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    Sale 7702

    Impressionist/Modern, Day Sale

    5 February 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 416

    Christian Schad (1894-1982)


    Price Realised  


    Christian Schad (1894-1982)
    signed 'SCHAD' (upper right); dated and inscribed 'Suzy 1917' (on the stretcher)
    oil on canvas
    18 7/8 x 15 in. (46 x 38 cm.)
    Painted in 1917

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    The present work is a portrait of the artist's girlfriend Suzy painted by Schad in Geneva in July 1917. The picture dates from the height of Schad's involvement with Dada but reflects more strongly the pervasive influence of Expressionism, in particular the seemingly psychic or psychological portraiture of Oskar Kokoschka.

    In Zurich, where Schad had moved from Munich in the summer of 1915, he had come into contact with the Dadaists of the Cabaret Voltaire, but it was only after moving to Geneva in November 1916 and the development of his great friendship with Walter Serner, that he came to fully embrace Dada. It was in Geneva, for example, that he would pioneer his own unique contribution to the movement through his photographic 'Schadographs'.

    In his painting during this vitally important developmental period Schad began to abandon the Cubo-Futurism that had distinguished his work of 1915 and the strict black and white colouring he had adopted as the only 'possible expression of our unreserved opposition to the war' with its 'either-or attitude', to concentrate on a more psychologically probing art (C. Schad, Relative Realitäten - Erinerungen um Walter Serner, Augsburg, 1999, p. 15).

    Psychology was deemed by many of the Zurich Dada circle to be a new and exciting science of revolutionary potential. In response to this Schad became increasingly interested in portraits that gave an insight into the inner worlds of his sitters. In 1918, for example, he would take this idea to its logical and typically Expressionist conclusion by painting a series of portraits of mental patients from the Chêne asylum.

    With her large wide eyes fixed on the viewer in a gaze typical of Schad's later portraiture, Suzy is an intense depiction of the artist's girlfriend as if she were a mystical presence materializing amidst the ether. Building into an apparently frenzied angular pattern of brushwork, the paint reflects a neurotic energy and psychological intensity reminiscent of Kokoschka's great early portraits. Similarly, with Suzy's face seemingly radiating some mystic or heavenly light, this painting also seems to paraphrase the pseudo-mysticism and psychology of other Viennese Expressionist portraits. In particular, those of Egon Schiele and Max Oppenheimer (MOPP) whose recent exhibition at the Kunsthaus in Zurich in the spring of 1917 Schad would presumably have seen.

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    The artist, and thence by descent to the present owners.

    Pre-Lot Text



    A. Heesemann-Wilson, Christian Schad, Expressionist, Dadaist und Maler der Neuen Sachlichkeit, Leben und Werk bis 1945, D.Phil. Diss., University of Göttingen, 1978, no. 24, p. 258.
    B. Mirabile, Realismo e Visionarietà nell'Arte di Christian Schad
    , Diss., Rome, 1996, no. 17, p. 335.
    T. Ratzka, Christian Schad, Catalogue raisonné, vol. I, Paintings, Cologne, 2008, no. 17 (illustrated p. 78).


    Geneva, Atelier Christian Schad, Christian Schad, Peintures et Gravures, July 1917, no. 10.
    Trier, Städtisches Museum, Christian Schad, March - May 1971. Passau, Oberhausmuseum der Stadt, Christian Schad 1894-1982, September 1989 - January 1990.
    Aschaffenburg, Galerie der Stadt, Christian Schad, Die späten Jahre (1942-1982), September - November 1994 (ex. cat.); this exhibition later travelled to Passau, Museum Moderner Kunst and Wilhelmshaven, Kunsthalle.
    Miesbach, Waitzinger Keller, Christian Schad 1894-1982, Ein weltberühmter Sohn kehrt heim, May 1999, no. 5, p. 90.
    Salzburg, Rupertinum, Museum für moderne Kunst, Christian Schad, Die Magien des Realen: Bilder, Grafik, Schadographien aus dem Nachlass, May - July 2002.
    Vienna, Leopold Museum, Christian Schad Retrospective, Life and Work in Context, September 2008 - January 2009, no. 14 (illustrated p. 81).