Adolf Hohenstein (1854 - 1917)

Lot 52: ADOLFO HOHENSTEIN (1854-1928). ELIXIR DE "KEMPENAAR." Circa 1900. 55x36 inches, 141x92 cm. J.L. Goffart, Brussels.

Swann Auction Galleries

January 26, 2017
New York, NY, US

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Description: ADOLFO HOHENSTEIN (1854-1928) ELIXIR DE "KEMPENAAR." Circa 1900.
55 1/2x36 1/4 inches, 141x92 cm. J.L. Goffart, Brussels.
Condition B+: repaired tears, minor restored losses, creases and restoration along vertical and horizontal folds; repaired tears and discoloration in margins; repaired pin holes in corners. Two-sheets. Framed. Unexamined out of frame.
Born in Russia to German parents, Hohenstein studied art in Vienna before settling in Milan. He began working with Ricordi, the great Italian publishing company in 1889, designing sheet music covers for operas. Shortly thereafter, he became art director of the firm and began to design posters. Poster artists such as Dudovich, Mauzan and Metlicovitz worked under Hohenstein, and their posters reflect his influence as one of the masters of the Golden Age of Italian posters, "from obvious stylistic floral influences of French Art Nouveau and the German Jugendstil" (Manifesti Italiano, p. 114). Hohenstein was invited to work outside of Italy, in France as well as Belgium, where he designed at least two posters printed by the Belgian printing house J.L. Goffart. The Liberty Style at the turn of the century was triumphant in Italy, while the fascination for posters had begun to wane in France. A virtuoso with palette and composition, Hohenstein employs striking complementary colors and bold contrast, such as the saffron sky and grey-blue horse, setting the scene within his characteristic matching border. He crops closely to the foreground the figures of the dapper rider and horse, cleverly positioning the gentleman grabbing the elixir on the go and creating the feeling that the viewer is watching him enter into the high society gathering. The perspective of the horse is reminiscent of that in Toulouse-Lautrec''s Babylone de Allemagne (See lot 75). Elixir de Kempenaar, described as a "liquor hygènique," was distributed by Jacques Neefs Wine and Liquor store in Antwerp, a prolific advertiser. rare This poster has only come up for auction once before.
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