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Lot 20: Pastel drawing "Double Bass", by Franz Ehrlich, around 1970
December 7, 2012
Berlin, GermanyLive Auction
Pastel crayon, ink and pencil on paper
Germany, around 1970
Franz Ehrlich (1907-1984) - German architect and graphic artist
Monogrammed lower right, "Eh"
In original frame
Overall dimensions, framed: 72 x 57 cm
Very good condition
This pastel drawing of the Bauhaus artist Franz Ehrlich shows the vague outlines of a double bass inwardly diminishing in size. The drawing is divided in two halves by a black streak that takes the shape of an endpin on the lower end; the right half is composed of a bright orange tone, whereas the left is coloured in a deep shade of red. The corresponding halves of the bass match the side opposite from the one they occupy, and become darker towards the middle. At the centre of the drawing and the instrument is an f-hole filled out in black. The drawing, with its systematic, mirrored arrangement, conforms to the Bauhaus aesthetic that arose from the functionality and the requirements of the industry. The Bauhaus artists were 'masters of form', who also tried out new concepts of colour; in this drawing, Ehrlich combines colour and shape to a conclusive whole that repeatedly erupts, inviting to be viewed again and again.The drawing is in very good condition and is in the original frame that was also made by the artist. The hand-painted white frame shows minor traces of wear. The overall dimensions, framed, are 72 x 57 cm, while the size of the sheet is 47.5 x 36 cm. The drawing is monogrammed lower right. The frame merely shows slight traces of wear.Franz Ehrlich (1907-1984)
Franz Ehrlich grew up in Leipzig and studied - following a precedent apprenticeship as a machine fitter - at the Bauhaus in Dessau, where he first completed a certification exam as a carpenter and later worked for Walter Gropius, from 1927 to 1930. Due to his communist disposition, he was charged with "preparation of high treason" by the Nazis and incarcerated in Zwickau prison and later in the concentration camp Buchenwald. The fact that he designed the front gate inscription, "JEDEM DAS SEINE" [to each their own, or figuratively: everyone gets what they deserve], in Buchenwald, is acrimonious without parallel. Between 1943 and 1945, he was a soldier in the Wehrmacht punishment unit 999 in Greece, and subsequently became a prisoner of war. In 1946, Ehrlich was able to return to Germany and became head of the department of reconstruction in Dresden. He was involved in many significant constructions in the post-war era and is held in esteem for being one of the few artists in the GDR who were able to preserve at least some autonomy in their use of forms.Bauhaus
The Bauhaus was founded 1919 in Weimar by Walter Gropius under the slogan, "Bau der Zukunft [construction of the future]", as an art school that was meant to teach all arts unified with architecture into an ideal entity, or in Gropius' words, "to create a new guild of craftsmen, without the class distinctions that raise an arrogant barrier between craftsman and artist." In 1925, the school moved to Dessau and began cooperating with the industry under the motto, "Art and Technology - a new unity". The first tubular steel furniture went into production, "Meisterhäuser [master houses]" designed by Gropius were built, and international attention was attained. After Gropius, Hannes Meyer and later Mies Van der Rohe were directors of the Bauhaus, which had to move to Berlin in 1932, only to be finally closed under Nazi pressure in 1933. Many of the former protagonists fled to the USA where they kept on spreading the ideas of the Bauhaus with great success.