"Nebel über der Wümme mit Mond (Mist over the Wümme with Moon)", 1996
Watercolour on handmade paper
11.02 x 18.5 in / framed 22.05 x 28.35 in
Signed bottom right, dated "Modersohn 96"
- with craftsman's frame -
Über das Werk
"He rarely painted in the middle of the day or in the afternoon. The transition, the twilight hours of the morning or evening meant much more to him. He loved the misty, early morning ambience (…). Depicting the light, or the reflection of the sky shimmering across the surface of the river or the flooded fields were his themes," commented Antje Modersohn, recalling her father, the painter Christian Modersohn. He was born in 1916 in Bremen as the son of Otto Modersohn (1865-1943) and died in Fischerhude in 2009. Throughout his career he continued to uphold and nurture the rich tradition of Worpsweder landscape painting up until the present day. Among his most popular motifs was the sweeping panorama onto the tranquil pastures bordering the narrow course of the River Wümme, under the shifting light of the twilight hours. After Modersohn built his studio and residence on the outskirts of the village of Fischerhude in 1957, his favourite location - the northern branch of the Wümme - lay only a few minutes away on foot. Fascinated by the unique expressive opportunities offered by this deserted landscape, the artist devoted himself in an abundance of paintings to capturing this enchanting vista - during which time water-colour became his preferred medium. In this present sheet, his gaze ranges across the mist-shrouded landscape. The features appear to dissipate in the dewy-mist of the early morning and assume a ghostly glowing hue as shadowy silhouettes. Evincing an assured command of water-colour technique, Modersohn distils the subtle and atmospheric interplay of light and moisture, brightness and darkness onto the sheet. The lucid transparency of the sparse and subtle nuances of colour prefigures the momentary experience of dawn breaking over the Wümme - with the fading moon heralding the passing of the night. "To a certain degree, the light is already there. All I do is reveal its presence through colour", commented Modersohn, explaining his artistic intentions. With consummate mastery, Modersohn succeeds in capturing that almost liminal moment of transition from night to day across the north German landscape, and imbuing this serene and harmonious composition with a magical, transcendent aura.