"Landschaft an der Wümme (Landscape on the Wümme)", 1976
Watercolour on paper
Signed bottom left, dated "Modersohn 76"
- with craftsman's frame and non-reflective glass -
Christian Modersohn's favourite time of the day was early evening, when the translucent rays of the setting sun irradiate the colours of the natural landscape and, together with the encroaching twilight, cast a mellifluous glow over the meadows - as seen here in this work which he painted facing east, from the elevated vantage point of the bridge over the northern arm of the River Wümme on the eve of his 60th birthday. In order to defy the rapidly shifting light, he exploited the full advantage of water-colour, quickly committing to paper his fleeting observations. Initially the structure of the work was briefly sketched in using charcoal or sometimes red chalk. Christian Modersohn began every painting with an outline of the often rapidly changing sky, followed by the course of a river reflecting the sky and then the flanking trees and bushes.
Christian Modersohn's water-colours are defined by their inherent light. Painting wet-in-wet, he would often wipe the brush dry on his jacket,and then draw it slowly through the paint to leave a hard edge of pigment. This was very much a technique he developed himself. The paint had to be applied to the surface quickly and assuredly as subsequent corrections were not possible. For this reason the water-colourists had to work rapidly, and with great concentration and care.
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