Max Pechstein

Max Pechstein
Kneeling Woman
Gouache on wove paper.
20 7/8 x 16 1/4 inches (53 x 41.4 cm)
Bequest of Fred Ebb.
© Max Pechstein / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Signed and dated at lower right, "Pechstein 09".

Picadilly Gallery, London; Stefan Lennert, Munich; from whom acquired by Fred Ebb, New York, in 1975.

Pechstein was a successful decorative painter when Erich Heckel invited him to join the Brucke group of expressionist artists. His knowledge of French art together with his thorough academic training in painting (the founding members of the Brucke group were all architecture students) account for the difference between Pechstein's art and that of his colleagues. As this sheet demonstrates, his forms are more voluptuous and sensuous in comparison with the angular treatment of the female nude in the work of most of the German expressionists. His nude recalls Matisse's drawings of 1906-7, in which the rhythm and sensuality of the continuous line alone give the drawing its expressivity. Pechstein achieved similar effects through his fluid, sinuous line with its subtle variations in thickness. He also imparted a strong sense of plasticity to this monumental figure by suggesting volume through the spare application of color. The subject of this drawing has non-Western features and her submissive pose, kneeling with her hands behind her back, is reminiscent of Gauguin's (problematic) depictions of Tahitian women.

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