Sale: 525 / Evening Sale, Dec. 10. 2021 in Munich Lot 252


Max Beckmann
Majong und Chilly (Hunde), 1930.
Oil on canvas
€ 400,000 - 600,000

$ 464,000 - 696,000

Majong und Chilly (Hunde). 1930.
Oil on canvas.
Göpel 331. Bottom left signed and dated as well as inscribed "P. 30". 49.8 x 61.3 cm (19.6 x 24.1 in).
The work is mentioned in the artist's hand-written list from 1930 with the title "Hunde" and the note "Beendet 24. September. Neumann, New York" (Completed September 24 ). [CH].
• The work was made during Beckmann's stay in Paris in the environemnt of the avat-gard.
• A quote taken from a newspaper adds topicality to the work and references French still life painting of Picasso or Braque.
• With the depiction of the newspaper "L'Intransigeant" Beckmann makes a political statement.
• The red coated Pekingese Majong and the black-and-white Japanese Chin play an important role in the life of the Beckmanns.
• Owing to its deep personal significance, the work remained in the artist's possession until his death in 1950.
• The year the work was made Beckmann showed several works at the 17th Venice Biennial

The painting is listed in the current online catalog raisonné published by the Kaldewei Kulturstiftung under the supervision of Dr. Anja Tiedemann (

PROVENANCE: From the artist's estate.
Collection Mathilde Q. Beckmann (inherited from the artist).
New Art Circle I. B. Neumann, New York.
Catherine Viviano Gallery, New York (since at least 1957, presumbaly on consignment).
Serge Sabarsky Gallery, New York.
Private collection New York (until 1999, Villa Grisebach Auktionen, Berlin, June 4, 1999, lot 63).
Galerie Pels-Leusden, Zürich.
Private collection Switzerland.

EXHIBITION: Sommergäste III., Galerie Pels-Leusden, Kampen/Sylt, July 9 - October 8, 2000, cat. no. 5.
Ich kann wirklich ganz gut malen. Friedrich August von Kaulbach - Max Beckmann, Schlossmuseum Murnau, March 22 - June 23, 2002, cat. no. 37 (with color illu.).
Max Beckmann, Caratsch de Pury & Luxembourg, Zürich, March 25 - May 21, 2004.
Lonely prophets. German art from 1910-1930, Agnew's Gallery, London, October 3 - November 16, 2007 (with illu).
Max Beckmann. Gemälde, Papierarbeiten, Graphiken, Galerie Thomas, Munich, September 13 - December 21, 2013 (with illu.).

LITERATURE: Barbara Göpel and Eberhard Göpel (editor Hans Martin von Erffa), Max Beckmann. Catalog of paintigns (catalog and documentation), vol. I, cat. no. 331, p. 235 (with illu., plate 114).
Carla Schulz-Hoffmann, Max Beckmann. Der Maler, Munich 1991.
Stephan von Wiese, Max Beckmann Briefe (1925-1937), vol. II, Munich/Zürich 1994, no. 523, June 9, 1930, p. 159.
Villa Grisebach Auktionen, Berlin, 71st auction, Selected Works, June 4, 1999, lot 63 (with color illu.).

Called up: December 10, 2021 - ca. 19.14 h +/- 20 min.

From the mid-1920s, Max Beckmann frequently visited the French capital. Paris and the avant-gard painting moved to the center of his interest. He made contact with critics and gallery owners and also tried to press ahead with his career in France. Accordingly, the stays in Paris are also reflected in Max Beckmann's pictures of the late twenties and thirties. He settled there in 1929, initially he had his studio on Boulevard Brune in the 14th arrondissement and from 1930 on rue des Marronniers in the 16th arrondissement. His efforts to gain recognition finally culminated in a large exhibition at Galerie de la Renaissance in 1931.

Beckmann began to work on the painting of the two dogs before June 1930. In a letter to his gallerist Günther Franke in Munich, the slightly stressed artist confirms the express shipping of eleven pictures for a short-term exhibition at the gallery, including "Hunde" (Max Beckmann, Briefe 1925–1937, Munich 1994, p. 159). In the commentary on the letters, however, the editors noted that the picture was not part of the shipment as it had not been completed. Beckmann himself confirms this in his list of works: "Paris 1930: Hunde. Completed September 24th". He kept the picture with the two companions in his possession. After the artist died in New York in 1950, Mathilde "Quappi" Beckmann passed this work, among others, on to her local art dealer J. B. Neumann.
Paintings of this kind are rather rare in the artist's oeuvre. It's an interior scene with the focus on two dogs. They seem very close to the artist, as he paints them asleep, the dogs do not notice that they are being watched. Animals in and of themselves enliven Beckmann's pictures, fish in relatively many cases, which bear metaphorical meaning. In her book about her life with Max Beckmann, Mathilde Q. Beckmann described his relationship to animals: "[..] he loved animals, maybe not all, and he seemed to understand them. When I met him, he was fond of cat, especially the male cat his friends Fridel and Ugi Battenberg had. At that time he was fascinated by cats, while he later developed a liking for dogs. I owned a small Japanese spaniel named Chilly, which Henriette von Motesiczky had given me in Vienna before my wedding. Max soon loved the little dog as much as I did. A few years after we got married he gave me a little female Pekingese that we called Majong. When we fled to Amsterdam in 1937, we couldn't take the little things with us and left them with Mr. and Mrs. Ruppelt in Berlin, our janitor couple. They took care of them for a few months. Unexpectedly Curt Valentin and Karl Buchholz were able to take Majong with them on a plane to Amsterdam. Unfortunately, they weren‘t able to take Chilly, the little spaniel, as she was old and blind and could not have made it in the strange new surroundings we lived in at the time." (Munich 1987, p. 117).

The red-coated Pekingese Majong on the left and the black and white Japan-Chin Chilly on the right lie quite relaxed on a wicker stool and on colored cushions on the floor. Three stools form an ensemble, close to a wall with a visible base board that hints at an apartment in a classy old building. There is a newspaper underneath Majong‘s red pillow, half-way covered, the visible part of the title suggests an issue of the Parisian newspaper "L'Intransigeant", as the artist's biographer and creator of the first catalog raisonné, Erhard Göpel, noticed. Despite all randomness, this combination appears to be one of Beckmann's typical arrangements. In his numerous still lifes he depicts objects from his apartment: a clay vessel from Peru, a vase from Denmark, a stirrup jar with a snake motif, a ceremonial vessel from Cameroon, and many more. He complements the objects and stages them with flowers or instruments. Last but not least, the daily newspaper, even if Beckmann does not reveal the date, adds timely topicality to the work and can be seen a reference to the French still life paintings of Pablo Picasso or Georges Braque. Along with other artists like Juan Gris, they were the first to integrate daily newspapers and texts into Cubist still life paintings. "Hunde" – a still life? Depicted in a strong top view, they lie on the stools like animal figures that play a very personal, almost human role in the everyday life of the artist and his wife "Quappi". Years later in Amsterdam, Majong had already passed away, the Pekingese Butschy wouls enrich the artist's world of images and accompany the Beckmanns to the New World. [MvL]


Buyer's premium, taxation and resale right apportionment for Max Beckmann "Majong und Chilly (Hunde)"
This lot can be subjected to differential taxation plus a 7% import tax levy (saving approx. 5 % compared to regular taxation) or regular taxation.

Differential taxation:
Hammer price up to 500,000 €: herefrom 32 % premium.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 500,000 € is subject to a premium of 27 % and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 500,000 €.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 2,500,000 € is subject to a premium of 22 % and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 2,500,000 €.
The buyer's premium contains VAT, however, it is not shown.

Regular taxation:
Hammer price up to 500,000 €: herefrom 25 % premium.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 500,000 € is subject to a premium of 20% and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 500,000 €.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 2,500,000 € is subject to a premium of 15% and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 2,500,000 €.
The statutory VAT of currently 19 % is levied to the sum of hammer price and premium. As an exception, the reduced VAT of 7 % is added for printed books.

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

Resale right apportionment:
In accordance with §26 of German Copyright Act, a droit de suite charge of 2.4% including VAT is levied for original artworks and photographs for the compensation of the statutory right of resale.