Sale: 550 / Evening Sale, June 07. 2024 in Munich Lot 124000206

 

124000206
Hans Uhlmann
Draht-Plastik, 1949.
Iron, mounted on a wooden base
Estimate:
€ 80,000 - 120,000

 
$ 85,600 - 128,400

Information on buyer's premium, taxation and resale right compensation will be available four weeks before the auction.
Draht-Plastik. 1949.
Iron, mounted on a wooden base.
Signed and inscribed "Berlin-Steglitz / Birkbuschstr. 84 / Draht-Plastik / (1949) / Eisen" on a label on the underside of the base. 73 x 41.5 x 32 cm (28.7 x 16.3 x 12.5 in). Base: 14,7 x 6 cm (5,7 x 2,3 in).


• Weightlessness, motion and dynamics in their purest form by the "engineer of sculptural form".
• From the time of his artistic breakthrough.
• One of only a few curved wire sculptures from the short creative period around 1948-50.
• His pioneering works were presented at the Venice Biennale in 1954, at the World's Fair in Brussels in 1957, at the two important MoMa exhibitions "German Art of the 20th Century" in 1958 and "The New Decade" in 1955, as well as at the first three documenta exhibitions in 1955, 1959 and 1964 and posthumously in 1977.
• Uhlmann's sculptures can be found in the Nationalgalerie, Berlin, the Hamburger Kunsthalle and the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen.
• A further 17 sculptures commissioned between 1954 and 1977 adorn central public spaces, particularly in the German capital.
• The artist has been met with a new appreciation in recent years and is currently featured in the exhibition "Hans Uhlmann. Experimentelles Formen" at the Berlinische Galerie (until May 13, 2024)
.

Accompanied by a written confirmation of authenticity from Hans-Joachim Uhlmann, the artist's son, Berlin, dated April 14, 2016.

PROVENANCE:
Private collection.
Eberhard Seel (1900-1978), Berlin.
Private collection Berlin (acquired from the above's estate in 1978).
Private collection Northern Germany (acquired in 2016).


"The meaning of constructing and forming - the act of creation - this special way of life - is to me the greatest possible freedom. […] The kind of sculpture I wish to make has led to the use of entirely immaterial forms, including mirrored images and fragments of mirrored images. I am concerned with a sculpture which aims at all the senses and does not give tactile satisfaction only.“

quoted from. The New Decade: 22 European Painters and Sculptors, ex. cat. Museum of Modern Art, New York 1955, pp. 44f.

"Arabesques in space" - was how the renowned art historian Werner Haftmann (1912-1999), artistic director of the first three documenta exhibitions together with Arnold Bode, and first director of Berlin's Neue Nationalgalerie, described Uhlmann's wire sculptures. Seemingly spontaneous accounts of inner sensation, comparable to the gestural painting of Abstract Expressionism and Art Informel, marked a radical renunciation of traditional figurative and representational art forms in the late 1940s. The dynamics of the oscillating lines, the rising and falling energies of the swirling vortices immortalize this movement as the most primal principle of vitality in the paradox of a moment coagulated in metal in Uhlmann's sculptures. In viewing the work, we follow the trace of the drawing and the movement of the lines traversing the space with our eyes and minds. His spatial structures create a new definition of sculptural design that is no longer dedicated to static volumes, but in which the line in its movement becomes an end in itself and claims autonomy. The filigree structures in their all-encompassing nature constantly open up new perspectives in space and evoke associations with rhythm, dance and music.
Uhlmann initially pursued a career as an engineer and worked in the industry in the 1930s. At the same time, however, he became involved with cubist and constructivist approaches to form in drawing and sculpture. From early on, he was particularly fascinated with metal structures. His avant-garde self-conception is reflected in the bent and soldered objects made of wire and sheet metal, which already incorporated the empty space in between as part of the sculpture. In the course of the 1950s, he gained national and international recognition for these positions. In 1950, he was appointed to teach at the 'Hochschule für Bildende Künste' Berlin, initially the undergraduate class, and in 1952 he finally took over the sculpting class, becoming part of the change of generations and paradigms that took place at this time. He soon had a new studio with assistants and technical equipment at his disposal, which made the construction of new metal sculptures possible. From then on, larger dimensions, welded surfaces and geometric elements gained in importance and were realized in numerous large sculptures in public spaces.
The relevance of his artistic position is also demonstrated by his participation in the first three documenta exhibitions from 1955-1967 under the co-direction of Werner Haftmann, who also placed him in the landmark post-war exhibitions "The New Decade: 22 European Painters and Sculptors" in 1955 and "German Art of the 20th century" in 1957 at New York's Museum of Modern Art. Ernst Wilhelm Nay, whom Uhlmann had met in Berlin at the end of the 1940s, had drawn the attention of the most influential art historian of the post-war period to his first major exhibition at Galerie Günther Franke in Munich in 1950. In the 1957 catalog, Alfred Hentzen, director of the Hamburger Kunsthalle, also emphasized his importance as "The only German sculptor of this generation who has worked continuously and with consistent logic in purely non-objective forms " (quoted from 'German Art of the 20th century', New York 1957, p. 176) - a pioneer unique in his generation who opened up new paths with his work.
The post-war generation change, closely linked to the final recognition of abstraction as an independent means of expression, did not only take place in painting (Abstract Expressionism and Art Informel), but also in sculpting. In the 1950s, Norbert Kricke continued the art of the line in dialog with Uhlmann (also called up in our Evening Sale: Norbert Kricke, Raumplastik Rot, Stahl auf Sockel, 1950s). In photography, important artists such as Otto Steinert experimented with forms and graphic structures that were conceived as abstract, successfully representing their point of view in the internationally acclaimed exhibition "subjektive fotografie" (Otto Steinert, cover of the exhibition catalog "subjektive fotografie", silver gelatin print, 1951, offered in our Post War Day Sale).
Despite Uhlmann's artistic significance, he has yet to be appreciated by a wider public today; a gap that will be filled with the major retrospective of his artistic work from the 1930s to the 1970s in the exhibition "Hans Uhlmann - Experimentelles Formen" at the Berlinische Galerie in 2024. [KT].



124000206
Hans Uhlmann
Draht-Plastik, 1949.
Iron, mounted on a wooden base
Estimate:
€ 80,000 - 120,000

 
$ 85,600 - 128,400

Information on buyer's premium, taxation and resale right compensation will be available four weeks before the auction.