Sale: 545 / Evening Sale, Dec. 08. 2023 in Munich Lot 57

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Alphütten und Tinzenhorn, 1919/20.
Oil on jute and cloth
€ 600,000 - 800,000

$ 630,000 - 840,000

Alphütten und Tinzenhorn. 1919/20.
Oil on jute and cloth.
With the estate stamp and the inscription "Da / Aa 11" on the reverse. 88.5 x 120.5 cm (34.8 x 47.4 in).

• After he had suffered a mental breakdown, the magical phenomena of nature and the peaceful mountain life helped the artist to recover and regain creative strength.
• With a stunning palette, Kirchner captured the fleeting moment in the glowing mountains.
• The most significant works of his 'new life' were made on the Stafelalp.
• Part of the same private collection for more than 70 years.
• Since the exhibition "Farbenmensch Kirchner" on permanent loan at the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich.
• In the rare original frame

PROVENANCE: Artist's estate (with the estate stamp on the reverse)
Ernesto Blohm, Caracas (acquired through Georg Schmidt, Basel from the above in 1954, ever since family-owned).

EXHIBITION: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Gemälde und Graphik aus der Davoser Zeit, Kunsthaus Chur, 19.7.-19.9.1953, cat. no. 9 (titled: Blaue Alphütte vor rosa Bergen, cat. no. 9.
Expresionismo en alemania, Asociacion cultural Humboldt, Fundacion Eugenio Mendoza, November - December 1959, cat. no. 29.
E.L.Kirchner aus Privatbesitz, Richard Kaselowsky-Haus, Bielefeld 1969, cat. no. 15.
E. L. Kirchner. Gemälde, Aquarelle, Zeichnungen und Druckgraphik, Kunstverein in Hamburg, December 6, 1969 - January 25, 1970, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt am Main, February 6 - March 29, 1970, cat. no. 48, color plate 11.
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Privatsammlung, Munich, Galerie Günther Franke, cat. no. 3, fig. p. 43.
Farbenmensch Kirchner, Pinakothek der Moderne, May 22 - August 31, 2014, cat. no. 18, fig. p. 148
Permanent loan to Bavarian State Painting Collection / Modern Art Collection at Pinakothek der Moderne (2014 - 2023).

LITERATURE: Donald E. Gordon, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Cambridge (MA) 1968 (Engl. ed.), catalogue raisonné no. 601, p. 353

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, photo album III, photo 318.
E.L. Kirchner. Dokumente, Fotos, Schriften, Briefe, Musem der Stadt Aschaffenburg u.a., 1980, fig. p. 182.
Heide Skowranek, Patrick Dietemann, Christoph Kreket and Heike Stege, "Einfacher und doch leuchtender" - Kirchners Farben, in: Farbenmensch Kirchner, ex. cat. Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Berlin 2014, pp. 127 - 141, fig. p. 139 and color illu. 11.

Called up: December 8, 2023 - ca. 18.52 h +/- 20 min.

On the Way to Davos
Departing from Berlin, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner arrived the Alpine plateau for the first time on January 19, 1917. Both his mental and physical condition, despite two stays in the sanatorium in Königstein under the care of Oskar Kohnstamm, was life-threatening. "I keep getting the impression of a bloody carnival. How is it all going to end? You feel that some decision is in the air, and things go haywire. [..]. I feel like the cocottes I used to paint. Mopped up, the next time gone. [..] The madness of war is unbelievable. [..] Maybe I'll manage to get a grip on things after all. Starting over [..]”, Kirchner wrote to Gustav Schiefler, confidant and author of his catalogue raisonné of prints, in Hamburg on November 12, 1916 (quoted from: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner Gustav Schiefler Briefwechsel 1910-1935/38, ed. by Wolfgang Henze, Stuttgart and Basel 1990, no. 65, p. 83).
A month later, in December 1916, Kirchner admitted himself to the mental hospital "Asyl für Gemütskranke" in Berlin-Charlottenburg, which was run by Karl Edel. He left the clinic again in early 1917. In the meantime, the philosopher Eberhard Grisebach, a friend of Kirchner and husband of one of the Spenglers’ daughter from Davos, made sure that his mother-in-law Helene Spengler and her husband, the pulmonologist Lucius Spengler, would take care of Kirchner. The clear air, pure nature and seclusion far from the rumble of war were supposed to bring relief. But it was unusually cold in Davos, so the walks that had been prescribed were impossible for the ailing artist. On February 4, Kirchner traveled to Zurich to visit the permanent Hodler exhibition at the Kunsthaus and boarded the train back to Berlin on February 6.

Life in the Mountains

Motivated to "complete my cure", as he informed his friend, the architect and designer Henry van de Velde, he came to Davos for the second time on May 8, 1917. During the summer Kirchner lived with a nurse in the "Rüesch Hut" on the Stafelalp above Frauenkirch. Although he suffered from occasional paralysis was unable to write the letters himself, he created landscapes and portraits in his new living environment that are characterized by an unbroken and strong will to carry on. But Kirchner still suffered from nightmares and anxiety attacks and could not come to rest. After a visit to Stafelalp, Henry van de Velde was able to persuade Kirchner to confide in the psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Ludwig Binswanger. From mid-September 1917 on, Kirchner spent ten months at the Bellevue Sanatorium in Kreuzlingen on Lake Constance. From his stay in the sanatorium in Kreuzlingen, Kirchner returned to Davos in July 1918 and lived in a hut on Stafelalp that Martin Schmid had made available to him; it was not until the end of September 1918 that Kirchner moved into a proper farmhouse that was part of the Müller family farm "In den Lärchen" above the "Längmatte" in Frauenkirch. Kirchner soon identified with his new surroundings, and basically lived the life of alpine dairymen and shepherds with the animals on the mountain pastures; he shot photos of landscape and the people who met him with curiosity and benevolence: the oddball from Berlin. He would stay there and settle in, set up a studio, and piece by piece moved his belongings from Berlin to Davos, eventually he and his partner Erna Schilling relocated for good. The new surroundings had a vehement influence on the artist's life and work. He seemed to regain the sought-after inner calm that allowed the artist to paint moving and magnificent 'portraits' of this breathtaking mountain landscape: "Stafelalp bei Mondschein” (Stefelalp inMoonlight, Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund), "Rückkehr der Tiere" (Return of the Animals, Stafelalp, Kunstmuseum Basel) from 1919, and the present "Alphütten and Tinzenhorn" are the titles of the new motifs. Kirchner worshiped the landscape, rendered homage to the simple life of the farmers and shepherds on the steep alpine meadows: a beguiling creation full of wonderful color contrasts. With the triptych "Alpleben" (Kirchner Museum, Davos) he paid tribute to the life and daily routines of the farmers around him. A setting that grounded the emotionally torn man. On July 5, 1919, he wrote to van de Velde: "I am very glad and happy to be here and to stay here, where, at least on good days, I am able to do some work and find a little peace among these simple and good people. I have fought hard to find a new way of life in this solitude, a life that allows me to continue my existence with the suffering. My days of the circus, cocottes and the society are over [..]" (Kirchner to Henry van de Velde, quoted from: Hans Delfs (ed.), Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Der gesamte Briefwechsel, Zurich 2014, letter no. 755).
Just as it was the case in Dresden, where Kirchner made the city, his studio and the Moritzburg Ponds subject of his art, he turned his attention to night- and street life in Berlin, he also gained artistic stimuli from his new home, where he went on a "magnificent walk in the afternoon almost to the Kummeralp" (Lothar Grisebach/Lucius Grisebach (eds.), Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Davoser Tagebuch, Ostfildern-Ruit 1997, p. 36) instead of restlessly strolling through the Berlin streets. However, he found the transition difficult: "to render an account of the direct life around me without artificial stylization. I have to try over and over again. I start out with color fields, then I add the drawing, which is how my last Berlin pictures came about. But I have to draw so much more as I did back then. But who will take away the terrible suffering that creeps up knocks me out? All afternoon and through the terrible night. Who can take it away from me? I'll give anything for it. [..] Anyway, no more strength for the big canvas. [..] Painting violet now excites me tremendously [..]. To be able to paint violet, red, green", he records in his diary (ibid., p. 31). Thus alpine life on the Stafelalp, as once in Berlin the street scenes, became Kirchner's central theme in the first years of his 'new' life in Davos and on the alpine pastures in the surrounding mountains.
While physical health and living conditions became more stable, his mental health also improved. Henceforth, the direct experience of the mountains took center stage in his art. The impression of the Swiss Alps led Kirchner not only to a mental stabilization, but also renewed his creativity. Kirchner was fully aware of the positive effect his new surroundings had on him, when he stated in 1919: "The good van de Velde wrote me today that I should better return to modern life. [.] That is beyond question for me. [..]. I have a rich field for my creative activity here that I could hardly harvest in good health, let alone the state I’m in today. The world offers attractive spots everywhere, they just differ in appearance. Here I learn to look deeper and to explore more than in so-called 'modern' life, which is usually so much more shallow despite its rich outer form." (quoted from: Lucius Grisebach, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 1880-1938, Cologne 1995, p. 153). The tranquility of the scenery Kirchner captured in "Alphütten und Tinzenhorn" is punctuated by the bright expressive colors, the energetic flow, and the exaggerated architecture of the mountain hut and the alpine meadows surrounding it. In this balance between calm and turbulence, the scenery appears as if it had been heightened to a striking psychogram. [MvL]

Buyer's premium and taxation for Ernst Ludwig Kirchner "Alphütten und Tinzenhorn"
This lot can be purchased subject to differential or regular taxation.

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.