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Sale: 277 / XXth Century Classics and Munich School, Dec. 06. 2002  
Lot: 8  
Stuck, Franz von 
Duell, 1914. 
Result (incl. 15% surcharge): 48,300 EUR / 63,273 $
Estimate: 50,000 EUR / 65,500 $  
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Franz von Stuck

Franz von Stuck - Duell  

Oil on panel, 1914.
Voss 453/71. Signed and dated lower right. 60 x 69 cm (23,6 x 27,1 inch ).
Original frame .

Origin: Auction: Helbing, Munich 1917.
Private collection South Germany, since circa 1930 in private possession.

Literature: Otto Julius Bierbaum, Franz von Stuck, Bielefeld and Leipzig, 1924, p. 148.
Eugen Diem, Franz von Stuck, Munich, 1927, fig. 13.

Two duelling men are the protagonists of this enthralling scene, which takes place in front of a white wall in an empty courtyard, whereas the object of their desire, the lady, looks at the scene from a balcony. With bitterness and rage the rivals come closer during the fight while they try to pay court the lady. The dramatic expression of the scene is enhanced by the woman’s indifference and her apparent unconsciousness about her own involvement in this situation. The illustration of a duel is a very rare subject in Stuck’s oeuvre. Hitherto there is only one further duel scene known (V. 478/72). Therefore, this work holds a special position in his work in which mythology, allegory and biblical themes are dominating. Its basic sujet of two fighting persons is subject to discussion in most of his works – starting with the fighting centauers in the 1890s and ending with the series 'Kampf ums Weib', 1927. Nevertheless, the duel is a special form of a fight to solve conflicts, which was approved in former times by the society. In this context the painting draws a skilful connection to Stuck’s second major theme: the tense relationship between the sexes. The subject of the dramatic fight is stressed by the very expressive contrast between light and shadow. This work is a wonderful example of Stuck’s aim to reduce the subject of the work to its dramatic elements – there is no disturbance for the viewer which could diminish his interest in the main scene, the duel. [SSt]