gogh and Munch, he exhibited violent, colourful and expressionist works alongside paintings by artists from the Die Brücke movement such as Nolde, Heckel, Kirchner and Pechstein. It was naturally in 1910, that he took part in the foundation of the Neue Secession. In 1912, Segal  discovered Robert Delaunay’s works exhibited at the Der Sturm Gallery in Berlin, manifestation of the revue of the same name that published the theories and works of all European avant-gardes. During the war and like many artists who flocked from all over Europe, this older son of a wealthy Jewish family found refuge in Switzerland. In Zurich, where the Dada movement was born, founded by Hugo Ball and Marcel Janco, the walls of the Cabaret Voltaire were covered by expressionist, futurist and cubist works. Segal presented his works there with Arp. This turbulent period was an intense time of psychological and artistic fermentation, and was particularly decisive for Segal. In 1917, before even the end of the war, his work developed towards a new original style that the critics quickly qualified as "cubo-futurist". The paintings from this time are divided into a framework of equal square or rectangular parts. Segal combined these geometrical reflections with a study on alternating colours. Prolonging his constructive and optical research into the margins of the frame that is part of the work, Segal delivered a veritable masterpiece with Sünddenfall. Dated 1920, this work with the title "Expulsion from Paradise" is all the more astounding because paradoxically it was produced at a time when the conflict was ending. A cultural scholar, Segal experienced the war as the disaster of Humanity. Beyond the exaltation of its plastic and chromatic experiments, Der Sünddenfall  can be seen as a major counterpoint to Zweig’s thoughts who had the courage to write in his foreword to the Monde d’hier: "Against my will I was the witness to the most dreadful  defeat of reason and the most savage triumph of brutality of all time. Never – and I do not say it with pride but with shame – has a generation such as ours fallen from such high spiritual elevation to such moral decadence."

French Cancan by Natalie Seroussi

|
Paris