JANKEL ADLER (1895 - 1949)
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JANKEL ADLER (1895 - 1949)

Das Spiel

JANKEL ADLER (1895 - 1949)
Das Spiel
signed 'Adler' (lower right); signed again, dated, titled and inscribed 1933 Paris' (on the stretcher)
oil and sand on canvas
31½ x 38 in. (80 x 96.6 cm.)
Painted in Paris in 1933
Wilhelm Reinhold Valentiner, Detroit.
Buchholz Gallery, New York.
Elizabeth Ross Ogbaum, New York.
New York, Buchholz Gallery, 1950.
New York, Helen Serger La Boetie Inc., 1955.
Special notice
"†" : VAT rate of 15.5% is payable on hammer price plus buyer's premium. If exported, in certain circumstances, a non-Israeli purchaser may be entitled to an exemption or refund of all or part of VAT.

Lot Essay

Painted in 1933, Das Spiel, relates to the Surrealist period of Adler's oeuvre. Adler was born in Poland and made his artistic career in Germany. He was a member of the most prominent avant-garde movements of the period and a prominent contributor to publications about modern Jewish art. Adler was a leading member of Jewish artistic and cultural groups such as Jung Yiddish and illustrated contemporary Yiddish publications. On the advice of friends, he left Germany for Paris in 1933. He shared a studio space with Otto Abel and met with several of the German artists who sought refuge in France. During this short sojourn in Paris, his work was influenced by the Abstraction-Creation group and by Auguste Herbin. Adler was familiar with his work published in A biz Z, in February 1930.

During the early 1930s, Adler sought abstraction as a main tool of expression. His compositions of the period show a fluid smooth use of line. A game is a recurrent theme as is the use of male and female figures. He said: "In previous centuries painting was a form of accurate documentation...we the young artists, approach the canvas with different assumption than the artists of previous generations. The Old Masters tried to achieve a synthesis with the world around them. For us there is the canvas. Modern art tries to make the viewer uncomfortable, as the viewers eye is accustom to the human appearance of a comfortable bourgeois society. One needs to create this uncomfortable feeling only by using a symbolic, abstract, free attitude". (U. Krempel in Jankel Adler 1895-1949, Tel Aviv, 1985, p. 32).

In Germany, Adler was named a degenerate artist and his work was included in the infamous Entartete Kunst exhibition in which toured Germany in 1937-1938. He fled the continent for Scotland in 1941 with the remains of the free Polish Army.

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