1912 - 1999
signed and dated 58
oil on canvas
80 by 60 cm., 31½ by 23½ in.
Framed: 81.2 by 61.7 cm., 32 by 23⅞ in.
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Galerie van de Loo, Munich
Private Collection, Bremen
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Erwin Sylvanus, Emil Schumacher, Recklinghausen 1959, p. 44, illustrated
Hanover, Kestner- Gesellschaft, Emil Schumacher, May - June 1962, no. 48, illustrated
Münster, Westfälischer Kunstverein, Emil Schumacher, January - February 1962, no. 47
Bremen, Kabinett 2, Emil Schumacher, May - June 1976, no. 6
Oldenburg, Kunstverein, Deutsches Informel, 1980
Bremen, Graphisches Kabinett Wolfgang Werner, Appel, Baumeister, Dubuffet, Jorn, Michaux, Schumacher, Tapies, Wols, November 1983 - February 1984, no. 18, illustrated in colour
Berlin, Kunsthandel Wolfgang Werner, Appel, Baumeister, Götz, Jorn, Nay, Schumacher, Sonderborg, Wotruba, May - July 2004, p. 10, illustrated in colour
Together with Heinrich Siepmann, Ernst Hermanns and Gustav Deppe, Schumacher founded the artist’s association Junger Westen in 1947. Their intention was to restore the connections to modern art that were lost in Germany during the National Socialist era and to find within their framework their own forms of artistic expression rooted in the industrially shaped region of the Ruhr and Rhein. Like the other artists of Junger Westen, Schumacher made a new start after the second world war and seeking for a new style. He found it in the Informal, non-objective paintings of the École de Paris and Tachisme, which had their origins in France, and in American Action Painting. He soon became one of the first German artists to adapt this style.
The present work belongs to the first of the artist’s informal period works which lead to his international breakthrough at the 29th Venice Biennale, held in 1958. There his works were exhibited in the German pavilion amongst other artists like Karl Otto Götz, Wassily Kandinsky and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. The source of his inspiration for his early works was drawn from nature. He reshaped the forms in his mind, giving them a new physicality with his pastos application of colours, arches and lines as well as furrowed fields. OSSIP is a sublime example of Schumacher’s championing abstract art, with the paint thickly applied layer upon layer, resulting in the flat structure of the canvas being impacted giving it a relief like look.
The enigmatic title of the work OSSIP, a version of the name Josef common in Easter European Judaism, challenges dialogues and plays with the viewer’s imagination. According to the painter’s conception the works speak through themselves and reveal after prolonged contemplation that there is no need for an explanation by the artist.
The bright, offset ground field is drawn in from the edge of the work and is spared of the geometric abstractions visible in Schumacher’s earlier works. In this portrait format composition, the broad greenish-grey ground tone is openly visible especially in the margins. The colour field is overlaid by a different coloured stain application in warm olive, light and cooler green and grey tones, as well as sheer white tones and red all traversed by black lines of different thickness.