When he first visited Worpsweder in 1906, Udo Peters was already ambitious and educated young man, consumed by a burning passion for painting. Still at the beginning of his artistic career, he dedicated himself to portrait paintings, but here - impressed by the Devil's Moor - he completed his first landscape painting. Having studied at the Art School in Hanover and at the Munich Academy of Art, the 23-year old possessed sufficient self-confidence to resist the pervasive influence of the first generation of Worpsweder painters, and initially embark upon his own artistic path, before returning to finally settle down in the artists' colony in 1908. It was here - interrupted by several long trips to Holland, Italy, Croatia and Switzerland - that he was to spend the rest of his life and go down in the annals as the village chronicler. Often seen travelling the area on his bicycle - armed with brushes, palette, canvas and easel - he is inextricably bound up with the image of the village. He was always discovering new vistas, new motifs and new colour moods, which would flow into his paintings, among them streets and paths, houses and farmsteads, moor dykes and birch forests, sun-drenched summer days and gentle, spring-like auras, the landscape in the morning light and evening twilight, and only very rarely, a dark, forbidding atmosphere. And although Peters’ work attests to his profound understanding of modernity, and evinces a marked stylistic tendency towards Expressionism, the artist was averse to dynamic, sentimental and overwrought expressivity. His painting are carefully calibrated and architecturally structured, with broad brush strokes and rhythmically gradated layers of colour.
This is evidenced in this characteristic and impressive work "Hay Harvest", dating from the artist's late period: A typical Worpsweder landscape, replete with fields and meadows, a moor dyke disappearing into the background, an isolated cottage with a large slanting thatched roof and a farmstead ringed by tall trees. The low-lying horizon affords the eponymous motif a mere third of the canvas, whereas the serene, almost static sky arches over the vast plain. However, the starring roles in this pictorial cosmos are played by the fully-laden hay cart and the small figures - common features in Peters' paintings. With their strident colours - the typical black trousers and bright blue jackets of the moor farmers, together with the shining white aprons and hats of the womenfolk - they stand out clearly from the earth-coloured surroundings, forming a vibrant highlight and the actual focal point of the tranquil scene. Udo Peters shows people deeply rooted in the landscape and in perfect harmony with nature and the rhythmic cycle of the annual seasons.
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