Der Raucher: Porträt Alfred Hess, Erfurt

This portrait by the German Expressionist painter Max Pechstein shows the German Jewish businessman Alfred Hess smoking a large meerschaum pipe.


watercolour and india ink on paper
41.5 x 32cm (sheet), pasted to board (board 42.5 x 33cm)
Acquired in:
Ketter Kunst Munich


Pechstein trained in Dresden and joined the Expressionist artist group Die Brücke in 1906. He is known for his portraits, still life and landscape paintings, and as a founder of the socialist artist group Novembergruppe. 

Alfred Hess (1879-1931) was a renowned art collector and owner of shoe factories in the German city of Erfurt. Pechstein painted this portrait of Hess on a visit to his house in April 1919. 

The seminal exhibition ‘Mid-European Art’ at the Leicester Art Gallery in 1944 centred on works from the Hess collection. Four acquisitions from the collection (including a watercolour by Pechstein) became the founding works in Leicester’s important holdings of early 20th-century German art. This painting now rejoins them there. 



Alfred Hess Collection, Erfurt; Christie's London, 4 April 1989, Lot 361.

Venue details

New Walk Museum & Art Gallery 53 New Walk, LEICESTER Leicestershire LE1 7EA 0116 225 4900

Entry details

Free to all
Offers with National Art Pass

Mon – Sat, 10am – 5pm Sun, 11am – 5pm Closed 24 – 26 Dec, 31 Dec, 1 Jan

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