Sale: 545 / Evening Sale, Dec. 08. 2023 in Munich Lot 77

Konrad Klapheck
Die Rettung, 1989.
Oil on canvas
€ 80,000 - 120,000

$ 84,000 - 126,000

Die Rettung. 1989.
Oil on canvas.
Signed and dated on the reverse. With a titled and inscribed label on the reverse of the frame. 67 x 34 cm (26.3 x 13.3 in). [JS].
Initially, lot 77 and lot 78 are called up individually, subsequently combined as one lot.
• In "Die Rettung" (Salvation), Klapheck, the master of "hyper-concreteness", created a complex allegory of hope and an idea of afterlife in radical modern aesthetics.
• Klapheck is regarded inventor and master of the "Machine Picture", which he understands as a mirror of human existence.
• Klapheck's aloof character objects fascinate for their combination of a rationally calculated creative process, associative density, and emotional complexity.
• Part of a South German private collection since it was made
• This is a rare opportunity to acquire both the preliminary drawing and the painting in one auction

The work is registered in the artist's archive under the work number 295. 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).

"Sure, the idea of time is something that had been on my mind since early childhood. Both my parents were art historians, which left a mark on me, as did the library comprising mostly art books. So I knew of Dürer and Holbein at the age of seven, that sure enough wasn't me but my parents. My parents exemplified the idea that you have to make the most of your time through their own life. Father disappeared early, he died when I was four years old, and that strengthened my concept of finiteness."

Konrad Klapheck, 2002, in: Konrad Klapheck. Bilder und Texte, ex. cat. Düsseldorf 2013, p.118.

Called up: December 8, 2023 - ca. 19.32 h +/- 20 min.

Nothing escaped Klapheck's dissecting gaze on his everyday environment. Accordingly, his later creative period was increasingly determined by the small protagonists of everyday life, such as cables, chains, plugs, and keys. "Die Rettung” (The Salvation) is a particularly fine example of this focus on things that only at first sight appear trivial. Starting with the household appliances of the 1950s/60s, which mostly bear associations of femininity and motherliness, we find memories of his own youth and that of his children in later works, pictures with bicycles, motorcycles and roller skates. Since the death of his mother (1986) and his wife (1987), ideas of faith and the afterlife have also increasingly found their way into Klapheck's work. After his Jewish wife was killed by a fire in a holiday home, Klapheck painted a red typewriter inscribed in Hebrew letters and named it "Schmerz" (Pain) in 1988. Works entitled "Das Opfer” (The Victim), “Bekenntnis” (Confession, 1989, Hamburger Kunsthalle), "Angst” (Fear) and "Schicksal” (Fate) followed. Three years after the present work was made, Klapheck painted a key chained in a key box, and gave the work the meaningful title "Der verhinderte Apostel” (The Inhibited Apostle, 1992, private collection Southern Germany). Hence, the key with the red wire in form of an infinity loop in our painting, as well as the obvious title "Die Rettung” (The Salvation) suggests associations with the gate to the Kingdom of Heaven. Klapheck, who was not Jewish, was married to a Jewish woman, and it is precisely the concept of the afterlife where Judaism and Christianity strongly differ. In contrast to Christianity, in which Christ as the resurrected Messiah is at the center of the conception of faith, conceptions of the afterlife play a much smaller role in Judaism. The ascension of the saints and the resurrection of the dead, however, is a principle of faith that is firmly rooted in Christianity and has played a central role in Christian art since the Middle Ages. Klapheck, whose parents were both art historians, had been familiar with these rich art-historical traditions since his early childhood. On the one hand, the key in Klapheck's work is a symbol of our hope for resurrection and afterlife; the "Salvation", our spark of hope in the face of the certainty about the finiteness of our earthly existence. On the other hand, as the work was painted in 1989, the year the Berlin Wall came down, it can also be read as the key to freedom. A variant of interpretation that gains significance through the number "1789" which we find on the preliminary drawing, however, not in the painting. 1789, of course, refers to the French Revolution, a historically significant upheaval on the path to democracy and freedom. Both readings stand side by side on an equal footing, gaining or losing significance depending on the viewer, and can also be supplemented by personal associations. In 1990, a year after the present painting was created, Klapheck described the pain he felt after the death of his wife and his turn from a more worldly to a more existential pictorial content in an interview: "I painted the motorcycle (Chasing Fortune) in 1984, but this red typewriter with the Hebrew letters (Pain [..]) was created after her death. As a non-Jew I took part in my wife’s Jewish funeral. According to the rules, my son David had to say the prayer for the dead at her open grave. The night before, he said to me, "Dad, I can't do that." I answered him, "You have to tell yourself that mama would have expected you to do it. [..] But at the funeral my son said to me, "I'll do it", and he climbed up on the planks on the little mount of sand. It was a spring day, the sun was blinding when he said the prayer, and when he came down, there was an inner radiance in him." (K. Klapheck, 1990, quoted in: Klapheck. Bilder und Texte, ex. cat. Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf 2013). "Die Rettung" is an outstanding example of the complexity of content and artistic quality of Klapheck's painterly œuvre, of Klapheck's characteristic combination of formal clarity and density of content and emotion.
The key in super-concreteness on the canvas right in front of our eyes appears close enough to touch, and triggers an associative game that revolves around personal, socio-political, and even existential questions in us. In "Die Rettung", Klapheck lets the key to the gate of freedom and eternal life dangle in front of our eyes as the central glimmer of hope of our earthly existence; it is surreal-real, seemingly within reach, and yet remains artistic fiction. In the summer of 2023, Konrad Klapheck, the master of super-concreteness, passed away. He left a highly complex artistic oeuvre in which he succeeded in bringing seemingly contradictory things together: A painting of distanced-cool aesthetics that is yet emotionally touching. [JS]

Buyer's premium, taxation and resale right compensation for Konrad Klapheck "Die Rettung"
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.