Auction 124B

Modern Art

09. December 2015


The biggest interest of the buyers, private collectors, institutions and highly specialized dealership alike, was directed towards the artist's postcards and graphic works from the estate of Expressionism collector Elsa Hopf, never seen before on the market.

Lot 13, the artist's postcard 'Reclining female nude with dog', by Erich Heckel, went to a dealer who got the upper hand over his competition from institutions and private collectors for €32,000 (tax: €6,000 – 8,000), while the following lot, 14, another postcard featuring a drawing by Heckel, was purchased by an institution for €39,000. The suite of five artist's postcards by Karl Schmidt-Rottluff (lots 51-55) went to a Berlin-based museum. The artist's postcard featured on the cover of the catalogue, a nude that shows en miniature all the characteristics of the early German 'Brücke' Expressionism, received the highest hammer price with €53,000 (lot 54, tax: €15,000 – 20,000). Followed by the jauntily draped female nude from the year 1911, which the museum lifted up to €35,000 (lot 55, tax: €15,000 – 20,000). The remaining postcards received four to five digit hammer prices: The rare woodcut 'Four men' (lot 51, tax: €8,000 – 10,000) went into a museum for €7,500, as did 'Industrial building in a landscape' (lot 52, tax: €8,000 – 10,000) and the 'Grazing Horses' (lot 53, tax: €10,000 – 14,000), all from the year 1910 for €10,000 each.

Moreover, the market was very interested in rare objects from the graphic arts section, woodcuts done by hand and early etchings. The membership card, a lithograph by Erich Heckel, 1910, that had not been seen on the market since 1985, doubled its tax and went to a dealer for €8,000 (lot 11, tax: €4,000 – 5,000). A rare folder by Otto Mueller, with some wear, dedicated to HM Pechstein, experienced a huge price surge (lot 22, tax: €4,000 – 5,000). After a long and heated bidding war, it was knocked down in favor of an institution on the phone for €11,000. Another membership card for passive members by Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, retaining its original color ,educed a bid of €15,500 from the same collector who had secured himself lot 22 (lot 56, tax: €8,000 – 10,000). The 'Brücke' report from the year 1909 and 1910, in perfect condition, educed an offer of €11,500 from a bidder on the floor (lot 57, tax: €3,000 – 4,000). Thus, the folder, containing two woodcuts by Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, will be part of one of the most important German private collections of our times. The woodcut 'Nudes in front of the curtain', a handmade print by Karl Schmidt-Rottluff from 1911, less than ten are known to exist, was secured by a well-informed collector from Berlin with a bid of €21,000 (lot 58, tax: 18,000 – 20,000). The 'Female nude', a drypoint from the year 1915, also received more than its estimate of €9,000 – 12,000 (lot 60). It was knocked down at €14,000 in favor of a Berlin-based museum that had secured itself the artist's postcards by Karl Schmidt-Rottluff earlier. The late work by Schmidt-Rottluff was of interest as well. A German dealer got the 'Honesties in a Vase', from the year 1965, for €18,000. Schmidt-Rottluff had given it to the consignor who had held it dear ever since (lot 91, tax: €10,000 – 12,000).

The portrait of Rosa Schapire, a patron of Schmidt-Rottluff's, which Gerhard Wietek had thought to be lost until now, points towards Hamburg, the old domain of the exceptional art historian. After a long bidding war, €22,000 could be noted down for the impressive work by Walter Gramatté (lot 10, tax: €6,000 – 8,000). It will be part of a museum collection, as do many lots of this auction.

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