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    Description

    Theodor Pixis (German, 1831-1907)
    Das Rheingold, 1875
    Oil on canvas laid on Masonite panel
    56 x 45-1/2 inches (142.2 x 115.6 cm)
    Signed, inscribed and dated lower left: Theodor Pixis / München /1875

    PROVENANCE:
    Germania Club, Chicago, Illinois (1963-circa 1986), gift of the Women's Germania Club, Chicago, Illinois in 1963;
    Private collection, Grant Park, Illinois;
    Private collection, purchased from the above, circa 2010.

    Six years after Richard Wagner's opera cycle Der Ring des Niebelungen premiered at the National Theatre in Munich in 1869, Theodor Pixis painted this monumental canvas recording the subject of the opera's dramatic opening work, Das Rheingold. Pixis showed the moment when Alberich, the Nibelung dwarf, after failing to woo the Rhine maidens, steals the Rhinegold they have been guarding. The precious stone, which can be fashioned into a magic ring that will enable its bearer to rule the world, radiates a golden glow that falls upon the fair maidens' forms, highlighting their beauty as well as their anguish as they writhe in distress.

    Both Wagner and Pixis found an important patron in King Ludwig II ("Mad Ludwig") of Bavaria. Ludwig was so deeply enamored with the talented but notoriously extravagant and philandering composer, that he bankrolled many of his projects, including the Ring cycle, and even gave him a house in Switzerland. Ludwig's obsession with Wagner extended to commissioning a lavish book entitled Richard-Wagner-Galerie (Berlin, 1876), which contained illustrations of Wagner's operas by Pixis and Wilhelm von Kaulbach, the latter Pixis' teacher at the Munich Academy.

    The book reproduces this composition of Das Rheingold, but with a date of 1876, suggesting it was produced after this painting. The circumstances of the commission of the present painting are unknown, although the work was in the Unites States by 1963 when the Women's Germania Club of Chicago donated it to their brother organization, The Germania Club.



    Condition Report*: Old uneven varnish. Some bumpy areas resulting from being laid down. Painting has been selectively cleaned in the figures, notably the face and upper body of the main figure.UV examination reveals several areas of strengthening and/or inpaint which fluoresce. In the uppermost quadrant in the water there are two patches of strengthening which fluoresce measuring 9" x 2 1/2" at the widest, and 10" x 3" at the widest. There is strengthening behind the fingers of the main figure's left hand as well as in the lower region in the water. Framed Dimensions 65 X 52 X 5 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2018
    8th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,269

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