Tue, 29th Jun 2021 14:00

19th & 20th Century Paintings and Works on Paper

Lot 9 §


Property from the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust

Still-life with cyclamen
signed with initials and dated M.M.67. (upper right)
oil on canvas, unframed
35.5 x 45.3 cm (14 x 17 7/8 in)

Munich, Galerie Günter Franke, Marie-Louise Motesiczky, no. 53 (ex-catalogue)

I. Schlenker, Marie-Louise von Motesiczky 1906-1996, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings, New York, 2009, p. 357, no. 206, illustrated

Motesiczky's still-lifes are typically intimate and invariably feature personal, self-referential themes. The present oil is a case in point. The effulgent blooms of the pink cyclamen in a vase on the left are balanced by two flickering candles that light up the darkness on the right, very possibly a reference to her longstanding and ever-fluctuating relationship with Elias Canetti. Motesiczky called Canetti both her 'personal catastrophe' but also acknowledged that he was also one of her 'main gods'. As late as 1977 she wrote in her diary: 'completely without C. [Canetti] world makes no sense - with C endless torment' (Schlenker p. 37). In the spirit of such ambivalent thoughts, it is no surprise that Schlenker suggests that the rat in the present work also references Canetti (ibid), an allusion that Motesiczky would make more overt in Nude with a Rat and Books of a few years later (Schlenker no. 246). The small view of a mountainous landscape propped up on the table, probably a postcard, refers back to Motesiczky's Austrian roots, and her love of the Alps. To its right looms the sketchy form of a tribal carving inspired by an African sculpture in her collection.

Sold for £1,750

Includes Buyer's Premium


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