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Lot 46: Oil Painting "Allegory of Autumn", by Johann Heiss around 1700

100 Rare and Fine Works of Art and Antiques

by Auctionata

December 7, 2012

Berlin, Germany

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Johann Heiss (1640-1704) Please Register/Login to access your Invaluable Alerts

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Description: Oil on canvas
Germany, around 1700
Johann Heiss (1640-1704) - German Baroque painter
Works by Johann Heiss fetch up to 71,000 Euros at international auctions
Variation of Heiss' well-known Allegories of the seasons
Comes with expertise by Dr. Peter Königfeld, the author of the monograph Der Maler Johann Heiss - Memmingen und Augsburg 1640-1704, Konrad, Weißenhorn 2001
Overall dimensions, framed: 122 x 101.5 cm

Johann Heiss, together with Johann Heinrich Schönfeld, counts among the most famous Baroque painters of Augsburg. For this painting, Heiss orientated himself towards a motif he had created once before, the "Allegory of Autumn" (today MAN SE, Augsburg plant). Thus, both paintings show a very similar, arcadian landscape, in which a party gather together under trees and pillars for a rich, rustic meal. The painting in the possession of MAN shows a horizontal format, whereas or painting here is in upright format through the high sky and densification of the group.The group in the foreground consists of scantily clad men, women and naked children. They are all occupied with the consumption of the fruits and drinks spread across a small table or the floor surrounding them. Under a protective cloth roof lays a nude beauty on her bed. In front of her, a man with goats' feet presents a melon in his raised right hand with his back turned towards the viewer. A vine tendril and a hide are hanging down his back from his shoulders. Almost singularly, his figure shifts the entire scene into mythological and allegorical themes. However, the female figure in the foreground, biting into a melon with relish, can also be interpreted as an allegory of taste. The background of the painting is dominated by a dark blue sky, in front of which heavy, grey clouds bank up. Contrary to the abundance that dominates the ground, the two trees on the left and right margins are almost bare and the one on the right is even broken off a little further up. Possibly, the trees are meant as a moral criticism towards the sumptuous, human world. A red cloth that blows in the wind and, through its arrangement of the folds and dark red colour, further emphasises the opulence of the feast, is draped over the tree on the left. Pillars of a Corinthian temple rise behind the naked tree. The painting symbolises the time of autumn as well as fertility. In mythology, the faun ensures fertility for humans and animals and often symbolises crude lewdness. The pomegranates in the foreground are also a symbol of fertility, as are the round, ripe melons. The composition of the painting is framed, as well as constantly held under tension by the trees and different cloths. The heads of the four figures standing or kneeling highest run in a gentle curve from one side to the other, creating a smooth transition from the high trees at the edge to the group sitting on the ground in the middle.The composition of this painting originates from Heiss' painting "Triumph of Summer", from 1676 (municipal museum Memmingen), where a smaller group is assembled on the left margin. Individual persons of this group doubtlessly functioned as models for the figures in our painting. Compositional similarities are displayed in the painting "Diana and Aktaion" (Ravensburg), which dates from 1701 wherefore a dating around this time seems realistic. The relatively dark colouring, from which only the woman dressed in white and red in the foreground and the faun stand out, also speaks for dating this painting to Heiss' late work.The painting is of appealing optical appearance with some restoration and touch-ups as well as visible craquelure. The canvas has been relined and the surface varnished. The rather recent frame is in good condition with minor traces of wear. The overall dimensions, framed, are 122 x 101.5 cm. The dimensions of the stretcher-frame are 109.5 x 88 cm. An expertise by Dr. Peter Königfeld, the author of the monographDerMaler Johann Heiss - Memmingen und Augsburg 1640-1704, Konrad, Weißenhorn 2001, is coming together with the painting.Johann Heiss (1640-1704)
Johann Heiss was born 1640 in Memmingen and trained there by Hans Conrad Sichelbein and Johann Sichelbein. Between 1663 and 1664 he stood under the service of Duke Eberhard III of Württemberg and lived in Stuttgart. In 1677, however, he moved to Augsburg and was active there from then on. Today, his works can be viewed in various German museums as well as the Louvre in Paris, the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna and the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.

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