General Paintings

Dietz Edzard: A Pursuit of Beauty

NEW YORK, NY -- Born in Bremen, Germany in 1893, at a young age Dietz Edzard chose to pursue art studies over joining his family's export business. He set out for Berlin, where he studied painting and printmaking with the legendary German Expressionist Max Beckmann. A thriving art center hospitable to a variety of modern movements such as the celebrated Die Brücke group, Berlin was an ideal home for an aspiring artist. With the arrival of the First World War, however, Edzard was drafted and sent to the Eastern Front. There he faced the full horror of the war, a traumatic experience that ultimately led him to leave Germany to recover. After traveling to various European cities, he eventually settled Paris in the late 1920s.

Dietz Edzard's arrival in Paris was a pivotal moment for his career. In his book D Edzard, Gerd Muehsam emphasizes how important La Ville Lumiere was to the artist's work. He writes, "For Dietz Edzard, too, it is Paris which has brought about the fulfillment of his creative ambitions and which has seen his art come to full flowering. Parisian atmosphere, Parisian charm glisten in every stroke of his brush; whatever has been said about the spirit and the women of the ‘radiant capital of the world,’ seems to have crystallized in Edzard's work."

Parisian life and culture indeed offered Edzard a source of inspiration that would come to fill his canvases. Scenes from the opera box, backstage at the ballet or circus, or from more everyday locales for socializing such as terraces and city parks -- all form the heart of his work and were the sources of his subjects.

Edzard's paintings are notable for the beauty of their color and the intimacy with which their subjects are portrayed. His subtle application of his palette conveys a wonderful sense of light and shadow, while his brushwork exhibits a particular delicacy that captures the spirited atmosphere that surrounded him. Influenced by the French Impressionists and Post-Impressionists alike, Edzard never engaged with the more experimental movements of the early 20th century; instead, he continued with the themes he knew best for most of his life. Even with the political climate in Europe growing increasingly more ominous throughout the 1930s, and later, during the German occupation of France in the 1940s, delicacy and charm continue to be the essential features of his paintings. Viewers are presented with images of nostalgia for a romantic past free of conflict and tragedy. This feeling is remarkably consistent throughout his work, and it is there that Edzard's artistic prowess lies.

Edzard's work was well received in Paris, where he exhibited frequently at the Jeu de Paume and with the renowned art dealer Durand-Ruel. He would eventually meet Suzanne Eisendieck, a fellow German artist whom he married in 1938 and whose work is stylistically comparable to his. During the German occupation of France in the 1940s, the artists remained in Paris and Edzard turned some of his attention to painting interiors and still lifes. There is a serene quality to these paintings that continues to draw the attention and interest of collectors and decorators alike, and as in Edzard's figurative work, planes of rich yet muted color bring these paintings to life. Often exhibiting together, Edzard and Eisendieck had many opportunities to show paintings in North America in the 1950s, with exhibitions at Edgardo Acosta Gallery and James Vigeveno Gallery in Los Angeles, Hammer Galleries in New York, Dominion Gallery in Montreal and Wally Findlay Gallery in New York, Chicago and Palm Beach.

Special Collections: The Estate of Leon Amar, Palm Beach

"Dedicated" might be the best word to describe interior designer Leon Amar's collection of Dietz Edzard paintings. It is rare to come across an assembled group so focused on the work of a single artist. It seems that no area of the world was too distant to deter this impassioned pursuit. Over many years Leon Amar searched the globe for Edzard's work, purchasing paintings at auction and privately from New York to London to Tokyo to Vancouver. The resulting collection is impressive in its scope, with examples from almost every decade of the artist's output, including several early works, which are considerably more loose and expressionistic than those in Edzard's mature style. Still, it is perhaps that essential feeling of nostalgia, which emanates from most of Edzard's works, that drew Leon Amar to Edzard and these graceful paintings.

The September 24, 2020 auction of the Estate of Leon Amar offers 26 works by Dietz Edzard.

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A second offering of works by Dietz Edzard from the Estate of Leon Amar will take place in the auction of Fine Paintings on October 22.

Portrait of specialist Milan Tessler
Cataloguer, Paintings Department
General Paintings
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