Sale: 545 / Evening Sale, Dec. 08. 2023 in Munich Lot 31

Konrad Klapheck
Die Jagd nach dem Glück, 1984.
Oil on canvas
€ 400,000 - 600,000

$ 424,000 - 636,000

Die Jagd nach dem Glück. 1984.
Oil on canvas.
Signed and dated "84" on the reverse, as well as titled on the stretcher. 203 x 310 cm (79.9 x 122 in). [JS].
Initially, lot 31 and lot 32 are called up individually, subsequently combined as one lot.
• The childhood dream of speed, freedom, coolness and status rendered in an overwhelming mega format.
• A post-war masterpiece of museum quality.
• "Die Jagd nach dem Glück" (Chasing Fortune) is the largest Klapheck painting ever offered on the international auction market (
• Klapheck is considered both inventor and master of the "Machine Picture" which he sees as a mirror of human existence.
• Klapheck's oeuvre, which exclusively consists of character objects, anticipated elements of Pop Art and Photorealism as early as in the 1950s.
• This is the rare opportunity to acquire both the painting and the preliminary drawing on canvas in same size in one auction

The work is registered in the artist's archive under the work number 276. We are grateful to Rabbi Prof. Dr. Elisa Klapheck for her kind support in cataloging this lot.

PROVENANCE: Private collection Southern Germany (acquired from the artist before 2002).

LITERATURE: Arturo Schwarz, Klapheck, Milan 2002, p. 137 (fig.).
"A group of high school students once visited my studio where they marvelled at the big motorcycle in "Die Jagd nach dem Glück"; some of them were fascinated by the ride, but they eventually explained: "Listen, that's not even working, the parts are not properly connected." I replied: "You have to know, this is not a motorcycle, but a picture" - just like the famous Ceci n`est pas une pipe by Magritte."
Konrad Klapheck, 1990, quoted from: Klapheck. Bilder und Texte, Düsseldorf 2013, p. 110.

Called up: December 8, 2023 - ca. 18.00 h +/- 20 min.

Konrad Klapheck – Perfection of a Bizarr Pictorial World
An early random encounter with the imagery of Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst or Man Ray, their ironic treatment of everyday objects, and as a student of Bruno Goller and his timeless ciphers in abstract imagery, as well as the trivial iconography of pop art, best describes the sources of inspiration that Konrad Klapheck needed to conceive a bizarre world between the real and the surreal equipped with objects such as typewriters, bulldozers, water hoses, keyholes or, as is the case here, the “Sprint” motorcycle in a characteristic odd perspectives.

It is the perspective that stands in strange contrast to a reality that we think we know, but which evokes our unsettling look. Nevertheless, it makes it difficult for us overcome our proven and tested viewing pattern s. This motorcycle, which was composed from numerous templates, appears to be non-functional: the supporting frame is missing, however, it appears to have been taken into account, as the scores of construction lines suggest. “So far I had only trusted my feelings in deciding whether the dimensions of the object or the structure of the room were right or not,” says Klapheck about the development of his drawings. “Over time, I discovered rules that I used to develop a system. I always started by drawing the vertical and horizontal center lines on the canvas in red pencil, thus obtaining a coordinate plane that I could more rely on than on the picture’s often bent outer edges when applying the triangle square. Then there were several things I had to avoid: no line should run through the crossing point, and no intersection of two charcoal lines was allowed to fall on the red pencil cross. All distances between the intersections on the cross had to differ in length; none, not even as the sum of two distances, could be repeated. I now worked with the folding yardstick, covering the drawings with numbers, and when the foreshortening issues of perspective came on top, the pocket calculator was my main instrument. And what’s the point of all this? I wanted to achieve the greatest possible tension, the greatest possible asymmetry, and while consciously avoiding repetitions, I thought of twelve-tone music and its prohibition of repeating a tone in a twelve-tone row." (Konrad Klapheck, Über meine zeichnungen, Munich 1996, p. 26 )

Klapheck's "Die Jagd nach dem Glück" – Perfection and Construction

Klapheck's background information is remarkable and at the same time exaggerated; last but not least, he draws on a broad art-historical education, for example on the idea of the camera obscura from Dürer's time, or perhaps his encounters with Surrealism seduced him to these provocative intricacies. The result is a series of everyday objects for which Klapheck uses complex construction drawings to shift them from this world into a surreal world, mixing the real with the fantastic full of relish, “constructively” disregarding the proportions and giving the whole thing a poetic title: “Die Jagd nach dem Glück“ (Chasing Fortune)

“A fellow artist remarked,” said Klapheck in 1982, “that he liked the preliminary drawings better than the finished pictures; they were fresher and more lively than the perfect final products. In response to my irritated answer, he said, “Then do the preliminary drawing on paper and transfer it to canvas, so you have both drawing and picture.” (Klappheck, Über meine Zeichnungen, p. 26)
The title “Chasing Fortune” may now be taken literally, as this is the very first time that, with a tad of commitment and fortune, both drawing and pictures, on top of that both on canvas, can be acquired! Nevertheless , this larger-than-life, monumental motorcycle is highly incomplete. What we see is not a roadworthy two-wheeler, but rather the abstract idea of a motorcycle, formally clarified through the artist's endless manipulations, for which he artist created a proposal, so to speak. “I decided to build a whole system out of the machine themes and tell my biography through them. Didn't I hesitate about becoming a writer or a painter after I had finished school? I figured I could be both. What mattered was precision, you can’t paint a blurred machine, what was important was the accuracy of the composition, the balance of tension and harmony, and, as far as the color was concerned, the right measure of simplicity and elegance”, said Konrad Klapheck. (Konrad Klappheck, Warum ich male, Munich 1996, p. 23). In terms of appearance, Klapheck's idea corresponds to models from the early 1950s, such as the Italian brand “Montesa”. A brand named “Sprint” is not known and is merely used as an additional name for historical motorcycle manufacturers, a Klapheck brand “Sprint” is immortalized here as a brand in the constructive process of its artistic production. At the same time, the “Sprint” motorcycle has become an idol of its existence thanks to its size, abstraction and perfection of paint application. “My pictures,” as Konrad Klapheck himself wrote, should evoke the impression “as if they were not made by a human hand.” And in addition to this remarkable aspect of the artist's work, his surrealistic view of the motif of his desire becomes the central motif of his art: Klapheck tells stories, his special interpretation of stories behind everyday objects as bearer of stories. “For years I had erased everything that revealed the work process. I tried to give my pictures the appearance of not being made by man, as if they had fallen from the sky. Should I really reveal the witnesses of my struggle with their sweaty smell of desperate searching and groping? Should I really show the long path that leads from the first idea to the finished work and is paved with disappointments? But didn't these rugged sheets also tell of the joy of finding the right line in the right place and didn't they also encourage more inexperienced artists enforce inspiration?" (Konrad Klapheck, Über meine Zeichnungen, pp. 25/26)

Klapheck – Master of a Surreal Reality

Klapheck's machines do not remain in pure figuration, do not imitate models, do not represent the real machine, but rather transform themselves into the abstract idea of the respective real object. With his creations characterized by a highly associative density, Konrad Klapheck ultimately took René Magritte's famous sentence "Ceci n'est pas un pipe" to an artistic extreme and addressed the difference between reality and its pictorial representation. However, with the heading "Sprint" he goes one step further, because the written word replaces the actual quality of speed that was lost through the artist's alienation strategies: the word "sprint" can trigger the idea of freedom of a fast motorbike ride only in our imagination. (MvL)

Buyer's premium, taxation and resale right compensation for Konrad Klapheck "Die Jagd nach dem Glück"
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.