Otto Modersohn - Frühling an der Wümme (Spring on the Wuemme), ca. 1920

Oil on canvas

64 x 80 cm / framed 75 x 92 cm
25 x 31 inch / framed 29 x 36 inch

Signed
Expertise Rainer Noeres, January 1, 2016,
Otto Modersohn Museum, Fischerhude

- with craftsman's frame -

N 9200

About the work

This evocative painting by Otto Modersohn unites the typical elements of the Fischerhud landscape, and was created during the spring on the banks of the Mühlenstreek, one of the numerous tree–lined tributaries of the River Wümme within the village. The artist frequently drew and painted this river and marsh landscape, at every time of day or year. Captured from a vantage point on the water, this idyllic picture invites our gaze to sweep across the meadows, trees and the sky and onto the near–by farmyard, replete with small barn. Shimmering reflections of the landscape are clearly discernible on the surface of quietly flowing stream. Three white–feathered Moskovy ducks, rendered as three bright dabs, are swimming near to the banks, whereas to the left under the protection of the trees one can make out a ducks' house, equipped with narrow jetty leading down into the water – a truly tranquil scene.
Inspired by Paul Cézanne's late works, Otto Modersohn executed this work at a time in which his style was undergoing constant change, although he never sought to abandon his own distinctive signature. Eschewing a detailed representation, the artist confines himself to a simplicity of form, and an increasing two–dimensionality in his compositional technique. Pictorial elements are now often gathered together in virtually unstructured coloured surfaces. Yet he remains true to himself and to colour of the local nature in the selection of his palette: "Power does not reside in colourfulness", he once remarked, articulating his artistic stance.
"One must only reflect the willpower of nature, the structure, the core, the essence, the extract of things", wrote Otto Modersohn on May 10, 1920. "One must stand above nature, one must transform, exaggerate and enhance it to suit one's own purpose. I endeavour to conjure exaggerated, concentrated forms – also known as Expressionism. I want the natural forms to serve as vehicles for my ideas and, in so, doing create something new, something spiritual... I want to construct the picture from forms and surfaces and divide the pictorial plane. The painting must be viewed as a surface filled with coloured forms."
(Doris Hansmann)

Text authored and provided by Dr. Doris Hansmann, Art historian

Studies of art history, theater, film and television, English and Romance Languages at the University of Cologne, doctorated in 1994. Research assistant at the Art Museum Düsseldorf. Lecturer and project manager at Wienand Verlag, Cologne. Freelance work as an author, editor and book producer for publishers and museums in Germany and abroad. From 2011 chief editor at Wienand Verlag, from 2019 to 2021 senior editor at DCV, Dr. Cantz’sche Verlagsgesellschaft, Berlin. Numerous publications on the art of the 20th and 21st centuries.

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Otto Modersohn, Spring on the Wuemme, ca. 1920, 64 x 80 cm / framed 75 x 92 cm, N 9200
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