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Heinz Mack (b. 1931)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE DUTCH COLLECTION
Heinz Mack (b. 1931)

Schleier zu Sais (Veil to Sais)

Heinz Mack (b. 1931)
Schleier zu Sais (Veil to Sais)
signed, titled and dated 'Mack 62 "Schleier zu Sais"' (on the reverse)
oil and resin on canvas
130 x 120cm.
Painted in 1962
Galleria Cadario, Milan.
Anon. sale, Sotheby's Milan, 30 May 2001, lot 133.
Private Collection.
Anon. sale, Sotheby's Amsterdam, 2 December 2003, lot 166.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Krefeld, Museum Haus Lange Krefeld, Mack, Piene, Uecker, 1963.
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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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Lisa Snijders
Lisa Snijders

Lot Essay

Stimulating a kinetic quality in its sharp configuration of parallel strokes, Schleier zu Sais (Veil to Sais) bears witness to Heinz Mack’s commitment to the exploration of the effects of light, reflection and motion. Championing kinetic, light and minimalist elements, Mack is intrinsically tied to the Zero movement which, together with Otto Piene, he founded in 1957. Rejecting the gestural language of abstract expressionism, Mack describes Zero as ‘the adventure of seeking out and discovering the still-white spaces on the art map’.

Part of the series of works entitled Dynamic Structures began in 1958, Schleier zu Sais (Veil to Sais) gives reverence to the transformative power of light. The broad horizontal zone of grey, ruptured by perpendicular white lines, creates a tension between dynamic and static elements. The rhythmic chiaroscuro injects the work with the allusion that the surface is vibrating. Characteristic of Zero works, the monochromatic spectrum is a prerequisite for the purest articulation of light, repressing colour in favour of pure dynamism and underlining the predominance of structure. As the artist explains ‘I give the colour structure’ (Heinz Mack, ‘The New Dynamic Structure’, in: ZERO 1, Düsseldorf 1958; Reprint ZERO 1-3, Heinz Mack und Otto Piene, Cologne 1973, p. 14).

The importance of the relationship between vibration and colour in Schleier zu Sais (Veil to Sais) was first introduced in Mack’s 1958 manifesto ‘The New Dynamic Structure’. As the artist explains ‘A colour can have several meanings. However, its virtual objectification, i.e., its intrinsic energy, is achieved when it strikes its own vibration; that is its life, its breath’ (ibid). Exhibiting a model of a vibrating column that would reflect light in the desert, Mack conceived the Sahara Project in 1959. Intending to fuse natural and artistic space on an architectural scale, Mack started realizing the Sahara Project from 1962. Deriving from the Egyptian city Sais, the title of this work celebrates a fundamental transition in the artist’s oeuvre as his practice diverts from painting to sculpture. Satisfied he had pushed the boundaries of painting to the limit, the present work represents the pinnacle of Mack’s artistic ambition on canvas, a medium he would not return to for nearly thirty years.

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