An officer from Duisburg brings an extraordinary picture to “Bares for Rares”. The artist says nothing to Horst Lichter – but the expertise brings out a real sensation.
“Detlev, not that there is any trouble, you are dismantling something here that does not belong to us,” exclaims “Cash for rares“-Moderator Horst lights from when he sees expert Detlev Kümmel dismantling a painting into its individual parts. “You can’t do that – for God’s sake! I’ll protect you now,” he says when Marlies Fischer joins the shop.
“He had to do that. I personally guarantee that it will come back together as it was afterwards,” assures her, and wants to know where she got the painting from. “The picture belongs to a friend who is a little older. She got it from her father, but the picture is originally from her grandfather or great-grandfather,” says the 55-year-old.
Photo series with 25 pictures
Expert makes a sensational discovery
Lights speaks to the picture right away. “Somebody did that relatively quickly, but he knew exactly what he wanted to do. I particularly like the colors,” he says. “You have just briefly enumerated the goal of an art movement called Expressionism. Expressionism picks up a mood in a very short time,” replies Kümmel. Spurred on by the praise, Lichter continues his analysis: “When I look at it like that, I see a young woman who is swimming in a lake. She is fine, she feels unobserved and you are the observer as the sighted.”
Caraway cannot contradict him. “You have actually already explained everything, I don’t need to say anything more. The painter was really excellent. The picture is called: ‘Young woman bathing behind a forked tree on Fehmarn’,” he adds. The painter Otto Mueller had been to Fehmarn more often and had chosen a cursory perspective for this picture, so that one had the impression that the woman did not know that she was being painted.
“Everything that is black is the actual motif. Otto Mueller made this as a chalk lithograph. There are between 15 and 20 uncounted sheets of them – uncounted because they have not been numbered,” the expert knows. With this picture Otto Mueller did something special. “He also applied the paint,” explains Kümmel. “Now you could possibly come to the conclusion that someone bought the lithograph and then said to his niece: ‘Put that out,'” he adds. But that’s why he looked carefully at the beginning and took the picture apart.
“Otto Mueller’s signature is drawn up in pencil and if I were to walk over a pencil with a wet watercolor brush it would blur. Here you can clearly see that he signed afterwards,” confirms Kümmel. Lichter is a bit amazed at the expertise. “I’m honest: Otto Mueller is not the name for me now. As a painter, I heard this for the first time in my life. But since I notice the passion with which you talk about it, this painter must be very famous. ”
Sensational price makes saleswoman cry
Caraway likes to explain to him. “At that time the Expressionists were united in the artist community ‘Brücke’. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Erich Heckel – all big names – were there. Otto Mueller, among others, was an integral part of the ‘Brücke artists’ “he knows. However, Mueller did not do many works. “Especially originals or unique objects are extremely rare to find. He is really a big name in the Expressionist field and we really have a great object in front of us,” says the expert.
The preliminary drawing for this lithograph was from around 1913, when Mueller was on Fehmarn with Kirchner and there they made some drawings and paintings. After researching the Internet beforehand, the seller’s desired price is 10,000 euros.
“If the sheet were only printed – without coloring – we would be at your request and well over 10,000 euros. Colored it is a unique piece – and I think we are here at 30,000 to 35,000 euros,” says Kümmel. “That’s crazy! I was so impressed by the blue for the time,” says Fischer and bursts into tears with joy.
Fabian Kahl buys the most expensive picture of the show
“You don’t have to cry! How I would love to hug you now,” says Lichter, who is visibly pleased. “Now I have to cry along with you, stop! It’s right. But when you come into the dealer room, don’t cry,” he says and hands her the dealer card. The experts also know directly what a rarity they have in front of them. “My heart is pounding! 5,000 euros is my first bid,” says auctioneer Wolfgang Pauritsch. “I would give you 10,000 euros,” replies antique dealer Fabian Kahl immediately. Jewelry dealer Susanne Steiger is also interested in the picture and finally offers 30,000 euros.
In the end, however, Kahl won the bid for 30,500 euros. The other dealers applaud him for this purchase. Since he doesn’t have that much money with him, he pays 2,000 euros and promises to transfer the rest. “Awesome! I love ‘Brücke’ artists and Otto Mueller is also the one I like the most. As if tailor-made for me,” he says happily. And Fischer is also more than satisfied. “I think my girlfriend bursts into tears when I tell her this. She won’t believe me. 30,500 euros – that’s really unbelievable.”
However, Kahl cannot yet fully grasp the purchase. “The fact that I just spent 30,500 euros on this painting feels awesome – for two reasons,” he says. “First of all, it’s 30,500 euros, but secondly, I bought a real Otto Mueller here that is even hand-colored – and it’s absolutely worth the money.” This makes the picture the third most expensive item that has changed hands in “Bares for Rares”. Only a diamond cross for 42,000 euros and a classic Borgward car for 35,000 euros were more expensive.