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    Description

    ALFRED HENRY MAURER (American, 1868-1932)
    Abstract Portrait, circa 1930
    Gouache on paper
    21 x 17 inches (53.3 x 43.2 cm)
    Signed lower left: A.H. Maurer

    PROVENANCE:
    Estate of the artist, 1932-1941;
    Mrs. Eugenia Maurer Fuerstenberg, (the artist's sister), and Alfred H. Maurer, (the artist's nephew);
    Hudson D. Walker, New York, 1941;
    Sylvan Cole;
    Babcock Galleries, New York;
    Private collection, New York.

    In search of the refinements awarded by Parisian training, the precocious painter Alfred Maurer travelled to France in 1897, where he shifted his artistic direction from moody fin-de-siècle style portraits and genre scenes of café life to an avant-garde Cubist and Fauvist aesthetic. The speed by which he mastered in startling succession academic portraiture, Impressionistic urban subjects rendered with virtuoso brushwork and a high-keyed palette, Cézannesque and Fauvist still lifes and landscapes, and eventually Cubist portrait heads, caught the attention of art critics on both sides of the Atlantic. His work was included in major shows of contemporary painting of the period, including the 1907 Salon d'Automne, Alfred Stieglitz's gallery "291" and "An American Place" in 1909 and 1910, the Armory Show of 1913, and the 1916 Forum Exhibition at Anderson Galleries.

    By the 1920s, Maurer devoted most of his time to developing Cubist still lifes and portraits. In 1928, he moved to a new studio and began working from a live model. Using the figure as both a focal and inspiration point, he created a series of paintings and drawings of "Cubist heads," of which this work is a fine, monumental example. Abstract Portrait uses lines to break apart the face and the upper torso of the subject into provocative shards or fanciful multicolored planes. The results had a wide spectrum of moods and, doubtless, meanings. The insightful poet and art critic Gerrit Henry, on viewing Maurer's works from this period, remarked that "here was an artist who knew just what he was undoing..." A champion of figurative painting at a time when conceptualism and art theory kept all painting on the defensive, Henry was keenly attuned to the work of painters, like Maurer, who shifted to abstraction only after having mastered representation at a very high level. Gerrit Henry regarded their abstraction as if it were representation in another mode, which it arguably was.




    Condition Report*: Tiny pin holes in upper corners and bottom right corner; slight paper undulation; paint chip along upper edge of light blue rectangle (upper left quadrant); otherwise good condition; not examined outside of frame.
    *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.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2009
    11th-12th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,077

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