WALTER DEXEL (1890-1973)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF WALTER DEXEL
WALTER DEXEL (1890-1973)

Der Schwarzhändler or Der Gangster, Der Schieber, Der Bootlegger

WALTER DEXEL (1890-1973)
Der Schwarzhändler or Der Gangster, Der Schieber, Der Bootlegger
signed 'W Dexel' (lower left), numbered and inscribed '11 Der Schwarzhändler’ (lower right); signed, dated and inscribed ‘W Dexel 30, Der Gangster, Der Schwarzhändler' (on the reverse)
gouache and pen and India ink on card
25 5/8 x 19 ¾ in. (65 x 50 cm.)
Executed in 1930
The artist's estate, and thence by descent to the present owner.
R. Wöbkemeier, Walter Dexel, Werkverzeichnis, Gemälde, Hinterglasbilder, Gouachen, Aquarelle, Collagen, Ölstudien, Entwürfe zu Bühnenbildern, Heidelberg, 1995, no. 385, p. 280 (illustrated).
W. Vitt, ed., Walter Dexel, Köpfe 1930-1933, Starnberg, 1979, p. 24.
Braunschweig, Städtischen Museum Braunschweig, Walter Dexel, Gemälde, Hinterglasbilder, Aquarelle, Collagen 1912 bis 1932, February - March 1962, no. 110.
Munich, Galerie Klihm, Walter Dexel, Hinterglasbilder und Köpfe, May - July 1968.
Paris, Centre Culturel Allemand, Walter Dexel, Peintures, gravures, February 1972, no. 49 (titled 'Trafiquant').
Hanover, Kestner-Gesellschaft, Walter Dexel, January - March 1974, no. 112, p. 109.
Bremen, Galerie Rolf Ohse, Walter Dexel, Köpfe 1930-1933, May - June 1980.
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. This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Lot Essay

Completed over the course of three years, from 1930 to 1933, the ‘Köpfe’ series represent a turning point in Walter Dexel’s artistic career. The artist had started teaching graphic design in Magdeburg in 1928 and progressively turned himself to design for advertisements, which seems to have given the decisive impetus to the series. This is reflected in the rather typographical nature of some of the eyes, noses and mouths of the ‘Heads’, and in their motifs which, due to the dramatic and confused circumstances of the time, were mainly borrowed from politics (such as Lenin, Hugenberg, Papen, Mussolini) or from characters of the society, like ‘The Rabbi’, ‘The Pastor’, ‘The Secretary’, or ‘The Gangster’, the subject of the present work.
Executed in a very graphic, ‘non-abstract’ way, each face is recognisable as a figure with a specific role in Dexel’s contemporary history, through the artist’s skilful use of geometric abbreviations, a style that has been referred to as ‘Synthetic Constructivism’ (W. Vitt, Walter Dexel, Köpfe 1930-1933, Starnberg, 1979, p. 82). Tough filled with wit and whistle, Dexel has always refrained from calling his ‘Heads’ caricatures; the features are not ‘exaggerated’ but rather ‘typified’: the ‘black marketer’ for example is pulling his shoulders, in the act of crouching, showing as devious.
Both Der Schwarzhändler, 1930 and the gouache Ohne Titel, 1969, (lot 321 of the sale), come directly from the Estate of Walter Dexel.

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