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Karl Schmidt-Rottluff

"Päonien (Peonies)", 1965

Watercolour on paper

48 x 65 cm / framed 69 x 85 cm  ″

Signed bottom right "SRottluff"
Labelled bottom left "6542"
Photo expertise: Christiane Remm from 18.10.2018,
Karl and Emy Schmidt-Rottluff Stiftung, Berlin

- with craftsman's frame and UV absorbing, non-reflective glass -

N 9344

About the work

In addition to oil paintings, watercolours formed the other key medium defining the artistic career of Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. From the earliest beginnings in the circle of the artists' group "Brücke" in 1905 to his final creative period in the 1960s, the painter committed his impressions and observations to paper with richly coloured expressiveness and forceful, vigorous brushstrokes.
This large-format floral stilllife from 1965 belongs to his late phase, following Schmidt-Rottluff's decision to abandon oil painting in 1964 due to encroaching old age, and henceforth to dedicate himself exclusively to watercolours. "Painting without colour is without heart", he remarked, highlighting the decisive factor shaping his art. And consequently the appeal of this composition lies essentially in the pure radiance of the colour: The viewer encounters a bouquet of white and red peonies in a dark blue vase, flanked in the background by a smaller vase to the left, and a window to the right. In addition to his pre-occupation with landscape and figuration, the study of interior floral and plant arrangements also dominated Schmidt-Rottluff's oeuvre. Characteristic for his watercolours during the 1950s and 1960s were the loosely applied contour lines in black ink, which trace the translucent patches of colour with a restless, undulating intensity, and dynamise and rhythmatise the entire canvas. At the same time, the organically pulsating colours appear to ebb and flow, almost bursting with vital energy and spontaneous expressiveness. With this radiant confection of colour and the elegant language of form, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff - even at a ripe old age - is reprising his bold beginnings of the "Brücke" years.
(Andreas Gabelmann)

Further works by Karl Schmidt-Rottluff

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