Assimilating his vocation to that of a hallucinated Jewish prophet, Meidner paints a series of Apocalyptic landscapes that offer a highly original style and appeal to the Expressionists.
On November 12 in New York, Sotheby's sells an oil on canvas 94 x 109 cm painted by Meidner in 1912, lot 25 estimated $ 12M. It is painted on both sides, a practice quite common in German groups, particularly understandable here considering the large size of the canvas and the poor resources of the artist. Please watch the video shared by Sotheby's.
The front side is an Apokalyptische Landschaft, with an expression of horror comparable to Munch's Scream. Two thick rivers of incandescent lava pour into an already shaken city where houses ready to collapse bend in all directions, anticipating the landscapes dislocated by Soutine. In the foreground two characters run madly. Columns of troops roam the square of this city of German architecture, making this artwork a premonition of the First World War.
The reverse seems in total contrast with the front. A serious young man reads a book. With his unusually hollowed cheeks, if he is not a self-portrait, he is at least a projection of the artist on his own misery.
The war breaks the creative impulse of Ludwig Meidner, who will continue his career with self-portraits and imaginary portraits of prophets and will be cataloged as a degenerate artist in 1937. He will never reach fame but Baselitz will remember his Apocalypses for howling against the Berlin wall.
SOLD for $ 14M including premium