'Just like the Golden Days' - Otto Dix's Pear Trees painting grows to $402,000
Fine art is very heavily in demand. This has been confirmed by the excellent results of the spring auctions at Ketterer Kunst, which grossed some €12m ($17.6m).

"We were able to sell 14 objects in realms of six-digits, additionally, we realised very high increases for most works ", said company owner Robert Ketterer.

"Just like in the golden days", he continued. "The section of Contemporary Art alone attracted 20 percent new customers. It's simple: quality art is always highly treasured."

The most remarkable performance came from Otto Dix's work: Alte Birnbäume in Hemmenhofen (Old pear trees in Hemmenhofen).

With Otto Dix's 'inner' emigration in the days of National Socialism, at first in Randegg and later in Hemmenhofen, a new chapter of the artist's painting was opened.

Remote from the metropolis, which had always supplied him with ideas for his awkward and enigmatic portraits, Otto Dix sought to discover a new world in landscape depictions, which is also owed to the political changes.

This new focus had by then been rather uninteresting to him. The landscape pictures from the late 1930s and the 1940s show an artist that seems to have changed quite a bit, as he now seeks his motifs in a manner that calls reminiscence of the Old Masters and the influence of the 16th century Danube School.

Otto Dix's Pear Trees painting
Otto Dix's much coveted Pear Trees painting
However, whilst the landscapes may appear innocent at first sight, they have their own dynamic.

One the one hand, there is a clear artistic perfection with which Otto Dix endows his landscapes; on the other hand, there is a secret, almost mystic message that seems to hover above all these landscapes, which remains a mystery to the observer.

Despite their seeming closeness to nature, the landscapes are composed on the basis of observations of nature and made in the studio.

The bulky group of old pear trees and dominates our picture; the rest of the landscape remains in the background.

But yet, a swarm of birds leads the eye into the picture's depth and gives a slight idea of freedom, a freedom that is, in return hidden behind the mighty group of trees. In this arrangement one could see a metaphor for the days in which the work was made.

Listed at a modest €58,000, the work sparking something of a bidding war, and it eventually sold for an impressive €274,500 ($402,000) in the June 4 Modern and Contemporary Art sale.


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