Landscape compositions usually drawn on envelopes or other scraps of paper formed an inexhaustible pictorial reservoir for the ageing artist, who since losing vision in his right eye in 1936 created his paintings from memory or from oil studies and compositional sketches. The arresting immediacy and rapid brushstrokes evident on these sheets vividly underscore that the painter had lost none of his artistic passion and mastery. In "Spring on the Moor", one can almost hear the spring storm whipping across the countryside. The houses themselves appear to almost cower and retreat into the landscape, and even the viewer is tempted to turn up his collar and draw his cap down over his face - such is the freshness and spontaneity with which the artist has captured this storm-swept scene - despite the abstracting impact of the omission of colour. His choice of pallid grey and black, the dark, reddish-brown of the sanguine and the tonality of the paper are characteristic of Otto Modersohn's drawings in his later years - in common with the sketchy, stenographic-style shorthand applied to depict the features of the landscape with stylised cipher-like simplification. Casually rendered hatchings and intricate webs of lines in which the objects appear to dissolve cover the entire sheet. "Spring on the Moor" belongs to the so-called "evening sheets", which the artist completed in his living room. They were inspired by the sketch books which he always carried with him on his daily excursions into the natural countryside in order to quickly jot down his impressions with a few sparse strokes and marks. The results were only intended for his own personal consumption, and it was the artist's declared intention to translate these compositional sketches - which his second wife, the painter Paula Modersohn, labelled as his best - into oil paintings. From 1993 onwards, he began fulfilling this objective, although by no means all the sketches found their way into his painted œuvre.
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