The artist’s arrival in the German capital, three years before he joined the Bauhaus in Weimar, was coupled with his intense creative activity. One of the earliest works he completed there was his Großes Eisenbahnbild (Large Railway Painting, also known as The Big Railroad Picture), a composition in oil which nowadays belongs to Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid.
On December 10, Karl & Faber in Munich is auctioning Eisenbahnbild (Railway Picture) a preliminary work for the painting.
It is no coincidence that the finished oil painting resembles a collage: the 13 x 10in (32 x 25cm) signed ‘sketch’, estimated at €50,000-70,000, combines gouache, ink and collage on tracing paper. From 1974 onwards, it belonged to a south German collection and has passed by descent to the consignor.
The composition itself incorporates elements of socialist art with modernism. The parallel lines across the top have been interpreted as symbolic railway tracks or communication cables; the vertical red line with a yellow disc evokes the lever used for switching points.