Please note that the present work is being offered for sale pursuant to a settlement agreement between the current owner and the heirs of Paul Westheim. This settlement agreement resolves the dispute over ownership of the work and title will pass to the successful bidder.
Throughout 1912, much of Heckel's painterly output was dominated by themes derived from Dostoyevsky's books such as The Idiot and The House of the Dead. Dostoyevsky's psychologically probing style of writing, along with the entire notion of psychoanalysis, was very much in vogue amongst Berlin's caf intelligentsia at this time. Something of the psychological intensity and domestic drama of Dostoyevsky-inspired paintings such as Zwei Männer am Tisch can also be seen in the sharp, angular and concentrated faces of the two figures in Geigerin.
Taking a high-angled position in order to look down onto the scene, Geigerin recalls the compositional structure of Heckel's earlier Dresden studio paintings of nudes and of the young girls Marzella and Franzi Fehrmann posed directly against the exotic, faux-primitive wall hangings, rugs and decorations of his and Kirchner's studios. Composed simply but effectively with the sharp angles of the room echoed by the heads of the two figures, the predominant structure of the picture is organised by the contrast of the light and dark forms of a simplified palette of reds, browns and pale ochre.
Heckel's Brücke colleague Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was to write in his chronicle of the movement written in 1913, 'the majority of the Brücke members are now in Berlin. Even here the group has maintained its identity. Its spiritual unity radiates the new values of artistic creation throughout contemporary German art' (Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Chronicle of the Brücke, 1913). In fact, while the move of most of the Dresden-based Brücke artists to Berlin in 1911 led to their increased prominence and financial success, it would also give rise to the petty jealousies and disagreements that would ultimately lead to the dissolution of the group.
The period in 1912 during which Geigerin was painted marks what was ultimately to be the highpoint of the Brücke group's success. Between February and September of 1912, their work was included in four major exhibitions. The first of these, in the Spring, was held in Munich, where their work was included at the second exhibition of Der Blaue Reiter. This was followed in April by a major show at the Galerie Fritz Gurlitt in Berlin and subsequently the Sonderbund exhibition in Cologne in May, as well as at the Galerie Commeter in Hamburg in August. In addition to this, at the Sonderbund exhibition, Heckel and Kirchner were commissioned to decorate the walls of a chapel in the Kunsthalle where the exhibition had been held.