Asta: 539 / Modern Art Day Sale del 10 giugno 2023 a Monaco di Baviera Lot 395


Erich Heckel
Amaryllis, 1927.
Oil on red striped canvas
€ 100,000 / $ 108,000
€ 292,100 / $ 315,468

( commissione inclusa)
Amaryllis. 1927.
Oil on red striped canvas.
Hüneke 1927-23. Vogt 1927/21. Lower right monogrammed and dated. Signed and dated on the reverse. Once more signed, dated as well as titled on the stretcher. 71 x 60.5 cm (27.9 x 23.8 in). [CH].

• The painting's provenance mirrors Germany's eventful history.
• Museum-owned as early as in the 1920s.
• Widely exhibited and published during the artist's lifetime.
• Heckel provides proof of his mastery with the intensive combination of classic flower still life and figurative mural in the background.
• In 1927 the painting was made in Siddi and Erich Heckel's holiday home on the Baltic, which the couple had bought in 1919 and where Heckel also made the wall hanging depicted in the background.
• Similar flower still lifes are at, among others, the Hamburg Kunsthalle and the Hessischen Landesmuseum, Darmstadt (several still lifes from these days were destroyed, cf. Hüneke)

PROVENANCE: Galerie Ferdinand Möller, Berlin.
Museum Behnhaus, Lübeck (presumably acquired from the above in 1929, inv. no. 1929 185).
State-owned (EK no. 14232, confiscated from the above in context of the "Degenerate Art" campaign in 1937).
Galerie Fischer, Lucerne (acquired from the above in 1939)
Art dealer Bernhard A. Böhmer, Güstrow (acquired from the above in 1939/40).
Edgar Horstmann Collection, Hamburg (acquired from the above, presumably in 1940).
Hermann Gerlinger Collection, Würzburg (with the collector's stamp, Lugt 6032, acquired from the above in 1978).

EXHIBITION: Opening exhibition, Galerie Ferdinand Möller, Berlin, July to September 1927 (no cat. no.).
Wegbereiter, Galerie Bock & Sohn, Hamburg, May 1946 (no cat. no.).
Entartete Kunst. Bildersturm vor 25 Jahren, Haus der Kunst, München, October 25 - December 16, 1962, cat. no. 49.
Erich Heckel. Zur Vollendung des achten Lebensjahrzehnts, Museum Folkwang, Essen, November 2, 1963 to January 5, 1964, cat. no. 41
Erich Heckel, Museum Folkwang, Essen, September 18 - November 20, 1983, Haus der Kunst, Munich December 10 - February 12, 1984, cat. no. 70.
Schleswig-Holsteinisches Landesmuseum, Schloss Gottorf, Schleswig (permanent loan from the Hermann Gerlinger Collection, 1995-2001).
Kunstmuseum Moritzburg, Halle an der Saale (permanent loan from the Hermann Gerlinger Collection, 2001-2017).
Buchheim Museum, Bernried (permanent loan from the Hermann Gerlinger Collection, 2017-2022).

LITERATURE: H. Böhlau, Erich Heckel, in: Die Kunst für alle. Malerei, Plastik, Graphik, Architektur, 44.1928-1929, p. 93 (with illu.).
Ludwig Thormaehlen, Erich Heckel, Berlin 1931, p. 16 (with illu., plate 25).
Alfred Hentzen, Neu erworbene Gemälde im Kronprinzen-Palais, in: Museum der Gegenwart III, H. 4, 1933, pp. 163f.
Galerie Fischer, Lucern, Gemälde und Plastiken moderner Meister aus deutschen Museen, June 30, 1939, lot 47, p. 30 (unsold).
Hans Platte, Erich Heckel, Baden-Baden 1964, cat. no. 7.
Paul Vogt, Erich Heckel, Recklinghausen 1965, cat. no. 1927-21, p. 83 (with full-page color illu., p. 185 and with a black-and-white illu.).
Museum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte der Hansestadt Lübeck (ed.), ex. cat. Bildersturm im Behnhaus (with a documentation of the paintings and sculptures confiscated in 1937), Museum Behnhaus, Lübeck 1987, cat. no. 9.
Stephanie Barron (ed.), Degenerate Art. The Fate of the Avant-Garde in Nazi Germany, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles 1991, p. 156.
Stephanie Barron (ed.), ex. cat. Entartete Kunst. Das Schicksal der Avantgarde im Nazi-Deutschland, Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin 1992, p. 156
Heinz Spielmann (ed.), Die Maler der Brücke. Sammlung Hermann Gerlinger, Stuttgart 1995, p. 320, SHG no. 499 (with full-page illu., p. 321).
Hermann Gerlinger, Katja Schneider (eds.), Die Maler der Brücke. Inventory catalog Hermann Gerlinger Collection, Halle (Saale) 2005, p. 233, SHG no. 522 (with full-page illu., p. 232).
Gesa Jeuthe, Die Moderne unter dem Hammer. Zur "Verwertung" der "entarteten" Kunst durch die Luzerner Galerie Fischer 1939, in: Uwe Fleckner (ed.), Angriff auf die Avantgarde. Kunst und Kulturpolitik im Nationalsozialismus, Berlin 2007, pp. 189-305, p. 273.
Andreas Hüneke, Erich Heckel. Werkverzeichnis der Gemälde, Wandbilder und Skulpturen, München 2017, cat. no. 1927-23, p. 163 (with color illu., also on the reverse side of the hardcover). (EK no. 14232).

"The same wealth that we perceive in the landscapes also characterizes the depictions of flowers, which appear more frequently in his work towards the end of the Twenties. A very significant example of this is the work "Amaryllis" from 1927, which shows a black painted nettle curtain from the Berlin studio in the background."

Paul Vogt on the painting offered here, in: Paul Vogt, Erich Heckel, Recklinghausen 1965, p. 83.

Placing the amaryllis blossom so prominently in the format seems unusual at first, even for Erich Heckel. The flower stems are strong in stature,with up to four slightly hanging funnel-shaped flowers, the bulb flower, originally from South Africa, is a popular indoor plant, especially for its magnificent colors and the splendor it brings to living rooms during dull winter months.
Still life painting was one of the pictorial genres that not only Heckel, but also the other "Brücke" artists cultivated as a special exercise. It is not only the arrangement that determines the effect, but also the display of objects in the still life, which is reminiscent of Dutch still lifes painting. With this still life, Heckel pays homage to the amaryllis, places it in a special light and refrains from further decorations, apart from just a hint at the ambiance.

Back from the battlefield Flanders, Heckel acquired a cottage in Osterholz, where he sought reorientation in seclusion and to let the new social values take effect on him. At his new domicile, the artist set up a studio in the attic and painted it, reflecting on the tradition of the "Brücke" painters, who adorned their rooms with decorations they had created themselves.
Accordingly, Heckel also enriched the motifs of his (flower) still lifes with accessories, such as his own sculptures or other objects, just as he did during the "Brücke" period before the First World War. In this work from 1927, Heckel placed the vase with the flower in full bloom on a seemingly painted table in his studio. The space does not have much of a depth effect, the wall in the background painted with ornaments and a reclined man with a mustache is very close to the table. We already encounter this motif in the first self-portrait from 1919 (ill.), which shows the same background as the present still life.

The man with the mustache in right immediately catches the observer’s eye and begins to take on a life of its own. With subtle means, Heckel underscores an immanent dynamic with the figure, which has absolutely nothing to do with the opulent flower, but which emphasizes what is special about this still life through the figure's melancholic gaze into the room. Heckel knows how to capture the dynamics of the figure through the arrangement and movement of the flower heads. Heckel's directs the view into the left corner of the room, various red surfaces and levels are staggered into the depth of the room, the perspective suggests motion; the ornament painted on the wall with the bearded head supports the effect, so to speak: the blossoms of the amaryllis come to life in a mysterious way in an otherwise calm, unexcitedly decorated room.

The story of the still life with amaryllis is as impressive as it is moving. In the year of its creation, Galerie Ferdinand Möller showed the painting in the opening exhibition of the new premises on Schöneberger Ufer 38 in Berlin. In 1929, Carl Georg Heise, the progressive director at the Behnhaus Museum and friend of the artist, acquired the work for his museum in Lübeck. Less than ten years later, the still life was confiscated as part of the "Degenerate Art" campaign, expropriated without compensation in favor of the German Reich under the "Law on Confiscation of Products of Degenerate Art" of May 31, 1938, and offered for sale by the Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda in Berlin . Theodor Fischer selected "Amaryllis" along with around 120 other works from the depot at Schönhausen Castle in order to auction them in the legendary auction "Gemälde und Plastiken moderner Meister aus deutschen Museen" (Paintings and Sculptures by Modern Masters from German Museums) in Lucerne on June 30, 1939. This enchanting still life did not find a buyer and was subsequently purchased by Ernst Barlach's private secretary, the art dealer Bernhard A. Böhmer in Güstrow. The "Amaryllis" can be traced back to the collection of Edgar Horstmann from Hamburg (1943). Böhmer met Horstmann when he and his family were evacuated and fled to Güstrow in 1943. The Bauhaus-trained architect got the inspiration to start his own collection form Böhmer. After the end of the dictatorship, he returned to Hamburg and, in addition to his work as an architect, began to trade art, including works from the estate of Böhmer, who committed suicide in May 1945. In 1978, Hermann Gerlinger succeeded in integrating this exceptionally beautiful still life into his collection. [MvL]

Erich Heckel
Amaryllis, 1927.
Oil on red striped canvas
€ 100,000 / $ 108,000
€ 292,100 / $ 315,468

( commissione inclusa)