Two Illustrated Letters by Max Pechstein
Pen and wash, 1918.
Art work details
- Year of production :
- Max Pechstein
- Medium :
- Ink, Watercolour
- Ink, Paper, Watercolour
- Credit Line :
- On loan from a private collection
- Copyright :
- © Pechstein Hamburg/Toekendorf / DACS, 2014.
- Pechstein, Letter, Rosa Schapire
Dr Rosa Schapire (1874-1954) was an important German art-historian and an influential supporter of the German expressionist art group Die Brücke. Based in Hamburg from 1908, she wrote supportive reviews for the Brücke artists, admiring the work of Karl Schmidt-Rottluff in particular.
In these two letters, the first dated March 5 1918 and the second, 16 September 1918 she receives news from the Brücke artist Max Pechstein. The first letter, to ‘Much honoured Miss Dr. Rosa Schapire’, describes a visit to the dealer Gurlitt, where Pechstein learned that a number of his sold prints had been sent to Frankfurt, Breslau and Dresden.
The second letter, dated September 16 1918, informs Dr Schapire of the artist’s new address, no. 126 Kurfurstenstrasse, Berlin, but then says ‘unfortunately I was plagued by ‘flu for more than 14 days…Yet I hope to publish my new graphical work within the year.’ He states ‘I have produced more than 60 new sheets, all kinds of things, woodcuts, lithos and etchings. It’s just a pity that I can’t get away. I have longed for quite a while to see Hamburg once again.’
The words in the second letter gain in significance when linked to the1918-1920 worldwide pandemic of influenza. This caused the deaths of between 50-100 million people, making it one of the world’s deadliest epidemics. Pechstein therefore was fortunate indeed to survive. He adds an exuberant touch: a double portrait sketch gracing the March letter; spiky sunflowers for September.