Sale: 545 / Evening Sale, Dec. 08. 2023 in Munich Lot 12


Konrad Klapheck
Lamento, 1986.
Oil on canvas
€ 200,000 - 300,000

$ 210,000 - 315,000

Lamento. 1986.
Oil on canvas.
Signed, dated and titled on the reverse. 152 x 103.5 cm (59.8 x 40.7 in).
Initially, lot 12 and lot 13 are called up individually, subsequently combined as one lot.

• "Lamento" - a fire extinguisher box as an allegory of human existence rendered on canvas in super-concreteness.
• A fascinating painterly play of optical illusion, a modern trompe-l`oil.
• Made the year Klapheck's mother died, the blazing red grievance picture "Lamento" is a remarkable work characterized by existential questions.
• Of museum quality.
• Klapheck is considered both inventor and master of the "Machine Picture", which he sees as a mirror of human existence.
• For the first time offered on the international auction market.
• This is a rare opportunity to acquire the painting and the drawing in same size in one auction

The work is registered in the artist's archive under the work number 282. We are grateful to Rabbi Prof. Dr. Elisa Klapheck for her kind support in cataloging this lot.

PROVENANCE: Galerie Lelong, Paris/Zürich/New York (directly from the artist).
Private collection Southern Germany (acquired from the above after 2002).

EXHIBITION: Klapheck. Presentazione di Arturo Schwarz with contributions by André Breton, Annie Le Brun and Werner Schmalenbach, Milan 2002, pp.140 ff. (fig.).
Mensch und Maschinen. Bilder von Konrad Klapheck, Kunstausstellung der Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen 2006, p. 91 (fig.).

"I try to give my pictures a smooth surface finish, I want them to look like they were not man-made. I coat my passion with a layer of ice to emphasize their permanence."
Konrad Klapheck, quoted from: Konrad Klapheck, ex. cat. Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 1974, p.36.

Called up: December 8, 2023 - ca. 17.22 h +/- 20 min.

Konrad Klapheck - Master of the Machine Picture
Konrad Klapheck was the inventor and undisputed master of the machine painting. In 1955, he created his first typewriter painting and thus identified the decisive the pivotal starting point for his oeuvre, which henceforth saw sewing machines, irons, kettles, telephones, roller skates and other objects of domestic life at its center. Through monumentalization, cropping, isolation, and recombination, Klapheck alienated these silent everyday helpers and staged them as isolated protagonists, removed from all prosaicness. With his real-surreal pictorial worlds, Klapheck to some extent anticipated and even overcame Photorealism and Pop Art at the same time.

Klapheck's Machine Paintings - "Super-Concreteness" as a Mirror of Human Existence
It is this particular sharpness of detail and objectivity of representation in combination with alienated elements and often emotionalized titles that makes the viewer's sensation oscillate between closeness and distance. Klapheck's objects, unlike the objects of Pop Art, are not reduced to their pure object character, their industrial and serial nature, instead Klapheck created unmistakable ‘object characters’ that trigger a wide range of associations and emotions and thus become symbols of our human existence. Klapheck himself once described the ‘humanness’ of his objects and machines rendered on the canvas in "super-concreteness" as follows: "[..] of course I [have] sometimes been asked, especially by older people, by my mother's friends or my mother-in-law: 'Well, you have these wonderful children, why don't you paint them? And why do you exclude the human being?' And that always makes me think: But the human being is at the core of my work, it is the subject! But I use the instruments that man uses. Since the Stone Age, man has created self-portraits, from the first stone wedge to the computer of today. After all, man is reflected in the objects he creates." (K. Klapheck, 2002, quoted from: Klapheck. Bilder und Texte, Munich 2013, p. 114). Nothing escapes Klapheck's dissecting gaze on his everyday environment, and he decides to "build an entire system out of the machine themes to tell [his] biography through them." (K. Klapheck, quoted from: Mensch und Maschine. Bilder von Konrad Klapheck, Bonn 2006, p. 85). Klapheck's increasingly interpretive titles point the way from machine pictures evoking political-authoritarian associations such as "Der Chef" (Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf), "Der Diktator" (Museum Ludwig, Cologne) or "Der Krieg" (Kunstsammlungen Nordrhein Westfalen, Düsseldorf) to pictures of household appliances from female-maternal associative realms like "Die Supermutter" or "Der Hausdrache", eventually making bicycles, motorcycles and roller skates in which Klapheck artistically records memories of his own youth and that of his children.

Klapheck's "Lamento" - A Modern Masterpiece Between Reality and Fiction
What is special about the present painting is its trompe-l'œil quality, which elevates Klapheck's super-concreteness to a fascinating optical illusion. In this work it is not one of Klapheck's typewriters hanging on the wall, or his irons or kettles, all of which are clearly recognizable as art by the way they are mounted, but a fire extinguisher box with a large black valve, a long red hose and a nozzle painted with a maximum degree of perfection. In reality, too, a fire extinguisher box is attached to the wall, which means that in "Lamento" Klapheck succeeded in creating a particularly subtle play along the border between reality and fiction. Paintings that merely suggest reality, that pretend to be reality through the painterly fiction of three-dimensionality have been created since Renaissance, for example in the form of fictitious window views or objects on walls. Klapheck meticulously worked out the three-dimensional illusion deceptively real; the spatial presence evoked by the shadow that case and hose cast on the bright yellow back wall of the extinguisher box is compelling. The case’s red frame also maximizes the haptic presence of the object depicted. It is the sheer magnitude of the depiction, the object exalted to a surreal over-sized format, that creates a perfect fiction and allows the object to be recognized as art. Even though Klapheck's subtle manner of painting refuses any visible brushwork and presents us the object in a unique way that is at the same time close and distant, similar to an object of scientific research in a lab that is preserved behind glass. In "Lamento", however, Klapheck took his super-representational painting method to the extreme in the form of an optical illusion. Here he took the thin line between reality and fiction to the extreme, and in the end it is precisely Klapheck's super-concreteness, which is sharper, more dissecting and more precise than any reality, that reveals the optical illusion as a fascinating painterly artifice, in addition to the alienating over-sized representation of the object.

Klapheck's "Lamento" - Super-Concrete Allegory of Life
The artist's mother died in 1986, and Konrad Klapheck made our fiery red "Lamento" painting, a powerful optical outcry. Klapheck's mother had probably been the most formative person in his life, understanding and controlling, loving and confining at the same time. The household appliances with associative powers from female-maternal realms of the previous years - such as "Die Supermutter" and "Hausdrache" were dedicated to her. She was widowed, his father had already died in 1939 and Konrad was her only son. The wound up hose squeezed into the box is also a symbol of adaptation for Klapheck - as is also the case in his work "Repression" from 1973. In a fascinating manner, Klapheck's painting is clear and mysterious at the same time; it captivates through the factual-cool objectivity of the representation in combination with a subjective-emotional associative density, which the artist usually creates by choosing emotionally charged titles for his character objects. In just one word, "Lamento" describes the lamenting of the often painful challenges life has in store, the small stumbling blocks and the agonizing, great trials of life and death. They make up our human existence, they are a vital part of it, and yet all too often upset us, make us stand still in lament or in pain, paralyze us in lament and lead us astray. The flexuous red hose in the narrow confines of the box becomes not only a symbol of adaptation but also a symbol of the emotional complexity of our human existence. It is displayed in the glass box like an umbilical cord that pumps blood and oxygen, while the clear confines of the box show its limits. The blazing red painting "Lamento" is one of the most outstanding examples of Klapheck's unique ability to combine technically perfected still life painting with a factual-cool alienation of reality, which, owing to its high associative density, triggers a highly complex, subjective-emotional sensation. In a highly condensed manner, Klapheck's "Lamento" confronts us with existential questions and initiates complex reflections on meaning, significance and limits of our existence.
Konrad Klapheck has ultimately taken René Magritte's famous phrase "Ceci n'est pas un pipe" to an artistic extreme with his cool representational creations characterized by a high associative density. [JS]


Buyer's premium, taxation and resale right compensation for Konrad Klapheck "Lamento"
This lot can be purchased subject to differential or regular taxation, artist‘s resale right compensation is due.

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.

Calculation of artist‘s resale right compensation:
For works by living artists, or by artists who died less than 70 years ago, a artist‘s resale right compensation is levied in accordance with Section 26 UrhG:
4 % of hammer price from 400.00 euros up to 50,000 euros,
another 3 % of the hammer price from 50,000.01 to 200,000 euros,
another 1 % for the part of the sales proceeds from 200,000.01 to 350,000 euros,
another 0.5 % for the part of the sale proceeds from 350,000.01 to 500,000 euros and
another 0.25 % of the hammer price over 500,000 euros.
The maximum total of the resale right fee is EUR 12,500.

The artist‘s resale right compensation is VAT-exempt.