Hermann Max Pechstein (1881-1955)
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Hermann Max Pechstein (1881-1955)


Hermann Max Pechstein (1881-1955)
signed and dated 'HMPechstein 1927' (lower right); signed and inscribed 'HMPechstein Berlin W.62. Kurfürstenstr 126 - Lupowmündung -'(on the reverse)
oil on canvas
29 5/8 x 47 in. (75.2 x 119.3 cm.)
Painted in 1927
M. Kestel, the artist's tailor, a gift from the artist in 1929.
Dr A. Wolken, Berlin & London, by whom acquired circa 1940; sale, Galerie Gerda Bassenge, Berlin, 7 December 1991, lot 6941.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
'Unser Pommerland, Monatsschrift für das Kulturleben der Heimat', in Garder See, vol. 9, Stettin, 1931 (illustrated).
'Ruf an die Jugend', in Aussaat, no. I, vol. 6/7, Lorch, 1946, pp. 39-43 (illustrated p. 42).
S. Gliewe, 'Max Pechstein 70 Jahre alt', in Pommernblatt, 1 January 1952 (illustrated).
Berliner Morgenpost, 27 November 1991 (illustrated).
Exh. cat., Max Pechstein, Sein malerisches Werk, Brücke Museum, Berlin, September 1996 - January 1997, no. 140 (illustrated).
A. Czarnik, Pomorskie plenery Maxa Pechsteina, Slupsk, 2003 (illustrated in colour).
Düsseldorf, Ehrenhof, Deutsche Kunst, May - October 1928, no. 592.
Berlin, Galerie Victor Hartberg, Pechstein, January - February 1929.
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Lot Essay

Dr Aya Soika will include this painting in her forthcoming Pechstein catalogue raisonné.

Lupow-Mündung was painted in 1927 in the fishing village of Rowe at the mouth of the river Lupow in east Pomerania. Pechstein first visited the area in 1922, staying at Leba, in what is now Poland. Had it not been for the new division of boundaries in post-war Europe, Pechstein would certainly have moved permanently to his beloved Nidden. Instead, Nidden had now been deemed part of Lithuania, and so Pechstein was forced to look for a new paradise to paint. Like Nidden, the landscape around Leba is characterised by immense sand-banks, and the thirty kilometres of dunes next to the coastline, punctuated by the occasional fisherman's hut, provided ample opportunity for Pechstein to continue his dramatic explorations of nature.

The experiments that Pechstein had begun in 1909, during his first trip to Nidden, and then subsequently during summers spent at Moritzburg with his fellow Brücke artists, find their natural progression in Pechstein's landscapes of the 1920s, despite a gradual softening of his harsh, Expressionist palette. The Brücke ideal had been to live in closer harmony with nature by returning to a simple and consciously more primitive existence, resulting in an immediacy and directness of style that characterised their work as a group.

In the 1920s, as before the war, Pechstein was widely regarded in the public eye to be the leading exponent of expressionist painting in Germany. In 1922, Pechstein had become a member of the Preussische Akademie der Künste and a professor at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Berlin. This period was one of relative stability for Pechstein and he achieved great social and economic success. During the summers he spent in East Pomerania, Pechstein became absorbed once again in the more private aspects of expressionist painting, which celebrated personal freedom and a powerful connection to nature. The Leba pictures, which, like the South Sea landscapes he executed in Palau, often take as their subject the powerful expression of dramatic weather conditions or light effects, evoke Pechstein's intense inner feelings and reflect the artist's state of mind.

Writing in 1922 of the paintings Pechstein executed in Leba, Max Osborn has stated, 'He wants to capture the pulsating brightness, the interweaving of the blinding light and the wonderful clear air, or the filtering effect that occurs through the humid atmospheric veil. It evokes an Impressionist theme, but the execution is entirely different. There is nothing analysed, nothing dissolved into a maze of details... The whole series of Leba pictures allows us to observe a new development. The colourful expression has kept its layered flatness, but it is richer, and more lively in its structure. A stream of atmospheric and luminous elements floods into the landscape and merges with the local colours' (M. Osborn, Max Pechstein, Berlin, 1922).

The present work, considered by the artist's late son to be one of the most important in Pechstein's oeuvre, was a very famous image in its time. It was widely known through a colour reproduction copyrighted in 1929 by the Munich publisher Franz Hanfstaengl, measuring 36 x 58 cm., as well as through a postcard produced by the same publisher.

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