Konrad Klapheck

Signed and dated in brush with black on the reverse: Klapheck 67. Signed, titled, dated and inscribed in ink with Schwarz on a label on the original backing board: Konrad Klapheck “Die schöne Hausfrau” 1966 45 × 67 cm Cardboard do not remove, signature on the reverse

Provenance: Private collection, North Rhine-Westphalia (acquired 1971 in the artist’s studio)

Konrad Klapheck’s fascination with machines and everyday objects began at an early age! When he was 13, he was deeply impressed by the sight of a plumber carrying out a repair in the bathroom of his parents’ house: “When I saw his open bag with pipes, nuts and bolts, this whole world of shiny chrome, I said to myself, ‘I could paint that!'” (Konrad Klapheck, 1970) Klapheck, who was born in Düsseldorf in 1935 and died in July 2023, pursued this wish and began his studies at the Düsseldorf Art Academy in 1954 under Bruno Goller.
Düsseldorf with Bruno Goller. Goller’s choice of motifs and his special approach to figuration, in which he captured the painted objects in all their peculiarity and strangeness and always rendered them with a personal, subjective touch, was groundbreaking for his student Konrad Klapheck.

Klapheck countered the artistic spirit of the time, dominated by abstraction, Tachism and Art Informel, with his “super-representationalism”, inspired above all by surrealist art. Within just three years, he developed his repertoire of motifs, to which all later motifs refer: 1955 the first typewriter and the first watertap, 1956 the first telephone and the first shoe tighteners, 1957 the first sewing machine, the first shower, and the first bicycle clamp. The motifs later derived from these are not connected by their function, but are divided into families through formal analogies, through connections between the objects. For example, hoses, hydrants and fire extinguishers were derived from the shower motif in the 1960s. Konrad Klapheck imagines a personal, familial relationship between the objects, characterized by sympathies and antipathies and in many cases with explicit sexual connotations. The objects become a fetish. This sexual charge is most evident in the group of works of taps and showers. While the group of shoe trees was still about family life and marriage, the taps and showers are about one thing: sex! The paintings bear titles such as “Sibling Lovers” (1958), “The Precocious” (1959), “The Proud Women” (1961), “The Sex Bomb and Her Companion” (1963), “The Mistress” (1964), “The Sophisticated Wife” (1969) and also, as in our case: “The Beautiful Housewife” (1966). Klapheck says: “The taps and showers, which have always been the intimates of the physical in man, become creatures that live entirely according to Eros, while the shoe tighteners evoke the joys and miseries of marriage through their duality.”
(Konrad Klapheck: Die Maschine und ich, 1966)

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