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Post-War & Contemporary Art / EMIL SCHUMACHER (1912-1999) Rotes Bild 1967

Lot 12
Rotes Bild
30 June 2022, 14:00 BST
London, New Bond Street

Sold for £88,500 inc. premium

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Rotes Bild

signed and dated 67
mixed media on canvas

100 by 80 cm.
39 3/8 by 31 1/2 in.



Galleria Henze, Campione d'Italia

IBM Collection, Stuttgart

Sale: Sotheby's, London, Contemporary Art Day Auction, 2017, Lot 181

Acquired directly from the above by the present owner


New York, The I.B.M. Gallery of Science and Art, 50 Years of Collecting: Art at I.B.M., 1989

Emil Schumacher has gained international acclaim for his championing of Abstract Expressionism in post-war Germany. Born in Hagen in 1912, Schumacher is widely recognised for his large-scale canvases loaded with swathes of bold primary colours intersected by sculpted black lines. In this sense, his body of work is comparable to Franz Kline's iconic abstractions. Indeed, Schumacher strove to denote a sense of pictorial representation within an abstract space.

Together with Heinrich Siepmann, Ernst Hermanns and Gustav Deppe, Schumacher founded the artist's association Junger Westen in 1947. Their intention was to restore the connections to modern art that were lost in Germany during the National Socialist era and to find their own forms of artistic expression rooted in the industrially shaped region of the Ruhr and Rhein. Like the other artists of Junger Westen, Schumacher made a new start after World War II, seeking out a new style in his work. He found it in the non-objective paintings of Art Informel and Tachisme, which had their origins in France and in American Action Painting. Schumacher embraced the change to abstract painting, in which colour emancipated itself as the object of painting. His liberation of colour from form, of lines from motif, the spontaneity of the act of painting, the prepared canvases, the penetration of painting into the third dimension and the application of additional materials such as sand, tin, tar and hair all came to define his artistic practice. He gained notoriety as one of the first German artists to pioneer this style. The present work, Rotes Bild from 1967, belongs to an iconic series of red pictures that the artist began in 1961 and showcases Schumacher's remarkable foray into this new style of abstraction. Swathes of red pigment, mixed with a fine sand or pumice are dragged across his canvas creating a sense of depth, further achieved by his signature thick black lines that transverse through the composition. It is a compelling example of Schumacher's interlocking of graphic gestures and painterly style.

Schumacher's life and career was long and prolific, with inclusion in prominent exhibitions such as the 1953 Venice Biennale, the 1963 São Paulo Art Biennial, and documenta III in 1963. He received a 1987 Order of Merit of North Rhine-Westphalia, and in 1998, the German government commissioned him for a mural in the renovated Reichstag building in Berlin. The Emil Schumacher Museum, dedicated to his life and work, was opened in the Kunstquartier complex of Hagen in 2009. Today his paintings remain highly sought-after by international collectors, solidifying his position among the most celebrated protagonists of post-war abstraction.

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