Fritz Overbeck - Sommerwolken II (Summer clouds II), 1904

Oil on canvas

95 x 151 cm / framed 122 x 177 cm
37 x 59 inch / framed 48 x 69 inch

Signed bottom left "F. Overbeck"
Cat.- Rais. N° 1904/7 with reproduction on page 47
Expertise Dr. Katja Pourshirazi from January 22, 2019,
Overbeck-Museum, Bremen

- with handmade craftsman's frame -

N 9356

About the work

Fritz Overbeck had already lived in Worpswede for ten years when he painted “Sommerwolken II” and had grown famous with his representations of the northern German landscape. The unobstructed view extending to the horizon and the high sky with animated clouds were the central motifs of many of his works.
At first glance, the painting impresses with its strong colour chord of clear blue and white in the sky and brilliant yellow and dark green on the ground. The line of the horizon is only interrupted by a row of trees that give the painting its rhythm. Noteworthy is the use of the diagonals: not only the field of corn in the foreground, represented as a foreshortened rhomboid, defines the composition – two conspicuously geometric cloud sections in the top corners of the painting take up the diagonal form and in doing so encase the painting in a rhomboid frame. This lends it a cohesive, thoroughly composed form and radiates a sublime sense of calm and proportion.
That Fritz Overbeck struggled with the designing of this painting and only incorporated the structuring diagonals into the work in a second step can be derived from a letter to his wife, Hermine Overbeck-Rohte. On 14 August 1904, he wrote to her about “the cornfield with large, white clouds, which I began in the winter, but which never got further than a boring stage at the time. Now I have ‘improved’ it, meaning made it more interesting”.
Thanks to its pronounced composition and brilliant colouring, “Sommerwolken II” is considered one of the important paintings on canvas by Overbeck from his time in Worpswede, and at the same time marks the transition to a new creative phase of the artist: only one year after the painting was completed, Overbeck left Worpswede and settled in the north of Bremen on the Schönebecker Aue (a stream), where he continued to occupy himself with the motif of sun-drenched landscapes.
(Katja Pourshirazi)

Text authored and provided by Katja Pourshirazi

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Fritz Overbeck, Summer clouds II, 1904, 95 x 151 cm / framed 122 x 177 cm, N 9356
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