Sale: 540 / Evening Sale, June 09. 2023 in Munich Lot 47


Otto Mueller
Waldinneres mit Blume, Um 1924.
Glue-bound distemper on burlap
€ 130,000 - 180,000

$ 143,000 - 198,000

Waldinneres mit Blume. Um 1924.
Glue-bound distemper on burlap.
Lüttichau/Pirsig G 1924/10. Lower right monogrammed. Signed on the reverse. Stretcher signed and inscribed and with an inscription by a hand other than that of the artist. 100 x 85 cm (39.3 x 33.4 in).
• From a longing for the unadulterated, Otto Mueller conceived nature in line with his ideas.
• An untouched paradisiacal place.
• Radical modern aesthetics: close-up display of nature as a free play of form and color.
• Shown in the important commemorative exhibitions in Wroclaw and Berlin in 1931, a year after the artist's death.
• Consistent provenance

PROVENANCE: Collection of Dr. Rudolf Ludwig Treuenfels, Wroclaw/Brooklyn, New York (since 1931 at the latest, with an ownership note on the reverse).
Private collection Brooklyn, New York, USA (inherited from the above in 1965, until 1968).
Hermann Gerlinger Collection, Würzburg (since 1968).

EXHIBITION: Commemorative Exhibition Otto Mueller 1874-1930, Silesian Museum of Fine Arts, Wroclaw, February/March 1931, cat. no. 36b.
Schleswig-Holsteinisches Landesmuseum, Schloss Gottorf, Schleswig (permanent loan from the Hermann Gerlinger Collection, 1995-2001).
Kunstmuseum Moritzburg, Halle an der Saale (permanent loan from the Hermann Gerlinger Collection, 2001-2017).
Buchheim Museum, Bernried (permanent loan from the Hermann Gerlinger Collection, 2017-2022)
Expressiv! Die Künstler der Brücke. Die Sammlung Hermann Gerlinger, Albertina Vienna, June 1 - August 26, 2007, cat. no. 243.
Brückenschlag: Gerlinger – Buchheim!, Buchheim Museum, Bernried, October 28, 2017 - February 25, 2018, p. 396.

LITERATURE: Hauswedell, Hamburg, 160th auction, June 24 - 25, 1968, lot 908.
Heinz Spielmann (ed.), Die Maler der Brücke. Sammlung Hermann Gerlinger, Stuttgart 1995, p. 254, SHG no. 363 (with illu.).
Hermann Gerlinger, Katja Schneider (eds.), Die Maler der Brücke. Inventory catalog Hermann Gerlinger Collection, Halle (Saale) 2005, pp. 414f., SHG no. 894 (with illu.).
Lothar Günther Buchheim, quoted from: Otto Mueller, Leben und Werk, Feldafing 1963, p. 140

Called up: June 9, 2023 - ca. 18.32 h +/- 20 min.

Otto Mueller paints a nature that is almost untouched by civilization. There's nothing dramatic about it. It evokes seclusion and tranquillity. Gnarled trees stand around a clearing, crowded together, impenetrable and seemingly untouched by human hands. A mysterious flower stretches towards the light and awakens the very fascination in us that all of his works emanate, an effect that is supported by the brittle distemper painting, a technique the artist discovered around 1901. With his longing for the pristine, Otto Mueller invented a nature that corresponded to his imagination: an untouchable, paradisiacal place in an atmospheric harmony with the strong red-brown tones, mixed with a soft ocher and a delicate green, enriched with maritime blue and a touch of yellow sunlight: "The melody is as simple as its text, without dramatic effort and without any tricks. It is like exhaling, like swaying in the wind. The color is loose and like a precipitate, a dull color that never shines; the bright bodies border each other clearly and softly [..]; the brush and the chalk trace the airy contours, a shadowless network of subtle features. The lines do not agglutinate anywhere, the color is not greasy. Spatiality builds up permeably and without depth impact. It is full of light, but not streaked by it. It expands without breaking the seclusiveness of the quiet corner. What makes these pictures so deeply profound are their gentle reliefs and porous graphics, as well as the composition and the layering", is how the art critic Willi Wolfradt characterized Otto Mueller's art in 1922 (quoted from: Das Kunstblatt, volume 6, Berlin 1922, pp .142-152).

This piece of forest emanates contemplative silence, a piece of landscape without hidden ponds, embedded in reeds and bushes. The artist places the curved trunks like his nudes, creating a composition with an elegiac, mysterious mood. Throughout his life, Otto Mueller felt connected to an unadulterated nature, which he saw in a way that largely matched his closeness to nature.

And moreover, these are mostly sections of landscapes that, with a few exceptions, are not connected to any specific time or place. Individual trees, staged groups of trees, tall grass, reeds and bushes, sometimes surrounding lakes, ponds and streams, where the 'bathers' can romp freely and unobserved. These are Arcadian landscapes without any real geographic reference, in which young girls, and a few men as well, can indulge in a carefree lust for life, as if on a stage, timelessly transported to an earthly paradise on pristine sea coasts bordered by dunes on the Baltic or North Sea, between trees and ponds, surrounded by Brandenburg sand not far from Berlin. In this way, countless variations of a seemingly inexhaustible theme were created. In the preface to his first solo exhibition at Paul Cassirer in Berlin in 1919, he said his goal was to "express the perception of landscape and people with the greatest possible simplicity". [MvL]

Until recently, an auction at Hauswedell in 1968 was the first known provenance of the picture. The early history: unknown. However, a closer look at the back of the stretcher reveals surprising information. Because here is a typewritten, inconspicuous label, only partially preserved, with the fragmentary inscription "Dr. Rudolf ..". The small piece of paper resembles the ownership notes made at Otto Mueller's important "Memorial Exhibition" in Wroclaw in 1931. In addition, the barely legible handwriting on the bar of the stretcher reads: "Treuenfels". A look into the Wroclaw exhibition catalog from 1931 was worthwhile and confirmed that a painting "Waldlandschaft” (Forest Landscape) was exhibited there under the number 36B, and that the lender was Dr. Rudolf Treuenfels from Wroclaw - he was the first known owner of the present painting. Treuenfels, who received a doctor’s degree in economics from the University of Wroclaw in 1920, worked in the food industry all his life, while he actually had a much stronger interest in humanities. As a young man, he studied history and philosophy part-time in Hamburg and Königsberg. A little later he took on a responsible position in the company "Julius Lion" in Wroclaw. However, the Jewish Treuenfels family suffered under Nazi persecution. When the company "Julius Lion" was eventually "aryanized", Treuenfels fled to New York, followed by his wife and their two sons in 1939. The family settled in Brooklyn, where Rudolf Treuenfels was the victim of a homicide in 1965. The painting by Otto Mueller, apparently coming directly from the Treuenfels family, found its way into the renowned Hermann Gerlinger Collection through an auction in 1968. [MvL/AT]


Buyer's premium and taxation for Otto Mueller "Waldinneres mit Blume"
This lot can be purchased subject to differential or regular taxation.

Differential taxation:
Hammer price up to 800,000 €: herefrom 32 % premium.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 800,000 € is subject to a premium of 27 % and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 800,000 €.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 4,000,000 € is subject to a premium of 22 % and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 4,000,000 €.
The buyer's premium contains VAT, however, it is not shown.

Regular taxation:
Hammer price up to 800,000 €: herefrom 27 % premium.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 800,000 € is subject to a premium of 21% and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 800,000 €.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 4,000,000 € is subject to a premium of 15% and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 4,000,000 €.
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.