Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM THE VIKTOR AND MARIANNE LANGEN COLLECTION
Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948)

Das Korbbild

Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948)
Das Korbbild
signed with the initials and dated 'KS 40' (lower right)
painted plaster and basket containing mixed element mounted on panel
26 1/2 x 29 1/2 in. (67.5 x 75.2 cm.)
Executed in 1940
The artist's estate.
Ernst Schwitters, Lysaker, by descent.
Galerie Gmurzynska, Cologne.
Viktor & Marianne Langen, Meerbusch, by whom acquired in March 1979, and thence by descent to the present owners.
Y. Nakahara, 'From ‘the Lifeless’ View of Scrapping', in Bijutsu Techo, Tokyo, August 1979, no. 31, pp. 126-155 (illustrated).
V. & M. Langen, Sammlung Viktor u. Marianne Langen. Kunst des 20ten Jahrhunderts, vol. I, Ascona, 1986, p. 114 (illustrated).
K. Orchard & I. Schulz (eds), Kurt Schwitters, Catalogue Raisonné, vol. III, 1937-1948, Hannover, 2006, no. 2625, p. 247 (illustrated).
Cologne, Galerie Gmurzynska, Kurt Schwitters, 1978, no. 71, p. 171 (illustrated; titled 'assemblage').
Cologne, Museen der Stadt Köln, Westkunst. Zeitgenössische Kunst seit 1939, 1981, no. 96, pp. 89 & 350 (illustrated).
Vienna, Kunstforum, Schwitters, 2002, no. 100, p. 164 (illustrated).
Neuss, Landen Foundation, Bilder der Stille. Die Tradition Japans und die westliche Moderne, 2004-2005.
Neuss, Landen Foundation, Tradition und Moderne - Sammlung Viktor und Marianne Langen, 2008-2009.
Neuss, Landen Foundation, Malerei der Klassischen Moderne aus der Sammlung Viktor und Marianne Langen, 2011.
Neuss, Landen Foundation, Hommage an Marianne Langen. Werke aus der Sammlung, 2011-2012.
London, Tate Britain, Schwitters and Britain, January 2012 - May 2013, p. 94 (illustrated), this exhibition later travelled to Hanover, Sprengel Museum, June - September 2013.
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent. These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.
Sale room notice
Additional literature:
K. Orchard & I. Schulz (eds), Kurt Schwitters, Catalogue Raisonné, vol. III, 1937-1948, Hannover, 2006, no. 2625, p. 247 (illustrated).

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Antoine Lebouteiller
Antoine Lebouteiller

Lot Essay

‘I can see from the work I am doing now, that in my old age I will be able to go on developing Merz. After my death it will be possible to distinguish 4 periods in my Merz works: the Sturm and Drang of the first works – in a sense revolutionary in the art world – then the dry, more scientific search for the new possibilities and the laws of the composition and materials, then the brilliant game with skills gained, that is to say, the present stage, and ultimately the utilization of acquired strengths in the intensification of expression. I will have achieved that in around ten years’ (Kurt Schwitters, ‘Letter to Helma Schwitters’, 23 December 1939, quoted in Schwitters in Britain, exh. cat., London, 2013, p. 56).

Das Korbbild (The Basket Picture) is a large multi-media ‘Merz’ relief made by Schwitters in Norway shortly before he was forced into exile (once again) in England when the Nazis invaded Norway in April 1940. Comprising of a plain wooden board, a basket containing a broad assortment of flotsam and detritus of the kind that Schwitters regularly collected on the shores of the Norwegian island of Hjertøya, where he lived, and a languidly shaped white plaster sculpture of the kind he had been making throughout the 1930s, this Merzbild is a simple and elegant fusion of formal contrasts.

As Schwitters was to write to Lucia Moholy-Nagy in London in 1940, he believed the small, three dimensional plaster sculptures he was making throughout this period to be his ‘best things’. In Das Korbbild, an elegant organic plaster form akin to such sculptures rises from the two dimensional wooden plane of the work’s ground to provide lyrical and idealized formal contrast to the collated relief of the wicker basket and its contents of more traditional, found, ‘Merz’ elements.

In this way, this ambitious Merzbild-relief is one expressive of the formal juxtaposition of organic nature and constructed idealized form that punctuates Schwitters’ work throughout the 1930s and 1940s.

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