Wassily Kandinsky's Two Black Marks auctions with $1.2m estimate at Lempertz



2015-06-26 12:39:33

Wassily Kandinsky's Two Black Marks auctions with $1.2m estimate at Lempertz

Lempertz is auctioning a painting by the artist Wassily Kandinsky but was it stolen by the Nazis?

Otto Dix, Max Beckmann and Marc Chagall... Just a few of the artists branded "degenerate" by the Nazis in the mid-20th century.

Wassily Kandinsky was another "degenerate" artist whose works, among more than 20,000 seized from German museums by the Nazis in 1937 alone, appeared at the regime's notorious "Degenerate Art" show in Munich that same year.

That event drew two million visitors. It's unlikely that Kandinsky's 1934 piece Zwei schwarze Flecken (Two Black Marks) will bring two million bidders when it auctions at Kunsthaus Lempertz in Cologne on December 2.

Nevertheless, the artist should still get the last laugh, as the work will appear with an impressive 90,000 (or $1.2m) presale estimate.

And he isn't the only "degenerate" artist whose works survived the Nazis to later attain huge values at auction.

Marc Chagall is another artist whose works have sold for tens of thousands. But you don't need to be hugely wealthy to own an original collectible by him.

Kandinsky 1934 piece Zwei schwarze Flecken (Two Black Marks) Wassily Kandinsky's 1934 piece Zwei schwarze Flecken (Two Black Marks)

Pieces like this superb signed print from Chagall, "the quintessential Jewish artist of the twentieth century," are among those we've handled here at Paul Fraser Collectibles. And we have it for sale priced at 895 ($1,475).

However, unlike our Chagall for sale, the Kandinsky artwork auctioning at Lempertz has attracted controversy with claims thatits was stolen by the Nazis.

That's according to the heirs of Sophie Lissitzky-Kueppers who owned the painting in the run-up to World War Two. They claim the painting was stolen by the Nazis while on loan to Hanover's Provinzialmuseum.

Yet this version of events is disputed by auctioneer Lempertz. It claims that Lissitzky-Kueppers gave away the watercolour in the 1920s.

"The sale will go ahead," said Karl-Sax Feddersen, a member of the Lempertz management board, as quoted by Bloomberg. "We think this claim is totally unfounded."

Despite the claims surrounding it, this historic artwork remains strikingly original and will undoubtedly turn heads when it appears for sale on December 2.

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