EDMUND KESTING (1892-1970)
EDMUND KESTING (1892-1970)
EDMUND KESTING (1892-1970)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE GERMAN COLLECTION
EDMUND KESTING (1892-1970)

Rote Mühle

EDMUND KESTING (1892-1970)
Rote Mühle
signed and dated 'Ed Kesting 1920' (lower right)
oil on canvas
16 x 14 in. (40.5 x 35.5 cm.)
Painted in 1920
Private collection, North Germany, by 1977.
Zurich, Kunsthaus, Malerei und Photographie im Dialog, Von 1840 bis heute, May - July 1977, p. 395 (illustrated fig. 281, p. 112).
Los Angeles, County Museum of Art, German Expressionism 1915-1925: The Second Generation, October - December 1988, no. 121, p. 167 (illustrated; titled 'Mühle [Mill]'; exhibition catalogue edited by Stephanie Barron); this exhibition later travelled to Fort Worth, Modern Art Museum, February - April 1989; Dusseldorf, Kunstmuseum, May - July 1989; and Halle, Staatliche Galerie Moritzburg, August - September 1989.
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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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Lot Essay

Later known for his experimental photography, Kesting was first an accomplished painter and art professor. Having studied at Dresden Academy of Fine Arts, Kesting established his own academy Der Weg, Schule für Gestaltung which remained close in alliance with Der Sturm and Kesting both exhibited and published with the enterprise during the 1920s. Upon establishing a branch of Der Weg in Berlin, Kesting subsequently moved there in the late 1920s, however under the Nazi regime, the schools would be closed in 1933 and the artist himself declared 'degenerate'. Kesting's artistic community included the likes of Alexander Archipenko, El Lissitzky, László Moholy-Nagy and Kurt Schwitters and his oeuvre would alike reflect the investigation of Cubist, Expressionist, Dada and Constructivist concerns.

Kesting's canvases, akin to his photographs, explore formal interrelationships through an interrogation and exploitation of possibilities inherent within the medium itself. Created in 1920, Rote Mühle belongs to a series of works from the same year in which we see the intrusion of the stretcher into the painted picture. In these works, the canvas is cut and pushed back to reveal the frame of the stretcher at intervals, in this case at the centre on all four sides. A radical and dynamic move, this intrusion takes the normally flat surface of the painting into a new realm, demonstrating spatial relationships both pictorially, within the formal elements on the surface of the painting, and physically, puncturing the support and exposing its structure. Kesting further synthesises these implied and actual spatial relationships, the new physical depth adding back to the pictorial composition to resolve and enhance it. This operates in a manner akin to the collages of Picasso and Schwitters, where the physical elements added to the composition are both real in their materiality and illusory, as part of an image and also integrated within it. Rote Mühle thus presents a rare and exciting example from Kesting's early oeuvre that demonstrates his conceptual process through a rigorous yet harmonious melange of formal investigations.

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