1901 – Dresden – 1958
”Mädchen mit rosa Hut”. 1925
Oil on cardboard. 70,4 × 50 cm. (27 ¾ × 19 ⅝ in.) Signed and dated lower left: Grundig 25. Catalogue raisonné: Bernhardt G 12. On the reverse: "Mann mit schwarzem langen Haar“. 1925 (?). Oil.  Framed
ProvenanceLea Grundig, Dresden / Ladengalerie, Berlin (acquired circa 1972 from Lea Grundig ) / Private Collection, Europe
EUR 100.000 – 150.000
USD 118,000 – 176,000
337,500 EUR (incl. premium)
ExhibitionHans Grundig. Ausstellung zum 70. Geburtstag. Berlin, Ladengalerie, 1971, cat. no. 4 / Wem gehört die Welt - Kunst and Gesellschaft in der Weimarer Republik. Berlin, Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst, Staatliche Kunsthalle, 1977, p. 343, cat. no. 139 , ill. / Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts aus Berliner Privatbesitz. Berlin, Akademie der Künste, organised by the Interessengemeinschaft Berliner Kunsthändler, 1978, p. 244, full-page colour ill. p. 27 / Memento mori. Hans Grundig 1901-1958. Ausstellung zum 80. Geburtstag. Gemälde, Zeichnungen, Radierungen, Fotos, Bücher. Berlin, Ladengalerie, 1981 (folded sheet) / Wem gehört die Welt – Kunst and Gesellschaft in der Weimarer Republik. Berlin, Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst, 1977, cat. no. 139, ill. p. 343 / Berlin - Im Schatten der zwanziger Jahre. Malerei und Grafik. Pfäffikon, Seedamm-Kulturzentrum, 1992, cat. no. 74 (dated: 1929) / Getroffen. Otto Dix und die Kunst des Porträts. Stuttgart, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, 2008, without no., ill. p. 301 / Magic Realism – Art in Weimar Germany 1919-33. London, Tate Modern, 2018/19, p. 108, ill. p. 56
A young woman sits directly opposite us and looks past our left shoulder with a serious gaze, seeming a bit distracted. Or is she just trying to adjust to the unusual situation that representation entails? The room is furnished in a decidedly Spartan way: In the left corner stands a bed, above it hangs a wall clock and, on the back wall on the right, a picture meant to give the dwelling a personal touch. The woman is dolled up in what is probably her best dress along with a chic cloche hat. Her dignified composure, which the painter captures in his sensitive portrait, is at least partially due to the sitter’s familiarity with the artist. She is not just any model, but Gerda Laube, Hans Grundig's companion at the time. He painted two more portraits of her in 1925: once in another half-length pose (Bernhardt G 9) and once as a sensual seductress in the work “Liebespaar” (Bernhardt G 13), which caused a scandal at the 1925 summer exhibition of the Dresdner Kunstverein.
This particular portrait of Gerda Laube already features the specific form of symbolic realism that Grundig favored, which never had the cutting, polemical edge that one associates with the so-called „Verists.“ The interior in which the sitter is presented to us is not meant to be a realistic habitat. Rather, its casually suggested sparseness serves to highlight the solemnity of the sitter's appearance. This room lacks a coherent sense of perspective, as do the objects depicted, what with their distorted proportions. The bed is tiny, the clock unreachable, and the picture a hint of the occupant’s cultural interests. As in “Schüler mit roter Mütze” (Grisebach Auction 319, Lot 12), a work also painted in 1925, Grundig's pictorial invention dispenses with any plausibility in terms of a central perspective. The painter is presenting this person in a manner that could frankly be described as being „not to her best advantage.“ The slightly bloodshot eyes, the asymmetrical mouth, and the robust nose combine to form an almost caricatured head that transcends conventional forms of representation. But it also reflects an understanding of people which preserves their unmistakable individual personality, regardless of their background or social position. MS
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