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THE TRIUMPH OF COLOR: IMPORTANT WORKS FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION

Max Pechstein
MÄNNERBILDNIS: BRUNO SCHNEIDEREIT (PORTRAIT OF A MAN: BRUNO SCHNEIDEREIT)
Estimate
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Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
600,000800,000
LOT SOLD. 735,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
1

THE TRIUMPH OF COLOR: IMPORTANT WORKS FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION

Max Pechstein
MÄNNERBILDNIS: BRUNO SCHNEIDEREIT (PORTRAIT OF A MAN: BRUNO SCHNEIDEREIT)
Estimate
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
600,000800,000
LOT SOLD. 735,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

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New York

Max Pechstein
1881 - 1955
MÄNNERBILDNIS: BRUNO SCHNEIDEREIT (PORTRAIT OF A MAN: BRUNO SCHNEIDEREIT)
Signed HMPechstein and dated 1912 (upper left)
Oil on canvas
23 1/2 by 15 3/4 in.
60 by 40 cm
Painted circa 1912.
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Provenance

Dr. Conrad & Elsa Doebbeke, Berlin (until 1958)

Sale: Lempertz, Cologne, October 28, 1958, lot 237 

Ludwig Lehmann, Berlin & Lugano (acquired at the above sale and sold: Kornfeld & Klipstein, Bern, May 29, 1964, lot 1041)

Helen Serger (La Boétie, Inc.), New York (acquired at the above sale)

Acquired circa 1965

Exhibited

Berlin, Hochschule für bildende Künste in Gemeinschaft mit der Nationalgalerie der ehemals Staatlichen Museen, Der junge Pechstein, Gemälde, Aquarelle und Zeichnungen, 1959, no. 142 (titled Herr mit Zylinder. Bildnis des Berliner Architekten Schneidereit)

Kiel, Kunsthalle zu Kiel & Regensburg, Kunstforum Ostdeutsche Galerie, Max Pechstein, Ein Expressionist aus Leidenschaft, Retrospektive, 2010-11, no. 76, illustrated in color in the catalogue

London, The Courtauld Gallery, 2002-18 (on loan)

Literature

Judi Freeman, The Fridart Collection: Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century Modern Masterworks, London, 1998, illustrated in color p. 101

The Courtauld Institute of Art, ed., The 20th Century at the Courtauld Institute Gallery, London, 2002, illustrated in color p. 61

Aya Soika, Max Pechstein: Das Werkverzeichnis der Ölgemälde, vol. I, Munich, 2011, no. 1912/53, illustrated in color p. 414

Catalogue Note

Männerbildnis: Bruno Schneidereit is a remarkable full-length portrait by one of the leading members of Die Brücke, the group of avant-garde German artists, including Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel and Emil Nolde whose work defined the German Expressionist movement during the early twentieth century. In the years leading up to the First World War, Max Pechstein was considered by many to be the foremost member of Die Brücke. His technical skill, in particular, was widely praised and often served to distinguish him from his fellow artists. Franz Marc, having met the Brücke artists in winter of 1911-12, became a great admirer of their work and commented in a letter to Wassily Kandinsky on Pechstein’s compositional skill, writing: “In outward appearance, Pechstein is more beautiful [than Kirchner and Heckel], the composition more apparent, in his weaker works too obviously so, but his stronger works ring unfathomably like bells” (quoted in B. Fulda & A. Soika, Max Pechstein: The Rise and Fall of Expressionism, Berlin, 2012, p. 120). This technical ability is particularly evident in the more formal composition of the present work in which Pechstein’s skillful juxtaposition of the various planes of color creates a sense of depth and space. Reminiscent of the early fractured forms of Cubist paintings being produced in Paris, Pechstein employs his characteristic use of pigment to great effect. His compositions from this time were noted for their dynamic and vibrant execution, possibly reflecting the influence of Kees van Dongen and other Fauve artists’ radical use of color in portraiture. In December 1907, Pechstein traveled to Paris where he encountered the Fauves and saw their works first-hand at the Salon des Indépendents the following year. Pechstein befriended 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 coloration for the remainder of his career.

Männerbildnis: Bruno Schneidereit is one of a small number of full-length portraits by the artist. By depicting Bruno Schneidereit—a Berlin-based architect and one of the artist’s early patrons—in the role of flâneur, Pechstein captures the metropolitan style characteristic of Berlin before the First World War. Having recently moved from Dresden to the dynamic urban center that was Berlin, the members of Die Brücke were captivated by the thriving metropolis, recording the city and its inhabitants extensively. Scenes inspired by Berlin nightlife and the elegantly dressed cast of characters are featured in some of the paintings of his Die Brücke colleagues, most notably in Kirchner’s series of street scenes from 1913-14. Pechstein, initially trained as a decorator, was introduced to Schneidereit following the 1906 German Decorative Arts Exhibition where some of Pechstein’s colorful designs were displayed. Bruno Schneidereit would become a supporting member of Die Brücke and enlist Pechstein to complete a number of design projects, providing much needed financial support to the young artist.

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

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New York