Executed in tempera and gouache, this work highlights the theme which pre-occupied Siegward Sprotte intensively throughout this entire career. Domiciled on the North Sea island of Sylt since 1945, the artist did not aspire to depicting on canvas or paper the surrounding landscape, but rather by keenly observing the natural world around him, he sought to divine its internal rhythms and inner structure and lend them expression with a few carefully applied brushstrokes. Frequently the natural hues themselves are in stark contrast to Sprotte's chosen colours, which appear expressionistic and impressionistic in equal measure.
This present sheet from 1987 can be read both as a dune landscape, and also as a work of abstract expressionism. Throughout his life Sprotte defied any all too definitive categorisations. And just as he regarded both figuration und non-figuration as existing in mutual harmony, so too did he perceive a close correspondence between his painterly and literary output. He would often expound upon his highly individual artistic language in different contexts, as in 1983 during a studio discussion with Hans Otmar Neher: "Art lives from almost imperceptible changes, which elude the fleeting and sensation-hungry gaze, and, if at all, are only appreciated retrospectively. The impact of such changes often only becomes apparent subsequently, since the pioneers of change themselves remain concealed and disregarded, ostensibly exhibiting nothing spectacular." After having remained obscure for so many years, perhaps now we can finally acknowledge Siegward Sprotte as the pioneer he was.
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