Frauentorso (Torso of a Woman), bronze, h. 34.7 cm, 1927, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
From 29 June 2018, the Kunsthaus Dahlem in Berlin will host an exhibition, Was war Europa (What was Europe), which will seek to partially recreate a major post-war exhibition, Werke europäischer Plastik, held in 1950 at the Haus der Kunst in Munich.
Lent to the Munich show in late 1950, amongst works by 34 other sculptors from Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, was a bronze by Moissey Kogan: Frauentorso, 1927, which had been acquired direct from the artist by the Wallraf-Richartz Museum und Fondation Courboud, Cologne in 1929 (and is now in the collection of Museum Ludwig, Cologne).
The bronze sculpture is highly likely to have been shown, as Badende (Bather), in January – February 1929 at the Galerie Alfred Flechtheim, Berlin, as part of a major solo exhibition of Kogan’s sculpture and drawings, which Alfred Flechtheim counterposed with an exhibition of paintings by Max Beckmann. The art critic, Karl Scheffler, in his review of the Kogan show, found the contrast between Kogan and Beckmann striking:
Like the mask of the genial muse alongside that of the tragic one.
Karl Scheffler, ‘Berliner Ausstellungen: Moissey Kogan’, Kunst und Künstler, 27, 1929, p. 244
The work had been commissioned in 1927 by the museum director, Max Sauerlandt, a major supporter of Kogan’s oeuvre. The sculptor arranged to have it cast at the Fonderie Valsuani, Paris, a foundry renowned for its lost wax casting process. Set up in 1908 by Claude Valsuani at 74, rue des Plantes, Paris (quartier Plaisance), by 1927 the foundry was being run at the same address by Marcel Valsuani, son of Claude, with a continuing excellent reputation. Amongst other artists to have their work cast by the Valsuanis were Antoine Bourdelle, Constantin Brancusi, Alberto Giacometti, Jacques Lipchitz, Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin and Amedeo Modigliani. Sauerlandt would acquire the copy illustrated here for the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg.
The forthcoming exhibition at the Kunsthaus Dahlem will also feature work by Ernst Barlach, Bernhard Heiliger, Wilhelm Lehmbruck, Gerhard Marcks, Ewald Mataré, Hans Mettel and Edwin Scharff. Opening on 28 June, it will run until 2 June 2019. Click here for more information on the show (in English and German).
A further bronze work by Moissey Kogan is currently on display at Kunsthaus Dahlem, as part of an exhibition entitled Neue/Alte Heimat. R/emigration von Künstlerinnen und Künstlern nach 1945, which runs until 17 June 2018. Details here.