Sale: 520 / Evening Sale, June 18. 2021 in Munich Lot 115000475

Asger Jorn
Ohne Titel (Didaska), 1946.
Oil on canvas, painted on both sides
€ 200,000 - 300,000

$ 234,000 - 351,000

Lot description
Ohne Titel (Didaska). 1946.
Oil on canvas, painted on both sides.
Atkins 453 und 435. Signed and dated in upper left. 74 x 99 cm (29.1 x 38.9 in).
The work on the reverse:
Asgar Jorn.
Animaux animé(s) , 1944/45/46.
Atkins 453. Titled "Animaux animé" bottom center.
74 x 99 cm (29,2 x 39 in).
• Exhibited in the first retrospective in 1953 - all works were selected by the artist himself.
• In 2016 the Munch Museum in Oslo dedicated a grand exhibition to the juxtaposition of Edvard Munch and Asger Jorn.
• In 2023 Center Pompidou in Paris will organize a major exhibition on Asger Jorn's prominent position in European art between 1940 and 1970.
• For many years no comparable key picture from the pre-CoBrA years has been offered on the international art market

PROVENANCE: Arne Bruun Rasmussen, auction 59, Copenhagen 1955, lot 46.
F. C. Boldsen, Copenhagen/Denmark.
Erik Emmertsen, Copenhagen/Denmark.
Private collection.

EXHIBITION: "Tre unge malere“, an exhibiiton of Frede Christoffersen, Asger Jorn and Knud Nielsen, Kunstforeningen, Copenhagen 1953, illu. cat. no. 66.
"The Open Hide“, Petzel, New York 2016.
"Mondjäger – Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg im Dialog mit Asger Jorn“, Kunstmuseum Ravensburg 2019.

LITERATURE: Guy Atkins, "Jorn in Scandinavia 1930-1953“, no. 453, (illu. on p. 364).
Oda Wildhagen Gjessing (editor), "Jorn + Munch“, Munch Museum, Oslo 2016.
Axel Heil and Roberto Ohrt, "The Open Hide“, Petzel, New York 2016, pp. 22-25, (color illu. on pp. 23 nd 24).
Axel Heil, "Animaux Animé(s) - I Am Saving This Egg for Later. Ideen der Metamorphose bei Asger Jorn und Djurberg & Berg“, in: Ute Stuffer und Axel Heil (editors), "Mondjäger - Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg im Dialog mit Asger Jorn“, ex. cat. Kunstmuseum Ravensburg, Berlin 2019, pp. 21-33 (color illu. on pp. 82/83).
„We are sparks
That must glow
As brightly
As possible“
- Asger Jorn, 1950 -
„We should described ourselves as animals, that is our way.“
- Asger Jorn
"We must be an imaginary mass to feel as the autonomous founder of our own becoming.“
- Ager Jorn, "Intime Banalitäten“ in: Heringe in Acryl, Hamburg 1987, p. 17

Animaux Animé
"Animaux animé (s)" is in many ways a special work of art, a grown programmatic picture. Not only do we find a fully articulated painting on both sides of the canvas; it can also be read as the hinge of "spontaneous abstract painting" in Denmark, of that very group process that became possible in context of the magazine "Helhesten" and which was so fruitful for all artists involved. Since he had stayed in Sebbersund in 1941, Asger Jorn (who was then still called Asger Jørgensen) had been fascinated by the motif of the “herd of horses”. Now, in autumn 1945, he creates his pictorial space - with the letters directly on the canvas - and draws Shakespeare‘s "witches" above the animals as the movement of the clouds. They had already been part of his “Green Market” pictures, in the same format and also with an overlay of paint. Here the clearly stylized figures with blue borders were wrest from the landscape; the traces of the brush are part of - as with Van Gogh - their determination. Various paths lead to the unusual double image.
As early as in 1941 Jorn called for an expansion of the canon of images under the heading of “intimate banalities” and called for a pointed occupation with “all” images. Hollywood films like “King Kong and the White Woman” or comic heroines like Betty Boop seemed to him no less important than Kafka's Odradek, “an animal like a spindle”. For Jorn there was no doubt that the traditional distinction between “high and low” is a contradiction to the requirement of the image as a space of imagination. Especially a so-called bad taste can be used as a source for artistic transformation. Theory turns into a narrative, thoughts reflect the breathlessness in the picture. The painters are free, their figures only designate what the forms already carry in them as meaning. The figure is recognized, realized - that‘s the opposite of Expressionism.
On May 4, 1945, Asger Jorn began to print a leaflet on a duplicator, a small printing machine, to celebrate the end of Nazi rule. As part of the Danish resistance, he had produced the banned newspaper “Land og Volk” in his small apartment on Rådmandsgade. He hadn't been able to leave Denmark for six years. Even when he took the ferry to Sweden in the late summer of 1945, none of his friends knew the actual destination of his trip was. Jorn had no valid papers, but he definitely wanted to go to Oslo. An comprehensive Edvard Munch exhibition was opened there in July, 300 pictures, the brilliant late work – the biggest Munch show ever. Jorn wanted to see it right away and he in fact got the decisive impulse for a method he would soon call "new realism" there. This method - and that is only a contradiction on the sufrface- is based on a radically free visual language, on a “painting manner that comes directly from the matter”. The color is no longer used for drawing, it does not fill a preconceivedshape. “servant” becomes “master”. It took some time before Jorn was able to implement these findings in his painterly formulations to his satisfaction.
In autumn, back in Denmark, Jorn wanted to act quickly, immediately check and implement what he had seen and recognized. He went back to his older pictures, revised, updated and modified them. Material was scarce, paint expensive and it is little surprising that Jorn took up the "green side" again, which was created before his programmatic picture "Guganaga" in the early summer of 1945 and is closely linked to the "Herd of Horses". The sky is rendered in an energetic. This is Munch's "wandering line". There is motion in the scene, and, finally, he writes ANIMAUX ANIMÉ in capital letters into the picture. The color of choice: fiery chrome oxide green. "Animated animals" - "Animals in motion", even the play on words is a riddle. A mantra, a program - even translated into another language, freedom of translation included. Because the way of thinking and the view cannot be anything other than international. Since his first time in Paris, which ended abruptly in 1939 when the war broke out, Jorn had played through the fact that “animals” inhabit his imagery in replacement of people. Now they should not only be the agents of the action, but the protagonists. How important this work of art, which soon was painted on both sides - without determining a front and a back side - would become in Jorn's oeuvre can only be evaluated in retrospect. It follows picture after picture, almost looks like a film, pushes itself forward. In 1948, Jorn founded the “Internationale of Experimental Artists” in Paris together with Constant, Appel and Dotremont. It went down in art history as the "CoBrA" group and was in strong opposition to the Parisian artists of the late 1940s - the reckless gamblers of interior decoration.
"Joy of Life" - The second picture
In autumn 1945 things began to move quickly: The strict subdivision of the areas was broken up, leaving hardly any contours. The figures detach themselves from their narrative constellation and find their form in the “ordered chaos” of color. They stand directly on the edge of the picture and merge in with their surroundings, which remains undefined in terms of content, becomes pure image space, a soft background, like of sweet pink flesh. The square is the “landscape”, thus Jorn completely reformulates the thesis “Animaux Animé” on the “back” of the “upside down canvas”. The picture is closely related to "Joy of Life", also made in 1946, as an allusion to Matisse's famous painting in the Barnes Foundation, of which only black and white images were permitted at that time. The "new front" is one of the first pictures in which Jorn takes up the experiences made over recent years, bringing them directly into an open play. From there he attained his famous “trace drawings“ - today part of the Collection Troels Jorn- and the Saxnäs pictures. The coloring has become clear, an unusual pink-green-ultramarine-blue tone determines the appearance of the “new” figuration, the red brushstroke indicates the red hair. The little bird figure looks up expectantly. The second page becomes a “Didaska” picture in oil, celebrating the newly found life, the formula found in the process. In the end it is signed - a small "’46" captures the moment.
The “human animal” had emerged without further ado on the edge of the surrealistic self-talk. Picasso revitalized the Minotaur. Masson played through the metamorphosis of the persecuted Daphne. Max Ernst invented Loplop as an "alter ego" as well as entire animal-human relationships. Finally, in autumn 1948, the artists of the “Internationale des artistes expérimentaux” chose the Cobra as the totem animal for their magazine. For the artists of "CoBrA", animals, often birds, cats, dogs and also some hybrids, became the code for an "art autre" a "different art". Jorn's “Animaux animé (s)” as a double image is a long leap into the future, one that even takes yet another step on the second side. The artist anticipated the “peinture detournée”, which from today's perspective can be illustrated by a comparison with Miró's surrealistic program of the dog barking at the moon or with Philip Guston's periodic overcoming of the motif in favor of color. “You can only find truth by using your imagination for the most unbelievable pictures like those of Bosch and Breughel, but then in a pictorial language like that of the ancient Indians, Vikings, primitives and not in a surrealistic, naturalistic language. We are not supposed to give a description of man as an animal. But should describe ourselves as animals. This is our way. ”(Asger Jorn in a letter to Constant, 1950, quote from:“ CoBrA 1948-51 ”, ex. cat. Kunstverein Hamburg 1982, p. 138.)
Prof. Axel Heil
Asger Jorn
Ohne Titel (Didaska), 1946.
Oil on canvas, painted on both sides
€ 200,000 - 300,000

$ 234,000 - 351,000


Buyer's premium, taxation and resale right apportionment for Asger Jorn "Ohne Titel (Didaska)"
This lot can be purchased subject to differential or regular taxation.

Differential taxation:
Hammer prices up to € 500,000: 32 % buyer's premium
Hammer prices above € 500,000: for the share up to € 500,000: 32%, for the share above € 500,000: 27% buyer's premium
The buyer's premium contains VAT, however, it is not shown.

Regular taxation:
Hammer prices up to € 500,000: 25 % buyer's premium plus statutory sales tax Hammer prices above € 500,000: for the share up to € 500,000: 25%, for the share above € 500.000: 20% buyer's premium, each plus statutory sales tax

We kindly ask you to notify us before invoicing if you wish to be subject to regular taxation.

Resale right apportionment:
Objects made by artists who have not died at least 70 years ago are subject to a resale right apportionment of 2.4% including statutory sales tax.