Erich Heckel - Viadukt, 1958

Watercolour on paper

48 x 63 cm / framed 74 x 87 cm
18 x 24 inch / framed 29 x 34 inch

signed, dated and titled in the middle to the right: "Heckel 58 - Viadukt -”

N 9498

About the work

A watercolour from the late work of Erich Heckel, in which landscape painting once again plays a special role. The 1950s - the artist lived with his wife Siddi in Hemmenhofen on Lake Constance - were defined by exhibitions for his 70th birthday, by prizes and honours, his activity at the academy in Karlsruhe, in the Deutscher Künstlerbund (Association of German Artists) and as a founding member of the association of artists of Baden-Württemberg, participation in the first documenta, as well as numerous journeys: at the start of the decade to the Black Forest and Sylt, as of 1954 summer stays in the Engadin, 1956 to Amsterdam and the Dutch coast, 1958 to the Côte d'Azur and 1959 to Normandy and Paris.
This Mediterranean subject also originated at the Côte d'Azur. The gaze of the painter falls from the mountains past the viaduct to the sea. However, its peaceful surface provides no flat horizon line, as might be expected. It instead arcs like the globe itself; the clouds floating over it appear like abstract, flat streaks: a distortion and obscuring of the landscape reality, which demonstrates the extent to which the artist had moved away from perceived nature in this last work phase and was guiding his painting - here as also in other works of the time - in the direction of flatness and abstraction. The impressive sheet documents nothing less than the increasing transformation of natural structures into a flat-ornamental pictorial order. 

Text authored and provided by Dr. Doris Hansmann, Art historian

Studies of art history, theater, film and television, English and Romance Languages at the University of Cologne, doctorated in 1994. Research assistant at the Art Museum Düsseldorf. Lecturer and project manager at Wienand Verlag, Cologne. Freelance work as an author, editor and book producer for publishers and museums in Germany and abroad. From 2011 chief editor at Wienand Verlag, from 2019 to 2021 senior editor at DCV, Dr. Cantz’sche Verlagsgesellschaft, Berlin. Numerous publications on the art of the 20th and 21st centuries.

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Erich Heckel, Viadukt, 1958, 48 x 63 cm / framed 74 x 87 cm, N 9498
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