Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 2019!

We’d like to wish all our followers and readers a very Happy New Year. This is the start of an exciting new year for the Moissey Kogan Catalogue Raisonné Project and we hope to be able to make a series of major announcements in the near future.

One of the core purposes of a catalogue raisonné is to locate all surviving works by an artist. Some are harder to find than others. They may simply be held in private ownership, their whereabouts as yet unknown to scholarship. In the case of Moissey Kogan, it may also be that some works are now lost to us as a result of war and persecution or the depredations of time. They may only survive as photographic images or as descriptions in documentary form.

The Moissey Kogan Catalogue Raisonné Project‘s research in this area is ongoing, but we’d like to start the New Year by alerting our readers and followers to one of the works by Moissey Kogan that currently fall into this ‘lost’ category. This post will be followed intermittently by a series of posts about lost works. We are sharing this information with you in the hope of eliciting your help in locating the whereabouts of these works or any further information about them.

Finding lost works – no. 1

Relief, concrete, 1921 or before

Moissey Kogan, Relief, concrete, dimensions unknown,  1921 or before; photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Known details about the work

The above photograph is held at the V&A Museum in London. It was bequeathed to the Museum by the art historian, Kineton Parkes in 1938. In the early 1920s, Kineton Parkes had been amassing information towards the publication of a third, never-published book in his series, Sculpture of Today. He had sent out questionnaires to contemporary sculptors based throughout Europe, asking for details of their work and careers. This photograph was one of a number submitted to Kineton Parkes on behalf of Moissey Kogan in 1921 by his art dealer, Alfred Flechtheim, in tandem with the museum curator, Karl With.

The photo is identical to one published by Alfred Flechtheim in the Christmas number of his flagship journal, Der Querschnitt, nos. 2+3, 1922. The caption tells us that the relief was then held by the prestigious Galerie Bernheim in Paris, which had started representing Kogan around this time. Meanwhile, the heading makes it clear that this was one of the works that Alfred Flechtheim had included in his first solo exhibition of Kogan‘s work at the Galerie Flechtheim Berlin in October that year.

Later in Kogan‘s career, there is clear evidence that he produced his works in terracotta and concrete (and similar materials) in editions of 6 works. However, it is not known how many copies he made of ReliefFlechtheim would go on to publish a close variant of this work in the November number of Der Querschnitt in 1925. It was captioned as being in the ownership of the Swiss collector, Georg Reinhart of Winterthur, who possessed a number of works by the artist.  The work is no longer in the Georg Reinhart Collection and it is not clear what became of it.

Relief may be one of the works Kogan exhibited at the Kunstmuseum Winterthur in February – March 1922, alongside works by Hermann Hesse, Emil Nolde and others. Amongst the reliefs he showed was one entitled Wandfüllung, a somewhat untranslatable title for what must have been conceived as a (model for a) wall panel. Kogan is likely to have made Relief in Switzerland, where he was based from November 1919 until the end of February 1922. He did, however, also maintain a home/studio in Paris throughout this period, so it is conceivable that he executed it on his occasional return to the French capital. It is not currently known where he fired the work.

Relief bears witness to the fact, evident from letters to and from Kogan, that he continued in this immediate post-war period to be preoccupied with works suitable for architectonic surrounds, like many of his peers. He had been commissioned to execute a much larger series of reliefs for Walter Gropius‘s Model Factory, exhibited at the Werkbund Exhibition in Cologne prior to the outbreak of war in 1914. He was delighted to have that series of reliefs “cast as one with the building” – his continued use of concrete in this later work again suggests he was thinking of an architectural siting for a scaled-up version of Relief.

Contacting the Moissey Kogan Catalogue Raisonné Project

If you know of the whereabouts – past or present – of any copies of Relief or know of any further information about the work in primary sources, please do contact the Project. We will, of course, acknowledge any such assistance in our catalogue raisonné with grateful thanks. 

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