Sale: 496 / Evening Sale, Dec. 06. 2019 in Munich Lot 135

Max Beckmann
Dressierte Bären, 1932.
€ 50,000 - 70,000

$ 55,000 - 77,000

Lot description
Dressierte Bären. 1932.
Watercolor and charcoal.
Beckmann 54. Signed and dated in lower right. On laid paper. 52.5 x 36 cm (20.6 x 14.1 in) , the full sheet.
- Beckmann watercolors are very rare on the auction market.
- This is the main motif next to the "Löwenbändiger" from 1930 in the collection Gurlitt.
- One of only two watercolors from the world of the circus with trained animals.
- The preliminary drawing is in possession of the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C
- Made the same year as the famous triptych "Abfahrt" from 1932, Museum of Modern Art, New York.
- Beckmann was dismissed from the Städel school in 1933.
- Acclaimed exhibition history

PROVENANCE: Collection Mathilde Q. Beckmann, New York (1950-1964).
Catherine Viviano Gallery, New York (from 1964)
Grace Borgenicht Gallery, New York, 1988 (with label on frame covering).
William Kelly Simpson, New York.

EXHIBITION: Deutscher Künstlerbund - Erste Ausstellung. Aquarelle Zeichnungen Bildhauerwerke, Kunstverein zu Kassel im Orangerieschloss.
Kunstverein Magdeburg 1933, cat. no. 10.
Max Beckmann, Retrospective Exhibition, City Art Museum, St. Louis and other locations 1948/49, cat. no. 67, p. 98.
Max Beckmann. An Exhibition of Paintings Sculptures Watercolors and Drawings, Catherine Viviano Gallery, New York 1964/65, cat. no. 13.
Max Beckmann, Catherine Viviano Gallery, New York 1970, leaflet, cat. no. 4.
A Catalogue of Paintings Sculptures Drawnings & Watercolors by Max Beckmann, Catherine Viviano Gallery, New York 1973, cat. no. 37 (illu.).
Max Beckmann, Aquarelle und Zeichnungen 1903 bis 1950, Bielefeld / Tübingen, Frankfurt am Main 1977/78, cat. no. 139, p. 56 (illu., title: Tanzbären).
Max Beckmann, Die Frankfurter Jahre 1915 - 1933, Frankfurt am Main 1983/84, cat. no. 165. pp. 260, 262 (illu., title: Tanzbären).
Max Beckmann, Sculptures Drawings and Prints, Grace Borgenicht Gallery. New York 1989, leaflet, no cat. no. (color illu.).

Called up: December 6, 2019 - ca. 18.04 h +/- 20 min.

Theater, circus, variety shows, carnival, actors, dancers, musicians, artists, clowns, lions, bears: The stage and its protagonists are a key theme in Max Beckmann‘s image world. "Max loved visiting the circus or variety shows", recalls Mathilde Quappi Beckmann, "we went to so many shows, in Frankfurt just as much as in all the other places we used to live. He loved the circus people in their gaudy costumes. Due to their dexterity in even the most difficult performances, Beckmann saw the acrobats as some kind of higher beings." (Quote after: Mathilde Q. Beckmann, Mein Leben mit Max Beckmann, Munich/Zürich 1985, p. 17) Accordingly, Beckmann saw a lot of metaphors for human action “hidden“ in the world of the stage, for instance the unfreedom of existence, the permanent balance between the impact of the forces, a safety net of dreams and feelings, a short-lived cabinet of wonders that helps to forget reality and to immerse into the fascinating work of the animal tamer dressed in a neat circus uniform. The head up high, a straight look, the index finger stretched out and the whip casually hanging from the waist in case of an emergency, that is enough to have control over the unnatural proceedings, to let the mighty animal balance on a rope in upright, almost begging and cute posture. The bear appears to be highly concentrated, the eyes wide open, trying to find balance with his forelegs and his paws, avoiding any mistake, well aware that he will be rewarded for his acrobatic act just like his fellow behind him who already rewards himself with a big mouthful from a turquoise vessel. Beckmann is also highly concentrated, he seems to share the excitement and is very close to the events; the arena is suggested by just a few lines. His wife Quappi shared the excitement for this watercolor that was made in Frankfurt in 1932 far beyond Beckmann‘s death in 1950, as it was not before 1964 that she entrusted Catherine Viviano, who had organized several comprehensive Beckmannn exhibitions at her New York gallery (1950-1970), with the sheet. There is proof of the "Dressierten Bären" at the gallery of Grace Borgenicht at a slightly later point. She was a distinguished Beckmann expert and in charge of the estate of Mathilde Quappi Beckmann after her death in 1980 as well as of the remains of her husband's estate. She presented the works in her gallery until the early 1990s. In 1989 the archaeologist, Egyptologist and collector William Kelly Simpson (1928-2017) eventually bought the watercolor from her. He was married to the granddaughter of the philanthropist John Davison Rockefeller jr. and had a teaching post at Yale University. The fascinating story of the intimate watercolor from 1932 ends in his estate. Beckmann remained true to the circus in the USA, visiting shows in St. Louis and New York. "Between eight thirty and eleven thirty at Barnum & Bayle [Bailey], the finest and greatest circus I have ever seen!", Max Beckmann notes in New York on April 19,1950 (quote after: Max Beckmann, Tagebücher 1940-1950, compiled by Mathilde Quappi Beckmann, published by Erhard Göpel, Munich 1955, p. 371). [MvL]

Buyer's premium, taxation and resale right apportionment for Max Beckmann "Dressierte Bären"
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 1.5% plus statutory sales tax.