oil on cardboard
53 x 46.6 cm (20 7/8 x 20 7/8 in.)
signed lower right, inscribed Bauern Sonntag
on artist's studio label on versoPROVENANCE
Collection of Kamillo & Aenne Koelblinger, Austria
Thence by descent in the family to Henrich Walter Koelblinger (1941-2020), U.S.
Thence by descent in the family to present ownerWe are grateful to Gert Amman and Michael Walde-Berger for providing their opinion of authenticity based on photographs.RELATED LITERATURE
For a highly comparable eponymous composition, dated 1927, in the collection of the Stadtische Galerie, Nuremberg, inv. no. 334, see: Gert Ammann, Alfons Walde. 1891-1958
(Innsbruck; Vienna; Munich: Tyrolia-Verlag, 1981), p. 220 (illustrated).LOT NOTES
The fresh-to-market work originates from the estate of Kamillo and Aenne Koelblinger, the first owners of this painting. Along with the family estate and art collection, their children, Mr. Henrich Walter Koelblinger and siblings inherited the Koelblinger’s heritage businesses - a leather tannery (seen in the reference image) and lumber forest in Vocklabruck. The family also owned a home on the Attersee lake, where they frequently hosted Walde, as well as another local, the artist’s friend Gustav Klimt.
Mr. Henrich Koelblinger left Austria at 19 with a master’s degree in leather chemistry, intent on settling in Australia. He was employed by BASF leather chemicals by the time he got to New York, and settled in Beacon with his wife Mary. After returning to Austria for a short period to steward the family business, Mr. Koelblinger carried over the experience back to the U.S., where he managed several tanneries. The work took the family to Milwaukee, then West Virginia, then Mercersburg, PA, Hagerstown, MD, Luray, VA, and back to Milwaukee, now with four children. The work, belonging to his heirs, has continuously remained in the family over four generations.
Alfons Walde, unparalleled master of Alpine landscapes, produced this painting among a series of others sometime in the early 1930s. This iconically Waldean composition, titled Bauernsonntag
, depicts a pair of nearly identical robust men set against a brilliantly white snow and blue skies in the Austrian town of Kitzbuhel. Though it occupies a relatively small portion of the painting, the ultramarine sky, echoed in the Tyrolean aprons of the countrymen, is a blue as quintessential to Walde as YKB is to Yves Klein. Upon close inspection, initial tonal uniformity gives way to subtle modulation, revealing a delicate haze of clouds. The impasto, becoming more pronounced toward the bottom of the panel, integrates the crisp freshly-fallen snow and voluminous blouses, rooting the figures in the environment. (For example, along the right edge, where the sloping roof extends effortlessly to one of the sleeves). The smiling figures, as if mid-sentence, gaze off beyond the confines of the painting, prompting the viewer to do the same. Walde's formal rigor, from the abbreviated rectilinear figures to the limited but striking color palette, produces an impactful high-contrast image, equally deferential to the landscape and to its admirers. CONDITION
Observed outside of the frame, the work is in overall good age-appropriate condition, recently cleaned of surface dirt and grime. Pair of pinholes to the bottom left corner. Board slightly uneven at the lower right edge. Some lifting to the top layer of the cardboard at the top right corner (not apparent in frame). Minor losses and lifting to the very edge of the board, at the top left and bottom right corners (not apparent in frame). Otherwise, no significant issues to report. Inspection under UV light shows a layer of old varnish; discolouration beneath the frame rabbet. Scattered dark spots to the chest of the left figure. No apparent signs of inpainting.
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