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    Sale 7562

    Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale

    4 February 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 87

    Christian Schad (1894-1982)

    Fräulein Mulino von Kluck

    Price Realised  

    Christian Schad (1894-1982)
    Fräulein Mulino von Kluck
    signed and dated 'Schad 30' (lower right)
    oil on canvas
    21¾ x 15 7/8 in. (55.3 x 40.3 cm.)
    Painted in Berlin in 1930


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    Mulino von Kluck is the very first of Schad's portraits of the 1930s. Painted in Berlin in 1930, it depicts the aspiring film star Mulino von Kluck, the attractive 18 year-old daughter of the well-known Prussian General Alexander von Kluck. Alexander von Kluck was in many respects a typical aristocratic Prussian General. A veteran of the Franco-Prussian war, he had commanded the First German Army at the battle of the Marne in 1914. This disastrous battle had halted the rapid German advance on Paris in September 1914 and resulted in the onset of the stagnation of trench warfare. After being invalided out of the army in 1915, Von Kluck spent much of the 1920s writing his condemnatory account of his superior's actions during the battle.

    At the time that Schad came to paint her portrait, Mulino von Kluck, through her family's friendship with one of the Ullstein brothers, was being groomed by UFA (Berlin's leading film production company) as a protegée and future starlet of the film industry. Something of this and of Mulino's youthful ambition is visible in this sharply perceptive portrait of her.

    In a move that would later distinguish many of his later portraits in the 1930s, Schad here depicts Mulino in the grand manner of an Italian Renaissance portrait such as Piero della Francesca's Count and Countess of Montefeltro, setting his sitter against an open air backdrop of a barren, mountainous landscape. Though not the Hollywood hills, this warm unobtrusive background offers, in direct contrast to the dark interior and often oppressive urban settings of most of his Berlin portraits, a pictorial accompaniment to the sitter's mood of youthful optimism and boundless potential. It was a common practice of Schad's at this time to use the setting into which he placed his sitters as an indication of character. In this work, which at one time made an appearance on the cover of the Berlin fashion magazine The Lady, the nondescript background gives no indication of character and has the effect of presenting Mulino only as a beauty.

    The aspects of Mulino's character which Schad might normally have indicated using background detail are here dependent entirely on the almost psychic power of Schad's fierce scrutiny and are subtly discernable in the nuances of her features and through the covert symbolism of her dress.

    Dressed in a low-cut, warm pink evening dress and long transparent shawl, Mulino sits staring out of the picture in the manner of all Schad's Neue Sachlichkeit portraits, fixing the viewer with a remarkably self-assured gaze for an eighteen year-old young woman. Coquettish and flirtatious, with an appealing glint in her eye and a slight smirk of wickedness shown forming at the edge of her lips, this is clearly a young girl of character fully aware of her sexual allure.

    This aspect of Mulino's character are playfully augmented by Schad through the magnificent rendering of her loosely styled hair, cut and curled in the modern fashion, and by the symbolism of the fleshy pink orchid that sprouts from her bust. Flowers, and in particular orchids, are a regular feature of many of Schad's finest paintings of this period, being used in a traditional and symbolic way as a botanical metaphor for the inner personality of his sitters. The artist had come to develop an interest in and knowledge of orchids through his first wife Marcella's love for them. The orchid that Schad has playfully bestowed upon Mulino von Kluck in this painting is one of the labiate cattleya type - a distinctly erotic species that, as its title suggests, derives its name from its resemblance to a woman's sexual organs.

    In April 1929, Time magazine reported from Berlin that "Mulino von Kluck, 17, tall, blue-eyed, blonde, granddaughter of the General whose advance on Paris was rolled back by Foch at the Marne has gone into cinema. Her first part will be in 1813, a film about Germany's liberation from the grip of Napoleon. She will, she says, never visit Paris."
    Tragically, Mulino's burgeoning career as a film star was to be short-lived. In 1934, she died a similar death to Isadora Duncan, when she was strangled by her own scarf as it caught in the speeding wheels of a sports car.

    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

    Galleria del Levante, Milan.
    Galleria d'Arte Stivani, Bologna.
    Acquired from the above by the father of the present owners in 1974.


    Saleroom Notice

    The present work has been requested for the forthcoming exhibition, Glamour! Das Girl wird feine Dame, Frauendarstellung in der späten Weimarer Republik, to be held at the Georg Kolbe Museum, Berlin, from 17 February - 12 May 2008.


    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE ITALIAN COLLECTOR


    Literature

    Die Dame, no. 18, Berlin, 1930 (illustrated on the cover page).
    A. Heesemann-Wilson, Christian Schad, Expressionist, Dadaist und Maler der Neuen Sachlichkeit, Leben und Werk 1945, Gottingen, 1987, no. 111, p. 137 (illustrated p. 139).
    G. A. Richter, Christian Schad, 1894 - 1982, Rottach-Eggern, 2002, no. 106, p. 220 (illustrated p. 221).


    Exhibited

    Milan, Galleria del Levante, Aspetti della nuova oggettività - Aspekte der Neuen Sachlichkeit, June - September 1968, no. 130 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Munich and Rome, Galleria del Levante.
    Milan, Galleria del Levante, Christian Schad, February 1970, no. 61 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Munich, Galleria del Levante.
    Rome, Galleria il Fante di Spade, Christian Schad, 1970, no. 25 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Modena, Galleria Mutina.
    Milan, Palazzo Reale, Christian Schad, 1972 (illustrated).
    Bologna, Galleria d'Arte Stivani, Christian Schad, Bologna, 1973, no. 21 (illustrated).
    Berlin, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Christian Schad, June - August 1980, no. 142 (illustrated p. 185).
    Rome, Galleria Netta Vespignani, Promemoria, 1989.
    Zurich, Kunsthaus, Christian Schad, 1894-1982, August - November 1997, no. 40 (illustrated p. 147); this exhibition later travelled to Munich, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, November 1997 - February 1998 and Emden, Kunsthalle, February - April 1998.
    Milan, Compagnia del Disegno, Nuova oggettività, Neue Sachlichkeit, January - April 2005 (illustrated p. 61).