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Lotte Laserstein

”Madeleine” – Nude, sitting in a chair

Sold for 155.000 SEK at Uppsala Auktionskammare’s Important Sale 6-9 December 2016.

1342. Lotte Laserstein (Germany/Sweden 1898‑1993). ”Madeleine” – Nude, sitting in a chair.
Signed Lotte Laserstein. Oil on panel, 60.5 x 50 cm.

Lotte Laserstein is regarded to be one of the most important German realistic painters of the Weimar Republic. After having finished her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in 1927 she quickly made herself a name in the multi-facetted Berlin art scene. However her promising career ended abruptly when the Nazis seized power in 1933. In 1937 Laserstein emigrated to Sweden where she remained for the rest of her life.

By the end of the 1930s Laserstein met Margarete Jaraczewsky, called Madeleine. She was a refugé from Germany, too. The attractive young woman became a close friend to Lotte and eventually her favorite Swedish model. Even if the friendship between the two women was not as intense as had been the one between Lotte Laserstein and her Berlin friend and muse Traute Rose, it led to numerous portraits, refined nude studies and some intense painter-and-model-scenes.

It is with no doubt that Madeleine is also the model in the painting Nude, sitting in a chair. This delicately painted study was most probably executed in the early 1940s. This is indicated not only by the hand writing of the signature, but also by the sensitive peinture work Laserstein performs here masterly. It is to be found in many other works Laserstein executed during the same period.

The powerful vivid brushstrokes Laserstein use here to both sketch the surrounding and to bring a soft light into the scene, form a perfect contrast to the calm and sensitive pose of the model.

Very special and rarely to be seen in Laserstein’s Swedish oeuvre, though, is the reduced brownish colour scheme. It reminds one of some earlier nude studies the painter executed in Berlin with her friend Traute (like  Sitzender Rückenakt, 1929/30 (M 1930/24).

Anna-Carola Krausse
May 2016

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