En Canot

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En Canot
Jean Metzinger, 1913, Le Canot, En Canot, Femme au Canot et a l'Ombrelle, Im Boot, approximate dimensions 150 x 116.5 cm.jpg
Artist Jean Metzinger
Year 1913
Type Black & white photograph obtained from a glass negative of an Oil on canvas
Dimensions 150 cm × 116.5 cm (59 in × 46 in)
Location Unknown

En Canot (Im Boot), also referred to in various publications as Le Canot, Femme au Canot et à l'Ombrelle, En Bâteau, In the Canoe, The Boat, On the Beach, Am Strand, Im Schiff, and Im Kanu, is an oil painting by Jean Metzinger. The work was exhibited in Paris at the Salon d'Automne of 1913. The following year it was shown at Moderní umění, 45th Exhibition of SVU Mánes in Prague 1914 (a collection of works assembled by Alexandre Mercereau). This "Survey of Modern Art" was one of the last prewar exhibitions in Prague. Acquired in 1916 by Georg Muche at the Galerie Der Sturm. En Canot was exhibited in the Kronprinzenpalais, Nationalgalerie, Berlin, 1930, where it had been housed since 1927. It was later confiscated by the Nazis around 1936, displayed at the Degenerate Art Exhibition (Entartete Kunst) in Munich and other cities, 1937–38, and has been missing ever since.

Description[edit]

Three photographs printed in the magazine Zlatá Praha (Golden Prague in Czech), 13 March 1914, for the occasion of the Moderni Umeni, S.V.U. Mánes exhibition in Prague. From left to right: Tobeen, Pelotaris (1912), Constantin Brâncuși, Portrait of Mademoiselle Pogany (1912), Jean Metzinger, La Femme à l'Éventail (Woman with a Fan) and En Canot (Im Boot)

En Canot is a large oil painting on canvas with approximate dimensions 150 cm × 116.5 cm (59.1 in × 45.9 in), representing an elegantly dressed woman painted in a Cubist style holding an umbrella while she sits in a canoe or small boat. Water with undulating waves or ripples and two other boats are visible in the background. The vertical composition is divided, fragmented or faceted into series of non-Euclidean spherical arcs, hyperbolic triangles, rectangles, squares, planes or surfaces delineated by contrasting form.[1][2]

Aimed at a large audience of the Salon d'Automne rather than the intimate setting of a gallery—just as other paintings by Metzinger of the pre-World War I period such as L'Oiseau bleu (The Blue Bird) exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants in the spring of 1913—there can be found in En Canot a continuity that transits between the foreground and background. For example the two boats in the 'background' are smaller than the boat in the 'foreground' within which the model is sitting, consistent with classical perspective in that objects appear smaller as distance from the observer increases. However, to be perfectly consistent one would expect the boat on the top left of the composition to be smaller still than the boat just left of the models head. There is no perspectival fusion between objects close and far, yet the notion of depth perception has not been abolished. Overall, the spatial attributes of the scene are disjointed and flattened to the point where no absolute frame of reference can be determined.[3]

Jean Metzinger, 1913, La Femme à l'Éventail (Woman with a Fan), oil on canvas, 92.8 cm × 65.2 cm (36.5 in × 25.7 in), Art Institute of Chicago, IL

Though not the first painting by Metzinger to employ the concept of multiple perspective—three years had passed since he first propounded the idea in Note sur la peinture,[4] published in 1910—En Canot arguably exemplifies such pictorial processes, while still maintaining elements of recognizable form (the number "3", perhaps suggestive of a regatta, the woman, the umbrella, the boats); the extreme activity of geometric faceting visible in En Canot is not pushed to the point that any understandable link between physicality or naturalness is lost to the viewer. Yet, what is achieved is fundamentally anti-naturalistic.[3]

Metzinger's painting is known from a variety of black and white photographs shot between 1914 and 1930, and from one film shot at the 1937 Degenerate Art Exhibition.[5] The dimensions of En Canot have been extrapolated from a 1914 photograph taken in Prague, published in the magazine Zlatá Praha, where the painting is shown hanging next to another work by Metzinger of known dimensions: La Femme à l'Éventail (Woman with a Fan), 1913, oil on canvas,92.8 cm × 65.2 cm (36.5 in × 25.7 in), Art Institute of Chicago.[6]

The color schemes of other paintings executed during the same period, such as Portrait de Max Jacob, La Fumeuse (The Smoker) or La Femme à l'Éventail (Woman with a Fan), suggests that at the time of painting En Canot Metzinger had already moved away from the limited palette of 1911 and 1912.[2][7]

History[edit]

The year 1913 saw the Cubist movement continuing to evolve, wrote Albert Gleizes:

The changes it had already undergone since the Indépendants of 1911 could leave people in no doubt as to its nature. Cubism was not a school, distinguished by some superficial variation on a generally accepted norm. It was a total regeneration, indicating the emergence of a wholly new cast of mind. Every season it appeared renewed, growing like a living body. Its enemies could, eventually, have forgiven it if only it had passed away, like a fashion; but they became even more violent when they realised that it was destined to live a life that would be longer than that of those painters who had been the first to assume the responsibility for it.[8]

At the 1913 Salon des Indépendants could be seen a very large work of Jean Metzinger's - L'Oiseau Bleu; L'Equipe de Cardiff from Robert Delaunay; two important canvasses from Léger; still lifes and L'Homme au Café from Juan Gris; enthusiastic new work from La Fresnaye and from Marcoussis, and from others again; and finally, from myself, Les Joueurs de Football.[8]

Again, to the Salon d'Automne of 1913 - a salon in which Cubism was now the predominating tendency - Metzinger sent the great picture called En Bâteau, La Fresnaye La Conquête de l'Air, myself Les Bâteaux de Pêche and La Ville et le Fleuve. If the first moment of surprise had passed by, the interest Cubism excited was as great as ever. The anger and the enthusiasm had not changed sides, our enemies held to their guns. It is enough for proof to read the diatribes of Louis Vauxcelles in Gil Blas for that year, 1913, and the panegyrics of Guillaume Apollinaire in L'Intransigeant.[8]

En Canot was acquired at the Galerie Der Sturm in 1916 by the artist Georg Muche, whose father was a naïve painter and art collector known as Felix Muche-Ramholz.[9][10] The Galerie Der Sturm founded in 1912 by Herwarth Walden in Berlin became the core of Berlin's modern art scene, lasting a decade. Starting with an exhibition of Fauves and Der Blaue Reiter, followed by the introduction in Germany of Cubism and Italian Futurism.[11]

En Canot was exhibited in 1930 at the Kronprinzer-Palais, Nationalgalerie (National Gallery (Berlin)) along with works by Willi Baumeister, Oskar Schlemmer, Rudolf Belling and others (works later found in Entartete Kunst).[12]

It was subsequently confiscated by the German Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda (Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda, RMVP or Propagandaministerium) in 1936 or 1937 and displayed at the Degenerate Art exhibition (Entartete Kunst) in Munich. The exhibition traveled to several other cities in Germany and Austria. The show, mounted by the Nazis, consisted of modern art chaotically hung and accompanied by text labels deriding the art. Paintings were hung crowded together, some with no frames, alongside racist slogans denigrating the artists for "insulting German womanhood" and revealing "sick minds." It was designed to inflame public opinion against Modernism. The painting was apparently moved to Güstrow by the Rote Armee (Red Army) and has been missing ever since.[13][14]

Metzinger's Im Boot along with works by Johannes Molzahn and Kurt Schwitters were reproduced in the Exhibition of Degenerate Art catalogue. A sentence on the top of the page reads "Selbst das wurde einmal ernst genommen und hoch bezahlt!":[15][16]

The Entartete-Kunst catalogue dedicated two pages to Room 5, the largest room of the exhibition, with works exhibited by the so-called Group 9, of which Metzinger's work entitled Am Strand (At the Beach) figures. A text accompanying the works singles out Molzahn, Metzinger and Schwitters, summarizing the essence of the entire exhibition:[15][16][17][18]

Entartete-Kunst, Group 9: This section can only be entitled Sheer insanity. It occupies the largest room in the exhibition, and contains a cross section of the abortions produced by all the isms thought up, promoted, and peddled over the years by Flechtheim, Wollheim, and their cohorts. In the case of most of the paintings and drawings in this particular chamber of horrors there is no telling what was in the sick brains of those who wielded the brush or the pencil. One of them ended up by painting with only the contents of garbage cans. Another was content with three black lines and a piece of wood on a large white ground. A third had the bright idea of painting a number of circles on two square metres of canvas. A fourth used a good two kilograms of paint in painting three successive self-portraits because he could not figure out whether his head was green or sulfurous yellow, round or angular, his eyes red or sky blue or whatever. In this insanity group, visitors to the exhibition usually just shake their heads and smile. Not without cause, certainly. But when we reflect that all these works of art have been removed, not from the dusty corners of deserted studios, but from the art collections and museums of the great German cities, where some of them still met the gaze of an astonished public during the first years that followed the Leader's assumption of power, then it is no laughing matter, then we can only choke back our fury that so decent a people as the Germans could ever have been so foully abused.

The current location of En Canot is unknown and it may have been destroyed by the Germans. After the exhibit, paintings were sorted out for sale and sold in Switzerland at auction. Some works were acquired by museums, others by private collectors. Nazi officers took many for their private use: for example, Hermann Göring took fourteen valuable pieces, including works by Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cézanne. In March, 1939, the Berlin Fire Brigade burned approximately 4000 works which had less value on the international market.[7]

Jean Metzinger, 1913, Etude pour En canot, pencil drawing on paper, 28 x 23.5 cm, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris

En Canot is listed on the Lost Art Internet Database with the title "Im Boot", inventory number: Museum A II 698; EK 16056. It is also listed in the Degenerate Art Database, with the titles "Im Boot" and "Im Kanu", inventory number 16056.[13] This Internet database documents more than 21,000 artworks condemned as "degenerate" by the Nazis and seized from German museums in 1937.[19]

A preparatory drawing (study for Le Canot, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris) was published in Les Soirées de Paris, no. 19, 1913. Les Soirées de Paris is the title of a literature and art review magazine. They were published in two series: the first series from February 1912 to June 1913 (No. 1 - No. 17); the second in November 1913 to July–August 1914 (No. 18 - No. 27). The magazine was founded by Serge Férat, Guillaume Apollinaire and André Salmon, et al. It was in part to facilitate the return of Apollinaire to the literary scene after having been suspected in the theft of the Mona Lisa (September 1911).[7]

Another drawing of the same subject, now in the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, is signed and inscribed by Metzinger; Dessin pour "En Canot", leading to the belief that the correct title for the present work is En Canot.[2]

Provenance[edit]

  • 1916, Galerie Der Sturm, Berlin
  • Acquired in 1916 by Georg Muche at the Galerie Der Sturm.
  • 1930 - Berlin, Nationalgalerie (Kronprinzen-Palais), 1929 Kauf durch den Minister auf der Ausstellung "10 Jahre Novembergruppe" aus einer von Georg Muche angebotenen Sammlung; 1930 Überweisung an die Nationalgalerie
  • 07.07.1937 - xx: Deutsches Reich / Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda, Berlin, Beschlagnahme
  • 1938 - xx: Velten/Mark, Depot für Propagandaausstellungen, Lagerung der Exponate für die Wanderausstellung "Entartete Kunst"

Exhibitions[edit]

  • Salon d'Automne, Paris, 15 November 1913 – 8 January 1914.
  • Kronprinzenpalais, National Gallery, Berlin, 1930, where it had been since 1927.
  • Entartete Kunst (2.1), München, Hofgarten-Arkaden, 19.07.1937 - 30.11.1937
  • Entartete Kunst (2.2), Berlin, Haus der Kunst, 26.02.1938 - 08.05.1938
  • Entartete Kunst (2.3), Leipzig, Grassi-Museum, 13.05.1938 - 06.06.1938
  • Entartete Kunst (2.4), Düsseldorf, Kunstpalast, 18.06.1938 - 07.08.1938
  • Entartete Kunst (2.5), Salzburg, Festspielhaus, 04.09.1938 - 02.10.1938
  • Entartete Kunst (2.6), Hamburg, Schulausstellungsgebäude, 11.11.1938 - 30.12.1938

Literature[edit]

  • Albert Gleizes, The Epic, From immobile form to mobile form, 1913–1914, First published in German, entitled Kubismus, 1928. The French version, L'Epopée (The Epic), was published in the journal Le Rouge et le Noir, 1929. The first version was written in response to an invitation from the Bauhaus in 1925. Translation by Peter Brooke
  • Reich Propaganda Directorate, Culture Office, Degenerate Art Exhibition guide, 1938
  • Roh, Franz, "Entartete" Kunst. Kunstbarbarei im Dritten Reich, Hannover 1962. S. 136.
  • Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive, German town; Degenerate Art exhibit in Munich, Story RG-60.2668, Tape 951. Film in which Metzinger's work appears next to Handstand by Willi Baumeister at the Degenerate Art exhibition, minute 16:33 - 16:39
  • Roters, Eberhard, (Hrsg.), Stationen der Moderne. Kataloge epochaler Kunstausstellungen in Deutschland 1910–1962. Kommentarband zu den Nachdrucken der zehn Ausstellungskataloge. Kommentarband, 1988, S. 163.
  • Jean Metzinger in Retrospect, Joann Moser, with an essay by Daniel Robbins, The University of Iowa Museum of Art, J. Paul Getty Trust, University of Washington Press), 1985 p. 60
  • Degenerate Art. The Fate of the Avant-Garde in Nazi Germany, Ausst.-Kat. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA, 1991, hrsg. von Stephanie Barron, 1991. S. 61, 300.61, 300.
  • Janda, Annegret und Grabowski, Jörn, Kunst in Deutschland 1905–1937. Die verlorene Sammlung der Nationalgalerie, Berlin 1992. S. 161f. Abb. S. S. 161, Kat. Nr. 317.
  • Steinfeld, Ludwig, Felix Ramholz: Der Sonntagsmaler Felix Muche-Ramholz, Ernst Wasmuth Verlag Tübingen/Berlin 1993
  • Zuschlag, Christoph, "Entartete Kunst". Ausstellungsstrategien im Nazi-Deutschland, Worms 1995. S. 195, 239, 268, 273.
  • Engelhardt, Katrin, Die Ausstellung "Entartete Kunst" in Berlin. Rekonstruktion und Analyse, in: in: Uwe Fleckner (Hrsg.), Angriff auf die Avantgarde. Kunst und Kunstpolitik im Nationalsozialismus, Berlin 2007, S. 89-188. S. 177.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ludwig Steinfeld, Felix Ramholz: Der Sonntagsmaler Felix Muche-Ramholz, Ernst Wasmuth Verlag Tübingen/Berlin 1993, ISBN 3803030587
  2. ^ a b c Jean Metzinger in Retrospect, Joann Moser, with an essay by Daniel Robbins, The University of Iowa Museum of Art, J. Paul Getty Trust, University of Washington Press), 1985
  3. ^ a b Daniel Robbins, Jean Metzinger, At the Center of Cubism, in Jean Metzinger in Retrospect, The University of Iowa Museum of Art, J. Paul Getty Trust, University of Washington Press), 1985, pp. 9–23
  4. ^ Jean Metzinger, Note sur la peinture, Pan (Paris), October–November 1910
  5. ^ Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive, German town; Degenerate Art exhibit in Munich, Story RG-60.2668, Tape 951. Film in which Metzinger's work appears next to Handstand by Willi Baumeister at the Degenerate Art exhibition, minute 16:33 - 16:39
  6. ^ Tsjechisch kubistische schilderkunst (Czech cubist painting), Kubisme (in Dutch)
  7. ^ a b c Alex Mittelmann, 2012, Jean Metzinger, Divisionism, Cubism, Neoclassicism and Post-Cubism
  8. ^ a b c Albert Gleizes, The Epic, From immobile form to mobile form, 1913–1914, First published in German, entitled Kubismus, 1928. The French version, L'Epopée (The Epic), was published in the journal Le Rouge et le Noir, 1929. The first version was written in response to an invitation from the Bauhaus in 1925. Translation by Peter Brooke
  9. ^ Ludwig Steinfeld, Felix Ramholz: Der Sonntagsmaler Felix Muche-Ramholz, Ernst Wasmuth Verlag Tübingen/Berlin 1993, ISBN 3803030587
  10. ^ Gottfried Sello, Felix Ramholz in der Reihe Große Maler, Zeitschrift Brigitte, 1974.
  11. ^ "Herwarth Walden. Ein Essayist der Moderne", Paleari, Moira, Amsterdamer Beiträge zur neueren Germanistik, 2010
  12. ^ Gallery in the Kronprinzer-Palais, Nationalgalerie, Berlin, 1930. Photograph showing Metzinger's En Canot (Im Boot) in situ, Figure 92
  13. ^ a b Degenerate Art Database (Beschlagnahme Inventar, Entartete Kunst)
  14. ^ Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art), complete inventory of over 16,000 artworks confiscated by the Nazi regime from public institutions in Germany, 1937-1938, Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda. Victoria and Albert Museum, Jean Metzinger, Im Kanu, inv. 16056, Volume 1 p. 36
  15. ^ a b Reich Propaganda Directorate, Culture Office, Degenerate Art Exhibition guide, 1938
  16. ^ a b LACMA, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, "Degenerate Art": The Fate of the Avant-Garde in Nazi Germany, Catalogue of an exhibition examining and documenting the Nazi's 1937 exhibition Entartete Kunst, which featured art the Nazi's deemed subversive, degenerate, or modern, edited by Stephanie Barron
  17. ^ Kaiser, Fritz, Fuehrer durch die Ausstellung 'Entartete Kunst' (32 S., Scan, Fraktur), in German
  18. ^ Richard J. Evans, The Third Reich in Power, 1933–1939: How the Nazis Won Over the Hearts and Minds of a Nation, Penguin UK, Jul 26, 2012
  19. ^ Degenerate Art Database, with the titles "Im Boot" and "Im Kanu", inventory number 16056
  20. ^ Alexandre Mercereau, Spolek výtvarných umělců Mánes, Moderní umění: 45. výstava S.V.U. Manes v Praze, únor-březen 1914 : soubor sestaven A. Mercereauem v Paříži, S.V.U. Manes, 1914

External links[edit]

External video
Munich Exhibition of Degenerate Art on YouTube, Metzinger's En Canot shown in a film/video hanging at the 1937 Munich Exhibition of Degenerate Art, minute 3:10 - 3:15