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German collectors based in Fürth in Northern Bavaria, Alfred and Elisabeth Hoh started their unique collection in the mid-1980s. They began with prints, amassing one of the largest, private German collections of German Expressionist print portfolios, which are now housed at the Lindenau-Museum Altenburg. Mr and Mrs Hoh's curious and discerning eye combined with extensive research allowed them to extend the focus of their collection to encompass paintings, works on paper and sculpture of the highest quality by European avant-garde artists from the first quarter of the 20th Century. The depth of this collection is apparent in the impressive range of nationalities represented - Russian, Hungarian, Belgian, German, French, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Norwegian, and Swedish. The assembled artists were all innovators, seeking to articulate a new modernist vision of the world. Often unique in having this ambition in their own country, they reached out across international borders to fellow pioneers to share and exchange ideas. The Hoh Collection is thus a fascinating cross-section of the most important early 20th Century European art movements including Expressionism, Futurism, Divisionism and Cubism.
Certain works epitomize the spirit of the Alfred and Elisabeth Hoh Collection, one being Vladimir Baranoff-Rossiné's 1910 The Rhythm (Adam and Eve) (Evening Sale), which sets the tone of their collection. This Ukrainian painter tackles the subject of the creation of mankind and, in art historical terms, explores the birth of modernism. Deeply influenced by the Italian Futurists with their revolutionary change of form, depiction of movement and striking use of colour, he presents a spectacular panoramic vision of Paradise. The Hoh Collection is also home to another seminal work by a Russian modernist, Les Fleurs of circa 1912 by Natalia Goncharova (Evening Sale), who with her partner, Mikhail Larionov, developed Rayonism using their insights into the Italian Futurists to create what Guillaume Apollinaire called 'a dance created by passion and rhythm'. Her bold and striking colours make the composition a masterpiece of dynamism and overwhelming power.
Many of the works from the Hoh Collection featured in early exhibitions at key galleries, including Galerie Paul Guillaume, Paris, Giuseppe Sprovieri's Galleria Futurista, Rome, and Galerie Der Sturm, Berlin run by the legendary Herwarth Walden. The latter, brilliantly characterised by William Wauer's bronze of 1917 (Day Sale, lot 432), was a groundbreaking dealer, publisher and patron of the international avant-garde between 1910 and 1930. He was one of the first dealers to exhibit Max Ernst, Heinrich Campendonk, Marc Chagall, die Brücke artists, the der Blaue Reiter group and the Italian Futurists. Chagall called him 'the first real defender of new modern art'.
German Expressionism is represented in the Hoh Collection by, among others, an early, near-abstract work by Karl Schmidt-Rottluff from 1906 (Evening Sale). The short, bold brushstrokes describing Der Garten are reminiscent of van Gogh and the brilliant colour palette shows the die Brücke artist's fascination with the Fauves. Second generation Expressionism is exemplified in the work of Walter Jakob, a member of the Dresden Secession, who defined his own unmistakable style, combining the best from his contemporaries, Ludwig Meidner and Conrad Felixmüller. Judith und Holofernes (Day Sale, lot 453) ranks among his best and most powerful paintings from the early 1920s, his most important creative years.
Eager to share their passion for the avant-garde with the public at large, the Hohs toured their collection under the fitting title, International Languages of Art, to various museums in Germany between 1998 and 2000, and again in 2005. Their collection is the subject of three publications; Ursula Peters' Internationale Sprachen der Kunst: Gemälde, Zeichnungen und Skulpturen der Klassischen Moderne aus der Sammlung Hoh (Nuremberg, 1998), Jutta Penndorf's Ruhelos und ohne des Schlafes Geschenk (Leipzig, 2000), and Sebastian Giesen & Ulrich Luckhardt's, Kunst ohne Grenzen. Werken der Internationalen Avantgarde von 1910 bis 1940 aus der Sammlung Hoh (Hamburg, 2005).
This collection will be presented at the Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale, Day Sale (lots 401 to 463) and Works on Paper Sale (lots 351 to 367) at Christie's London on 24 and 25 June 2008. The rest of the collection will be offered at the Christie's London sale of Old Master, Modern & Contemporary Prints on 1 October 2008 and at the Christie's London Day Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art in February 2009.
The following lots 348-356, 358-359, 361 & 363 featured in the exhibition Internationale Sprachen der Kunst: Gemälde, Zeichnungen und Skulpturen der Klassischen Moderne aus der Sammlung Hoh which took place at Lindenau-Museum Altenburg from August to October 1998, and later travelled to Osnabrück, Kulturgeschichtliches Museum Felix-Nussbaum-Haus, Dortmund, Museum am Ostwall and Nuremberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum.
PROPERTY FROM THE HOH COLLECTION