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Sale: 401 / Post War/Contemporary Art, Dec. 08. 2012 in Munich Lot 214

Lot description
Von Goldfarben und Blau. 1953.
Oil on canvas.
Scheibler 664. Signed and dated lower left. Inscribed and dedicated "mit Tropfenketten Elly Nay" on stretcher. 80 x 100 cm (31,4 x 39,3 in).

PROVENANCE: Elly Nay, Berlin.
Collection Reitzenstein-Seel, Berlin.
Private collection Hamburg.

EXHIBITION: Deutscher Künstlerbund, 4th exhibition, Frankfurt am Main, fair grounds, 1954, cat. no. 146.

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.

As aforementioned, Ernst Wilhelm Nay‘s oeuvre is characterized by a sequence of different work periods. Both in terms of style and content, this oil painting counts among the "Rhythmical Pictures", that Nay made briefly between 1952 and 1953. These pictures, however, mark an important point in Nay‘s artistic development, as from then on he abandoned all figurative elements. Another characteristic phenomenon is the eponymous rhythmical structure that can be associated with concrete biographical events. Ernst Wilhelm Nay went to Cologne in 1951, the then capital of "New Music", where the "Studio for Electronic Music" was founded. It attracted composers such as Pierre Boulez, Herbert Eimert or Karlheinz Stockhausen, who made music history. In this extremely fruitful surrounding of which Ernst Wilhelm Nay was also part, the artist made his "Rhythmical Pictures" that were decisively inspired by music and most suitable for the illustration of a vocabulary comprising words such as rhythm, sound, vibrato and meter.

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". 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. [KP].

Ernst Wilhelm Nay
Von Goldfarben und Blau, 1953.
Oil on canvas
€ 120,000 / $ 135,600
€ 170,800 / $ 193.003

(incl. 22% surcharge)

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