WALTER DEXEL (1890-1973)
WALTER DEXEL (1890-1973)
WALTER DEXEL (1890-1973)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE GERMAN COLLECTION
WALTER DEXEL (1890-1973)

Das Turmhaus

WALTER DEXEL (1890-1973)
Das Turmhaus
signed and dated 'W DEXEL 22' (lower left); signed, dated and inscribed 'WALTER DEXEL 22 Turmhaus' (on the stretcher)
oil on canvas in the artist's frame
17 3/8 x 12 ¼ in. (44 x 31 cm.)
Painted in 1922
Private collection, North Germany, by whom acquired directly from the artist, by 1962.
E. Neumann, Dr. Walter Dexel und die Neue Reklame, Frankfurt, 1970, p. 5.
W. Hofmann, 'Der Maler Walter Dexel', in Kunst und Umwelt, vol. 4, Starnberg, 1972, no. 35, p. 16 (illustrated p. 35; titled 'Turmhaus').
P. Lufft, 'Anmerkungen zur Malerei von Walter Dexel', in Hommage a' Dexel. Beitra¨ge zum 90. Geburtstag des Ku¨nstlers, Starnberg, 1980, p. 15 (illustrated fig. 21, n.p.).
R. Wöbkemeier, Walter Dexel, Werkverzeichnis: Gemälde, Hinterglasbilder, Gouachen, Aquarelle, Collagen, Ölstudien, Entwürfe zu Bühnenbildern, Heidelberg, 1995, no. 183, p. 200 (illustrated).
Braunschweig, Städtisches Museum, Walter Dexel: Gemälde, Hinterglasbilder, Aquarelle, Collagen, 1912 bis 1932, February - March 1962, no. 43, n.p. (illustrated n.p.).
Bremen, Kunsthalle, Die Stadt - Bild, Gestalt, Vision, Europäische Städtebilder im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert, November 1973 - January 1974, no. 71, n.p.
Hanover, Kestner-Gesellschaft, Walter Dexel, January - March 1974, no. 219, p. 17 (illustrated p. 16; illustrated again n.p.).
Berlin, Neue Nationalgalerie, Tendenzen der Zwanziger Jahre, 15. Europäische Kunstausstellung, August - October 1977, no. 1/167, p. 1/122 (illustrated fig. 118, p. 1/160).
Munster, Westfa¨lisches Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, Walter Dexel, Bilder, Aquarelle, Collagen, Leuchtreklame, Typographie, May - July 1979, p. 170, no. 54 (illustrated p. 137).
Berlin, Kunstamt Wedding von Berlin, Walter Dexel, Zum 10. Todestag, Ölbilder - Köpfe, September - October 1983, no. 45, n.p. (illustrated n.p.).
Ingelheim, Museum-Altes-Rathaus, 100 Jahre Kunst in Deutschland 1885-1985, April - June 1985, p. 108 (illustrated p. 109).
Bremen, Kunsthalle, Walter Dexel, Bild, Zeichen, Raum. Retrospektive. Ausstellung zum 100. Geburtstag, November 1990 - January 1991, no. 29, p. 175 (illustrated p. 102).
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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Micol Flocchini
Micol Flocchini Head of Works on Paper Sale

Lot Essay

Offered at auction for the first time, Turmhaus constitutes a superb example of Walter Dexel's distinct constructivist idiom. The present work dates from 1922, a pivotal period in the artist's œuvre, when, in his prominent position as Art Director at the Art Union in Jena, he frequented various circles of artists and intellectuals, most notably befriending the Dutch De Stijl artist Théo van Doesburg, who fostered his progressive shift towards non-representational subject matters.

In the early 1920s, Dexel created a series of works highlighting technical subjects, such as sailing boats, steamships, locomotives and airplanes. He confronted modern inventions in an avant-garde style, his subject and method in artistic concordance. In Turmhaus, vertical lines are to emphasise the imposing height of the vividly coloured edifice, which seems to have been transversely sliced so as to expose staircases and lifts. Grey-coloured L-shaped geometric forms, most likely clouds, encircle and delineate a cherry-shaped dome which represents the focal point of the scene. The planar composition is skilfully built up with subtle contrasts of pink, yellow, red and grey, a play of fine harmonies and softened complementary colours. It thereby reflects the aim of the Constructivists, towards an artform of an ordered and rationalised universe, in the wake of the atrocities that the First World War had recently scarred them with.

'In stark contrast to De Stijl, [Dexel] emphasised, in relation to Bruno Taut's painted facades of 1921 in Magdeburg, the necessity for light and broken colours, even years later: ''… buildings painted in white, delicate yellow, light blue, light pink and light green colours, naturally not in succession and not one next to the other, but broken up with compensatory half-tones and with sparse dark, black or even colourful accents in between, result in agreeable images!''' (W. Dexel, 'Farbiger Hausanstrich', in Frankfurter Zeitung, 22 November 1926).

'Contemporary critics emphasised the pleasant colouring of Dexel's compositions. Willi Wolfradt speaks of his ''chromatic delicacy'', Will Grohmann in 1924 of ''pink and yellow forms of child-like cheerfulness and naivety'', which Albert Kranoldt described as ''an abstract spirituality and sensuous beauty of colour and harmony … that is wonderfully balanced and conveys something endlessly soothing.''' (R. Wöbkemeier, W. Vitt & W. Hofmann, Walter Dexel 1890-1973: Werkverzeichnis, Gemälde, Hinterglasbilder, Gouachen, Aquarelle, Collagen, Ölstudien, Entwürfe zu Bühnenbildern, Heidelberg, 1995, p. 60).

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