Description: JOSEF ALBERT BENKERT
oil on canvas, initialed, dated and inscribed illegibly upper right "JAB '21"
31 x 37 inches
Provenance: Private Collection, Bamburg, Germany; Senger Bamberg Kunsthandel, Bamberg, Germany; Private Collection, Connecticut.
Other Notes: Expressionism took hold in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century influenced by the work of Post-Impressionists like Vincent Van Gogh, Edvard Munch and James Ensor. Expressionist paintings originated from within the artist rather than representations of the external world. Bright colors and heavy brushwork conveyed internal emotions and anxieties that were a reaction to rapid urbanization.
In Germany, the Die Brücke group was formed in Dresden in 1905 and is seen as the origin of German Expressionism. The name, translated to "the bridge," indicates a bridge from the past to the present. Founded by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Fritz Bleyl, Erich Heckel and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. Works by these artists are characterized by unnatural, strong colors that are meant to jolt the viewer and evoke an emotional response.
The influence of Die Brücke on Benkert is immediately apparent in the Self-Portrait offered here. Benkert's early paintings, including this work, exhibit a dynamic, enervated energy reminiscent of Van Gogh, through his use of expressive means such as elongated forms and strong application of paint. In 1922, Benkert's works were included in an exhibition of Expressionist art organized by Anton Rauh that included works by German Expressionist artists Heinrich Campendonk, Erich Heckel, Paul Klee and Die Brücke members, Schmidt-Rottluff and Max Pechstein.
In Berlin, Benkert counted members of Die Brücke including Schmidt-Rottluff and Emil Nolde and noted Expressionists Ernst Barlach, James Ensor as his friends. Together with Philipp Schreiber, Stermann and Wedemann, Benkert founded "Der Norden" a successor organization to "Die Brücke." Benkert work was exhibited internationally including in a show in Oslo of German Contemporary Art.
Until 1934 Benkert's paintings were shown in exhibitions alongside those of Ernst Barlach, Pechstein, Heckel, Wilhelm Lehmbruck, Auguste Macke, Franz Marc, Otto Mueller, Emil Nolde, and Schmitt-Rottluff.
After 1934 modern art exhibitions were banned. Benkert's works were shown alongside his contemporaries in the famed "Degenerative Art" exhibition where they were subsequently burned publicly. This painting is a rare survivor of the mass destruction of modern art in Europe.
tags: Expressionist, Expressionism, European, portrait, oil painting, 20th century
Condition: Canvas: Unlined
Condition: Very Good
Restoration: Very Minor
Framed dimensions - 32 3/4 x 38 7/8 x 2 7/8 inches
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Shannon's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. Frames on all paintings are sold "As Is". Frames may need some conservation.
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