Henryk Berlewi (1894 – 1967)

Henryk Berlewi. Grand Nu

Lot 29. Henryk Berlewi (Polish, 1894-1967). Grand Nu, signed ‘H. Berlewi’ (lower left), charcoal and watercolour on paper, 83 x 46cm (32 11/16 x 18 1/8in). Painted c. 1920. Footnotes: This work will be included in the artist’s catalogue raisonné authored by Isabel Schröer.
Painter, graphic designer, typographer and critic, Henryk Berlewi was a major figure of constructivist art in Poland during the 1920s. He studied at the Academies of Fine Arts in Warsaw (1904-1909), Antwerp (1909-1910) and Paris (1911-1912). In 1913, Berlewi went back to Warsaw to pursue his studies at the School of Design. During World War I, he discovered Futurism and Dadaism. In 1921, he met El Lissitzky and followed him to Berlin where he abandoned figurative art for pure constructivist abstraction. In 1924, Berlewi published his manifest Mechano-Faktura (Mechano-Faktur: rhythm of geometric shapes and pure colors, which give the illusion of vibration and movement) in the Der Sturm journal. The same year, his first solo exhibition was held at the Austro-Daimler automobile showroom in Warsaw.
In 1926, Berlewi put an end to his research on Mechano-Faktura to return to figurative art and theatre sets. In 1927, he settled in Paris and between 1928 and 1938, he travelled to Belgium and painted portraits of political and literary figures. At that time, he found out that he was critically ill and stopped all artistic activity. In 1942, he left Paris, took refuge in Nice and joined the Resistance (1943-1944). He only rediscovered a taste for art in 1947. He wished to ‘reintroduce the subject’ and produced still life composition inspired by the French masters of the 17th century. In 1957, the exhibition on the precursors of abstract art in Poland at the Galerie Denise René in Paris prompted him to resume his research on Mechano-Faktura which is today viewed as one of the key sources of Op art.

Estimate 4,500 – 5,50 GBP. Bonhams. 03/03/21. Sold for £ 40,250 (US$ 56,011) inc. premium

Nie zdążyłem pokazać przed dzisiejszą aukcją wszystkich prac mnie intresujących z katalogu firmy Bonhams. Aukcja już się zakończyła a postaram się dodać osobny komentarz do tej aukcji. Dwa rysunki Henryka Berliewiego były licytowane i praca sprzed ok. 100 lat zyskała spore zainteresowanie publiczności bo sprzedano ją za ponad 40,000 GBP ($56,000). Czy kupił ten akt kolekcjoner czy też polski dom aukcyjny? Wkrótce się pewnie dowiemy. Druga z prac – autoportret artysty – nie był aż tak rozchwytywany skoro sprzedano go za zalewie 9,500 GBP…i wcale się temu nie dziwię.

Henryk Berlewi. Self-Portrait, 1911

Lot 45. Henryk Berlewi (Polish, 1894-1967). Self-Portrait, signed ‘HenrykBerlewi’ and titled ‘SelfAutoportrait’ (centre), inscribed and dated ‘1911’ (lower right), pencil on paper, 29 x 22cm (11 7/16 x 8 11/16in). Painted in 1911. Footnotes: This work will be included in the artist’s catalogue raisonné authored by Isabel Schröer.
Literature: Peintres Juifs de l’École de Paris 1905-1939, Éditions Denoël, Paris 2000, p. 64.
Jewish Artists of the School of Paris 1905-1939, Somogy Editions d’Art, Paris 2015, p. 62.
Stories of Jewish Artists of the School of Paris 1905-1939, Les Étoiles Éditions, 2020, p. 71.
Estimate 2,000 – 3,000 GBP. Bonhams. 03/03/21. Sold for £ 9,562 (US$ 13,307) inc. premium

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