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Adolf Wölfli (1864-1930)
Adolf Wölfli (1864-1930)
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Adolf Wölfli (1864-1930)

Maggingen/Lembinger, double sided, 1927

Adolf Wölfli (1864-1930) Maggingen/Lembinger, double sided, 1927 colored pencil and graphite on paper 11 3/8 x 20 3/8 in.
Phyllis Kind Gallery, Chicago and New York
Jennifer Pinto Safian, New York
Private Collection, New York
Ricco Maresca Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above in 2001

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Cara Zimmerman
Cara Zimmerman Specialist

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Lot Essay

A troubled young man, Adolf Wölfli was institutionalized at the Waldau Clinic in Bern, Switzerland in 1895, where he stayed for the remainder of his life. Shortly after his admission, Wölfli began to draw; his magnum opus, a multi-volume, 25,000-page epic illustrated text chronicled his imagined life as a knight, an emperor and a saint. While many of Wölfli’s drawings were created in book format, he also made single-sheet drawings he called portraits. Whether in notebooks or on loose-leaf paper, his works are dense, colored-filled images supported by text. Dr. Walter Morgenthaler, a psychiatrist at the clinic, took interest in Wölfli’s output and in 1921 published the seminal text Ein Geisteskranker als Künstler (Madness and Art), a full-length study of Wölfli’s life and art. This was one of the first major publications in the field that would later become known as Outsider Art.

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