Erich Heckel - Herbstlandschaft (Autumnal Landscape), 1933

Tempera on hardboard

70 x 80 cm / framed 100 x 112 cm
27 x 31 inch / framed 39 x 44 inch

monogrammed bottom right, dated
signed, titled, dated verso

Cat. Rais. Hüneke No. 1933-16

– with handmade craftsman's frame –

N 8728

About the work

From an elevated viewpoint, the gaze is first guided to the narrow course of a river in the foreground and hills rising behind it, on which farmers are cultivating their fields. The densely staggered, full-image composition is concluded by the edge of a forest in the background to the right. The painting originated in connection with a trip that Heckel undertook in 1933 through the Palatine and landscapes along the Saar and Lahn rivers. The focus of interest of his design intention is on the wealth of forms and the colour facets of the autumn landscape. Stringent tectonics and a fixed pictorial order define the representation. Heckel’s pictorial language concentrates on the structures inherent to the landscape, emphasises the ornamental fabric of the opposed field zones and crests of hills. A clear rhythm permeates the appearance of the landscape and defines the overall system of the work. Dispensing with sculptural modelling, the topography is subordinated to a flat simplification and stylisation. The painting presents itself as a two-dimensionally structured arrangement of areas with a barely developed suggestion of spatial depth. In the subsuming of painterly spontaneity in favour of the contention with the formal structural features of the landscape, the painting is a typical and at the same time outstanding example of Heckel’s work of the 1930s. At the time of origin, the National Socialists had not yet decided their internal differences with regard to rejection or acceptance of the Expressionists. Only with the Degenerate Art defamation campaign, to which Heckel’s work also fell victim, was the end of modernity sealed in 1937. The painting was only seen publicly for the first time in 1934 in the solo exhibition of the Ferdinand Möller gallery in Berlin. In 1935, Heckel chose it as a current example for his exhibition in the Kestner Gesellschaft in Hannover. Following this, the Herbstlandschaft (Autumn Landscape) was first shown again in an exhibition in Munich and Berlin in 1983.

Text authored and provided by Dr. Andreas Gabelmann, Art Historian

Dr. Andreas Gabelmann, art historian, born 1967 in Landau. Programmes of study in art history, architectural history and literature in Karlsruhe and Bamberg. 1999 Doctoral thesis on the Badenese Expressionist August Babberger (1885-1936). 2000 to 2002 Practical training at the Brücke-Museum Berlin. 2003 to 2004 Scientific staff member of the Städtisches Kunstmuseum Singen. Since 2005, active as a freelance art historian, author and curator for museums, art associations, galleries, foundations, artist estates, the press and publishing houses in Germany and Switzerland. Numerous publications on modern art with a focus on Expressionism and extending to contemporary art. Publication of the new catalogue raisonné of the printed graphic works of Erich Heckel (will appear in autumn of 2021). Lives and works in Radolfzell on Lake Constance.

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Erich Heckel, Autumnal Landscape, 1933, 70 x 80 cm / framed 100 x 112 cm, N 8728
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