Sale: 545 / Evening Sale, Dec. 08. 2023 in Munich Lot 15


Lovis Corinth
Walchensee, aufgehender Mond, 1922.
Oil on canvas
€ 500,000 - 700,000

$ 525,000 - 735,000

Walchensee, aufgehender Mond. 1922.
Oil on canvas.
Bottom center signed and dated. 80 x 100 cm (31.4 x 39.3 in).

• A masterpiece of unleashed colors and forms: Walchensee landscapes make for the apex of Lovis Corinth's oeuvre.
• A night scene, the lake in moonlight inspired the artist to a color frenzy.
• Remarkable quality in an unusually large format.
• Walchensee landscapes are among his most sought-after works and mark the grand finale of an intensive artist life.
• Shown in the early solo show at the Nationalgalerie in Berlin in 1923.
• Other Walchensee landscapes are at the Städel Museum in Frankfurt am Main, the Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin and the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich

PROVENANCE: Dr. Arthur Rosin, Berlin & New York (acquired directly from the artist in the 1920s).
Karen Gutmann, née Rosin, New York (presumably inherited from the above).
The Leo and Karen Gutmann Foundation.
Private collection Europe (acquired at Sotheby's London on December 9, 2002, lot 7).
Private collection Switzerland (acquired at Sotheby's London, June 22, 2010, lot 31).
Private collection Switzerland (acquired from the above).

EXHIBITION: Corinth- Ausstellung, Einhundertsiebenzig Bilder aus Privatbesitz ausgestellt im ehemaligen Kronprinzenpalais, Nationalgalerie, Berlin 1923, cat. no. 95.
Lovis Corinth, Ausstellung von Gemälden und Aquarellen zu seinem Gedächtnis, Nationalgalerie Berlin, 1926, cat. no. 343.
Curt Valentin Gallery, New York, 1953, cat. no. 12 (here titled "Moon Landscape").
European Masters of Our Time, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1957, cat. no. 28 (fig. plate 90, with the exhibition label on the reverse).
Lovis Corinth: Die Bilder vom Walchensee. Vision und Realität, Ostdeutsche Galerie, Regensburg, April - June 1986, Kunsthalle Bremen, June - August 1986, cat. no. 47 (fig.).

LITERATURE: Charlotte Berend-Corinth, Lovis Corinth. Gemälde. Catalogue raisonné, Munich 1992, cat. no. 874 (fig. p. 812).

Howard Devree, Boston Challenge. Two Shows Expound Modern Movement, in: The New York Times, New York, October 20, 1957 (fig.).

Correspondence on the exhibition on the occasion ofthe artis's 65th birthday in 1923, SMB-ZA, I/NG 603, fol. 225f, 258.

Called up: December 8, 2023 - ca. 17.28 h +/- 20 min.

On the occasion of his 60th birthday, Lovis Corinth traveled with his family to Urfeld for the first time in 1918, where they stayed at the "Hotel Fischer am See". The following year, Charlotte Berend-Corinth, enthusiastic about the mountain landscape, acquired a plot of land on which she had a wooden house with a view of Lake Walchen built. She recalled how much the view impressed her husband: "Lovis was immediately taken by the beauty of the landscape - by the magic of the lake, the mountain scenery, the light and the air." (Charlotte Behrendt-Corinth, Mein Leben mit Lovis Corinth, Munich 1958, pp. 25f.)

The unusually large painting is one of those virtuoso views the artist created from the vantage point of his holiday home’s terrace. A night picture, the lake in a mysterious moonlight that inspired the artist to one of the magnificent landscapes of Lake Walchen characterized by a color frenzy that makes it an emotional experience. In the foreground, Corinth depicts the meadow sloping down to the lake, its surface reflecting the moon’s nocturnal light so that the homestead is illuminated like in daylight. The mountain range runs in the background, its peaks trail off in the agitated sky. The colossal larch on the slope in right is a means the painter also used with great virtuoso in other works to structure perspective. With an impulsive brushstroke, he superimposed the layers of color: dark areas of color contrast with strong blue, green, and violet tones. The landscape depictions of Lake Walchen, taken from different vantage points and at different times of day and year, form a key group in Corinth's oeuvre. Until shortly before his death in July 1925 , the Berlin Secessionist stayed there a total of 16 times, usually for a couple of weeks at a time, mainly in summer, but also during all other seasons.

"During this time, the pictures of Lake Walchen came as a bombshell," the artist recalled. "I incessantly worked on these motifs, as much as the mood of peace hindered our art. Eventually, my art mattered more to me than all the political events, especially since we couldn’t change thigs anyway. The time of war and the time of peace dictated by victorious enemies was actually a series of facts, which surprisingly turned out differently than we had thought. I’ve never sold more than right after the collapse. The paintings were literally snatched from the easel, and exhibitions throughout Germany have never flourished more. The fact that our paintings were seen as more valuable material assets than the worthless money remained. But my art also progressed idealistically. My creative power was greater than ever. After the decline of the war, Lake Walchen motifs made for quite a success, both in a financial sense and in an idealistic sense. Everyone in Berlin wanted to own a picture from that place in the Bavarian mountains, and so it happened that I became a specialist for beautiful Lake Walchen, along with still lifes. The galleries also wanted to have these pictures." (Lovis Corinth, Selbstbiographie, Leipzig 1993, pp. 204 f.)

In the most intensive way, his physical and mental states were connected with the pictures, which describe his life and the sum of visual impressions like a diary entry. This emphatic subjective perception goes beyond the Impressionist manner of reproducing changing atmospheric phenomena and reaches a free form of expression through an impulsive, sometimes abstract brushstroke. They reflect the development of his painting in terms of technique and motif. Curt Glaser, art historian and passionate collector – calling a watercolor with a Lake Walchen motif his own – wrote about these works: "He does not paint the beauty of Lake Walchen, does not paint a piece of nature, [..] but he shapes his vision of reality in forms and color [..]. In these pictures, there is neither sky nor water, not mountains and meadows, not trees and houses, there is only a uniform colored matter everywhere, a seamless fabric of swelling colors and fading tones." (Curt Glaser, Lovis Corinth, in: Kunst und Künstler, no. 20, 1922, p 232, quoted from: ex. cat. Lovis Corinth. The Pictures Walchensee. Vision und Realität, Ostdeutsche Galerie Regensburg/Kunsthalle Bremen 1986, p. 96).

Lake Walchen is the largest and, at 192 meters, deepest mountain lake in Germany. Its black-green water is cold and clear at all times of the year, which doesn’t make it a lake for bathers. The highest lake of Upper Bavaria is nestled between the peaks Jochberg, Herzogstand and Heimgarten in the north and the rugged rocky ridges of the Karwendel in the south. While sturdy beech trees grow along the shoreline, the mountain forest of spruce and fir trees extends to timberline. "The lake changes in mysterious colors and moods", Corinth wrote in March 1921:"At times flashing like an emerald, it turns blue like a sapphire or a glittering amethyst in a ring with immense borders of old, black firs, their reflections on the clear water are even darker." (Quoted from ex. cat. Lovis Corinth. Die Bilder Walchensee. Vision und Realität, Ostdeutsche Galerie Regensburg/Kunsthalle Bremen 1986, p.21) Over the years, Corinth became a chronicler, portraying the lake over and over again, documenting its changes, usually without people, often with a larch in the foreground, or, as is the case here, with the farm on the edge of the water, emotionally stirred and yet spontaneously 'jotted down' in his characteristic skillful manner.

Lovis Corinth's Lake Walchen pictures also make for the 'grand finale' of an eventful artistic life. For Corinth, Lake Walchen was recreation, alternating feelings in the middle of nature, the experience of a rough nature. And Corinth painted the compelling, clear contrast to the ugliness of his home Berlin, which had been the center of his life since 1901. Corinth exposes himself to the changing weather and the enigmatic lake with relish, immersing himself into the rugged nature. This is the only way to create these metaphysical landscapes, powerful visions in which Corinth was able to fuse impression and expression like hardly any other artist.

Contemporary critics praised these works exuberantly, among them the art critic and writer Paul Fechter, who wrote in 1926: "Corinth dissolves things and the air in which they stand, the longer the more into a color, which also, the longer the more, becomes not only color but pure feeling for him. Corinth succeeds, without even suspecting what he is doing, in the actual expressionist miracle, the transubstantiation of the material; through his hands, color becomes not only the bearer of feeling, but almost becomes feeling itself. One touches things here that are difficult to grasp conceptually, especially since they happen on in a soul as distant from concepts and as anti-conceptual as Corinth's. The world became a strange thing to the aging man. The world became a strangely floating play of glamorously sad colors and tones, in which the yearning of men resonated into the world, illuminating the colors - and in the late watercolors he actually dissolved the colors, let them swim and flow like his feelings, to formations with own principles, and lets the whole cosmos of the outside arise from this strange chaos of the filled surface and the feeling behind it." (Paul Fechter, Der Landschafter Corinth, in: Cicerone, XVIII, vol. 1926, issue 19, pp. 626-628. quoted from: ex. cat. Lovis Corinth. Die Bilder Walchensee. Vision und Realität, Ostdeutsche Galerie Regensburg/Kunsthalle Bremen 1986, p. 99).

Corinth's late paintings, and they include those exuberant bouquets of flowers and sensitively deep portraits, are anything but what they appear to be at first glance: festive symphonies of color. After the experiences of World War I, the time since 1914 no longer seemed to be a time of stylistic compromises, no longer a time of artistic illusions, especially for the ailing Corinth. However, the alternating perspectives of Lake Walchen also reveal a supratemporal dream landscape filled with great empathy.

The "Selbstportrait am Walchensee" of 1922, in which water, mountains and sky in the background merge into a moving surface, made around the same time as the present landscape, is not only a document of an intensive introspection but also a document of a development towards the threshold of abstraction. Thus the late Corinth was a pioneer of a pure, free painting and thus also a pioneer of Modernism. Later Arnold Bode and Werner Haftmann realized Corinth’s posthumous participation in documenta III in 1964 with 14 paintings, with a focus on seven portraits, including the last self-portrait from 1925 and three paintings with the Lake Walchen motif, among them "Walchensee. Landschaft mit Kuh".

And once again Paul Fechter, at that time a cicerone of contemporary painting: "The construction of these pictures is reluctant to the usual analysis; the colorful order from the picture, from its regularity, is difficult to determine and circumscribe. But the moment one sees the picture, one experiences it without further ado, as something that is alive. It is as if these landscapes have no fixed structure like the earlier ones, but an inner agitation, as if Corinth did not paint movement the way Impressionism does, but the mysterious agitation inherent in nature in general." (Paul Fechter, in ex. cat. Lovis Corinth. Die Bilder Walchensee. Vision und Realität, Ostdeutsche Galerie Regensburg/Kunsthalle Bremen 1986, p. 100).
"Walchensee is beautiful in a clear blue sky, but eerie when the forces of nature rage," Corinth raved about the lake's weather in March 1921:"When the rock avalanches roll down from the mountain peaks and the strongest trees snap like matches, they mark the trail of their disaster in horrific devastation all the way into the lake." (Quoted from ex. cat. Lovis Corinth. Die Bilder Walchensee. Vision und Realität, Ostdeutsche Galerie Regensburg/Kunsthalle Bremen 1986, p.24). The colors of these paintings, applied with fervid brushstrokes, in which the contours of the mountains, the sky and the trees almost dissolve, merge into one another, their shimmering depth pointing to infinity, reflect the changing moods of the landscape as well as those of the painter, a compositional unity that has become wet in wet in the dynamic duct of pure color. [MvL]


Buyer's premium and taxation for Lovis Corinth "Walchensee, aufgehender Mond"
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 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.