Neo Rauch (b. 1960)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED EUROPEAN PRIVATE COLLECTION
Neo Rauch (b. 1960)


Neo Rauch (b. 1960)
signed and dated 'RAUCH 95' (lower right)
oil, charcoal and wash on paper laid on canvas
50 3/8 x 79 7/8in. (127.8 x 201.8cm.)
Executed in 1995
Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig/Berlin.
Private Collection.
Anon. sale, Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg New York, 14 November 2003, lot 183.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
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.

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Lot Essay

‘In Rauch’s Paintings, sleekly propulsive elements of pop figuration and minimalist abstraction lock horns with obdurate echoes of Socialist Realism. While references to other artists … Rauch’s style is uniquely his own, as is his subject matter.’
–Neo Rauch

Executed in a revolutionary period of post-unification in Germany, Neo Rauch’s Hafenstadt offers a thought provoking and curious depiction of pre-war European industrialisation. Simultaneously dystopian yet invariably hopeful, Rauch’s Surrealist landscape was produced two years after his first solo exhibition in Leipzig in 1993. The present work calls to mind the mastery of Giorgio de Chirico as well as the hallucinatory illusion of Salvador Dali, yet Rauch’s cultural production is more haunting in its political poignancy. Utilising a range of material, the artist fashions a mysterious and dream-like world; an invented domain alluding to the human destruction and socio-economic hardship prevalent in an era of promised political utopia. The singular fusion of Western and Eastern paradigms as well as the coalescence of figuration and abstraction is the visionary context in which Rauch’s oeuvre is regarded as one of the most important to come out of Germany in recent years.
A reverie devoid of human presence, Rauch’s topography is eerie in its anthropomorphic abandonment. Golden hues, earthy and subdued in tenor are complemented by bold and decisive highlights of crimson and azure. The palette is primary, even child-like; a notion further suggested by the reoccurring motifs of polka dots, triangles and cones. Linear and geometric in composition, Hafenstadt is evocative of an Engineering design and preliminary town planning; it is transient and ephemeral while carrying the qualities of a drawing considered incomplete. With this in mind, the present work conjures notions of temporality and nostalgia. Rauch’s atmospheric tension looks towards the future while establishing strong connections to the past. Such a narrative provides a productive way out of the self-referentiality of an exhausted avant-garde. The present work counters the autonomy of a bygone artistic means with the vitality of narrative; a visually arresting subjectivity that signifies an unattainable modernity. The seemingly programmatic anachronism of Hafenstadt proves to be the unique reason for the work’s enduring effect.

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