Enemies All Around
Artwork: Enemies All Around
Size: 34.5 x 32.8 cm
Medium: Oil on cardboard
Creation year: 1914
Category: Paintings
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Provenance: Forthmann Collection, Munich / private property Southern Germany
Exhibition history: 'Franz von Stuck: Meisterwerke der Malerei', Villa Stuck, Munchen, 4.12.2008 - 15.3.2009, Cat. No. 24 with illustr.

Neumeister Munich

Date: 2020-07-16
Lot Number: 502
Low Estimate: $90544
High Estimate: $135816
Hammer Price: Not Sold
Notes: The sword raised to fight, ready to kill - 'enemies all around'.The very title of the series, which in addition to the present painting also includes several sculptures and drawings, assigns a historical reference point to the work of the Munich 'painter prince' Franz von Stuck: while Emperor Wilhelm II reinterpreted an originally biblical theme politically with the motto 'Enemies all around', Stuck, who himself did not actively participate in Word War I, processes the cruel current events through painterly variation in the style of ancient mythology.Fight, violence and destruction are typical themes in the work of the co-founder of the Munich Secession. After his early landscape paintings and portraits, Stuck concentrates primarily on ancient mythological motifs - what is unusual is the painters explicit statement, despite the symbolic, allegorical implementation.The influence of Symbolism is clearly evident here: in the powerful, dynamically executed depiction of the defensive, archaic youth, the painter makes use of a symbolic, metaphorical colouring, which gives the work additional depth and tension in terms of content.Franz von Stuck complemented 'Enemies all around' with the similarly conceived painting 'Hercules and the Hydra' 1915. This time, the defensive warrior is completely detached from the multi-figure scenery and instead confronted with Hydra - an even more drastic illustration of the inhumanity of war.Today, the painting can be found at the Villa Stuck in Munich, a building with which the artist fulfilled his dream of a specially created monument dedicated to his work in 1897.