Lot 1
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MAX PECHSTEIN | Männerbildnis: Bruno Schneidereit (Portrait of a Man: Bruno Schneidereit)

Estimate
600,000 - 800,000 USD
Sold
735,000 USD
bidding is closed

Description

  • Männerbildnis: Bruno Schneidereit (Portrait of a Man: Bruno Schneidereit)
  • Signed HMPechstein and dated 1912 (upper left)
  • Oil on canvas

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.
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