In 1915 Sigrid Hjertén and Isaac Grünewald exhibited together at the ‘Schwädische Expressionisten’ exhibtion in Berlin at the Galerie Der Sturm. At this point in time, they referred to themselves ‘as expressionists’ after Matisse had declared his new artistic manifesto at the beginning of the 1910s. This manifesto had also been characterised by the large expressionist exhibition ‘Sonderbund’ in Cologne in 1912. The Cologne show included, amongst others, Cézanne, van Gogh, Gauguin and Munch, alongside two Swedes – Isaac Grünewald and Gösta Sandels.
The 1915 exhibition at Galerie Der Sturm signalled both Isaac and Sigrid’s international breakthrough. The Der Sturm gallery, with the legendary Herwarth Walden at its helm, ran an art magazine of the same name. This magazine became a hotbed for experimental artists of the time and the style of expressionism that had emerged in groups such as ‘Die Blaue Reiter’ and ‘Die Brücke’ during the first half of the 20th century. The time in Berlin had a radical influence on Grünewald’s painting and the exhibition at Der Sturm was written about and well received in the German press. Through their contact with German expressionism and several meetings with the German-Russian artist couple Wassily Kandinsky and Gabriele Münter in Paris, and later in Stockholm, Sigrid and Isaac became fully-fledged expressionists.
› Signed Isaac G. and dated -15. Canvas 200 x 90 cm. Estimate 3 500 000 – 4 000 000 SEK
The painting in the auction, ”Det röda draperiet”, was shown, alongside eleven other pieces by the artist, at Der Sturm in 1915. The writer Pär Lagerqvist, who was a good friend of the couple Hjertén/Grünewald, wrote the following in the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet the exhibition: “New is the Red Curtain, a sensational painting that can probably be perceived and considered even at a distance of a hundred metres – not completely convincing as an artwork but interesting as an experiment.” (Sophie Reinhardt, 2000, p. 118).
The subject of ”Det röda draperiet” is found in Isaac and Sigrid’s studio and apartment at Katarinavägen in Stockholm. A female figure, most likely Isaac's sister Dora, sits in an armchair in front of an open window with a view across Slussen and the Old Town, where a big, yellow sun shines above the rooftops. Here Isaac demonstrates his mastery of colours; bright yellow and vibrating violet tones are strikingly contrasted with the clearest shades of green, red and blue. The red curtain divides the painting dramatically into two parts through a curved diagonal, with the black railing cutting through the composition.
When the Det röda draperiet was exhibited in 2000 at the exhibition ‘Schwedische Avantgarde und Der Sturm in Berlin/ Swedish Avant-garde and Der Sturm in Berlin’, this painting was chosen as the cover for the catalogue. The exhibition was shown at the Kulturgeschichtliches Museum in Osnabrück and at Kulturen in Lund.
Viewing November 11 – 16, Berzelii Park 1, Stockholm
Open Mon–Fri 11 am–6 pm, Sat–Sun 11 am–5 pm.
Auction Live November 17–18, Arsenalsgatan 2, Stockholm