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PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION

Franz Marc
ZWEI STEHENDE MÄDCHENAKTE MIT GRÜNEM STEIN (TWO STANDING NUDES WITH GREEN ROCK) - RECTO ZWEI PFERDE (TWO HORSES) - VERSO
Estimate
500,000700,000
JUMP TO LOT
34

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION

Franz Marc
ZWEI STEHENDE MÄDCHENAKTE MIT GRÜNEM STEIN (TWO STANDING NUDES WITH GREEN ROCK) - RECTO ZWEI PFERDE (TWO HORSES) - VERSO
Estimate
500,000700,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

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London

Franz Marc
1880 - 1916
ZWEI STEHENDE MÄDCHENAKTE MIT GRÜNEM STEIN (TWO STANDING NUDES WITH GREEN ROCK) - RECTO ZWEI PFERDE (TWO HORSES) - VERSO
oil and tempera on paper (recto)

charcoal and wash on paper (verso)


63.5 by 48.5cm.
25 by 19 1/8 in.
Painted in 1910-11 (recto); executed in 1910 (verso).
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Provenance

Alexe Altenkirch, Cologne (acquired by 1920)

Sale: Stuttgarter Kunstkabinett Roman Norbert Ketterer, Stuttgart, 1st December 1955, lot 1633

Emil Georg Bührle, Zurich (purchased at the above sale)

Galerie Peter Griebert, Munich (acquired by 1970)

Sale: Hauswedell & Nolte, Hamburg, 6th June 1980, lot 834

Purchased at the above sale by the present owner

Exhibited

Krefeld, Kaiser-Wilhelm-Museum, Zeitgenössische Deutsche Kunst, 1920, no. 25 (recto titled Zwei Mädchen)

(possibly) Berlin, Nationalgalerie, Gedächtnis-Ausstellung Franz Marc, 1922

Munich, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Franz Marc, 1963, no. 105

Hamburg, Kunstverein, Franz Marc. Gemälde, Gouachen, Zeichnungen, Skulpturen, 1963-64, no. 126

Literature

Alois J. Schardt, Franz Marc, Berlin, 1936, no. 15, recto listed p. 166

Lothar-Günther Buchheim, Der Blaue Reiter und die ‘Neue Künstlervereinigung München’, Feldafing, 1959, recto illustrated in colour p. 144

Klaus Lankheit, Franz Marc, Katalog der Werke, Cologne, 1970, no. 122, recto illustrated p. 40; no. 411, verso illustrated p. 133

Franz Marc: Pferde / Franz Marc: Horses (exhibition catalogue), Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart & Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 2000-01, no. 36, fig. 64, verso illustrated p. 80 (titled Zwei streitende Pferde / Two Horses Fighting)

Annegret Hoberg & Isabelle Jansen, Franz Marc. The Complete Works, London, 2004, vol. I, no. 126, recto illustrated in colour p. 137; vol. II, no. 182, verso illustrated p. 155

Franz Marc – The Retrospective (exhibition catalogue), Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, 2005-06, fig. 11, recto illustrated in colour p. 82

Catalogue Note

Created in 1910-11, this magnificent double-sided work treats two subjects central to Franz Marc’s œuvre and offers a valuable insight into his art at this crucial point in his career, shortly before the formation of Der Blaue Reiter, which he co-founded in 1911. The striking composition depicting two female nudes in a vividly coloured natural setting was probably painted near Sindelsdorf, a small town on the foothills of the Bavarian Alps. Like the Impressionists before them, Marc and his colleagues August Macke and Heinrich Campendonk wanted to escape the city and sought inspiration from the countryside. Marc moved to this area in 1910, attracted by its bucolic splendour and the abundance of farm life. The sense of freedom inspired him to explore the subject of unity between man and nature, culminating in masterpieces such as Der Wasserfall and Rote Frau, both painted in 1912 (figs. 1 & 2).

 

‘I am trying to enhance my sensibility for the organic rhythm that I feel is in all things,’ he wrote of his art in 1911. Not wanting to be misinterpreted as a mere follower of the Fauves, Marc was careful to clarify the aesthetic intentions and spiritual underpinnings of his own ‘wild’ stylisation. In Der Blaue Reiter Almanach, he wrote that his painting celebrated the divinity of nature and fiercely rejected the values of modernity and the material word. He explained that like the earlier Dresden-based group, Die Brücke, the artists associated with Der Blaue Reiter emphasised the distinctly German origins of their paintings: ‘In this time of great struggle for a new art we fight like disorganized ‘savages’ against an old, established power. The battle seems to be unequal, but spiritual matters are never decided by numbers, only by the power of ideas’ (quoted in Mark Rosenthal, Franz Marc, Munich, 1989, pp. 23-24).

 

Zwei stehende Mädchenakte mit grünem Stein points to a variety of sources that played a role in the development of Marc’s painting. Isabelle Jansen wrote about the influence of Egyptian art visible in the present oil, and even more strongly in the related sketch: ‘Marc makes use of the conventions of Egyptian art in showing several aspects of a body at once – the upper body of one of the women is frontal but her legs are in profile. The drawing is a preparatory sketch for the painting Two Standing Nude Girls with Green Stone [the present work], which Marc executed in 1910-11. The example reveals the extent to which Marc was influenced by Egyptian art – he adapted the design and adjusted it for his own requirements’ (I. Jansen in Franz Marc – The Retrospective (exhibition catalogue), op. cit., p. 81).

 

Marc found another important source of inspiration – both stylistically and in subject-matter – in the paintings by Paul Gauguin, whose sense of freedom and escape from the constraints of modern life in Europe paved the way for a number of avant-garde artists both in Germany and France. In their voluminous physique, their colouration and placement in nature, the two figures in the present composition are reminiscent of Gauguin's Tahitian women, and Marc’s desire to show nature in its primitive and unfettered state is strongly present here. Dominated by brightly coloured trees and a large green rock, the landscape has a strong primal and mystical quality evocative of Gauguin’s nudes painted in the lush surroundings of the South Seas. Marc would have almost certainly seen his Contes barbares (fig. 3), which was acquired by Museum Folkwang in Hagen shortly after Gauguin’s death in 1903, and is now in Museum Folkwang in Essen.

 

The composition on the verso is a study for the painting Streitende Pferde of 1910, which was destroyed in the Second World War and is now known only from a black-and-white photograph. In the catalogue of the exhibition dedicated to Marc’s depictions of horses, Christian von Holst writes about the composition on the verso of the present work: In Two Horses Fighting […], a large, preparatory charcoal and wash drawing for a destroyed painting with three animals, Marc gave yet another proof of his gift for the precise observation of nature. The animal evidently higher in rank is shown biting the other, whose body language clearly conveys discomfort’ (C. von Holst in Franz Marc: Horses (exhibition catalogue), op. cit., p. 80).

 

Both subjects represented in this work – figures in nature and horses – reflect Marc’s interest in spirituality, a pivotal value of his art. As Mark Rosenthal wrote: ‘The key to the Blue Rider was the belief in an approaching new epoch, one that was antimaterialist and spiritually inclined. Like the earlier German avant-garde known as Die Brücke, which had already announced a break with contemporary culture, the artists believed in a new world community and an altered definition of humanity. But Blue Rider thinking was in contrast transcendent. Especially pertinent was the desire, inherited from Romanticism, for unity with the universe and a cosmic system of reference points’ (M. Rosenthal, Franz Marc in America, Berkeley, 1979, p. 23).

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

|
London