Kiel 1887 – 1944 Glinde
Oil on canvas, 60 x 75 cm
Signed upper left: W. Coste
…; collection, Norbert Maiwald (1950-2019), Offenbach;1 anonymous sale, Frankfurt
(Döbritz), 24 October 2020, no. 62
Stark lamplight is cast down on the stage in the box ring where two boxers are being taken care of in between the rounds. Both look rather exhausted predicting that the game is in its final phase. The suspension and anxiety of the murmuring audience can almost be heard. Meanwhile the referee makes a chat with the jury. When Coste painted his boxing scene, probably somewhere in the 1920s, this sport was still perceived as a dubious pastime and had yet to obtain general acceptance as a legitimate martial sport. Coste painted the scene with striking immediacy. His dabs of paint which are all right on the mark can almost be likened to the punches of the fighters.
Born in northern Germany, Waldemar Coste was trained at the Frankfurt art institute, continuing his studies in Karlsruhe with Wilhelm Trübner (1851-1917). Just like his teacher, Coste quickly came under the spell of the work of Wilhelm Leibl (1844-1900), a realist who maintained ties with leading French realists such as Gustave Courbet (1819-1877) and Edouard Manet (1832-1883).
Together with other students of the Karlsruhe Academy, among whom Franz Wallischeck (1865-1941) and Arthur Grimm (1883-1948), Coste formed the so-called Hollerbacher Malerkolonie between 1904 and 1915. The artists that flocked together at this colony in Hollerbach, nowadays part of the city of Buchen, not only worked together but also spent their time hunting, sporting and making music. After World War I a period of extensive travelling ensued, visiting France, Italy, Spain, Denmark and Sweden. Later in life Coste lived in Erlach in Switzerland. He died in Glinde, near Hamburg.
Coste was an extremely versatile artist, who made his mark working in a variety of techniques: watercolours, oil paintings as well as largescale frescoes. His thematic range is remarkable too, from portraits to mythological subjects or sport scenes, such as the present. In his landscapes, city views and genre scenes, such as our work, Coste clearly betrays his debt to French impressionism.
1 According to the entry in the catalogue for the sale, Frankfurt (Döbritz), 24 October 2020, no. 62.