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

Arrangement für eine Mütze II- dithyrambisch (Arrangement for a Cap II- dithyrambic)

Arrangement für eine Mütze II- dithyrambisch (Arrangement for a Cap II- dithyrambic)
signed 'MARKUS' (lower right); signed and titled 'ARANGEMENT FÜR MÜTZE (DITHY) II MARKUS LÜPERTZ' (on the stretcher)
distemper on canvas, in artist's frame
79 3/8 x 104 5/8in. (201.6 x 265.7cm.)
Executed in 1973
Galerie Michael Werner, Cologne.
Acquired from the above by the Crex Collection in 1977.
Thence to the present owner.
M Schwarz, 'Spontanmalerei: Über das Verhältnis von Farbe und Gegenstand in der neueren Malerei', in Kunstforum International, vol. XX, 1977, p. 77.
C. Sauer and U. Raussmüller (eds.), Werke aus der Sammlung Crex, exh. cat., Zurich, InK, 1978, p. 81 (illustrated, p. 81; incorrectly titled, Arrangement für eine Mütze III).
Jorg Immendorff, Per Kirkeby, Markus Lüpertz, A.R. Penck: Hunden tillstoter under veckans lopp, exh. cat., Stockholm, Moderna Museet, 1981, p. 29, no. 35 b., (illustrated p. 96).
P. M. Bode, 'Markus [Lüpertz] the Painter' in Das Kunstmagazin, vol. 24, no. 12, 1985, p. 135, no. 20.
Baden-Baden, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Markus Lüpertz. Bilder, Gouachen und Zeichnungen 1967-1973, 1973, p. 50 (illustrated, pp. 54-55; installation view at the artist’s studio, p. 51).
Cologne, Galerie Rudolf Zwirner Gallery, Markus Lüpertz: Bilder 1972-1976, 1976, p. 14, no. 10a (illustrated, p. 13).
Bern, Kunsthalle Bern, Markus Lüpertz: Dithyrambische und Stil-Malerei, 1977, p. 46, no. 21.
Cologne, Joseph-Haubrich-Kunsthalle, Markus Lüpertz Gemälde und Handzeichnungen 1964 bis 1979, 1979-1980, no. 40, p. 105.
Saint-Étienne, Musée d'Art et d' Industrie, Mythe-Drame-Tragédie, 1982, no. 45 (illustrated, p. 81).
Hannover, Kestner-Gesellschaft, Markus Lüpertz Bilder 1970-1983, 1983, p. 114, no. 4.
Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Markus Lüpertz: Retrospectiva 1963-1990. Pintura, Escultura, Dibujo, 1991, p. 265, no. 26b (incorrect work illustrated in colour, p. 61).
Karlsruhe, Städtische Galerie im Prinz Max-Palais Karlsruhe, Markus Lüpertz: Rezeptionen - Paraphrasen, 1991 p. 187, no. 5 (illustrated p. 63)
Basel, Raussmüller Collection (on long term loan from 2004-2010).
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

Formerly part of the Crex Collection, the present work is the second in a series of three works by Markus Lüpertz. Collectively entitled Arrangement für eine Mütze (Arrangement for a Cap), the paintings offer a trio of subtle variations, each depicting a military cap. Rendered with rich, expressive brushwork on a monumental scale, the motif is pushed to the brink of abstraction, its meaning progressively swallowed by repetition and distortion. Lüpertz described this process as ‘dithyrambic’, inspired by the ancient Greek chants—known as ‘dithyrambs’—sung in honour of Dionysus. By introducing minor variations into seemingly identical compositions, the artist questioned the inherent symbolic value of his subject matter, asking at what point figurative meaning dissolved into painterly abstraction. The present work has been widely and prominently exhibited, featuring in solo shows at institutions including the Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden (1973), the Kunsthalle Bern (1977), the Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hannover (1983) and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (1991).

The present work was painted in 1973: the year that Lüpertz’s first retrospective at the Goethe-Institut in Amsterdam brought him international recognition. Born in former Czechoslovakia in 1941, the artist had moved to West Germany as a child. Following studies in Krefeld and Düsseldorf, he settled in Berlin, where he became associated with artists such as A. R. Penck, Georg Baselitz and Jörg Immendorff. Like Baselitz, he felt that painters in both East and West Germany were reluctant to confront the country’s recent past, hiding behind Socialist Realist figuration and Western abstraction respectively. In his ‘dithyrambic’ paintings, he sought common ground between the two modes, subjecting simple graphic forms to distortive processes. Baselitz, who pursued a similar agenda by rendering his subjects upside down, had frequently adopted deliberately Germanic motifs, questioning the means by which images become invested with symbolic or political charge. Gerhard Richter, too, in his blurred photo-paintings had asked at what point figurative reality loses its claim to truth: all images, he proposed, were inherently abstract.

Here, Lüpertz’s military subject matter engages with many of the same issues. The viewer is forced to question at what point texture, colour and form coalesce into something loaded with history and meaning. Other forms lurk within the composition: a hint of a paint palette, or perhaps the strings of a lute. Is this a still-life, or something more? The artist’s bold colours and graphic forms also conjure associations with Pop Art: like Warhol’s silkscreens, each the same yet subtly different. ‘Painting provides the vocabulary to make the world visible’, he wrote (M. Lüpertz, quoted in Markus Lüpertz, exh. cat. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D. C. 2017, p. 6). Here, in the spirit of an ancient ‘dithyrambic’ incantation, Lüpertz lifts the veil upon the way in which we make sense of images.

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