Description

    FERDINAND LEEKE (German, 1859-1959)
    Lohengrin: Act III
    Oil on canvas
    39-3/4 x 47-1/2 inches (101.0 x 120.7 cm)
    Signed lower left: Ferd Leeke...
    In the tradition of the great nineteenth-century German academic painters, Ferdinand Leeke, who trained with Johann Herterich at the Munich Academy, specialized in large-scale historical, allegorical, and mythological paintings. His facility in rendering highly dramatic narratives caught the attention of Siegfried Wagner, son of the famous composer Richard Wagner, and around 1889 Siegfried commissioned Leeke to paint ten episodes from Wagner's principal operas: Rienzi, Act IV, Scene II; Der fliegende Holländer, Act III, Final Scene; Tannhäuser, Act III, Scene I; Lohengrin, Act III, Final Scene; Das Rheingold, Scene II; Die Walküre, Act I; Siegfried, Act II; Götterdämmerung, Act III; Tristan und Isolde, Act II; and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Act III. Leeke completed the commission by 1898, and the following year, the Bavarian printer Franz Hanfstaengel, using the novel six-color photogravure process, reproduced the paintings as posters. Indeed, the popularity of this series compelled Leeke to explore variations on Wagnerian subjects for the remainder of his career.

    Heritage is pleased to offer this lot, one of Leeke's interpretations of Wagner's 1848 opera Lohengrin, based on the medieval German legend about a knight of the Holy Grail who can only save maiden Elsa from a false accusation of murder as long as she never inquires about his true identity. Where the Lohengrin painting commissioned by Siegfried Wagner depicted the final scene of the opera, Elsa's demise from a broken heart in the presence of her attendants and accusers, the Heritage version captures the equally famous Act III, Scene I, or "The Bridal Chamber." Spotlighting the couple within the cocoon of their bedroom, Leeke shows Elsa's regret after having asked her beloved husband the fatal question about his name. More intimate than Leeke's multi-figure landscapes, Lohengrin maintains dramatic power in its reduction of the critical moment to the lovers' facial expressions and gestures.




    Estimate: $4,000 - $6,000.

    Condition Report*:

    Canvas is loose on stretcher; scattered in-painting in background area; in-painting around gentleman's face. Framed Dimensions 46 X 53.75 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. 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.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2011
    8th Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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    Tiburon, CA
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