Für Berlin. 1957. Mixed media on canvas. Signed and dated in lower right. 170 x 145 cm (66.9 x 57 in).
• Large-size composition by the protagonist of German Informalism. • From Schumacher‘s first informal period which made for his international breakthrough at the 1961 Venice Biennial. • "Für Berlin" was Schumacher‘s contribution to II. Documenta in 1959. • The other two Schumacher paintings from II. Documenta are in possession of the Emil Schumacher Museum, Hagen (Sodom, 1957) and in private ownership (Hephatos, 1958, later revised and rotated by 180 degree).
PROVENANCE: Collection G. Stein, Cologne (around 1964) Private collection Hesse. Deutsche Bank AG, Frankfurt a. M. (acquired from aforementioned).
EXHIBITION: Deutscher Künstlerbund, 7th exhibition, Hochschule der Bildenden Künste, Berlin May 2 June - 8, 1956 (with label on stretcher). Emil Schumacher, La Galleria dell’Ariete, Milan, February 16, 1959 - March 16, 1959. II. documenta ’59, Kunst nach 1945. Malerei, Fridericianum, Kassel, July 11 - October 11, 1959, cat. no. 2, with black-and-white illu. on p. 356. Duitse Kunst van Heden, Museum Baymans van Beunigen, Rotterdam 1964 (with label on stretcher). Emil Schumacher, Pinacoteca comunale, Casa Rusca, Locano, September 25 - December 11, 1994 (with label on stretcher). Emil Schumacher. Der Erde näher als den Sternen, Sprengel Museum, Hannover, February 18 - May 6, 2007; Museum Wiesbaden, June 6 - September 30, 2007, cat. no. 17, with full-page illu. Malerei ist gesteigertes Leben, Emil Schumacher Museum, Hagen, August 29, 2012 - January 20, 2013. Emil Schumacher. Inspiration und Widerstand, MKM Museum Küppersmühle für Moderne Kunst, Duisburg, November 15, 2018 - March 10, 2019.
LITERATURE: Ariane Grigoteit, Ein Jahrhundert. One Century. 100 x Kunst, Collection Deutsche Bank, Frankfurt a. M. 2001, pp. 120-121, with full-page illu. "Explanations are an absolute waste. If a picture doesn't catch the observer right away there is something wrong." Emil Schumacher
From 1950 on Schumacher's painterly oeuvre saw a radical change as the artist abandoned the subject as pictorial motif and eventually decided in favor of the pure expressiveness of painting around 1955. Henceforth color, line and materiality dominated his work. This stylistic change took place against the background of a contemporary style shaped by the French École de Paris, Tachism and American Action Painting. Schumacher added sand to the paint, in order to achieve the greatest possible three-dimensional effect. The impasto painting medium suspended the dualism of ground and painterly form, pushing the compositional structure into the background in favor of a lively color landscape. Schumacher spreads out a relief reminiscent of encrusted layers of clay and earth in front of the viewer and thus generates a unique visual language with a powerful expression borne by its haptic presence. A press release issued by the MKM Museum Küppersmühle, Duisburg, on the grand solo exhibition “Inspiration und Widerstand” (Inspiration and Resistance, November 15, 2018 to March 10, 2019)" says: "Contemporary art is unimaginable without him: Emil Schumacher (1912 -1999) is one of the most important protagonists of German post-war abstraction which dared a radical new beginning in art after the Second World War, confronting the past with new pictorial inventions." Schumacher liberated the color from the form and the line from the motif and, through this radical emancipatory act, achieved the delimitation of painting from the surface. "Für Berlin" is a wonderful early testimony to Schumacher's seminal decision to break the boundaries of painting by venturing into the third dimension. In order to increase the relief-like effect of his paintings even more, Schumacher then included sand and other non-art materials such as stones, lead, asphalt or sisal in his compositions in later work phases. [JS]