Lisel Oppel - Laternenkinder (Lantern Children), 1959

Oil on paperboard

38 x 71 cm / framed 51 x 84 cm
14 x 27 inch / framed 20 x 33 inch

Signed, dated bottom left "Lisel Oppel 1959"

with handmade craftsman's frame

N 9403

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.
(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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Lisel Oppel, Lantern Children, 1959, 38 x 71 cm / framed 51 x 84 cm, N 9403
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