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“ Important Colorist ”


“ Landscapes … in  Shining  Colorfulness ”

(Vollmer 1953 & Allgemeines Künstler-Lexikon 1995)

Alexander Bertelsson, Boats at Lake Walchen, Bavaria

Bertels(s)on, Alexander (Liksna near Vitebsk 1890 – Berlin 1975). Boats at Lake Walchen in Bavaria. Dominated by the furious-impastoed blue of the lake and the towering mountains on the opposite bank, in front two boats lie on the yellow beach. On the right jetty or bank reinforcement. Oil on wood with canvas structure coating on both sides. 19⅝ × 23½ in (49.7 × 59.7 cm). Framed.

Vollmer I (1953), 193; AKL X (1995), 53. – Verso dedicated & dated in blue crayon in his own hand:

Alexander Bertelsson, Dedication

“ To dear Mr. and Mrs. Dieter Hentschel

in remembrance of the painter

Alexander Bertelson / 20. i. (19)75 ”

as well as typographic gallery label (both in German).

Already as 18-year-old master student of Heinrich von Zügel’s in Munich, Bertelsson moved to Dresden in 1910 and to Sweden in 1914. Only in 1928 he returns – not least as editor of the Dresdner Kunstbuch – to Dresden. Exhibited here then also the same year c. 30 paintings in a special exhibition within the exhibition of the art association. 1933 quitting painting – the official ban from working followed only the other year – and finally 1945 in the firestorm of the Dresden hail of bombs complete loss of his œuvre:

“ 1993  only  7  works  (from  before  1933  are)  are  still  provable ”


Then removed to Berlin, Bertelson takes up the palette yet only 22 years later, in 1967. Apart from paintings from the early 70s on also watercolors, besides at Lake Walchen as his last residence woodcuts.

His first success Bertelson had 1913 on the art show in Riga. Instrumental for his further development yet since 1922 the friendship with Lovis Corinth, who since 1919 spent the summer months at Lake Walchen and invited Bertelson, the organizer for Die Schaffenden, to the 1923 exhibition of the Berlin Secession:

“ His  works  displayed  there  were

compared  in  quality  with  Corinth

by  art  criticism  in  1923 …

B. primarily painted from memory. This is already true for works before 1933 (Stockholm paintings) … His paintings from the time since 1967, primarily

landscapes , still  lifes , portraits  in  shining  colorfulness ,

digest beside influences of Corinth also such of Kokoschka, Vlaminck, Nolde,

seem  spontaneous , every  now  and  then  like  ‘written’ ”

(Johannes Peter, AKL).

As with respect to the works before 1933 then also Hans Vollmer summed up already:

“ Important  colorist ,

approaching  the  expressionistic  side. ”

Here then once more Lake Walchen as one of the largest and deepest of Germany’s alpine lakes:

Alexander Bertelsson, Boats at Lake Walchen, Bavaria

“ … enclosed all around by high forest and foothills of the Alps, whose not steep slopes come up close to the lake and make the same one of the

most  magnificent  mountain  sceneries  of  the  Bavarian  Alps .

The whole imparts the feeling of tranquil woodland solitude since only the village W. together with a chapel and some small hamlets are located on the lake ”

(Meyer’s Konservations-Lexikon [4th ed.] XVI, p. 340).

Delivered  in  furious  impasto

in  the  grand  late  accord  of  the  final  years

as  in  such  a  manner  also  to  be  experienced  for  instance

with  Picasso  or  Daumier .

Whereat in light of the mostly lost early work and the missing of the main part as well as a general lack of comparison only the idea can be entertained to what extent this downright breathtaking paint application is to be considered as late work type as Martina Brunner-Bulst defines it for Pieter Claeszoon’s (1597/98-1661) late work:

“ With the assurance of the aging master he renders his subject with smooth, broad, always vibrant brushstroke, the flares are set invariably with strong white heightening.

Equally  resolutely , almost  relief-like  the  color  is  applied …

The vibrant manner of painting, sometimes seeming almost coarse … certainly is to be explained, as with the later works of other artists, by the lessening of vision and fine motor skills. Yet these tableaus are not wanting in expressivity; rather just the free painting, though adhering to the object, generates

a  great , fascinating  creative  power …

If we realize that (for instance) this tableau (B.-B. 240) actually is one of Pieter Claesz.’s last works we have to admire the liveliness and painterly strength he had maintained to the last ”

(Martina Brunner-Bulst, Pieter Claesz. der Hauptmeister des Haarlemer Stillebens im 17. Jahrhundert, Lingen 2004, page 184, I/II).

It  would  apply  word  by  word  to  Bertelson’s  present  Lake  Walchen  oil .

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