Karl Schmidt-Rottluff (1884-1976)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION
Karl Schmidt-Rottluff (1884-1976)


Karl Schmidt-Rottluff (1884-1976)
signed and dated 'Schmidt-Rottluff 1906' (lower left); signed, titled and inscribed 'Schmidt-Rottluff „Winter" Olgem.' (on the reverse of the artist's original frame)
oil on board
27 3/4 x 21 1/8 in. (70.5 x 53.5 cm.)
Painted in 1906
Kurt Schmidt, Chemnitz (the artist's brother).
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1970.
M.M. Moeller, Karl-Schmidt-Rottluff: Werke aus der Sammlung des Brücke-Museums Berlin, Berlin, 1997, no. 7, p. 371 (illustrated pl. 7).
M.M. Moeller, Brücke-Museum Berlin: Malerei und Plastik, kommentiertes Verzeichnis der Bestände, Munich, 2006, no. 53, p. 158 (illustrated p. 159).
Dusseldorf, Städtische Kunsthalle, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff: Der Maler, October - December 1992, no. 11, p. 234 (illustrated p. 50; dated '1906-1907'); this exhibition later travelled to Chemnitz, Städtische Kunstsammlungen, January - March 1993; and Berlin, Brücke-Museum, April - July 1993.
Berlin, Brücke-Museum, Die "Brücke" - Neuerwerbungen der letzten fünf Jahre 1988-1993, September 1993 - January 1994, no. 32, p. 76 (illustrated pl. 77).
Dortmund, Museum am Ostwall, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff: Ein Maler des 20. Jahrhunderts, Gemälde, Aquarelle und Zeichnungen von 1905 bis 1972, September 2001 - January 2002, no. 9, p. 274 (illustrated pl. 9); this exhibition later travelled to Kiel, Kunsthalle, January - April 2002; and Leipzig, Museum der bildenden Künste, April - July 2002.
Rome, Complesso del Vittoriano, Gli Espressionisti, 1905-1920, October 2002 - February 2003, p. 78 (illustrated).
Berlin, Berlinische Galerie, Brücke: Die Geburt des deutschen Expressionismus, October 2005 - January 2006, no. 39, p. 377 (illustrated p. 145).
Moscow, The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, German Expressionists of the Brücke-Museum Collection, Berlin, September - November 2008, no. 56, p. 92 (illustrated).
Passariano di Codroipo, Villa Manin, Espressionismo: Capolavori dal Brücke-Museum di Berlino, September 2011 - March 2012, no. 82, p. 46 (illustrated).
On loan to the Brücke-Museum, Berlin, 1991-2015.
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.
Sale room notice
Please note that this work has been requested for inclusion in the forthcoming exhibition Emil Nolde und die Brücke which will take place at the Museum der bildenden Künste in Leipzig from 21 May to 18 October 2015, and the Kunsthalle zu Kiel from 17 November to 2 April 2018.

Brought to you by

Anna Povejsilova
Anna Povejsilova

Lot Essay

Hermann Gerlinger has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

‘The rhythm, the rustling of colours, that’s what always enthralls and occupies me.’ 
(Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, 1907, quoted in U. Lorenz, Brücke, Cologne, 2008, p. 62) 

Formerly on loan to the Brücke-Museum in Berlin, Winter is an outstanding early painting by Karl Schmidt-Rottluff from the first years of his involvement in Die Brücke. The painting depicts the Saxon Steel and Wind-turbine Factory in the Dresden suburb of Löbtau during the height of winter, but for Schmidt-Rottluff, the former architectural student who had only recently embarked on a career as a painter, it was not the architecture of this small former munitions factory in a worker’s suburb that drew his attention. Rather it was the vibrant play of colour and light upon both the factory’s form and upon his own feelings that evidently drew him to the subject. Closing in on the building so that its tower and wind turbine are cropped from view and the play of coloured shadows on its roof and sides fills the canvas, it is the dynamic energy of light and colour manifested by this otherwise ordinary building that forms the central subject of this work. 

Painted in 1906, Winter is a work that reflects Schmidt-Rottluff’s aim of revealing what he called, ‘the silent life of things’. ‘Most pictures deal with things that happen,’ he said. ‘I always wanted to depict what is, the silent life of things’ (Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, 1907, quoted in U. Lorenz, Brücke, Cologne, 2008, p. 38). Towards this end, Schmidt-Rottluff sought an art that dealt in the essence of nature as it is experienced by man. ‘Personally,’ he famously said, ‘I don’t have any programme, only an unaccountable longing to take hold of what I see and feel, and to find the most direct means of expression for such an experience. I only know that there are some things which cannot be grasped by either intellect or words’ (Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, ‘Das Neue Programm: Antwort auf eine Rundfrage über künstlerische Programme’, in Kunst und Künstler, vol. 12, Berlin, 1914, p. 308).

It had been in accordance with these values that Schmidt-Rottluff had joined Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel and Fritz Bleyl to form the ‘Brücke’ (Bridge) group of painters in Dresden in 1905. It was also Schmidt-Rottluff who gave the group its name, derived from the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche and reflective of these artists’ shared ideal that man was a ‘bridge’ of becoming, of potential and evolutionary possibility. As Heckel recalled, ‘Schmidt-Rottluff said we should call [ourselves] “Brücke”, [because] that was a many-layered word, and didn’t imply a programme, but in a sense implied going from one bank to the other. It was clear which bank we wanted to leave, but it was less certain where we wanted to end up’ (Erich Heckel, quoted in U. Lorenz, Brücke, Cologne, 2008, p. 8).

Founded in June 1905, much of the character and genesis of the art of Die Brücke during its first years was due to Schmidt-Rottluff’s pioneering example. Along with that of Emil Nolde, who was only an active member of the circle between 1906 and 1907, Schmidt-Rottluff’s work from these years is among the most dynamic and innovative of all the artists in the group. Influenced by the example of the French Impressionists, by Van Gogh and perhaps most profoundly by his friend, the older artist Emil Nolde, whose approach to painting was one of applying spontaneous intuition and emotional vigour, Schmidt-Rottluff, between 1905 and 1907, developed a highly raw style of painting that broke almost all the aesthetic boundaries of the period.

As a work like Winter exemplifies, Schmidt-Rottluff’s approach to his work was essentially one of vigorous intensity. Painting directly and swiftly onto a raw canvas or board, usually in the presence of his subject but without drawing, all contours and linearity remain deliberately absent from a work which is created purely by swirling brushstrokes of opaque colour and texture. There are no contours in nature, Schmidt-Rottluff boldly asserted at this time, so why paint any? In this way, and as a work like Winter clearly demonstrates, Schmidt-Rottluff was able to bestow even the most everyday of subjects with a dynamic sense of inner life; his shimmering dynamic brushstrokes seem to vibrate with the spectacular energy and vigour of life itself. 

More from Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

View All
View All