Super Star Lot: An original very large enameled ceramic tile by the famed French artist George Braque (b1882-d1963) titled “Au Couchant, Oiseau” dating to 1950’s. This large piece features an abstracted composition of a bird silhouetted against a red and yellow sunset with a brown and black border. This tile was part of the Hugo Henkel Schwimmbad in Düsseldorf, Germany. This ceramic was commissioned by the Henkel group from Braque for the purpose of display in the public swimming pool built by Dr. Hugo Henkel. The pool, originally built in 1930, was intended to be an expression of Henkel’s system of a patriarchal and caring relationship between employer and employee. Mm: 41 x 69.5 cm
Though Braque is perhaps best known for launching Cubism alongside Pablo Picasso, his focus on birds intensified in his later work, where his style loosened from the more geometric Cubism of his earlier pieces. He never left Cubism behind all together, but his volumes of bird works are a much airier and minimalist in expression. “Au Couchant, Oiseau” demonstrates his interest in nature and natural light that blossomed later in his career. Braque’s birds can be seen on a grand scale on the ceiling of the Salle Henri II at the Louvre in Paris along with other commissions. Braque has designed pool tiles before, most notably “Les Poissons” at the Foundation Maeght, France.
Provenance: Purchased by current owner from Kunst und Antiquitaten, Gerhard Koktanek and Ans Meijer. The latter obtained the pieces from Gabriele Henkel of the estate of Dr. Hugo Henkel after the demolition of the Swimming pool in 1995. We have called and confirmed this provenance with the previous two owners. There is photographic evidence proving its ownership by Kunst & Antiquitaten and its existence in the Schwimmbad.