Sale: 545 / Evening Sale, Dec. 08. 2023 in Munich Lot 25

Conrad Felixmüller
Bildnis Dr. Erich H. Müller, 1916.
Oil on canvas
€ 300,000 - 500,000

$ 315,000 - 525,000

Bildnis Dr. Erich H. Müller. 1916.
Oil on canvas.
Signed in the image's right side. 70.5 x 47.5 cm (27.7 x 18.7 in).

• Felixmüller was the shooting star of the avant-garde art scene in Dresden and Berlin of the late 1910s.
• The year the present portrait was made, the nineteen-year-old artist exhibited at Herwarth Walden's renowned 'Sturm Galerie' in Berlin and worked for Franz Pfemfert's avant-garde magazine 'Die Aktion'.
• Avant-garde portrait of museum quality.
• Owing to his inimitable style, Felixmüller was one of the main portraitists of his time

PROVENANCE: Dr. Erich H. Müller, Dresden.
Galerie Döbele, Dresden.
Galerie Brockstedt, Berlin (2015, acquired from the above).
Manfred Weber, Frankfurt (since 2015, acquired from the above).
Estate of Manfred Weber.

EXHIBITION: Von der Zeitenwende, Berliner Secession bis zur Novembergruppe 1898 bis 1919, Bröhan-Museum, Berlin, November 19, 2015 - April 3, 2016, cat. no. 113, fig. p. 158.

LITERATURE: Heinz Spielmann (ed.)/Titus Felixmüller, Conrad Felixmüller. Monographie und Werkverzeichnis der Gemälde, Cologne, 1996, catalogue raisonné no. 108, p. 222.

Called up: December 8, 2023 - ca. 17.48 h +/- 20 min.

Prosperous years in Dresden
The career of Conrad Felix Müller, who was born in Dresden in 1897, started out breathtakingly quick and successful. After he had studied at the Dresden Academy, he settled in Dresden as a freelance artist in the fall of 1915. At the young age of only 18, he soon signed a contract with the renowned art dealer Emil Richter on Prager Straße. The summer of that year he met the avant-garde gallerist Herwarth Walden through Ludwig Meidner, as well as some of the artists of the “Sturm” circle. He began to work for the "Sturm" magazine and met Franz Pfemfert, the editor of the magazine "Die Aktion", who hired him as illustrator. Felixmüller had his first exhibition at the Berlin gallery "Der Sturm" in 1916, a year later at Hans Goltz in Munich as well as at the Dresden galleries of Emil Richter and Ernst Arnold. During this early period, Conrad Felixmüller, the name he used from 1917, regularly organized "expressionist soirees" as reading and discussion evenings at his Dresden studio, where he would also meet his future wife Londa Freiin von Berg (1896–1979), whom he married in June 1918. They moved to Wiesbaden, where he met the collector Heinrich Kirchhoff, who supported him with a fixed salary for a while. The artist worked for various expressionist newspapers, and in the fall of 1918, Conrad Felixmüller returned to Dresden-Klotzsche. Along with Lasar Segall and Otto Dix, he was a founding member of the Dresden Secession in 1919 and would later become its president. In 1920, the gifted artist received the Saxon State Prize (Rome Prize). Instead of traveling to Italy, Felixmüller used the prize money to go to the Ruhr area. In the period that followed, the main works of this period show motifs from the industrial Ruhr region. His background in a working-class family, which, in terms of education, had more of a middle-class approach, built the bridge to his artistic and political engagement during the war and the early post-war period. Felixmüller gained contact with the world of industrial work on the Rhine and Ruhr through the aforementioned Wiesbaden collector and art patron Heinrich Kirchhoff. His brother-in-law Dupierry was a mining director in the Ruhr area. So Felixmüller and his wife Londa set off on their first trip to the Ruhr area in July 1920, where they came into contact with the Düsseldorf doctor, art dealer and collector Dr. Hans Koch and the famous gallery owner Johanna Ey (Mother Ey); (He pass on this profitable connection to his acquaintance in Dresden, to Otto Dix.) Via Frankfurt and Düsseldorf they went to Duisburg and Essen, where they lived in the house of the mine director and Kirchhoff's brother-in-law. The experience gained in the world of steelworks and mines directly influenced his work. A focus on the individual in Felixmüller's pictures of workers from the 1920s opens the way to the realism of his late work.

Erich Hermann Müller von Asow
Felixmüller met the young musicologist Erich Hermann Müller von Asow (1892–1964) at one of the “expressionist soirees” at his Dresden studio, . Müller von Asow, who was also born in Dresden, studied musicology, ethnology and pedagogy at the University of Leipzig from 1912. In 1915 he completed his studies with the PhD thesis "Die Mingottischen Opernunternehmungen 1732–1756". He then worked as an assistant director at the Neues Theater in Leipzig and became artistic director of the "Erstes Modernes Musikfest" (First Modern Music Festival) in Dresden in 1917. From 1926 he taught musicology and became director of the music department at the Central European Institute in Dresden in 1931. Between 1933 and 1945, Müller von Asow worked as a freelance musicologist. He lived in Austria from 1936 until the end of the Second World War. In 1945, Müller von Asow returned to Germany, where he founded the “"Internationale Musiker-Brief-Archiv" (International Musicians' Letter Archive) in Berlin and became its director. Müller von Asow was an expert in musicians' epistolography and initiated the Heinrich Schütz Society (1922) and the German Chopin Society (1959). He published, among other things, a “Deutsches Musiker-Lexikon” (German Musician Lexicon, 1929) and “Die Musiksammlung der Bibliothek in Kronstadt” (The Music Collection of the Library in Kronstadt ,1930) and edited letters from Handel, Bach, Brahms and Reger.

The portrait: Excellent early document of Felixmüller's artistic aims
The years 1915/1916 marked a decisive turning point for Conrad Felixmüller. The 18-year-old painter became a freelance artist and worked as portrait painter, who, after he had studied with Ferdinand Dorsch and Carl Bantzer at the Dresden Academy, changed to the 'modern' side. Conrad Felixmüller would become one of the most important portraitists of his time. Based on the human portraits, whose number and importance are equal in Felixmüller's oeuvre, the artist's development of his work can be presented almost comprehensively. The 13-year-old arts and crafts preschooler Felix Müller was already passionate about drawing heads, which led the school management to recommend that he continue his training at an art school with the aim of becoming a freelance painter, specifically a portrait painter. Throughout his life, Felixmüller had a passionate interest in people, in their faces and characters, as well as in their work. He documented the individual and the social being in his pictures: people who crossed his path in life, well-known personalities like the composer and artist Arnold Schoenberg, who was in Dresden in 1914, as well as simple workers whom he admired like his Sister Hannah, later wife of Peter August Böckstiegel, who left Bielefeld in 1913 to attend the University of Fine Arts in Dresden, where he became a close friend of the eight years younger painter Conrad Felixmüller. Felixmüller repositioned his art by choosing expressionist colors and a cubist composition. With the austere, narrow youthful face of angularly contoured and orange-red facial shapes, set in an expressive complementary contrast on a green-blue background, Felixmüller created a piece of avant-garde painting of particular quality in this portrait of Erich Hermann Müller von Asow. The young painter self-confidently presents the musicologist with an energetic look and mature features. He particularly emphasizes the sensory organs of the person portrayed: the red ears, as if ready to receive a message, the sensual, cherry-red mouth and, above all, as is typical of the first portraits, the emphasized eye area. With his innovative strength and passion, the young painter Conrad Felixmüller aroused the attention of his contemporaries and the interest of collectors.

Manfred Weber, a Frankfurt philanthropist who has succumbed to his passion for art and literature throughout his life, compiled an extensive collection. Parts of this collection, which includes works by Penck, Hundertwasser, Picasso, Chagall and Heckel, among others, are on display at the Museum Penzberg from 2024. [MvL]

Buyer's premium, taxation and resale right compensation for Conrad Felixmüller "Bildnis Dr. Erich H. Müller"
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.