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Sale: 416 / Post War / Contemporary Art, June 07. 2014 Lot 718

 
Lot description
Irisch Blau. 1964.
Oil on canvas.
Scheibler 1126. Signed and dated lower right. Once more signed and dated as well as titled on stretcher. 200 x 161 cm (78,7 x 63,3 in).

EXHIBITION: Große Kunstausstellung. Neue Gruppe - Aspekte heutiger Kunst, Haus der Kunst Munich, 24 June - 3 October, 1965, cat. no. 254 (with illu. p. 61; with exhibition label on stretcher).
Nay - Un Maestro del Color - Obras de 1950 a 1968, Museo d´Arte Moderno Mexico City 1976, cat. no. 21.

LITERATURE: „Die Kunst und das schöne Heim“, 63rd year, issue 11, Munich 1965, p. 19, illu. 2.

Ernst Wilhelm Nay studied under Karl Hofer at the Berlin Art Academy from 1925 until 1928. His first sources of inspiration resulted from his preoccupation with Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Henri Matisse as well as Caspar David Friedrich and Nicolas Poussin. Nay's still lifes, portraits and landscapes were widely acclaimed. In 1931 Nay received a nine-months' study bursary to the Villa Massimo in Rome, where he began to paint in the abstract Surrealist manner. On the recommendation of the Lübeck museum director, C.G. Heise, Nay was given a work grant financed by Edvard Munch, which enabled Nay to spend time in Norway and on the Lofoten Islands in 1937. The "Fischer- und Lofotenbilder" represented a first pinnacle of achievement. That same year, however, two of his works were shown in the notorious exhibition of "Degenerate Art" and Nay was forbidden to exhibit any longer. Conscripted into the German armed forces in 1940, Nay went with the infantry to France, where a French sculptor placed his studio at Nay's disposal. In the "Hekatebildern" (1945-48), featuring motifs from myth, legend and poetry, Nay worked through his war and postwar experiences. The "Fugale Bilder" (1949-51) proclaim new beginnings in a fiery palette and entwined forms. In 1950 the Kestner Gesellschaft Hannover mounted a first retrospective of Nay's work. The following year the artist moved to Cologne, where, with the "Rhythmischen Bildern" he took the final step towards entirely non-representational painting. In them he began to use color purely as figurative values. From 1955 Nay's painted "Scheibenbilder", in which round color surfaces organize subtle modulations of space and color. These are developed further in 1963/64 in what are known as the "Augenbilder".

These developmental stages once more show how much Ernst Wilhelm Nay's oeuvre is characterized by periods of artistic creation that are clearly separated from one another. What is so fascinating to observe are the clarity and consistency with which the artist conceived his work as an organic cosm in which becomingand growing, rhythm and dynamicare decisive driving powers. This large-size lucent painting counts among the "Augenbilder" (Eye Pictures), which, literally, tell stories about looking, seeing and watching. Because"With the 'Augenbilder' Nay opens the perspective into a new cosm, to the phenomenaself, which had initially been intended as analogies to music. His colors, guided by the both striking and simple sign of the eye, win unexpected spatiality and unimagined radiant energy. The primary colors in the 'Augenbilder'allow the painting to extend the picture'sphysicalness to infinity. What had earlier been hinted at in the symbolic-magical pictures, becomes a view into the cosm of painting that on his part reflects the observer's space. Front and back as leitmotif of the imagestructurehas been interpretedas insight into space since Nay had made the 'Scheibenbilder'. The eye supplies a speaking formula for the quality of the space that captures the observer so much." (quote after: Siegfried Gohr, Einführung in das Werk von E. W. Nay, in: Scheibler vol. 1, p. 23).

A first one-man-show in America at the Kleeman Galleries, New York, in 1955, participation in the 1956 Venice Biennale and the Kassel documenta (1955, 1959 and 1964) are milestones marking Nay's breakthrough on the international art scene. Ernst Wilhelm Nay was awarded important prizes and is represented by work in nearly all major exhibitions of German art in Germany and abroad.

718
Ernst Wilhelm Nay
Irisch Blau, 1964.
Oil on canvas
Estimate:
€ 250,000 / $ 290,000
Sold:
€ 353,800 / $ 410.408

(incl. 22% surcharge)
 


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Ernst Wilhelm Nay - Irisch Blau - Frame image
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