Laternenkinder (Lantern Children), 1959
Oil on paperboard
38 x 71 cm
14 x 27 inch
Signed, dated bottom left "Lisel Oppel 1959"
About the work
In the footsteps of Paula Modersohn-Becker, whose letters and notes were published in 1917, the young artist came to Worpswede for the first time in 1919 and stayed. Interrupted by many travels, including to Italy, Spain and Morocco, Lisel Oppel lived and worked for around 40 years in the small artist village on the Hamme. She quickly emancipated herself from the paintings of her predecessor and made a notable contribution to the Worpswede painting of the second generation. The motif of the lantern children, first initiated by artists like Paula and Otto Modersohn, was developed to its full potential by Lisel Oppel. She returned repeatedly to the subject, which is among the high points of her extensive oeuvre.
The Lantern Children of 1959, created only a year prior to the death of the artist, convinces not least through the unusually elongated, lateral, rectangular format. The focus of the activity may be in the left foreground of the painting, but one’s gaze is drawn instinctively into the depths of the landscape, along the broad path, wet with rain, to the houses and trees in the distance. Above it all, the sky, with a low band of clouds in the light of nascent twilight. Two smaller children are headed from the village toward the larger group, while another boy, clothed entirely in blue and intersected by the edge of the painting, joins them from the left. In a few moments, all the children will have gathered and will commence with their little lantern procession. The twilight at the end of the day allows their lanterns to shine brightly. Like big, colourful balloons in blue, yellow, orange and pink, they light up the foreground, while one of them is reflected like the blazing, orange-red ball of the sun in in the large puddle, which the artist cleverly used to create a reflection of her little scene.
Light-hearted childhood in the scenic idyll of the Teufelsmoor, and a beloved motif, the possibilities of which Lisel Oppel staged in a variety of picturesque facets and compositions with an extraordinary degree of mastery.
Worpsweder Bäuerin am Ziehbrunnen (Worpswede Woman Farmer at the Draw Well), ca. 1925
Galerie Neher, Essen