"Abendlandschaft mit Heuernte (Evening Landscape with Hay Harvest)", 1936
Oil on canvas
22.05 x 29.13 in / framed 28.74 x 37.4 in
Expertise by Otto Modersohn Museum
- with handmade craftsman's frame -
Über das Werk
Atmosphere, mood and a muted palette are the artistic themes characterising the late works of Otto Modersohn. “Evening Landscape with Hay Harvest”, was painted in 1936, seven years prior to his death, when the artist was over 70 years old, and looking back upon an eventful life. Growing up in the towns of Soest and Münster, he studied at the Düsseldorf and Karlsruhe art academies before finding his first artistic home in Worpswede. Here he loses his first wife from tuberculosis, and finds in Paula Modersohn-Becker a new and inspirational partner, who like him is also a painter. After her premature death giving birth to their daughter, the artist moves to the village of Fischerhude in 1908, where he soon makes the acquaintance of the young Louise Breling, who was to remain at his side for many years as his third wife. It is a life devoted to art, and the countryside around Hindelang, where the family moves into a farm house on the Gailenberg in 1930, inspires the artist to fashion new motifs and interpretations of the mountainous landscape. In the summer of 1935, Modersohn returns to Fischerhude, where he lives a secluded, but highly productive and fulfilling existence, in which art still remains his primary focus. Whereas plein-air painting was once at the heart of his output, his works now largely originate in the studio. These are, however, paintings imbued with immediacy of nature, and the artist's deep love for the solitude of the Lower-Saxony plains.The reduced palette of Evening Landscape with Hay Harvest is typical for the later creative phase of the artist. It exemplifies Modersohn's tendency to treat colour ever more sparingly, and apply it more to reflect mood and his inner emotions, rather than remain steadfastly faithful to reality. Defining his painterly objectives in November 1993, he stated that "… plain colours, broken, indifferent, mild, muted, gentle, highly nuanced, not bright, uniform, dominant, a harmonious - without effects…". One unusual feature of this painting, however, is the summery motif of hay-making since during this creative phase, the artist preferred the ambience of autumn and winter, twilight and moonshine, fog and overcast skies. Similarly, here the otherwise still and deserted background is leavened by small figures on the right-hand side, from which the work derives its title.