niemeyer’s AHA! events - by tradition current

— May 2023 —

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MAY niemeyer’s monthly Oh là là! events 2023

“ To spiritualize everything that is optically visible
and translate it into the sphere of the visionarily seen’
that meant the
the accomplishment of the program of modern expressionism ,
among whose most persuasive evangelists

J. F. W. Herbst, Scorpio

Color plate engraving from J. F. W. Herbst. Naturgeschichte der Skorpionen. Berlin 1800. – Nissen ZBI, 1895.

[ The Scorpio Master ]

reckons. «

So Hans Vollmer

— as grandson/brother
of painters Johannes & Erwin Vollmer dyed-in-the-wool connoisseur —

1923 in Thieme-Becker XVI, 211 f.


(or provisional names) were given to visual artists — painters, illuminators, sculptors, wood carvers etc. — from already ancient tradition in/from mediaeval times, occasionally also Renaissance and Baroque, who are not or not for certain known. Formed by means of one of their works or typical stylistic features.

“ Partly their notnames may seem a little odd, when for instance there is a Master of the Unruly Children, however, they are binding in art history. However, the position of the term Master usually is facultative. So Master of the Housebook and Housebook Master are synonymous designations and are used equally in art history ” (German Wikipedia, December 28, 2022).

After one of their works or typical stylistic features. Beyond the ignorable average. And by now long general binding certitude of name anyway.

But the tables can be turned.

Where only the name matters, not quality and stylistic features. And in such a way had Jacob Burckhardt sum up by lecture of February 21, 1881

“ The hunting for famous names has considerable drawbacks anyway; it rather would be more correct to love the pictures for their beauty. ”

And by nature more sarcastically Beethoven:

“ ‘Look, my dear Ries! These are the great connoisseurs who affect to be able to judge of any piece of music so correctly and keenly.

Give them but the name of their favorite; they need no more’ ”

(Wegeler-Ries, Biographische Notizen über L. v. B., 1838, p. 90, here after Kerst I, 101 f.):

“ Beethoven arranged an engagement for me [his pupil Ferdinand Ries] as pianist with Count Browne … where for a group of enthusiastic Beethoven fans I frequently had to play Beethoven’s compositions in the evening, partly from the music, partly by heart. Here I became convinced that for most people the name alone is enough for them to find everything in a work beautiful and admirable, or mediocre and inferior. One day, tired of playing by heart, I played a march which I made up as I went along without giving it any further thought. An old countess … went into ecstasies over it, since she believed it to be something new by him. I readily went along with this idea, making fun both of her and the other enthusiasts. As ill luck would have it, Beethoven came himself the next day … When on the evening … he hardly entered the room, the old crone immediately started to talk about the exceedingly brilliant, splendid march … ‘Give them but the name of their favorite …’

“ This march, incidentally, did have the positive result that Count Browne immediately commissioned from Beethoven the composition of even three marches for four hands, which were dedicated to the Princess Esterhazy (op. 45). ”

Not different and across time in painting. Too frequently, too manifold. On all levels. Cud-chewing what other à jourers have chewed for. Until a Vermeer van Delft (1632-1675; his The Procuress “the perfectly mature masterpiece of a 24-years-old [Scorpio]”) after all, or as the case be again as well, is catapulted (back) into the ring.

At which melange 70 years professional experience bestows the master in resurrection of former above name creation with a notname. Characterizing the work not via person, rather the latter by his work. With the result of an old new, merely scrutinized

Franz Heckendorf

* 5 November 1888
in Schöneberg next Berlin
as scorpio-born son
Franz Heckendorf, House in the Park (detail)
of an architect
† 17 August 1962 in Munich

“ Heckendorf’s artistic rise stood under a lucky star.

Nobody’s pupil,
left to his own cultivation of all [here 1921] the dormant qualities within,

Franz Heckendorf, Faceless Couple (detail)

he showed already at the age of 18 or 20 years two street pictures at the Berlin Secession which still stood under the impression of the impressionist manner of painting. ”

So Joachim Kirchner 1919 in Franz Heckendorf and Hans Vollmer 1923 in Thieme-Becker resp.

And with reference to Kirchner’s street figures, generations later Peter Bürgershall speak of “mask-like simpified lineaments” as expression of “a general unrelatedness” (Flaneure überdehnen die Stadt … Kirchner und der Manierismus, FAZ Juli 23, 2001). But already Hogarth made use of this stylistic method of in the end Biblical origin by way of “Times I” (1762) in the person of Lord Temple, that is not to make a picture, just as likewise the children of orthodox Mennonites play with faceless puppets.

“ Pupil of the instruction class of the Berlin Museum of Applied Arts and the Acad., but essentially autodidact [as the contemporaries Heckel + E. L. Kirchner, too, and like these starting from impressionism]. One of the most talented exponents of the young generation of German artists, whose personal style found its most mature expression till now in his landscapes filled by an enormous dynamic of pictorial execution … Coping with all techniques and an exceedingly easily producing talent … besides oil painting H. applies himself to pastel, watercolor, and lithography … « (Vollmer 1923 as before).

“ … never stemmed lust for work and an immense diligence … ”

So as a quite essential characteristic of this master

1924 Joachim Kirchner
in Neue Bilder von Franz Heckendorf within Biermann’s Jahrbuch der jungen Kunst 1924, pp. 190 ff.

“ No one else [but the Scorpio]

has this uncompromising, downright fierce will for work ”

1959 V. M. von Winter
in Die Menschentypen — Die Psychologie der Tierkreiszeichen, Ffm., Ullstein, 1959, pp. 133 ff.

Reflected then also by the opus of the Scorpio Master Heckendorf, paired to the opinion here with the artisanal accuracy of a can’t-help-it-at-all as frequently appertains to such type. Shades of scorpio brother and almost age companion Picasso. In this regard recollected here particularly the 100-plate Suite Vollard with its “grandiosely simplified” (Hans Bolliger) portrait Vollard III traded here at an early stage and then … Then of course the 87-years-old (! I) 347 (! II) etchings to the subject The Painter and His Model as his “supposedly most scandalous work”, so he himself, downright spit out from March to October 1968. The advertisement here for its 1971 book reproduction PICASSO 347 ran here as “An EXAMPLE OF UNBELIEVABLE DILIGENCE in our time”.

Decelerated such can’t-help-it-at-all for Heckendorf by dark years. Like his kind already at the beginning imposed with exhibition ban, removal, sale and burning of the works in the National Gallery and Berlin public property followed in 1937, 1940 the expulsion from the Reichskammer der Bildenden Künste and 1943 even quite different, profoundly personal hardship, ultimately grown from the zodiac sign of the Scorpio and by von Winter, see above, spelled out as following:

“ He can stand by the man in need –

it is the support of a great fighter of unprecedented courage … ”

Here, too, the can’t-help-it-at-all, the Scorpio brother’s Luther Here I stand …:

“ A further rescuing network of refugee smuggling emerged around the art painter and proprietor of a gallery, Franz Heckendorf … in Berlin. He had many Jewish acquaintances to whom he again and again suggested to leave Germany … False identity cards were made and escape routes [to Switzerland] prepared … [and tested] in the disguise of ramblers … The first refugees were Kurt and Hilda Schüler from Berlin. Approximately further 20 to 80 persons followed … In February 1943 this refugee smuggling network was busted after Heckendorf … [was presumably set up]. Four of the refugee smugglers were sentenced to penal servitude and high fines by the Special Court Freiburg (Breisgau) … ” (Hauss, see Literature).

With 10 years Heckendorf was sentenced the maximum penalty, by which an obviously sympathetic court, shifting actual responsibility to foreign Jewish wire-pullers, thwarted the death penalty requested by the public prosecutor. Just as then in the course of the jail stations good people, not self-proclaimed “do-gooders”, helped when the physical strength were on the verge of ruin. Right to the end ultimately even concentration camp Mauthausen.

The way back – although merely as one of the lost generation

(Rainer Zimmermann) – was paved by professorship at the Vienna Academy and teaching in Salzburg. From 1950 then settled down in Munich. And leaving behind an œuvre in which, even though not yet again ex cathedra,

the connoisseur is promised what erstwhile already had been certainty:

“ The leading role [Heckendorf] took already at the beginning of his career among the same-aged colleagues remained with him, and it supposedly means a general acknowledgement of his skill when this year he was represented

along with the most eminent names of the world of German painters

with several works on the international art exhibition in Rome ”

(Joachim Kirchner in Jahrbuch der jungen Kunst 1924, p. 190).

From those Early Days Hundred Years ago then the 33-years-old

House in the Park with Couple

Villa with attic in the saddleback, to whose entrance fronted with wintergarden on the left steps lead up. Coming in the direction of the beholder a couple. Oil on canvas. Inscribed lower right:

F. Heckendorf (19)21

F. Heckendorf (19)21. 23⅝ × 27¾ in (60 × 70,5 cm).

In 3-piece wooden frame painted grey and black in replication of such one of a further Heckendorf here worked presumably by the artist himself.

Heckendorf-glowing magnum opus

in dominating deep green before an equally blue sky

with the roof of the house kept in Terra di Siena whose light ochre front side corresponds with the meandering path. From the group of Houses in the Park documented here for the years 1919-1928, close to, besides others, E. L. Kirchner’s chronologically previous paintings House below Trees / Fehmarn of 1912 (figured in Berlin in 1917 in the exhibition of the Free Secession), Staberhof Farm / Fehmarn of 1913, Villas in Königstein / Taunus, 1915/16, Villa Portius, Dresden (watercolor over pencil), Mountain Wood with Cabins (pen + brush about 1918). Applicable also the woodcut Weather Firs (1919) with its heavy green-blue and the ochre colored paths with their small figures typical for Kirchner and expressionism otherwise, too, just as the couple here with Heckendorf, whose intense colors here also determine i. a. Holy Family on the Flight of the same year.

Heckendorf’s own Villa-Park complex here documented for the early period

by 1919 (oil, 39⅜ × 31½ in [100 × 80 cm]) whose line of slender trees flanking the path to the house interrupted by four steps we meet again in 1928 – 1921 (present peainting) – 1922 (pastel, 26 × 18½ in [66 × 47 cm]) – 1923 (supposedly oil; ill. in Jahrbuch der jungen Kunst 1924, p. 191) – 1925 (watercolor & tempera, 11⅝ × 11¼ in [29.5 × 28.5 cm]; again with tight leafy trees as foreground and the façade in light ochre) – the undated Half-timbered House in the Park (oil, 14¾ × 19¼ in [37.5 × 49 cm]) – the undated Three Women in the Garden before a Villa (oil, 10¾ × 17¾ in [35 × 45 cm]). Supplementable, without house, the watercolor Trees from 1928 (16⅛ × 12¼ in [41 × 31 cm]) with the ochre colored path lined by the already mentioned slender trees and whose play of lights and shades quotes that of the painting from 1921 here though reminds in its formality altogether as impressionistic reminiscence of pictures by Manet, e. g. his Landscape in Rueil from 1882 in the Munich exhibition of 1997 Manet bis van Gogh — Hugo von Tschudi und der Kampf um die Moderne (no. 21 & pp. 84 f. of the catalog). – Irrespective of all independence it seems conceivable that Heckendorf varied the same object in each case.

Franz Heckendorf, House in the Park

In such a way the work here the probably second earliest and arguably together with the one of 1923

the finest & most accomplished

of this intimate–quiet group of works,

exemplary beyond Heckendorf for the landscape in the painting of expressionism in general.

Jawlensky’s programmatic

“ to translate nature into colors
congruously to my glowing soul ”

stands implicitly also above the present Heckendorf.

In which figurations, so applied, are subordinated consciously-visibly by (non)faces devoid of contours as quite characteristic for him and as here, too. For “ to spiritualize everything that is optically visible … ”, see above Hans Vollmer.

And more recently in the 1985 Catalog Hagemeier Horst Ludwig – see literature – speeks by means of a 1958 Southern Landscape with Sailing-Boats of the “tendency of excessive nature” :

“ Here also [unalteredly] the claim to describe purely and barely what urged the artist to his work as already raised in the program of the ‘Bridge Artists’ in 1906 becomes recognizable: the own vision that first linked itself to the landscape though not following it purely imitatively.

“ With [again unalteredly] passionate brushstrokes that remain visible as such and are used artistically, with impastoed color application so that a vivid surface of the painting appears the southern painting is visualized … The colors themselves are also set harshly against each other, almost purely toned they are applied with a comparatively thick brush and remain linked with the trace of it so that the composition clearly consists of these stroke positions. ”

And quoting Joachim Kirchner (1919) on the line,

“ ‘The line as the nerve of the composition, as the very own writing of the will carried by a powerful spirituality might be rated as the most singular of Heckendorf’s expressionism. As brutal and harsh the language of his lineation often seems to be, so always it is full of soul, its strong impulse reveals the inner tension, the restrained excitement by which the artist works at the intellectual penetration of the object. As sustainer of the whole rhythm of the picture is finally gets an important function in the structure of the whole of the image.’ «

But already 1924, cf. above, Kirchner finds himself compelled to relativate the corset of lines in favor of a growing “need for luminous, colorful effects [and] the strange happened:

The coloristic moment became the main point,

percolated in infinitely manyfold, jubilating sounds

through the whole image area …

just as everything he paints is impregnated by the one and only sensation: to give all of himself by the color alone. One cannot say that by this shift of the focus from the line to the color the artist now stands before us entirely new and different … The intensity of expression of personality has lost nothing by this transition, only the base of its effect shifted.

The power of the linear vision is followed by the power of coloristic effects. ”

“ Overlooking Heckendorf’s creation from several decades the vehemence by which he, emanating from the art of the turn of the century, developed his own pictorial language and … kept … For Heckendorf the object always remained priority though formally heightened and coloristically alienated ” (Horst Ludwig 1985, cf. Literature).

And in the 1991 exhibition catalog Symphonie der Farbe Rainer Zimmermann sums up

“ His pictures usually are an ingenious success and not the result of long toils. ”

And 2010 the Allgemeine Künstler-Lexikon categorically:

“ The brushwork is restless, the colorfulness both earthy with few colorful emphases and [also] strong, glowing and of penetrating force: atmospheric easiness and colorful fluffiness in the meaning of pure impressionism is missing in these works. Already about 1910 expressionist traits … make themselves felt, which about 1912, attended with a dynamic-spirited duct of the outlines, arrive at a growing manifestation. ”

Franz Heckendorf, House in the Park (with frame)


Thieme-Becker XVI (1923), 211 f.; Vollmer II (1955), 400; AKL LXX (2011), 513 f.

Kestner-Museum Hannover, Kataloge der Sonderausstellungen XVII, 1918; Joachim Kirchner, Franz Heckendorf, 1919, + Neue Bilder von Franz Heckendorf in Biermann (Hrsg.), Jahrbuch der jungen Kunst 1924, 190 ff.; Cicerone, vols. 1912-1928, here particularly XVI (1924), 802 f.; Feuer II, 1 (1920/21), 195-202; Franz Heckendorf, Catalog of the Special Exhibition Gallery Hagemeier, Frankfort/Main, 1985; Symphonie in Farbe, exhibition catalog of Kunstfreunde Bergstraße, 1991; Rainer Zimmermann, Expressiver Realismus / Malerei der verschollenen Generation, 1994, 384.

Gisela Hauss (ed.), Migration, Flucht und Exil im Spiegel der Sozialen Arbeit, 2010, 192 f.; Winfried Meyer, NS-Justiz gegen Judenhelfer: “Vernichtung durch Arbeit” statt Todesstrafe. Das Urteil des Sondergerichts Freiburg i. Br. gegen den Berliner Maler Franz Heckendorf und seine Vollstreckung. In: Wolfgang Benz (ed.), Jahrbuch für Antisemitismusforschung XIX, 2010, 331-362.

Offer no. 28,823 | EUR 140000. | export price EUR 133000. (c. US$ 142988.) + shipping

“ At long last

for all the numerous counselors and connoisseurs

I had to make the selection [ myself ] … ”

A. Paul Weber by letter of June 3, 1956 to a female art collector

Indeed , Indeed . For

“ Art is subjective. There is no use of counsel.

For this is subjective, too ”

Norbert A. Platt

as former Chairman of the luxury goods group

Richemont S.A., Geneva, on occasion of an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The Power of Colors and the Deeply Staggered Nature

1925 the Scorpio Master experiences Tenerife pure

Franz Heckendorf, Tenerife

as little known Destination of his Early Study Tours

Watercolor over traces of black chalk. Inscribed in the latter below left: F. Heckendorf (19)25. and on the back in pencil in kurrent: Landsch. auf Tenerife. 15¾ × 19⅝ in (40 × 49,8 cm).

While on the road working but in watercolor and sketching, the execution in oil only followed in the studio from confident memory. His watercolors therefore of ultimate local originality.

Offer no. 29,135 | EUR 9700. | export price EUR 9215. (c. US$ 9907.) + shipping

“ The greatest Cézanne

in the exhibition [at the Metropolitan]

is the wonderful figure of the boy in gray.

[My adviser, the painter] Augustus John

cost me that painting.

In 1909 or 1910 Vollard offered it to me for 50,000 francs.

It is worth $ 40,000 today if it is worth a cent.

I was inclined to buy it,

went to see it in Vollard’s establishment two or three times,

but John shrugged his shoulders and said,

‘It’s a very empty thing and I don’t think you want it.’

That isn’t the only bit of bad advice

that John gave me ”

John Quinn

by letter of May 24, 1921 to Cornelius Sullivan

per John Rewald in The Paintings of Paul Cézanne,

New York, Abrams, 1996, vol. I, no. 555.

  1. Johannes Jahn. Wörterbuch der Kunst. 5th ed. 1957. Page 714.