Melchior Lechter

Blaue Blume Einsamkeit,


oil on board


Melchior Lechter (Münster 1865-1937 Raron/Wallis)

"Blaue Blume Einsamkeit" ["Blue Flower of Loneliness," also known as "Blue Flower of Solitude"]


oil on board

with frame designed by the artist himself

70 x 38 cm (without frame); 106 x 74 cm (with frame)

signed and dated lower right: MELCHIOR LECHTER / 1892-93 

titled on frame, bottom front: BLAUE BLUME EINSAMKEIT


Julius Landmann (1877-1931), who acquired directly from the artist, thence by descent within the family until purchased by The Daulton Collection.  Julius Landmann was an important economist who was significantly involved in the foundation of the Swiss National Bank and served as its Secretary from 1906-10. He was friends with Melchior Lechter and Stefan George.

Publication History:

Reinhard Weinhold, "Melchior Lechter und das Kunstgewerbe," in Illustrirten Kunstgewerblichen Zeitschrift für Innen-Dekoration, VIII Jahrgang, March Heft 1897 (Darmstadt, Leipzig, Wien: Kunstverlag Alexander Koch, 1897), pp. 57-58, referenced without illustration at p. 58.

Julius Norden, "Ein neuer Farbensymboliker (Melchior Lechter)" ["A New Color Symbolist"], in Beilage zur Baltischen Monatsschrift (Riga: Verlag der Baltischen Monatsschrift, 1897), pp. 25-33, referenced without illustration at p. 32.

Georg Fuchs, "Melchior Lechter," in Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration, Band I, October 1897-March 1898 (Darmstadt: Verlagsanstalt Alexander Koch, 1898), pp. 161-192, with illustration at p. 191.

Georg Fuchs, "Melchior Lechter," in Die Umschau, II. Jahrgang (Frankfurt a. M.: H. Bechhold Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1898), pp. 451-456, with illustration at p. 453.

Julius Norden, "Bei Melchior Lechter," in Die Gegenwart, Nr. 13 (Berlin: Verlag der Gegenwart, 1901), pp. 200-202, referenced without illustration at p. 200.

Maximilian Rapsilber, Melchior Lechter (Berliner Kunst III. Sonderausgabe der Berliner Architekturwelt) (Berlin: Verlag Ernst Wasmuth, 1904), with illustration at p. 35.

Pauline Lange, "Melchior Lechter," in Westermanns Illustrierte Deutsche Monatshefte, Vol. 97, Oct. 1904-March 1905 (Braunschweig: Verlag George Westermann, 1905), pp. 23-39 (Oct. 1904), with illustration at p. 28.

Annegret Müller, Melchior Lechter - Leben und Malerisches Werk, dissertation (Bochum 1981), pp. 100-102, with illustration at p. 374.

Michael Thimann, "Geheiligte Überlieferung: Melchior Lechter und die deutsche Kunst am Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts," in Melchior Lechters Gegen Welten. Kunst um 1900 zwischen Münster, Indien und Berlin, eds. Sebastian Schütze und Jürgen Krause (Münster: Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe, 2006), pp. 54-63, referenced without illustration at p. 61.


by Jack Daulton:

A “lost” symbolist masterpiece reappears!  Melchior Lechter’s “Blaue Blume Einsamkeit” [“Blue Flower of Loneliness”], 1892-93, oil on panel, 70 x 38 cm.

Widely published in the German press between 1897 and 1905, this wonderful painting disappeared from public view for more than 115 years after its purchase directly from the artist by the Swiss banker Julius Landmann (1877-1931).  In 2020, the painting resurfaced at auction in Zurich where it was acquired by The Daulton Collection.

The German artist Melchior Lechter (1865-1937) is today known principally for his work in the book arts (particularly in association with the symbolist poet Stefan George) and for his work in stained glass.  However, in his early career, Lechter created a handful of easel paintings, including the present, outstanding example.

These early symbolist paintings are Lechter’s so-called “Stimmungsbildern” or “mood pictures,” paintings that dealt with human emotions but in a mystical and esoteric way.  Our understanding of the present painting is guided by the title that Lechter assigned to the work “Blaue Blume Einsamkeit” [“Blue Flower of Loneliness”], which is inscribed on the painting’s magnificent frame, a frame made by the artist himself.  In German literature, the blue flower is associated with the fragmentary novel Heinrich von Ofterdingen by the leading Romantic author Novalis (1722-1801), published posthumously in 1802.  And the blue flower became an important motif in 19th century Romanticism, representing a longing (Sehnsucht) for things transcendent. 

In our painting, the central figure is draped in a regal blue robe and stands in a field of blue flowers, holding two blossoms.  With a symmetrical composition and a static quality (reflecting the influence of both the Nazarenes and the Pre-Raphaelites), Lechter presents her like an icon, the image of a saint or other sacred figure; and, indeed, she is adorned with a golden halo and laurel crown.  Having tear-filled, iridescent blue eyes, she personifies the sad and lonely longing for the infinite and unreachable.

-- Jack Daulton, July 2021

"The present work is a particularly fine example of Lechter's Symbolist works. His so-called mood pictures [Stimmungsbildern] deal with human emotions, although they are often mysterious and not easily interpreted. Lechter has lent the work a sacred character through various attributes and compositional elements: the symmetrical structure and the static stillness of the woman are reminiscent of ancient representations of saints. The laurel wreath in her hair is traditionally a symbol of artistic fame, or of art renowned in itself. The woman's nudity symbolises her purity. Her large eyes look to the “Ehemals und Einstmals” (days of yore) as Lechter himself poetically formulated it. They probably point to the rapture, the contemplation of art, which also goes hand in hand with solitude. The title of the painting, “Blaue Blume Einsamkeit” (translated: Blue Flower of Solitude) also refers to an important symbol of Romanticism: the “blue flower”, a motif from a novel by Novalis. Linked to a holistic view of art, the frame was made by Lechter himself and additionally underscores the symbolism."  K

view with frame:
detail showing tear-filled eyes:
Jack Daulton
The Daulton Collection