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    Sale 2806

    Twentieth Century Art

    2 December 2008, Amsterdam

  • Lot 113

    Max Oppenheimer (AUSTRIAN, 1885-1954)

    Portrait of Heinrich Mann

    Price Realised  


    Max Oppenheimer (AUSTRIAN, 1885-1954)
    Portrait of Heinrich Mann
    signed 'MOPP' (lower right)
    oil on canvas
    78.5 x 64 cm.
    Painted circa 1912.

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    Heinrich Mann (1871-1950), was a German novelist and the elder brother of Thomas Mann. Famous books like Der Untertan and Professor Unrat oder das Ende eines Tyrannen, attacking the authoritarian and increasingly militaristic nature of post-Weimar German society, led to his exile in 1933.
    Because of his subtle irony and his political and social vision Heinrich Mann is considered a classical German-speaking author and a symbol of modernity.
    This artistic sensitivity is emphasized in Mann's choice of Max Oppenheimer to paint his portrait. After joining the circle of Oskar Kokoschka, Egon Schiele and Albert Paris von Gütersloh in 1908, Max Oppenheimer was inspired by the encounter with Kokoschka's paintings and developed a pictorially refined version of the expressive-psychological portrait. In the following years portraits from celebrities like Arnold Schönberg, Peter Altenberg, Arthur Schnitzler, Heinrich und Thomas Mann and other personalities were painted.
    The present lot is a fascinating work: its lighting control, signaling calmness and aplomb, expressing a truly modern understanding of the function of the portrait as a tool to uncover the psychological depths of the sitter.
    Max Oppenheimer has made five oil paintings of Heinrich Mann. The first portrait dates from 1907 and for the present lot Mann was sitting in 1912 for the artist. As G. Tobias Natter refers in his catalogue "Diese fünf ölbildnisse zeugen einerseits von dem engen Kontakt zwischen Maler und Portraitiertem. Andererseits spiegelt das Schicksal der Bilder die Ruhelosigkeit der Zeit wider, in der sie entstanden." (see lit op.cit. p. 94.) This portrait has always been in the family of Heinrich Mann since then.

    Special Notice

    Christie’s charges a premium to the buyer on the Hammer Price of each lot sold at the following rates: 29.75% of the Hammer Price of each lot up to and including €20,000, plus 23.8% of the Hammer Price between €20,001 and €800.000, plus 14.28% of any amount in excess of €800.000. Buyer’s premium is calculated on the basis of each lot individually.


    Heinrich Mann, thence by descent.


    G. Tobias Natter, e.a., MOPP. Max Oppenheimer 1884-1954, Vienna, 1994, p. 94


    Berlin/Luzern, Galerien Thannhauser, inv.no. 20732.
    Lübeck, Buddenbrook Haus, Heinrich-und-Thomas-Mann-Zentrum, Die Manns - Eine Schriftstellerfamilie, until 2008.