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John Wainwright fl.1845-1873

Photograph of a painting by John Wainwright.


Oil on canvas 20 x 14 inches
Signed by the artist and dated 1859
Title inscribed on label verso;
Catalogue extract verso, lot 67;
Strahan, Dublin label;
Inscribed, Mrs. Browne

Hamilton Estate, County Fermanagh;
by descent to present owner
Price GB£3,850

John Wainwright is well known for his highly decorative flower pieces painted in the style of the great Dutch masters of the 18th century. He comes closest to Jan van Os (1744-1808) but his work has also been compared to that of Jan van Huysum (1682-1749). Typically, these paintings show elaborate floral arrangements staged on a marble or stone ledge, often in the open air, with an abundance of flowers overhanging a large vase almost to the point of concealment. The flowers were usually exotic specimens, chosen for their spectacular shape and colour, with no allowance made for seasonal anomalies.

It would be entirely wrong to consider Wainwright’s version as simple copies of the Dutch masters as he does little more than mimic their manner. His style is entirely modern and his arrangements contain flowers, which one would expect to find in a 19th century English garden. The example shown here consists of white Helichrysum as a centrepiece surrounded by richly coloured Helianthus, Chrysanthemums and Hibiscus. A long string of Nasturtium and some Oak leaves provide the greenery. In keeping with the Dutch tradition, the insect life includes a brightly coloured Peacock butterfly with wings fully displayed; a grasshopper clinging to the Nasturtium; a snail on the edge of the table; and a tiny beetle crawling towards the pink rose.

Wainwright often worked in a large format and paintings of 50x40 inches are not unusual. He also painted still life of fruit in a similar manner and works depicting wildlife and dead game set in a landscape are also known. His name is sometimes given as Wainewright and he is often described as John II Wainwright. He exhibited at the British Institute and at the Royal Society of British Artists from an address at Hemmings Row, London, in 1861 and Cottage Lane, Skerton, Lancaster in 1869. The Tate Gallery holds a fine example of his work.

Lewis Taylor Gibb fl.1920-1950

Photograph of a painting by Lewis Taylor Gibb.


Oil on panel, 16 x 12 inches
Signed by the artist on label verso
Title inscribed verso on original label
Also inscribed verso with title and artist details

Hamilton Estate, County Fermanagh;
Thence by descent to current owner
Price GB£1,350

This is almost certainly a view near Dedham in Northeast Essex. The painting bears a remarkably close resemblance to Gibb’s The Stour near Dedham, Leighton House Museum, London.

Gibb was a frequent exhibitor at the Royal Hibernian Academy between the years 1928 and 1935. Occasional still lifes appear but he was primarily a landscape painter. Some of his RHA paintings have titles related to the current example; e.g., a work from 1930 entitled Autumn. Like most artists of his generation, he was a painter of the seasons. Apart from these seasonal landscapes, which included titles such as Passing Showers and September, he also painted farmyard scenes, moorland, mountains views and fine pastoral scenes. He also exhibited at the Royal Academy; at the Paris Salon; and many other leading venues. Shortly after this work was painted, he moved to Essex and set up his Holm Croft studio in West Mersea, near Colchester, where he found ample inspiration for his compositions. Little is known about his life and he joins many other fine artists from this period waiting to be discovered.


NB: The three paintings below are no longer for sale and will be posted to another page shortly.

Max Beckmann 1884 – 1950

 Photograph of a painting by the German Expressionist, Max Beckmann.                                     
                                                                              Photo Kroon Amsterdam

Woman with Red Rooster

Oil on canvas 55 x 95cm (22 x 38 inches)
Signed by the artist and dated 1941

Provenance: The artist’s Studio;
Galerie Karl Bucholz, Berlin;
Private collection, Europe

Exhibited: Seurmondt Museum, Aachen: 1967;
Zurich, Thomas Ammann Fine Art, 1992;
Jerusalem, Israel Museum, 1998-1999;
Tokyo, Nagoya Aichi Museum, 2001;
London, Royal Academy, 2002

Literature: Lothar Gunther Buchheim, 1959;
Ernst Gunther Grimme, ‘Aacchener Kunstblatter’, 1966;
Seurmondt Museum, Aachen, 1970;
Eberhard and Barbara Gopel, Catalogue of Works, Berne, 1976, no.586

In the catalogue note to the Royal Academy exhibition in 2002, Masters of Colour, Dr. Tobia Bezzola raises a number of questions about the title of the painting and suggests that: “Although it appears as Woman with Red Rooster in the list of works and titles prepared by the artist himself, elsewhere he refers to it simply as ‘Woman with Bird’. Indeed, it is difficult to identify the bird perched on the right hand of the resting woman as a rooster. Its small size alone gives rise to doubt, and the feather crown is suggestive rather of an exotic bird of paradise, a bird that would seem more appropriate to the scene. The rooster is more likely to be found on a farm, and certainly appears quite out of place in this luxurious interior.” 

Bezzola is indeed correct in pointing out that this is not a farmyard rooster. However, he does not allow for Beckmann’s renowned wit and powerful ability to play with words. The title may simply refer to the fact that the bird is roosting on the girl’s hand and Beckmann takes the opportunity to link this with the fabled red rooster. The bird does not fit with any particular species and represents, as Bezzola suggests, the exotic ambiance of the harem where colourful birds of this type were common. Beckmann may have been inspired to paint the work as a reaction to the looting of Matisse’s Odalisque from Paul Rosenberg in 1941. The model appears to be his second wife, Quappi, although there is no great attempt to represent her features with any degree of fine detail.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 1880 - 1938

Photograph of a painting by the German Expressionist, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner.
                                                                              Photo Kroon Amsterdam

Between Women
(Tanz Zwischen Frauen II)

Oil on canvas 150 x 150 cm.
Signed by the artist 1919 / 1926
Studio Inventory Stamp verso: KN-Da/Bg1

Provenance: The Kirchner Estate;
Private collection, Switzerland

Exhibited: Kirchner Museum, Davos, 1999-2000, ‘Farben sind die Freude des Lebens: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: Das Innere Bild’;
Folkwang Museum, Essen, 2000, ‘Farben sind die Freude des Lebens: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: Das Innere Bild’;
Kirchner Museum, Davos, 2003-2004, ‘Erna und Ernst Ludwig Kirchner - ein Künstlerpaar’.

Literature: Donald E. Gordon: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, catalogue raisonné, number 597;
Kirchner Archive III;
Thomas Röske, ‘Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: Tanz zwischen den Frauen’, Frankfurt am Main, 1993, illustrated p.13;
Colin Rhodes, ‘Expressionism Reassessed: The body and the dance’, Behr, Fanning and Jarman, Manchester University Press, 1994;
Sabine Welsch and Klaus Wolbert, ‘Die Darmstädter Sezession 1919-1997: Die Kunst des 20 Jahrhunderts im Spiegel einer Künstlervereinigung’, Darmstadt, 1997, with illustration;
Titia Hoffmeister, ‘Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: Der Tanz zwischen den Frauen’, G. 443, Werke der Brücke Künstler, Bestandskatalog Staatsgalerie moderner Kunst, München, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlung, 1999, pp.158-163, illustrated;
Mario-Andreas von Lüttichau and Roland Scotti (Hg.): ‘Farben sind die Freude des Lebens: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: Das Innere Bild’, exhibition catalogue, Davos 1999, illustrated p.49;
Hyang-Sook Kim, ‘Die Frauendarstellungen im Werk von Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: Verborgene Selbstbekenntnisse des Malers’, Marburg, 2002, illustrated p.107;
Wolfgang Henze, ‘Die Plastik Ernst Ludwig Kirchners’, Wichtracht and Bern, 2002, p.196, illustrated p.185;
Roland Scotti, ‘Erna und Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: ein Künstlerpaar’, Davos Museum Magazin vol. IV, Davos, 2003, illustrated p.36.

There is a tradition amongst Die Brücke scholars of putting names to the faces in the paintings, a custom which is frowned upon in certain quarters, perhaps in the belief that this bourgeois mindset would have been shunned by the artists themselves. However, there are occasions when this is difficult to avoid and such is the case in the present work. It is generally accepted that the central figure is a self-portrait of Kirchner and that the figure to the right is his lifetime partner, Erna Schilling. His first girlfriend, Doris Grosse, stands to the left although her features are not as identifiable as those of Erna.

As the title suggests, the work has traditionally been regarded as a simple dance scene, related to the many drawings and paintings Kirchner did on the theme. It was a subject that interested not only Kirchner, but also his fellow artists in Die Brücke as it gave them the opportunity to study the human form in movement rather than the traditional static pose. Inspiration also came from the fact that many of the wives and girlfriends of the Brücke artists were dancers, including Doris and Erna.

The painting is related to two earlier works, Tanzschule, (Pinakothek, Munich) painted in 1914 and Der Tanz Zwischen den Frauen, (Pinakothek, Munich) painted in 1915. It appears that the significance of these works may have been underestimated although the symbolism of the latter was recognised by Colin Rhodes in his essay on Kirchner where he describes: “the artist’s sense of being suspended between an irrevocably lost past and a portentous present”.

When these paintings are viewed together, there is little doubt that they are related and that they are not straightforward dance studies. It is clear from Der Tanz Zwischen den Frauen that the woman who stands behind Kirchner is distressed and agitated, which is obvious from her facial expression and her body language. She leans forward in an aggressive manner, her eyes bulging as she gesticulates with her left hand raised in the air. She displays the demeanor of one who is grief stricken. Kirchner turns his back on her and moves away as he shuns her with both hands. He appears numb and ashen faced as he stares into the distance. Erna stands to the side, upright and motionless; she is not involved in the altercation. She has a quizzical, patient look on her face. This suggests that the scene being played out is Kirchner’s rejection of his first love, Doris Grosse and, perhaps symbolically, his other lovers, at the demand of Erna.

The theme is carried forward to the current work, painted about four years later. However, in this version, the rejected lover in the background is less animated. She is older and looks more resigned. She appears to beckon Kirchner back with her raised hand. Kirchner no longer stares into the abyss and, instead of his distressed appearance, he looks assured and confident. He moves towards Erna and looks straight into her eyes. She now takes an active part in the drama and moves towards Kirchner although her demeanor suggests she is not fully convinced of his loyalty, her arms only partially opened in welcome. It may be that the painting is an attempt by Kirchner to exorcise the ghost of Dodo as there is no doubt that by the time he painted this work, more than eight years after they separated, he was still obsessed with her. In a diary entry dated 5th July, 1919, the same year as this painting; Kirchner renews his great love for her and goes on to state: “I know that you think of me sometimes; we have both known happiness and anguish.”

Both of these versions may have been preceded in 1914 by Tanzschule, although it has been suggested that Der Tanz Zwischen den Frauen may also date to this year. This may be further strengthened by a drypoint engraving, The Dance, (Allen Memorial Museum, Oberlin College, USA) if the 1914 date given to this work can be relied upon. A mirror image of the miniscule print follows the detail of the Munich drawing in almost every aspect. In any event, Tanzschule appears to be another painting where the dance theme may take second place to a self portrait of Kirchner torn between two women. In this version, Kirchner portrays himself as a Harlequin and poses himself on a circus-like round mat, perhaps in case his costume was not distinctive enough to portray him as a clown. He wears no make up, which may be an attempt to show himself to the world not just as a fool, but as a very unhappy fool. And the reason for his unhappiness is there for all to see. The woman who sits on the bench leans towards him and beckons him to sit down and join her. Beside them, another woman dances as an exotic bird might do in a mating ritual in an attempt to lure the unfortunate Kirchner away. The features of both women are close enough to suggest that they also represent Doris and Erna.
                                                                                                                                                                            Dominic Milmo-Penny


Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 1880-1938

Photograph of a painting by the German Expressionist,Ernst Ludwig Kirchner.   
                                                                              Photo Kroon Amsterdam

Two Nudes above a Lake

Oil on canvas 120 x 80 cm.
Official stamp verso KN-Da/Bf2

Provenance: The Kirchner Estate;
Private collection, Switzerland

Exhibited: Galerie Ludwig Schames, Frankfurt, Exhibition of Paintings by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, March 1919, number 25.

Literature: Donald E. Gordon, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, catalogue raisonné, number 667;
Kirchner Archive III, page 164;
Hyan-Sook Kim, ‘Die Frauendarstellungen im Werk von Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: Verborgene Selbstbekenntnisse des Malers’, Marburg, 2002, illustrated p.111.

The style and manner of this painting places it firmly in the years between 1909 and 1911. The work is closely related to Akte an der Sonne, Moritzburg, painted in 1910. Both canvases appear to have been painted from about the same height above the lake and perhaps even from the same spot. Other similarities include the broad manner in which the trees are handled; the colouring and general mood of the composition. Bathers at Moritzburg, 1909, is another related work, which shows a group of bathers at the water’s edge. The setting is the Moritzburg Lakes, which surround the picturesque Castle of the same name just a short distance outside Dresden. Between 1907 and 1911, Kirchner spent the summer months at Moritzburg, usually in the company of Erich Heckel. They lodged in the local inns and were often joined by other members of Die Brücke and their followers for excursions to the lakes where they spent the days picnicking, bathing and painting.

Kirchner was preoccupied with the study of the nude in the open air at this time. However, the stark simplicity of the present painting also demonstrates many of the core values of Kirchner’s approach to painting. The figures are depicted in a wonderful combination of lemon yellow, pink and orange without the use of an outline. The vibrancy of these colours is heightened by setting them against the deep blues and rich crimsons of the background, a technique which Kirchner regularly employed. Specks of pure white from the ground layers remain visible, which gives the painting an added sparkle. The overall impression is one of great spontaneity with absolutely no attempt made to prettify the painting or interfere with the powerful alla prima credentials of the canvas.
                                                                                                                                                                                       Dominic Milmo-Penny



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