Sale: 523 / Art of the 19th Century, Dec. 11. 2021 in Munich Lot 305

 

305
Caspar David Friedrich
Hofmusikanten in Greifswald / Landschaft mit Steinbrücke und zerfallenem Torbogen, 1801.
Quill in brown, wash
Estimate:
€ 20,000 / $ 22,600
Sold:
€ 125,000 / $ 141.250

(incl. surcharge)
Hofmusikanten in Greifswald / Landschaft mit Steinbrücke und zerfallenem Torbogen. 1801.
Quill in brown, wash.
Grummt 257. Bottom left dated "den 17t May 1801". Bottom margin inscribed "In dem Hofe Onkel Heinrichs in Greifswald i.P.v. C.D.Friedrich fec." by a hand other than that of the artist. On wove paper. 9.8 x 11.7 cm (3.8 x 4.6 in), the full sheet.

We are grateful to Dr. Imke Gielen, Berlin, for her kind support and the good cooperation.

PROVENANCE: From the artist's estate.
Prof. Harald Friedrich (Caspar David Friedrich's grandson), Hanover (1906).
Kunsthalle Mannheim (1916).
Collection Julius Freund, Berlin/London (1928-1941).
Freund estate (inherited from the above in 1941, until 1942: Galerie Fischer, March 21, 1942).
Collection Dr. Robert Ammann, Aarau (until 1962: J. A. Stargard, November 27. 1962).
Private collection Baden-Württemberg (acquired from the above in 1962 ever since family-owned).
Amicable agreement with the heirs after Julius and Clara Freund (2021).

The work is free from restitution claims. The offer is made in an amicable agreement with the heirs after Julius and Clara Freund on basis of a fair and just solution.

EXHIBITION: Caspar David Friedrich der Graphiker. Handzeichnungen und Radierungen, Kunstausstellung Heinrich Kühl, Dresden, 1928, no. 54.

LITERATURE: Kurt Karl Eberling, Caspar David Friedrich, der Landschaftsmaler, Leipzig 1940, illu. 16.
Galerie Fischer, Luzern, Collection Julius Freund, auction on March 21, 1942, no. 94.
J. A. Stargard, Marburg, auction 559, autograph collection of Dr. Robert Ammann, Aarau, 3rd part, November 27. 1962, no. 644.
Sigrid Hinz, Caspar David Friedrich als Zeichner, typescript of diss., Greifswald 1966, no. 263.
Helmut Börsch-Supan/Karl Wilhelm Jähnig, Caspar David Friedrich. Gemälde, Druckgraphik und bildmäßige Zeichnungen, Munich 1973, pp. 20, 47: Note 57, p. 253: no. 48 (with illu.).
Marianne Bernhard (editor), Caspar David Friedrich. Das gesamte graphische Werk, Munich 1974, p. 256 (with illu.).
Hans Dickel, Caspar David Friedrich in seiner Zeit. Zeichnungen der Romantik und des Biedermeier, Weinheim 1991, p. 27.
Helmut Börsch-Supan, Caspar David Friedrich - Gefühl als Gesetz, Munich/Berlin 2008, p. 128, illu. 41.

In addition to the large landscape paintings, it is, above all, Caspar David Friedrich's early graphic work that reveals fascinating insights into his artistic career. In an unusual and rare multi-figure scene, he shows a group of children that have gathered to make music at the court of his brother Heinrich. In the drawing, Friedrich combines natural spontaneity and liveliness with his gift of a close observation: knickerbockers and shoes testify to a middle-class upbringing of the two boys in the middle, while the little girl is also neatly dressed with bonnet and shawl. The flutist on the left, on the other hand, with torn trousers and in slippers, seems to come from a different background. The children's gestures and looks give the scene a narrative and intimate character. Not only Friedrich himself dated the drawing to an exact point in time; Friedrich researchers (Börsch-Supan; Dickel) suspect that the inscription in the bottom margin came from the hand of one of the children, for whom the sheet may have had a certain nostalgic value.
The technique of the wash pen and ink drawing, in which Friedrich possessed great mastery, is characteristic of the early expression. He received his first drawing lessons from the university‘s architect and drawing teacher Johann Gottfried Quistorp (1755-1835) in his hometown of Greifswald around 1790, before he began studying at the renowned Copenhagen Art Academy in 1794. There he passed through a typical academic curriculum, from drawing lessons over the ‘plaster class‘ to drawings of living models. Eventually he had acquired sufficient skills to attend the history painting class of Nicolai A. Abilgaard. After he had completed his studies, Friedrich followed Quistorp‘s advice and went to the art metropolis Dresden, where he was initially occupied with the then very popular sepia drawings. He submitted several sheets in this technique to the academy’s exhibition in March 1801, among them landscapes but also a multi-figure, literary-narrative scene from Schiller's "The Robbers". During this early period, the 26-year-old wrestled with the human figure and, at a much later point, he confessed to his brother that figure drawing was “not really my thing” (quoted from: Christina Grummt, Caspar David Friedrich: Die Zeichnungen, vol. I, Munich 2011, p. 24). In this sense it is not surprising that the figures in the later oil paintings, diminished in size or turning their backs on the viewer, gradually retreated behind the pure landscape effect. However, in sketches from around 1800-1802, figures are still very present and deliver proof of the young artist's endeavor to deliver appropriate graphic accounts of people, too.
At the beginning of April 1801, Friedrich left Dresden for a journey to his homeland in Pomerania, where both his brothers Johann Samuel and Johann Christian Adolf got married in the course of the year. The trip can also be understood as a “graphic hike“ on which Friedrich gathered impressions. His sketchbooks provide precise information about his route and allow for a comprehensive understanding of an eye that records everything it finds interesting and suitable for art. The court musicians are actually on the reverse side of the sheet that shows a river landscape with an arched ruin on its front side, a motif that was very popular with early romanticist landscape painters and which preceded the children making music. On May 5th, shortly before our sheet was made, the earliest dated depiction of the Eldena monastery ruins near Greifswald, which was so important for his work, came into existence; in July he went to the island of Rügen. It is precisely these early sketchbooks that served Friedrich as an essential repertoire of motifs, which he would revisit time and again for his pictorial creations.
Our sheet comes from the so-called “Kleines Mannheimer Skizzenbuch” ( Small Mannheim Sketchbook), which owes its name to the fact that it was part of the Mannheim Kunsthalle. Individual sheets from the book, which was taken apart in 1916, are part of acclaimed graphic collections in Dresden, Mannheim, Cologne, Berlin and Munich. The small vertical format with the rounded corners contained drawings on around 40 sheets from the period between September 7, 1800 and March 8, 1802. In contrast to the Berlin sketchbook from 1799/1800, the Mannheim sketchbooks mainly contains, apart from ruins and landscapes, figurative illustrations from Greifswald and of the family, making it the most intensive account of the examination of people in Friedrich's oeuvre. The early period of creation is essentially characterized by a graphic approach to environment and nature. By 1806 he had filled half of the to date 20 known sketchbooks. Based on this immense, sensitive, truthful and clearly captured repertoire of motifs, Friedrich finally began to turn to oil painting around 1807/08, whereby one of his first paintings, the "Kreuz im Gebirge" (Galerie Neue Meister at Albertinum, Dresden), immediately caused a stir. This makes our little sheet all the more fascinating, as it shows such an intimate and unusual, however, no less important aspect of the work of one of the most famous painters of German Romanticism.
The wash pen drawing comes from the famous collection of the Berlin textile manufacturer Julius Freund (1869-1941). The collection, which was compiled with a sure sense of quality over decades, predominantly comprises German paintings, drawings and prints from the 19th and 20th century. Julius Freund and his wife Clara, née Dressel, as well as their two children Hans and Gisela, who later became known as the photographer and photo historian Gisèle Freund, suffered increasing repression from 1933 onwards due to their Jewish origins. While Gisèle Freund decided to make Paris her home as early as in 1933, and fled to Buenos Aires after the Germans had occupied France, Hans Freund managed to escape to England. In 1939 his parents also fled to London. The Freund family's valuable art collection was on loan at the Kunstmuseum Winterthur since 1933, it was in good care with their friend, the well-known art collector Oskar Reinhart.
After years of reprisals and flight, Julius Freund's death in 1941 hit Clara Freund hard. As the past couple of years had also taken an economic toll, the heirs were forced to auction the collection through Galerie Fischer in Lucerne in 1942. Gisèle Freund wrote in the auction‘s preface: “My father, Julius Freund, collected for decades and only the artistic value in mind and never the idea of a monetary exploitation. […] His collection always was a source of happiness for him. […] Now the collection will be scattered to the four winds, and I sincerely wish that it will bring just as much joy to the new owners, and that some of them may remember the former owner Julius Freund every now and then."
The total of 300 paintings, drawings and watercolors from the auction ended up in museums in Cologne, Speyer, Münster or Heidelberg, as well as in the hands of private collectors and art enthusiasts. In its first case, the advisory commission negotiated the restitution of three paintings by Carl Blechen and a watercolor by Anselm Feuerbach, all of which came from the collection Julius Freund and were acquired for Hitler's Führermuseum (Linz art gallery) in the auction at Galerie Fischer. These loans at German museums were restituted to the heirs of Julius and Clara Freund in 2005. The pen drawing from the hand of Caspar David Friedrich went into a private collection. In this respect it's all the more wonderful that it is offered on the auction market on basis of a "fair and just solution" and free of restitution claims in the sense of the Washington Principles. Above all, it serves as a representative of the large collection that reminds us of Julius Freund and his love of art.



305
Caspar David Friedrich
Hofmusikanten in Greifswald / Landschaft mit Steinbrücke und zerfallenem Torbogen, 1801.
Quill in brown, wash
Estimate:
€ 20,000 / $ 22,600
Sold:
€ 125,000 / $ 141.250

(incl. surcharge)