Sale: 545 / Evening Sale, Dec. 08. 2023 in Munich Lot 70


Ernst Wilhelm Nay
Rot in Rot II, 1965.
Oil on canvas
€ 350,000 - 550,000

$ 367,500 - 577,500

Rot in Rot II. 1965.
Oil on canvas.
Signed and dated in lower right. Stretcher twice inscribed "Nay - Rot in Rot - 1965" and with a direction arrow. 162 x 149.5 cm (63.7 x 58.8 in).

• From the important transition period from the eyes to the spindle shapes characteristic of his later pictures.
• Concentration of form and color in timeless perfection.
• Nay plays with the formal repertoire of his oeuvre and brings it into a new pictorial form.
• Shortly after its creation, it was shown in many important international exhibitions

PROVENANCE: Private collection.
Galerie Michael Werner, Cologne.
Private collection North Rhine-Westphalia.

EXHIBITION: Ernst Wilhelm Nay. Malerier-Akvareller, Holst Halvorsens Kunsthandel, Oslo, October 30 - November 28, 1965, cat. no. 13.
E.W. Nay, Galerie Günther Franke, Munich, from September 3, 1965, cat. no. 10.
Ernst Wilhelm Nay. Bilder und Grau-Aquarelle 1965/1966, Galerie Der Spiegel, Cologne, from March 18, 1966, cat. no. 4 (with remains of the gallery's label on the reverse).
E.W. Nay, Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart, November 12 - December 25, 1966/ Akademie der Künste, Berlin, January 13 - February 12, 1967/ Städtische Kunsthalle, Mannheim, March 4 - April 16, 1967, cat. no. 61 (with two exhibition labels on the reverse).
E.W. Nay. Neue Bilder und Gouachen, Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts Schweizergarten, Vienna III, April 15 - May 15, 1967, cat. no. 58, photo on p. 31.
E.W. Nay, Mary Boone Galleries, New York, 2012/ Michael Werner Gallery, New York, 2012 (with the gallery's label on the reverse).
Ernst Wilhelm Nay. Bilder der 60er Jahre, Michael Werner Kunsthandel, Cologne, November 11, 2017 - January 13, 2018, cat. no. 4.

LITERATURE: Aurel Scheibler, Ernst Wilhelm Nay, catalogue raisonné of oil paintings, vol. II: 1952-1968, Cologne 1990, no. 1144.

Called up: December 8, 2023 - ca. 19.18 h +/- 20 min.

According to Ernst Wilhelm Nay, “pictures come from pictures”. With this maxim, the artist underwent yet another, in this case final, stylistic change in his long life as a painter. He took up a new rhythm that he, in a formal sense, skilfully tied in with previous works. While the “Eye Pictures” were still full of spatial elements, expressivity and representational association, Nay’s “last” pictures, on the other hand, seem simplistic, light and yet complex and spontaneous at the same time. "At the height of his artistic experience, Nay subjects his painting to a final clarification," said Elisabeth Nay-Scheibler in 1990. "It leads to a radical simplification of his formal language and the reduction of his palette to just a few colors. Full of vitality and with an extreme discipline, he takes the risk of giving up expressive structures of the 'Eye Pictures', which he had taken to painterly perfection. In his vision, he gained the freedom to bring the essence of his art to fruition through reduction. Clearly defined spindle shapes, chains of round or oval disks, arches and color bands are spread across the image area in vertical direction. The vertical emphasis creates an impression of a seemingly unlimited, transitory sequence of movements. The pictures suddenly emanate a meditative calm." (Nay-Scheibler in: E. W. N., catalogue raisonné of oil paintings, volume II, 1952-1968, Cologne 1990, p. 282)

In addition to spatial elements such as the remaining hint of the eye motif that is characterized by a fully executed expressivity, vegetal and anthropomorphic forms, spindle shapes, chains, oval disks, colored bands and arched shapes appear. Elements that Nay rendered in accordance with his theoretic requirements for chromatic painting, reducing his formal language to a minimum, he demands of himself: “The surface must be elevated to form through color”. Nay developed a new palette towards cool mixed colors, at times in bold combinations, such as the dominant red that covers the center of the canvas in the present work, on its left edge Nay's yellow asserts itself with an eye paraphrase once more staged in a red of accidental volatility. And on the right edge, Nay places a ball chain that runs from top to bottom, meandering with alternating blue and yellow semicircles. The black dot in left acts like an exclamation mark that balances the composition.

With this step, the palette also changed. "It is worth a life to advance so far that the real color picture can emerge and the color sounds in a way that, without any special intention on the part of the artist, human things become visible, human and creaturely things in a new, unknown formulation", said the artist. (E.W. Nay. Lesebuch. Selbstzeugnisse und Schriften, Cologne 2002, p. 297). A characteristic feature of the late, mostly strictly square pictures is the idea of a composition extending beyond the picture’s edges into the wide space of our existence. An extension of the clear condensed forms, the beginning of an expansive and dynamic, never-ending equation of an ornament. "A colorist is a painter who thinks through color and perceives things through color," said Nay in his last published essay "Meine Farben" from 1967. The works from Nay's last years of creativity show, as in the present work, a special condensation of color and form that culminates in the highest possible tension. "The flatness is of such great importance to Nay, because he finds a disruption of their directness and sensual charisma in every perspective spatiality of the colors", said the seasoned expert Elisabeth Nay-Scheibler about the few selected colors, which, with their strong intensity and clear expression, underline the message of Nay's late work. (Nay-Scheibler in: E. W. N., catalogue raisonné of oil paintings, volume II, 1952-1968, Cologne 1990, p. 282). Nay took the liberty to realize the essence of his art through reduction in a new vision of an absolute painting. He increases the luminosity and transparency of his color through bold simplification. Every internal drawing is sacrificed to an arithmetic organization of the color. The great 20th century colorist Ernst Wilhelm Nay transformed the previous expressiveness into a cool, confident simplicity, characterized by a meditative calm and order. [MvL]


Buyer's premium, taxation and resale right compensation for Ernst Wilhelm Nay "Rot in Rot II"
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.