A Maghrebi Family signed 'Erich Wolfsfeld' (lower right) oil on paper laid on card 93.98 x 69.85cm (37 x 27 1/2in).
PROVENANCE: Sale, Christie's South Kensington, 14 March 2007, lot 201
Born in Krojanke and brought up in Berlin, the German artist Erich Wolfsfeld was educated at the Berlin Academy from 1902 to 1913. He studied etching in the studio of Hans Meyer and attended the Academie Julian in Paris between 1905 and 1906. In 1905, Wolfsfeld was commissioned by the Prussian government to make etched copies of Byzantine frescoes in the ruins of Priene, intended for publication. This visit to Turkey spurred the artist's desire to travel, which he did throughout his life. In 1911 Wolfsfeld won the Kaiser Wilhelm Gold Medal for his picture, The archers, and by 1914 he was exhibiting in Berlin, Vienna and Leipsig. Illustrated articles of his work soon after appeared in Die Kunst and Kunst fur Alle, noting his success.
The start of the First World War subsequently ended Wolfsfeld studies, and he spent two years an army officer, making the time to sketch wounded soldiers. His return to the Berlin Academy was marked by his appointment as professor of Painting and Etching in 1916, and this post gave the artist time to travel to Morocco, Egypt and Palestine, where he painted and etched a number of Orientalist-inspired works like the present lot, A Maghrebi family.
Forced out of Germany under the Nazi regime, Wolfsfeld eventually settled in England in 1939 and had an exhibition of his work at the Royal Academy in 1943. A following exhibition which included a portrait etching from the Roman period that so impressed the sculptor Goscomb John, led to a commission portrait that resulted in an oil painting later acquired by the National Portrait Gallery. Exhibiting at the Royal Academy until 1953, Wolfsfeld was given a solo show at the Derby Museum and Art Gallery. In 1977, eleven years after his death, an extensive show of Wolfsfeld's work went up at the Belgrave Gallery. Today, his work is represented in the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Imperial War Museum, as well as collections in New York, Vienna, Rome, Paris and Munich.