Lovis Corinth

Lovis Corinth
(Tapiau, East Prussia 1858 - 1925 Zandvoort, Netherlands)

A Joyful Dance, 1919

Gouache, pencil and colored chalk on paper, 72.5 x 43 cm
Signed and dated lower right Lovis Corinth 1919
Inscribed on the verso Bayerisches Dirndl (Walchensee Triptychon)

Charlotte Berend-Corinth (the left wing of a triptych painted by Corinth for his wife specifically for their house at Walchensee);
private collection, 1958 (see Gedächtnisausstellung, Wolfsburg 1958);
Galerie Wolfgang Ketterer, Munich, Lagerkatalog 121, 1979/1, no. 340;
Cesar Zimnoch, Mannheim;
Munich, Ketterer Kunst, auction sale, June 9, 2012, lot 38;
private collection, Munich.

Lovis Corinth, Gedächtnisausstellung: zur Feier des 100. Geburtsjahres, Stadthalle Wolfsburg, Munich 1958, no. 264;
Lovis Corinth. Die Bilder vom Walchensee. Vision und Realität, exhib. cat., Regensburg, Ostdeutsche Galerie and Kunsthalle Bremen, 1986, no. 91.I, repr. p. 194-5.







Lovis Corinth and his family spent their first summer vacation at Walchensee in Upper Bavaria in 1918. In the following year, he purchased a lakeside plot on the northern shore in Urfeld. His wife Charlotte Berend-Corinth oversaw the construction of a wooden house which was completed in late summer 1919. The Walchensee house – Corinth named it Haus Petermann, his nickname for his wife – was to serve him as a retreat and place of inspiration until his death in 1925. A large number of the paintings he produced in his final years depict the lake, the surrounding landscape and the mountains.

Corinth had originally intended to furnish the entire house with paintings but ultimately only a few were hung. One of these was the so-named ‘Walchensee Triptych’ (Fig. 1). Charlotte describes the genesis of the painting – which was personally dedicated to her – as follows: ‘One morning in Urfeld he [Corinth] accorded me a delightful mark of affection, handing me a triptych-like watercolor with the simple explanation: “Petermannchen, I’ve painted this for you so that the sun forever comes up over the Jochberg.” Overwhelmed by the beauty of the dawn sky tinted by the sun rising over the still-dark heights I repeatedly cried out at the breakfast table, “Look, the sun’s coming up over the Jochberg!” and Corinth teased me about it. But there is no better proof of how well he understood, or indeed shared, my enthusiasm than this wonderful watercolor with its conjuring-up of Aurora scattering roses – soon it was the jewel in our rustic room.’1

The central panel of the triptych depicts two mythological figures – Helios, the sun god, and his sister Aurora, the goddess of the dawn. Helios is shown driving his chariot over the Jochberg while Aurora, naked, scatters flowers on her way. The allegorical image is flanked by two figures in traditional costume. A Bavarian girl dances freely, arms raised as her skirt sways to the music. The foreground of the scene is framed by the heads of two cows while in the right wing of the triptych a young Bavarian man performs a courtship dance known as the Schuhplattler, partnered – it would seem – by a pair of goats.

Fig 1 The ‘Walchensee Triptych’, 1919 (from left): A Joyful Dance, 72.6 x 42.6 cm; Walchensee Landscape with Helios and Aurora, 1919, gouache, 73 x 88 cm; Young Bavarian Boy, 1919, gouache, 72 x 42 cm


1 Lovis Corinth. Die Bilder vom Walchensee. Vision und Realität, exhib. cat., Regensburg, Ostdeutsche Galerie and Kunsthalle Bremen, 1986, p. 270.

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