"Kahnfahrt auf der Wümme (Modersohns beim Kahnfahren) (Boat Trip on the Wümme (Modersohns on a Boat Trip))", 1912
Oil on canvas
21.26 x 18.11 in / framed 26.38 x 23.23 in
Monogrammed bottom right, dated "OM 12"
Expertise Rainer Noeres, August 18, 2015,
Otto Modersohn Museum, Fischerhude
- with craftsman's frame -
Über das Werk
Completed in 1912, this the only self-portrait by Otto Modersohn shows him together with his third wife Louise Modersohn-Breling and daughters Elsbeth und Tille on a boating expedition along the River Wümme. They are sitting aboard a typical Fischerhuder dinghy, propelled not by oars, but by a punt. The couple, sitting on the bench at the bow of the boat, are being punted by their eldest daughter Elsbeth. At the feet of Louise Modersohn, reaching over the side of the boat, is the four-year-old Tille, the daughter of Paula Modersohn-Beckers. They had fetched her from Switzerland in the previous year where she had grown up in the family of Paula Modersohn-Becker's elder sister. A day in the month of May in all its effulgent splendour; the trees bearing bright green leaves, which shimmer in the light; cows grazing in the meadows; a line of ducks swimming against the tide.
Boating trips on the Wümme by day or at night in the glare of a lantern are a recurrent theme in the paintings of Otto Modersohn in and around 1911. He once wrote that in contrast to Worpswede, the waterways in Fischerhude brought so much life into the village. Fischerhude, traversed by three tributaries of the Wümme, had exercised a fascination on the artist since his first visit there in 1896. From 1908 onwards, the reflections in the water, the boats, the boat sheds and the duck houses along the River Wümme were often featured as the principal motifs in many of his paintings.