Irisches Märchen. 1951. Oil on canvas. Scheibler 565. Lower left signed and dated. Signed, dated, titled and inscribed on stretcher. 100 x 120 cm (39.3 x 47.2 in). Other compositions that originate from the period of the "Fugale Bilder" are in possession of, among others, the collection of the Nationalgalerie Berlin (Scheibler 554), the Museum Folkwang, Essen, (Scheibler 513) the Hessische Landesmuseums, Darmstadt, (Scheibler 558) and the Bavarian State Painting Collections, Munich (Scheibler 562). Nay's "Fugale Bilder", which mark the transition between figuration and abstraction, count among his most sought-after works on the international auction market.
PROVENANCE: Elisabeth Nay-Scheibler (until 2013 Private collection.
EXHIBITION: E. W. Nay. Ölgemälde, Aquarelle und Graphiken. Overbeck-Gesellschaft, Lübeck 17 May - 21st June 1953; Kunstverein in Bremen at the Kunsthalle Bremen, Bremen July - August 1953; Frankfurt Kunstverein Steinernes Haus, Frankfurt a.M. September 1953. Nay - Gemälde, Aquarelle, Zeichnungen 1951-1955, Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hanover 6 April - 8 August 1955, cat. no. 2 (with label on stretcher). E. W. Nay (retrospective), Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf 9 January - 15 February 1959, cat. no. 75. Der gekrümmte Horizont. Kunst in Berlin 1945-1967, Akademie der Künste, Berlin 3rd April - 1st May 1980 (verso with the shipping label). Bilder kommen aus Bildern, - E. W. Nay 1902-68. Gemälde und veröffentlichte Schriften aus vier Jahrzehnten, Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld 21st April - 30 June 1985; Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster 9 August - 22 September 1985; Kunstverein in Hamburg, Hamburg, 27 September - 10 November 1985, color plate on p. 55. Ernst Wilhelm Nay. Die Hofheimer Jahre 1945-1951, Städische Galerie im Städel, Frankfurt a. M. 24 February - 23 May 1994, cat. no. 61, illu. on p. 131 (with label on frame).
LITERATURE: Werner Haftmann, E. W. Nay, Cologne 1960, p. 147.
Ernst Wilhelm Nay makes the decisive step towarsd abstraction in the years 1950 and 1951. In his "Fugale Bilder" (Fugal Pictures) - among which this brilliant work also counts - he began to employ color as creative value, thus emancipating himself from the representational point of origin of his compositions. Nay's "Fugal Pictures" mark the central turning point of his artistic creation. "While the "Hekate Pictures" show how the artist worked up the war- and post-war years, the "Fugal Pictures" are a restart of his art." (Elisabeth Nay-Scheibler, in: Scheibler p. 294). Nay playces modified and inversed bodies of forms in his pictures, clearly contoured loops, set into motion by dots and color changes, rhythmize the image carrier. The term "fugal", originating from music theory, allows Nay to emphasize a principle that is based on the repititon of abstract elements and that is characteristic of his impressive creations. Owed to their tremenduously progressive style, Nay's "Fugal Pictures" were largely met with incomprehension by the art world - today they count among his most sought-after works.