Ornithologisches Lied. 1959. Borkenbild (Bark picture). Oil and collage on canvas. Hoehme 59-22. Lower left signed and dated. Verso signed, dated, titled, inscribed "Düsseldorf" and with arrow indicating the direction. 85.5 x 62.5 cm (33.6 x 24.6 in).
PROVENANCE: Private collection North Rhine-Westphalia (acquired directly from the artist).
LITERATURE: Giulio Carlo Argan and Hans Peter Thurn, Gerhard Hoehme. Werk und Zeit 1948-1983, Stuttgart and Zurich 1983, p. 68 (mit Farbabb.).
"Ornithologisches Lied" (Ornithological Song) is a remarkable example from the series of "Borkenbilder" (bark pictures) which the artist made as of 1957. With this work group Hoehme turned away from the conventional two-dimensional creation of the canvas: "The colors develop a life of their own, pastose and in undiluted materiality: they dry and form clods, reliefs or cushions, like organic growth, they become the namesake barks, scraped off pieces of paint. [.] Soon the barks were used for collages with other materials, for instance with newspaper rags, with scattered letters and numbers [.] they form textures that inaugurate legibility." (Gottfried Boehm, Der Maler Gerhard Hoehme, in: Gerhard Hoehme Catalogue Raisonné, p. 21). This way Hoehme is able to break through the limits of the given surface and to seize space: "I followed the laws of the surface reluctantly. I was far more interested in the color's principles, the way it flows and grows, its texture and structure. [.] I was longing to explore the space, the third, fourth, fifth - up, to the side, front, even back, but without illusionist depth." (Gerhard Hoehme 1957, quote after: Andreas Kühne, in: Künstler Kritisches Lexikon der Gegenwartskunst, 40th edition, issue 26, 4th quarter 1997, p. 14). [EL]