Sale: 530 / Evening Sale / The Hermann Gerlinger Collection, June 10. 2022 in Munich Lot 71

Max Beckmann
Holländischer Radfahrweg, 1940/1942.
Oil on canvas
€ 300,000 / $ 321,000
€ 375,000 / $ 401,250

(incl. surcharge)
Holländischer Radfahrweg. 1940/1942.
Oil on canvas.
Göpel 615. [last visited on January 25, 2022]. Bottom center signed, dated "43" and inscribed "A" for Amsterdam. 71.5 x 48.5 cm (28.1 x 19 in).
In his sketchbook 43 Max Beckmann listed his paintings made as of 1934. "Holländischer Radfahrweg" is also mentioned there. In an undated letter to the collector May, Quappi Beckmann notes that the painting was completed on November 10, 1942 and that it was dated to 1943. [EH].

• Made during the fateful days in exile in Amsterdam.
• Max Beckmann chose to render this landscape painting in an unusual bird's eye view, which is rare in his oeuvre.
• Distanced look at a bicycle trip of the kind that Max and Quappi Beckmann also did from time to time during this difficult era.
• The painting was part of one of the most exquisite Beckmann collections for almost 30 years: Collection Morten D. May, St. Louis, USA.
• Next to the "Holländischer Fahrradweg", the important time from 1940 to 1942 also yielded main works like "Abfahrt" (MoMA, since 1942)

Karl Buchholz, Berlin (the earliest Nov 1942, presumably acquisition).
Karl-Heinz Brandt (presumably as of autumn 1944 to January 1945; safekeeping due to war).
Rosgartenmuseum, Konstanz (1945, safekeeping).
Marie Louise Buchholz, Überlingen (1945 - April 1948, safekeeping).
Karl Buchholz, Madrid (Apr 1948-1949, from the above).
Buchholz Gallery Curt Valentin, New York (presumably 1949-1955, acquired from the above) (with a label on th reverse).
Morton D. May, St. Louis (acquired from the above in 1955, owned until 1983).
Margie Wolcott May, St. Louis (inherited from the above, until 1986).
Private collection Blohm, Hamburg (acquired from the above in 1986, Christie’s London, June 23, 1986) .

Max Beckmann. Chicago Art Center March / April 1955, cat. no. 4
Max Beckmann. Retrospective Exhibition, St.Louis City Art Museum 1956, Paintings from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Morton D. May (no catalog)
SAINT LOUIS Pius XII Memorial Library February 14 - July 04, 1960, cat. no. 68 with illu. (here titled: Holland Landscape with Road)
German Expressionist Paintings from the Collection of Mr. & Mrs. Morton D. May, Denver Art Museum, Denver / University of California, Los Angeles / Fine Arts Gallery, San Diego / Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco / Art Institute, Chicago / Butler Institute of American Art, Younstown / Art Institut, Akron / Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh et al, 1960-62
The Morton D. May Collection of 20th Century German Masters, Marlborough Gerson Gallery, New York 1970 / City Art Museum, St. Louis, 1970, cat. no. 34 with illu.
Five Students of Max Beckmann, Washington University, St.Louis 1984
Max Beckmann. Landschaft als Fremde, Kunsthalle Hamburg / Kunsthalle Bielefeld / Kunstforum Vienna, 1998/99, cat. no. 66 with color illu. on p. 83
Im Zentrum: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Eine Hamburger Privatsammlung, Kunsthalle Hamburg / Kirchner Museum, Davos / Brückemuseum Berlin, 2001/03, p. 124, cat. no. 5 with color illu. on p. 144 (with a label on the reverset)
Zeit im Blick. Felix Nussbaum und die Moderne, Felix-Nussbaum-Haus, Osnabrück December 5, 2004 - March 28, 2005, cat. no. 44 with color illu. on p. 84.

Benno Reifenberg and Wilhelm Hausenstein: Max Beckmann. Munich 1949, p. 77, no. 460
MoMa Curt Valentin Papers - VII.C.1 - Statements A-L: 5.12.1955: Sold to Morton D. May for 500 $ (Inventory 11058).
Impressionist, Expressinist and Modern Paitings and Sculpture. Christie's London June 23, 1986, lot 52
Beatrice von Bormann. Landschaften des Exils - Max Beckmanns niederländische Jahre 1937-1947. in: ex. cat Max Beckmann. Die Landschaften. Kunstmuseum Basel 2011/12, pp. 45ff. with color illu. 26.

Beckmann's life in exile
When Max Beckmann described the painting as "finished" in his diary on October 3, 1940, he had been living with his wife Mathilde, known as Quappi, for a good three years in in self-imposed exile in peaceful Amsterdam. The serious consideration of moving to Paris again after 1930 was abandoned when France and Great Britain declared war on Germany on September 3, 1939. On May 10, 1940, the western campaign of the German Wehrmacht began with the main objective of conquering France. At the same time, Germany also attacked the Netherlands, the war soon came to Amsterdam, the threat of planes flying over at night became a regular nuisance, the restrictions in everyday life became more noticeable for the artist, and traveling abroad was no longer possible. The artist was confronted with the German Wehrmacht in self-imposed exile, which he had sought in order to escape from the political developments in Germany, which now seem to have followed him. Friends helped Beckmann to afford a living and tontinue working in those years. Günther Franke, his main gallerist in Munich, supported the artist and acquired pictures from the Amsterdam studio, which his son Peter, a doctor in the Luftwaffe, then smuggled to Munich using the means of transport available to him.

Beckmann also met regularly with intellectuals in Amsterdam, above all with the poet Wolfgang Frommel, the painters Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart and Otto Herbert Fiedler, or with his biographer and work chronicler Erhard Göpel. They all appear in Beckmann's magnificent world of images. "And yet he suffered greatly from isolation and poor nutrition," said his American friend and collector Stephan Lackner, who lived in Paris until autumn 1939, and who supported Beckmann with monthly acquisitions. "Even the Zandvoort beach, where he and Quappi often rode theit bikes, was barricaded from June 1942 onwards. It is amazing how the painter drew on intense memories in his imagination. Landscapes from Cap Martin, Monte Carlo and Bandol appear again and again in the oeuvre from 1940 to 1944." (Stephan Lackner, Exil in Amsterdam and Paris, in exhibition cat.: Max Beckmann. Retrospective, Munich 1984, p. 155) At that time postcards and photographs served the artist to sharpen his memories of the French beach resorts or Dutch coastal landscapes he visited at the time. Lackner also mentions that with 280 paintings, a disproportionately large part of his works were created during the Amsterdam years, in addition to the mythologically and symbolically charged figure compositions also landscapes , which, with an air of vacation and relaxation, differ from the "world theater of the painter Beckmann", as Staphan Lackner aptly described it in 1938.
And so the "Holländische Fahrradweg" (Dutch Cycling Path), also known as "Hilversumer Waldlandschaft" (Hilversum Forest Landscape), seems like a relaxing contemplation, a homage to the cherished landscape of his adopted home, the Netherlands, "which were only roped into the war in May 1940, when the Germans invaded and we were trapped,” says Mathilde 'Quappi' Beckmann in her memoirs of her life with Max Beckmann (Munich 1985, p. 27). "Despite the frequent depressions that afflicted Max because he took the misery of war so seriously, he loved Amsterdam more and more. He often wandered along the canals, went to the Rembrandt House to talk about Rembrandt, whom he appreciated and adored above everything. He also liked the area around Amsterdam. In the first years of the war we often went to the sea. From 1942 onwards, trips to the coast were no longer allowed. We then took the train to Hilversum and rented bicycles and rode through the forest or through the blooming heath for hours. "Wonderful bike tour Hilversum, Eykenstein. Brought a bouquet of foxgloves home with me," Max wrote in his diary on July 7, 1942. When it was still allowed, we drove to Haarlem and Overveen and cycled through the dunes on the country road behind the beach. But these excursions could not be continued for long, because the Allied air raids became more frequent and more severe," continues Mathilde 'Quappi' Beckmann. (ibid.) In addition to the “mythologically and symbolically charged figure compositions”, Max Beckmann also painted a larger group of landscape paintings in Holland, among them of Overveen with a water tower, the cypresses of Eyckenstein or some landscapes around Laren.

Hilversum: A harmonious day
Hilversum, located about 30 km south of Amsterdam on the way to Utrecht, is still known for its hiking and cycling routes. According to the catalog raisonné, the scene inspired the artist after a bicycle trip he took with his wife on May 4, 1940. On July 7, 1942, the couple went on another bicycle tour in Hilversum, after which the painting apparently underwent a revision. (See also the entry in the list of paintings from 1942.) It is assumed that Beckmann initially emphasized the memory of a "forest landscape" more clearly, which was then pushed more into the background in favor of the cycling path. (Entry in the catalog raisonné, 2021, The bordered flower beds that dominate the left part of the painting therefore only seem to have received more attention from the artist in 1942, as did the lower right corner of the composition with a trellis of bars and presumably the Kracht, which initially runs parallel to the cycle path and then suddenly changes direction at a right angle. The mighty trees in the background are reflected in the water of one of the many lakes or canals that enrich the characteristic Dutch flat landscape. What is striking about this is the choice of perspective that the artist chooses: a noticeably emphasized top view, with which he captures the scene with the cyclists as if from a bird's eye view, a representational device that Beckmann often used in his landscape paintings. Last but not least, as here, to depict the narrative density and at the same time vastness of this landscape with the view from above.
On July 7, 1942, the couple went on another bike ride in Hilversum, after which the painting apparently underwent an overhaul. (See also the entry in the list of paintings from 1942.) It was probably initially conceived more clearly as a "forest landscape", which, however, then moved more into the background in favor of the cycle path." (Max Beckmann, catalog raisonné, 2021, no. 615 ). [MvL]

Max Beckmann
Holländischer Radfahrweg, 1940/1942.
Oil on canvas
€ 300,000 / $ 321,000
€ 375,000 / $ 401,250

(incl. surcharge)