"Sommertag im Allgäu (A Summer's Day in the Allgäu)", ca. 1933
Oil on canvas
18.9 x 26.77 in / framed 27.56 x 35.04 in
Expertise Otto Modersohn Museum
- with handmade craftsman's frame -
Über das Werk
Born in Soest in Westphalia, Otto Modersohn (1865-1943) moved in 1908 from Worpswede to the nearby town of Fischerhude, following the death of his second wife Paula Modersohn-Becker, from where he also undertook various journeys. From 1925 until the onset of his eye affliction in 1935, his favourite destination was the spa resort of Bad Hindelang in the Allgäu region. Here his third wife Louise Modersohn-Breling managed a farm from 1930, which was the family's second residence. "When surrounded by nature, one's thoughts turn inevitably to painting. And to being prepared with Nature in the studio." (1) Throughout these financially difficult years, Modersohn was required to step up his productivity. Alone in the months between March to October, all spent in the Allgäu, 172 new paintings were entered into his portfolio of works. In his Allgäu paintings, Modersohn focused thematically on the mountainous landscape, which is characteristic of the Oberallgäu region. Although Modersohn's documented reaction to the change of political power in Germany in 1933 appear restrained, he vehemently refused to adopt the so-called "Hitler Salute". And in common with his wife Louise, he was aghast at his eldest son Ulrich's decision to join the National Socialist German Worker's party, particularly as the Modersohns came from a liberal and socially-committed background. Helmut Schmidt, who once described the house of the Breling family as a "place of inner integrity" (2), became acquainted with the Modersohn's in 1933, whilst stationed as a soldier in nearby Bremen-Vegesack. He recalled their first meeting as follows: "And in Fischerhude I met Otto Modersohn. He lived in a house at the most northern point of the River Wümme, whose delta could only be traversed by means of 20 bridges when travelling on foot from Sagehorn Station to Fischerhude (...) Hitherto Modersohn had always been a legend for me, yet now I was allowed to visit him in Fischerhude where he showed me his landscapes. The hospitality in his house was unobtrusive, restrained and, because of this, it left a lasting impression on the young soldier." (3)
(1) Otto Modersohn, 25.12.1933, quoted here from: Marina Bohlmann-Modersohn; Otto Modersohn - Leben und Werk, Bremen 2005, p. 280 (2) ibid. p. 277(3) ibid.