niemeyer’s AHA! events - by tradition current

— October 2022 —

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To the 100th Anniversary of Publication

The Dioscuri Taming Horses
Arthur Grunenberg, Rossebändiger (Horse Tamer)
by Arthur Grunenberg

Königsberg 1880 – Bad Reichenhall 1952

Rossebändiger (Horse Tamer). Suite of lithographed title and

11 (instead of 12) chalk lithographs

(7⅛-9¼ × 8½-10⅝ in [18-23.5 × 21.5-27 cm]), 10 of which inscribed below right in pencil: A. Grunenberg. (Berlin, Wasmuth, 1922.) With lithographed written sheet contents. In orig. h. vellum portfolio (13¼ × 16⅞ in [33.5 × 43 cm]) with lithographed ill. front cover together with title & author.

AKL LXIII (2009), 471 f.; Thieme-Becker XV (1922), 146; Vollmer II (1955), 325. – Exhibitions: Kunstsalon J. Casper, Berlin, May 1914 & Galerie Arnold, Dresden, March 1927.

Arthur Grunenberg, Restive Horses
Restive Horses

One of 40 copies on untrimmed thin Japan and, lithographed title and contents sheet, Japan vélin resp.

1. Dioscuri (first sketch) – 2. Dioscuri (second sketch) – 3. Absalom – 4. Peering Amazon – 5. Stricken Amazon – 6. Stallion Taming – 7. Horse Tamer (replaced, see below, and therefore not signed) – 8. Restive Horses – 9. Bolting Stallions – 10. Bolting Stallion – 11. The Tamed Stallion (inadvertently not signed) – 12. Morning Ride.

Arthur Grunenberg, Peering Amazon
Peering Amazon

Without sheet 7, “Horse Tamer” for which the supposedly identical, which itself is not the same as the front cover illustration, was trimmed with loss of publisher’s address and presumably numbering – known here a copy once on the market numbered “XXIII/40”, missing on its part the lithographed contents sheet – to the smaller format of the suite itself, consequently it was not mounted under boards either. The latter original passepartouts, not always fitting anyway and regarded as responsible for isolated trifling foxspots in the mostly white field (only sheet 4 generally slightly touched), were replaced by foil-protected mounting on acid-free light cardboard. – The portfolio foxspotted, but scarcely on the front cover with its fine large representation (6⅛ × 5⅛ in [15.5 × 13 cm]) between the writing in chalk.

The splendid suite

Arthur Grunenberg, Bolting Stallion

in its unheard of palpable speed of movement

present in impressions of deep black, due to the edition of great rarity – so then also not in the hippological Sarazin Collection, Basel, covering 1527 till 1930 and dissolved 1999 – , as reverence by the artistically so singularly brilliant early German 20th century to milleniums-old equestrian culture, exemplified by the opening sheets of dioscuri (“Sons of Zeus”) & Absalom (son of David). Just as the set as a whole directly follows the 1921 painting

Arthur Grunenberg, Bolting Stallions

“ The Dioscuri taming the Horses ”,

that is Castor & Pollux, the latter according to one of the traditions set by

“ Zeus onto the sky as a reward for their brotherly love … as Gemini or as morning and evening star … Polydeukes (Pollux) is distinguished as pugilist,

Arthur Grunenberg, Dioscuri 2

Castor chiefly as horse tamer ;

but both also appear as horsemen or as driver …

“ The arts used to depict the dioscuri as nobly formed hero youths of slender, but strong built … Usually they are formed naked (all just as here, too) or dressed just with a light chlamys. Almost always they appear in connection with their horses, and that standing beside them, rarely as riders ”

(Meyers Konversations-Lexikon, 4th ed., IV, 1001 f.).

The Absalom scene quotes the moment when during the armed conflict with King David with deadly consequence the former was “stopped by his long hair by a terebinth (Pistacia terebinthus, turpentine tree)” (op. cit. I, 54).

Arthur Grunenberg, Stricken Amazon
Stricken Amazon

Grunenberg, “painter and engraver … devoted himself after legal studies at the suggestion of F. von Lenbach to the art … especially depictions of dance and rhythmically animated youthful figures … recently he also paints highly colorful flower pieces and monumentally animated group compositions like ‘Dioscuri taming the Horses’ … Besides comprehensive graphic activity” (Thieme-Becker).

And Vollmer supplementing:

Arthur Grunenberg, The Tamed Stallion
The Tamed Stallion

“ Preferred as motifs the rider and the dancer and danseuse resp. Uses mostly red chalk or chalk.

Excellent portraitist of the horse in motion ”

The latter then here fascinating up to the final sheet, the back scene of the morning ride whose rider is accompanied by two runners.

A unique composition of bodily animation

Arthur Grunenberg, Morning Ride

embraced by the motion of flat-like trees:

“ After c. 1905 G. takes up motifs of animated actions, including horses, horsewomen and horsemen, fencers, tennis and polo players, as well as archers. To this end he does free idealistic compositions: Pageant of Bacchants; Ronde (two versions 1911, ’18);

The Dioscuri Taming Horses (1921) … ”

(AKL LXIII [2009], 471 f.; emphasis not in the original).

Offer no. 15,145 | EUR 2000. | export price EUR 1900. (c. US$ 1817.) + shipping

Arthur Grunenberg, Stallion Taming
Stallion Taming