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Per Kirkeby (1938-2018)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more FROM THE ESTATE OF AN IMPORTANT GERMAN COLLECTOR
Per Kirkeby (1938-2018)

Landschaft (Landscape)

Details
Per Kirkeby (1938-2018)
Landschaft (Landscape)
signed and dated 'PER KIRKEBY 1984' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
59 x 79 1/8in. (150 x 201cm.)
Executed in 1984
Provenance
Galerie Michael Werner, Cologne.
Private Collection (acquired from the above).
Thence by descent to the present owner.
Literature
A. H. Larsen, Per Kirkeby Paintings 1978-1989, Aarhus 2016, p. 308, no. M726 (illustrated in colour, p. 425).
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.

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Tessa Lord
Tessa Lord

Lot Essay

Painted in 1984, Landschaft (Landscape) is a sublime large-scale work by Per Kirkeby. Across two metres of canvas, the artist weaves a rich tableau of colour, light and texture, demonstrating the fluid abstract language that helped to further his international reputation during this period. Three years earlier, Kirkeby had been included in the seminal exhibition A New Spirit in Painting at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, alongside artists such as Georg Baselitz, Willem de Kooning and Philip Guston. The following year he participated in Documenta 7 as well as the legendary Zeitgeist exhibition held at the Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin. By 1984, he had taken his place as one of Scandinavia’s most important living artists: a status confirmed by Rudi Fuchs’ exhibition at the Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, that year, which paired his work with that of Edvard Munch. Like his forebear, Kirkeby felt a deep connection with the landscape of his homeland, and sought to capture its rhythms and forms in paint. Inspired by his early studies in geology, he was less interested in depicting specific locations than in conveying their impression upon his mind’s eye. The dramatic vistas of his native Denmark were translated into surging abstract terrains that attempted to capture what Kirkeby described as nature’s ‘hidden reality’. ‘We only see it in glimpses’, he explained. ‘A painter can sometimes see it … and if I paint at all, it is only because I have those glimpses’ (P. Kirkeby, quoted in Per Kirkeby, Brussels, exh. cat., Galerie Phillipe Guimot, Brussels, 1991, p. 64).

Though frequently associated with German Neo-Expressionism, Kirkeby sought inspiration in the depths of art history, looking at Caspar David Friedrich’s glowing depictions of the Northern European landscape, as well as the work of Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Cézanne. He was particularly influenced by the latter’s attempts to capture the way in which we process visual information: ‘I believe that Cézanne makes a connection in the way he speaks of the insight into Nature that one achieves later in life, which is also an insight into the nature of the picture’, he has explained. ‘The picture, too, is nature. The forces that pile up in Mont Sainte-Victoire are no different from those that organize the picture. Perhaps, this is why his last pictures are built up like a hewn stone wall’ (P. Kirkeby, Håndbog, Borgen 1991, p. 150). The ‘all-over’ surfaces of American Abstract Expressionism also impacted his approach, and indeed are palpable in the present work’s gestural terrain. Despite these painterly influences, the artist retained a strong interest in multi-media, owing perhaps to his early affiliation with the Fluxus group during the 1960s. Over the course of his practice, he explored poetry, performance, sculpture, film-making and installation, designing sets for the New York City Ballet and creating visual effects for three films by Lars Von Trier. Such wide-ranging investigations were part and parcel of his belief that art-making should attempt to address the perpetual flux of reality. Hovering between abstraction and figuration, the present work is an exquisite expression of this aim.

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