• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7737

    Impressionist/Modern Day Sale (immediately following Impressionist/Modern Works on Paper)

    24 June 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 288

    Christian Schad (1894-1982)

    Café d'Italia

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Christian Schad (1894-1982)
    Café d'Italia
    signed 'SCHAD' (lower right)
    oil on canvas
    19¼ x 23 3/8 in. (49 x 59.4 cm.)
    Painted in 1921


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Contact the department

    'For me Italy opened my eyes both to what I wanted to do and to what I could do. Nowhere is the difference between art and kitsch so self-evident as in Italy. There are many great paintings by great artists on view there... The art is old, but this old art is often newer than the new art... In Italy, I found my way' (Christian Schad, 'Mein Lebensweg', foreword to exh. cat. Christian Schad, Galerie Würthle, Vienna, 1927).

    Café d'Italia is one of the seminal early works of the Neue Sachlichkeit that came to define the oeuvre of Christian Schad. Painted after the artist's return to Germany from Italy in 1920, it is one of the seventeen works recorded by Thomas Radzka from the artist's time in Munich in the early 1920s, approximately one third of which were destroyed during the Second World War. Most of these were portraits, commissions on which Schad relied financially but which did not allow him to pursue the artistic innovations of his previous year of travel. In spirit, style and composition, however, the present oil belongs to the series of works painted in Naples and perfectly expresses the vitality that had overwhelmed the artist and his friend and fellow former Dadaist Walter Serner when they arrived in Naples and which ultimately persuaded Schad to stay. Both Schad and Serner were inspired by the vibrant life and nightlife of the city, the memory of which pulsates in the dramatic contrasts of light and of white backs, throats and chests set against the black dinner jackets of the male guests at the Café d'Italia.

    Anticipating the hard, bohemian atmosphere of his Berlin paintings, Schad depicts the interior of the nightclub from within the crowd. Typical of these works is the way the eyes of the figures never meet those of the viewer, particularly the gaze of the beautiful, dark-haired girl which is tilted towards something or someone else. In a sea of otherwise faceless men the recognisable features emerge of Schad's friend Serner, but his attention is fixed on the woman by his side.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Provenance

    The artist's studio, Keilberg, until circa 1970.
    Galerie des 4 Mouvements, Paris.
    Marcel Fleiss, Paris, by whom acquired on 30 October 1971.
    Anonymous sale, Hauswedell & Nolte, Hamburg, 8 June 1974.
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.


    Literature

    C. Laszlo, Christian Schad, Basel, 1972 (illustrated p. 131).
    A. Heesemann-Wilson, Christian Schad, Expressionist, Dadaist und Maler der Neuen Sachlichkeit. Leben und Werk bis 1945, Göttingen, 1978, no. 55, pp. 96f. & 266.
    E. Castellan, Christian Schad Pittore, Padua, 1984, p. 113 (illustrated fig. 14).
    B. Mirabile, Realismo e Visionarietà nell' Arte di Christian Schad 1894 - 1982, Rome, 1996, no. 64, pp. 346f.
    Exh. cat., Christian Schad, Fondation Dina Vierny-Musée Maillol, Paris, 2002, p. 28 (illustrated).
    V. Dollenmaier, Die Erotik im Werk von Christian Schad, Berlin, 2005, p. 108f.
    T. Ratzka, Christian Schad 1894-1982, Catalogue raisonné, vol. I, Paintings, Cologne, 2008, no. 55 (illustrated p. 104).


    Exhibited

    Frankfurt am Main, Salon Goldschmidt, Christian Schad, 1921.
    Munich, Kunstverein, 1921 - 1922.
    Milan, Galleria del Levante, Christian Schad, February 1970, no. 7 (illustrated).
    Trier, Städtisches Museum, Christian Schad, March - May 1971.
    Milan, Palazzo Reale, Christian Schad, October - December 1972, p. 132.
    Zurich, Kunsthaus, Christian Schad 1894 - 1982, August - November 1997, no. 8, p. 93 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Munich, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus and Emden, Kunsthalle.