Sale: 547 / Modern Art Day Sale, Dec. 09. 2023 in Munich Lot 403


Max Oppenheimer
Bildnis Arthur Schnitzler, 1911.
Oil on canvas
€ 60,000 / $ 64,800
€ 228,600 / $ 246,888

(incl. surcharge)
Bildnis Arthur Schnitzler. 1911.
Oil on canvas.
Lower right monogrammed "MOPP". With various old labels and hand-written numbers on the reverse. 80.5 x 71.5 cm (31.6 x 28.1 in).
• Along with Kokoschka and Schiele, Oppenheimer is the most important protagonist of Viennese Expressionism.
• The Leopold Museum in Vienna currently honors the artist with the grand solo exhibition "Max Oppenheimer - Expressionist der ersten Stunde" (Expressionist of the First Hour).
• From 1910 onwards, he made sensitive portraits of Viennese artists and intellectuals.
• Important people were among his sitters: Thomas and Heinrich Mann, Arnold Schönberg, Tilla Durieux, Antonin Dvorak, Sigmund Freud, Heinrich Thannhauser.
• The portraits, exhibited at Thannhauser Munich in 1911, helped him to his breakthrough.
• This is the first time that the portrait of the literary icon from the turn of the century is offered on the auction market (source:
• Other portraits are in the Leopold Museum, Vienna, the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, and the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin

PROVENANCE: Dr. Viktor Manheimer (1877-1942), Munich (presumably since 1910, the latest since 1911, until 1918 the latest).
Private collection, no location (ca. 1918 - at least 1930, as of 1930 on consignment at Jost Florack, Berlin).
Private collection of a stage designer, Munich (until 1987).
Private collection Munich (inherited from the above in 1987).
Private collection Southern Germany (acquired from the above).

EXHIBITION: Max Oppenheimer. Gesamtausstellung, Moderne Galerie Heinrich Thannhauser, Munich 1911, no. 12.
Kunsthaus Zürich, exhibition in October 1911, cat. no. 137 (not for sale).
XIV. Jahrgang. Winter 1911/1912. IV. Exhibition: Kollektionen Richard Dreher, Werner Hoffmann, Max Oppenheimer, Kunstsalon Paul Cassirer Berlin, January 6 - 18, 1912. no. 37.
Mannheimer Kunstverein [with the group SEMA, Jan. 1913?] (with the numbered label).
Kunstsalon Emil Richter, Dresden [with the group SEMA, 1913?] (with the numbered label).

Marie-Agnes von Puttkamer, Max Oppenheimer - MOPP (1885-1954). Leben und malerisches Werk mit einem Werkverzeichnis der Gemälde, Vienna et al 1999, pp. 58, 66, 168, p. 226, no. 47 (fig.).
Arthur Schnitzler, Tagebuch 1909-1912, Vienna 1981, pp. 208, 212, 214-217, 266, 328.
Erich Mühsam, Tagebücher, online editions by Chris Hirte and Conrad Piens, 2011; issue V, May 7 - July 28, 1911, entry from Sunday May 21, 1911.
Bildende Künstler, volume. 1, 1911, fig. p. 243.
Wilhelm Michel, Max Oppenheimer, München 1911, p. 34, fig. p. 11.
Fr. v. Khaynach, Von Berliner Kunstausstellungen, in: Neue Preußische Zeitung, January 17, 1912, no. 26.
B. [Oscar Bie], Hier und dort, in: Berliner Börsen-Courier, January 14, 1912, no. 22
Hnn. [Alfred Georg Hartmann], Im Kunstsalon Cassirer, in: Der Tag, January 18, 1912, no. 31
Max Osborn, Sezessions-Nachwuchs. Die Januar-Ausstellung bei Cassirer, in: B.Z. am Mittag, January 19, 1912, no. 16
Fra. [Hans Franke (?)], Aus Berliner Kunstsalons, Frankfurter Zeitung, February 12, 1912, no. 42
Dr. Paul Kautzsch, Kunstausstellungen bei Schulte, Paul Cassirer und Gurlitt, in: Westermanns Monatshefte, volume 56, issue 112, no. 7, April 1912, pp. 280-288.
Max Osborn, "MOPP“, in: Veröffentlichungen des Kunstarchivs, no. 25/26, MOPP. Max Oppenheimer, Berlin [1926], p. 5.
Max Oppenheimer, hand-written list of works, around 1928, Berlin Museum.
Hugo Helbing, Munich, Ölgemälde und Handzeichnungen des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts, auction on December 21, 1931, lot no. 49 (fig.).
MOPP. Max Oppenheimer, Menschen finden ihren Maler, Zürich 1938, pp. 29f., fig. p. 31.
Else Hoffmann, Heinrich Mann und MOPP, in: Austro American Tribune, vol. 1, no. 8, March 1944, p. 8.
Alessandra Comini, Egon Schiele’s portraits, Berkeley et al 1974, pp. 45, 203 annotation 62.
Gerhart Baumann, Arthur Schnitzler, Die Welt von Gestern eines Dichters von morgen, Frankfurt a.M./Munich 1975, fig. p. 57.
Walter Feilchenfeldt/Bernhard Echte, Kunstsalon Cassirer, vol. 5: "Verheißung und Erfüllung zugleich“, Wädenswil 2016, p. 447 (fig.).

Brief Florack, Jost an Schnitzler, Arthur, January 17, 1930, partial estate of A:Schnitzler, Arthur, Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach, folder 756.
Brief Schnitzler, Arthur an Florack, Jost, January 23, 1930, partial estate of A:Schnitzler, Arthur, Deutsches Literaturarachiv Marbach, folder 327.
"January 16, 1911 – At the painter Oppenheimer, Georg Cochgasse. He portrayed me. February 3, 1911 – at Oppenheimer. Finished my picture. February 7, 1911 – Nm. [Nachmittag/Aftenoon] Oppenheimer – asked for money, I saw that coming. (Whether I knew a buyer for my portrait. he was in desperate need of money…)"
From: Arthur Schnitzler, diary 1909-1912, Vienna 1981, pp. 212-217.

Max Oppenheimer belongs to the central circle of Viennese artists who conceived a very individual form of Expressionism. He came from an intellectual middle class family, his father was a journalist and editor. His artistic talent became apparent early on; at the age of 15 he enrolled at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. After his father's death, he transferred to the academy in his mother’s hometown Prague in 1903. In 1906 he completed his studies and traveled to France and Holland, where he focused on the impressionist paintings of Max Liebermann and the expressive color worlds of Vincent van Gogh, whose paintings were exhibited in the Vienna Galerie Miethke in 1906. Above all, Max Liebermann's portrait concept of the half-length figure in reduced tonality can be found in a first portrait for which Heinrich Mann sat as a model in 1907. After the turn of the century, a new generation that turned away from the light harmony of Impressionism and the otherworldly aestheticism of Art Nouveau emerged in Vienna . The uncertainty that the encounter with an ever faster changing modernity brought with it became increasingly visible in artistic creation. Literature and psychology in the intellectual Vienna paved the way for a view that did not seek superficial beauty, but allowed deeper knowledge to become visible. As part of the International Art Show in Vienna in 1909, Oppenheimer met Kokoschka and Schiele, with whom he then formed a studio community. It was probably through Kokoschka that he came into contact with the doctor and patron Dr. Oskar Reichel, who had an open house for artists, writers, musicians and intellectuals. Oppenheimer immortalized some of them in his portraits imbued by subtle psychology, including Sigmund Freud 1909 (Abraham Brill Library, New York). Through the agency of the gallery owner and art critic Arthur Roessler, Reichel's brother-in-law, he had an exhibition at Galerie Thannhauser in Munich, the then most important gallery for contemporary art, where he also presented this portrait of Arthur Schnitzler, doctor and writer. His stories reflect the refined aestheticism and the neuroticism of the Viennese upper class. What is typical of Oppenheimer are the slightly shifted shoulders, the furrowed surface marked by the traces of life, its rough surface filled with spiritual structures. Dark colors, as if they came from the subconscious, encourage a psychological view of the subject: "You can see in the faces and behind things." (Oppenheimer, quoted from Puttkamer, p. 57). Oppenheimer received enthusiastic criticism for this new approach to portraiture: "Since the last Corinth and Liebermann exhibitions at Moderne Galerie, I have not had such strong impressions as I do now in front of Oppenheimer's portraits, which are literally revelations of the people portrayed." (Hermann Eßwein, in: Veröffentlichungen des Kunstarchivs, 25/26, 1926, p. 58). Thannhauser signed Oppenheimer and sent the exhibition to Cologne, Frankfurt, Mannheim and Zurich. The success of his artist friend may have been the reason for the subsequent discord with Kokoschka, who tried to push Oppenheimer back by inducing a real campaign against him. In a long overdue grand exhibition in 2023, the Leopold Museum in Vienns helps Oppenheimer's important work, which has partially been repelled by Kokoschka and Schiele, to its deserved acknowledgement. [KT]

Max Oppenheimer
Bildnis Arthur Schnitzler, 1911.
Oil on canvas
€ 60,000 / $ 64,800
€ 228,600 / $ 246,888

(incl. surcharge)