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Lot 515: MAX SLEVOGT
Impressionist and Modern Art, Part 2
February 9, 2005
London, United Kingdom
Painted on 1st July 1912.
signed M. Slevogt, inscribed Ansorge and dated 1. Juli 1912 (upper left)
oil on canvas
The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by Prof. Dr Hans-Jürgen Imiela.
During Max Slevogt's stay at Dr Johannes Guthmann's country mansion in Neu Cladow in July 1912, the artist produced a beautiful series of nine paintings of which the present work is an example. He was introduced to Conrad Ansorge during this summer and depicted him in the present work playing the piano in the music room of the Guthmann's mansion. Slevogt shows him sitting at the piano, absorbed by his play, the music and seemingly forgetting his surroundings.
Ansorge, born in 1862, was a pupil of Franz Liszt's and a celebrated pianist of his time. He was not only portrayed by Slevogt but already by Lovis Corinth in 1903. Slevogt's second portrait of Ansorge was painted in 1915 and is now part of the permanent collection of the Kunsthalle in Bremen.
It was especially during the years between 1910 and 1913 that Slevogt created his most accomplished Impressionist paintings and made a vital contribution to the development of German Post-Impressionism, alongside such artists as Max Liebermann and Lovis Corinth. The artist's handling of paint in the present work creates a rich texture, especially characteristic for his post-impressionist style, emphasising the importance of the sitter in this work. Hans Jürgen Imiela points out that Slevogt captures here a piece of cultural history of Berlin (H.-J. Imiela, op.cit., p. 150).
FIG.1, Lovis Corinth, Porträt des Pianisten Conrad Ansorge, oil on canvas, 1903, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich
PROPERTY FROM THE HEIRS OF LEO AND ELSE SMOSCHEWER
Karl Zimmer, Erlangen
Sale: Paul Cassirer and Hugo Helbing, Berlin, 3rd and 4th March 1925, lot 133
Leo Smoschewer, Breslau (by 1933)
Else Smoschewer (by descent from the above in 1938; confiscated by the German authorities in 1939)
Österreichische Galerie, Vienna (acquired in 1940)
Restituted by the Österreichische Galerie to the heirs of Leo and Else Smoschewer in 2004
Dimensions: 61 by 81.4cm., 24 by 32in.
Galerie Thannenhäuser, Nachtragswerk II, Munich, 1918, S. 109, illustrated
Weltkunst, XV, 1941, no. 29/38, illustrated p. 4
Hans-Jürgen Imiela, Max Slevogt. Eine Monographie, Karlsruhe, 1968, mentioned pp. 129, 385 and 395