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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE AMERICAN COLLECTION

Lampe im Fenster

Lampe im Fenster
signed 'Münter.' (lower right); signed and inscribed 'Münter. Lampe im Fenster. München' and with the Nachlass stamp (on the reverse)
oil on board
19 x 27 1⁄2 in. (48.6 x 69.9 cm.)
Painted in Munich circa 1912
Leonard Hutton Galleries, New York.
Acquired from the above by the family of the present owner on 15 May 1968.
Munich, Neuer Kunstsalon, Gabriele Münter, March - April 1913, no. 66; this exhibition later travelled to Dresden, Kunstsalon Emil Richter, 1913.
Berlin, Galerie Der Sturm [Herwarth Walden], Fünfunddreißigste Ausstellung, Gabriele Münter, November 1915.
Oslo, Permanent Kunstutstilling C. W. Blomquist, Zweite Ausstellung Christiania: Kandinsky und Gabriele Münter, April - June 1916.
Stockholm, Nya Konstgalleriet, 1917.
Stockholm, Liljevalchs Konsthall, 1917.
Copenhagen, Ny Kunstsal, 1919.
Frankfurt, Galerie Schames, 1921.
Berlin, Große Berliner Kunstausstellung, 1928.
Berlin, Galerie Wiltschek, 1928.
Bremen, Paula Modersohn-Becker-Haus, Gabriele Münter: 50 Paintings from 25 Years (1908 – 1933), 1933; this exhibition later travelled to Barmen; Bochum; Jena; Eisenach; Altenburg and Stuttgart.
Baden-Baden, Staatliche Kunsthalle, 1960; this exhibition later travelled to Berlin, Department of Art, 1960.
Rhode Island, Museum of Fine Art, 1966, no. 213.
New York, Leonard Hutton Galleries, Fauves and Expressionists, April - May 1968, no. 82 (illustrated p. 42).
Caracas, Museo De Bellas Artes, Arte Aleman en Venezuela, June - August 1979, no. 19.
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.
Further details
This painting will be included in the forthcoming Münter catalogue raisonné being prepared by the Gabriele Münter- und Johannes Eichner-Stiftung.

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Lot Essay

Dating from circa 1912, Lamp im Fenster was created at the height of Gabriele Münter’s involvement with the revolutionary group of avant-garde artists known as Der Blaue Reiter. Formed in response to the rejection of Wassily Kandinsky’s Composition V by the Neue Künstlervereinigung München in 1911, the art movement was created by such eminent figures as Franz Marc, August Macke, Alexej von Jawlensky, Marianne von Werefkin, Lyonel Feininger, Albert Bloch, and the renowned artist-couple Kandinsky and Münter. An important influence on Expressionism, these artists experimented with a spontaneous, intuitive approach to painting, aiming to express spiritual truths through their work.

In Lamp im Fenster, Münter revolutionises the still life genre, executing the domestic snapshot-scene within her own unique vernacular. Flattening form and encapsulating colour within dramatic grey-green outlines, Münter renders the selected objects – a lamp, a bottle, a piece of fruit, a bowl, amongst other barely-distinguishable forms – in a vibrant, pulsating palette of thickly worked impasto. Drawing from Der Blaue Reiter belief in the symbolic nature of colour, the everyday objects of the present still life are afforded independent existence through their individual colour values, standing apart from each other not through perspective but by subtle variations in the musicality – the “essence” – of their tone.

Münter’s mature and masterful handling of colour, finely exemplified in the present work, found its origins in a sleepy market town nestled in the shadows of the Bavarian Alps called Murnau. The artist’s first visit to the town – which would eventually become her countryside retreat – during the summer of 1908 would mark a breakthrough in her career. Working collaboratively alongside Kandinksy, Jawlensky, and von Werefkin, in the dramatic landscape the four artists found an awe-inspiring visual environment, the perfect site to experiment with a new means of representation. The intense Alpine light drew out the colours and contours of the mountains, and the simple geometry of the village under little atmospheric deflection contributed to a liberation and clarity in the four artists’ visions. The effect on Münter’s output was almost immediate.

Whilst the crystallisation of the artist’s signature style began within the landscape genre, the colouring and execution of her subsequent portraits, interiors scenes, and still lifes all exhibit the effect of Murnau. Despite its rarity amongst other leading (mostly male) Expressionists, in the early 1910s, the still life became an integral element of Münter’s oeuvre. Absorbing influences from Henri Matisse, Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin, and populated with an array of personal objects and motifs, Lamp im Fenster is an apogeic example of a Münter still life.

The window – a feature that would recur throughout her later work –  is just one example of how Münter manages to load inanimate objects with complex emotional states. Variously used as a site for happy contemplation, as is the case with Future (Woman in Stockholm) of 1917, or for isolation and entrapment, as with Breakfast of the birds of 1934, in the present work, the window nods to something altogether more abstract. The window, in this case, operates to confuse the boundary between interior and exterior: the lush foliage of the outside mirrors the vibrant green walls of within, the pale sky echoes the pearlescent domed lampshade, the terracotta road is reiterated within the vibrant orange object on the left of the sill. An assemblage of quotidian objects, Lamp im Fenster demonstrates Münter’s particular ability to produce visionary poetry gleaned from the most mundane of possessions.

When describing Gabriele Münter, Johannes Eichner, her companion from the late 1920s onwards, gave account of the Expressionist painter as an artistic tabula rasa, “not burdened by the prejudices of tradition or by the passing taste of times” (in Kandinsky und Gabriele Münter, Von Ursprüngen moderner Kunst, Munich, 1957). Such a statement served not only to emphasize Münter as committed to a self-developed stylistic vocabulary, but also as an artist keen to distil inner truth and personal reality from the mundane and the ordinary. The artist found individuality by adopting an alternative approach to subject matter in a scale and style that depicted the everyday. Typically disregarded as a ‘feminine’ genre, in her still lifes, Münter pushed the ordinary toward the extraordinary. By casting scale into doubt and utilising intense colour harmonies, by depicting objects in their raw essence, creating a heightened vision of reality that reflects her own emotional response to her surroundings, Lamp im Fenster is a testimony to Münter’s artistic activity, where personality and personal reality become primary.

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