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    Sale 7600

    Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale

    25 June 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 444

    Johannes Molzahn (German, 1892-1965)

    Schöpfung II

    Price Realised  


    Johannes Molzahn (German, 1892-1965)
    Schöpfung II
    signed, dated and inscribed 'Johannes Molzahn 1916 "Schöpfung" II' (on the reverse)
    oil on canvas
    39 1/8 x 28¾ in. (99.5 x 73.5 cm.)
    Painted in 1916

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    Schöpfung II, painted in 1916, is one of the major oils realised by Molzahn during the devastating, traumatic years at the front during the Great War. Detached as a 'Landsturmmann' on the Danish border, the artist was deeply inspired by the vast horizons of the Schleswig landscape, but was also utterly shocked by the war - an experience which he tried to overcome through the catharsis of art. The Schöpfung series was ambitious both in scale - these were Molzahn's first large canvases - and conception - the series is a major intellectual project in which Molzahn expresses his pantheistic vision of the universe and Man's place within it. Striving to combine his many sources of creative inspiration, the overt biblical references in Schöpfung I (see fig. 1), are replaced in Schöpfung II by a more cosmogonic approach, creating an arresting expression of philosophical and religious syncretism.

    Molzahn's fascinating complexities continue on the stylistic level. Combining the figurative with the abstract, the rhythmical with the geometric, Molzahn's style mirrors his commitment to many different influences: as well as Cubism and Futurism, Molzahn also owed a stylistic debt to the experiments of Heinrich Campendonk, Marc Chagall, and Franz Marc, all artists who exhibited at Herwarth Walden's Galerie Der Sturm in Berlin and whom he had met and befriended in the years preceding the war. It was in Walden's gallery that Molzahn first presented his series of Schöpfungsbilder in 1917, including the present work, which met with immediate critical success.

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    Johannes-Molzahn-Centrum, Kassel.
    Acquired from the above by the present owner.

    Pre-Lot Text



    H. Schade, Johannes Molzahn, Munich, 1972, no. 8.


    Berlin, Galerie Der Sturm, 1917.
    Berlin, Nationalgalerie, Der Sturm. Herwald Walden und die euopäische Avant-garde, 1961, no. 120.
    Munich, Kunstkabinett Klihm, Johannes Molzahn, 1963, no. 2.
    Bamberg, Kunstverein, Johannes Molzahn, 1964, no. 2.
    Duisburg, Wilhelm-Lehmbruck-Museum, Johannes Molzahn, 1964, no. 3. Berlin, Akademie der Künste, Poelzig, Endell, Moll und die Breslauer Kunstakademie 1911-1932, 1965, no. 231.
    Munich, Katholischen Akademie in Bayern, Johannes Molzahn, 1972, no. 4.
    Vienna, Galerie Nächst St. Stephan, Johannes Molzahn, 1973.
    Graz, Landesmuseum Joanneum, Johannes Molzahn, 1973, no. 3.
    Berlin, Kunstamt Wedding, 15. Europäische Kunstausstellung Berlin. Tendenzen der zwanziger Jahre. Die Novembergruppe. Teil I: Die Maler, 1977, no. 49.
    Duisburg, Wilhelm-Lehmbruck-Museum, Johannes Molzahn. Das malerische Werk, 1988, no. 3.
    Kiel, Kunsthalle Kiel, Kunstwende. Der Kieler Impuls des Expressionismus 1915-1922, 1992, no. 160.
    Altenburg, Lindenau-Museum, Internationale Sprachen der Kunst: Gemälde, Zeichnungen und Skulpturen der Klassischen Moderne aus der Sammlung Hoh, August - October 1998, no. 62 (illustrated p. 169); this exhibition later travelled to Osnabrück, Kulturgeschichtliches Museum Felix-Nussbaum-Haus, Dortmund, Museum am Ostwall and Nuremberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum.