Sale: 550 / Evening Sale, June 07. 2024 in Munich Lot 64

Karl Hartung
Umschlossener Raum, 1953.
Bronze, polished
€ 100,000 - 150,000

$ 107,000 - 160,500

Umschlossener Raum. 1953.
Bronze, polished.
From an edition of 6+1 copies. Ca. 124 x 164 x 83 cm (48.8 x 64.5 x 32.6 in).

• One of the artist's rare, large-scale works.
• An expressive symbiosis of clear, abstract formal language and a particularly sensual materiality.
• The work has a unique spatial presence and offers appealing perspectives from every angle.
• Another copy of this bronze is at the Schleswig-Holstein State Museum at Gottorf Palace in Schleswig.
• This is the first time that a copy of this grand sculpture is offered on the international auction market (source:

We are grateful to the Karl Hartung Estate for the kind expert advice.

PROVENANCE: From the artist's estate.

EXHIBITION: Bildhauer und Maler am Steinplatz, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Berlin, October 29 - November 23, 1986 (different copy).
Karl Hartung 1908-1967. Eine Werkübersicht zum 80. Geburtstag, Galerie Pels-Leusden, Berlin, September 3 - October 29, 1988, p. 70, cat. no. 52 (different copy).
Karl Hartung. Skulpturen und Zeichnungen, Galerie Utermann, Dortmund 1989 (different copy).
Blickachsen 4, Bad Homburg, May 18 - October 5, 2003 (different copy).
50 Jahre gesammelt für Schloss Gottorf 1970-2020 (50 Jahre Kulturring), Schleswig-Holsteinische Landesmuseen, Schloss Gottorf, Schleswig, March 31 - October 3, 2022, p. 152 (illu., different copy).
Reine Formsache. Hommage an Karl Hartung, July 16 - December 17, 2023, Herbert Gerisch Foundation, Neumünster.

LITERATURE: Markus Krause, Karl Hartung 1908-1967: Metamorphosen von Mensch und Natur (monograph and catalogue raisonné), Munich 1998, p. 237, no. 502 (illu.).
"This sculpture with the telling title Umschlossener Raum (Enclosed Space) embodies Hartung's endeavor not to excavate and perforate a sculptural body in, but to depict three-dimensionality and a sense of space, namely to 'capture' and frame a certain space coming from the outside. Although it is essentially related to his earlier Openwork Form (from 1950), Hartung's approach of sculpturally representing space is taken to extremes in this work." [AH]

Called up: June 7, 2024 - ca. 19.06 h +/- 20 min.

Starting in the 1930s, Hartung's art transformed a renunciation of naturalistic and realistic German sculpture. Hartung created entirely abstract works and also made his figurative works subject to increased abstraction. Although the human, primarily female figure, its forms, and physiognomy, remained an important theme, the radical reduction and high degree of abstraction of some of his works was unusual at the time. His “Vegetative”, “Free” and “Organic Forms”, from around the late 1940s/early 1950s, are characterized by transgressing the boundaries of abstraction, finding a completely new and free formal language, and exploring the idea of a sculptural structure with openings. This development culminated in “Umschlossener Raum" (Enclosed Space) in 1953.

The work does not imitate nature, nor does it hint at human physiognomy. Instead, Hartung created a particularly graceful and dynamic composition with a tense asymmetry, straight lines, gentle curves, and tapered ends. Three linear elements run from one tip to the other in sloping, both ascending and descending dynamic diagonals, leaving large openings that allow the viewer to perceive the surrounding space that is reflected in the highly polished surface. In doing so, Hartung created both an interior and exterior space: a space within the linear framework that is linked to the exterior space through openings and reflections, forming a harmonious and simultaneously appealing symbiosis. Instead of voluminous plasticity, Hartung created an elegant composition with a strong presence and a sensual material quality that reflects the light and changes with the viewer's angle. It is an autonomous structure and a universally valid, abstract form of timeless beauty that is unique within Hartung's oeuvre.

Shortly after the end of the war, Karl Hartung finally achieved his artistic breakthrough. His first solo exhibitions took place at the Galerie Gerd Rosen (both in 1946 and 1948) and at the Galerie Springer in Berlin. In 1949, Hartung participated in the first major exhibition of the international artists' association "CoBrA", founded in 1948, at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. In 1952, the Haus am Waldsee, Berlin, presented a comprehensive exhibition of his work, followed by further large-scale solo exhibitions the year our work was made, among others at the Museum Folkwang, Essen, the Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hanover, the Osthaus Museum, Hagen, and the Bremer Kunsthalle (1953/54).
With a singular position within abstract sculpture developed around 1950, Karl Hartung became established as a significant sculptor in the second half of the 20th century alongside contemporary luminaries like Hans Arp, Barbara Hepworth, and Henry Moore. [CH]

Buyer's premium, taxation and resale right compensation for Karl Hartung "Umschlossener Raum"
This lot can only be purchased subject to regular taxation, artist‘s resale right compensation is due.

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.

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.