"Gehöft am Moorgraben (Farmstead on the Moor Ditch)", 1906
Oil on cardboard
Painted on both sides
Painted on both sides
- with craftsman's frame -
In the summer of 1906, Udo Peters visited Worpswede for the first time in order to artistically explore the pristine landscape. This present painting derives from his earliest encounter with the natural environment and its local inhabitants, and captures with rapidly applied brushstrokes a view of a characteristic village scene. The closely-cropped extract guides our gaze along the tow path in the foreground, which is lined with birch trees and bounded by the wooden fence, and across the open meadows in the centre of the canvas to the red-brick façades of peasants' cottages, which are bathed in the fading light of the setting sun. As can often be observed in Peters' other works, appearing as a figurative staffage in the left middle-ground is a farmer wearing a blue top. Painted on both sides, the reverse shows a similarly typical Worpswede motif; Our eyes glide along a narrow canal flanked by tall birches and past several farmsteads into the depths of the moor landscape. Executed with course brush strokes, the pastose colours dominate the vibrant scene on the painting's front side. In several places Peters has incorporated the bright ground of the open canvas explicitly into the artistic statement and composition itself, which infuses this atmospheric depiction of nature with a studied lightness and freshness. Compared with his other painting from 1906, "Peat Canal" (N 9020), Peters has struck a different chord here: The detailed, highly structured style, still bearing the pervasive influence of Impressionism, contrasts starkly with the more immediate, more expressive visual language, which seeks to vigorously liberate itself from mere imitation of superficial impressions of nature, highlighting instead moments of intense inner emotion - as the actual motivation for the creation of the work. In addition to the rapidly applied brush marks, the intensive luminance of the contrasting colours with their interacting triad of red, green and blue lend the painting a further dynamic quality. In contrast, the painting on the reverse, with its more muted pale colours underscores the landscape's singular atmosphere.
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