"Gewitter über dem Rosengarten bei Bozen (Storm Over the Rosengarten Near Bolzano)", 1914
Oil on canvas
21.26 x 29.13 in / framed 30.31 x 37.8 in
Signed bottom right and dated "Slevogt 1914"
- with craftsman's frame -
Über das Werk
Our gaze sweeps across the meadows, the trees and a dark row of hills and onto the mountains obscured in a dramatic veil of cloud. With vibrant gestural brush strokes and a rich palette, the painter Max Slevogt succeeded in capturing this stunning panoramic landscape in the South Tyrolean Alps, near the city of Bolzano. This region is dominated by the magnificent Dolomite mountain range, the most well known of which, the so-called "Rosengarten", forms part of an almost 8 kilometre-long chain of craggy mountains whose highest peak soars up to 3000 metres.
This present painting "Storm over the Rosengarten Near Bolzano" was executed by Slevogt in mid-May 1914 during a stop-over in the SouthTyroleanmetropolis on the return journey to the Palatinate from his trip to Italy. In addition to this work, he also completed another painting in Bolzano featuring "A View of the Rosengarten", together with several water-colours. Here the focus of his artistic interest lay in capturing the special light and weather conditions: clouds and rain dominate the canvas. Under the forbidding overcast sky, the landscape exudes a rather muted atmosphere. Slevogt succeeds in observing and rendering the tension-laden contrasts in both form and colour between the foreground and background: With a sublime sense of detail and an assured brush technique, he juxtaposes the undulating landscape to the south in his immediate proximity with the roughly hewn terrain of the mountain peaks far away in the distance. The diffuse two-dimensionality of the immediate foreground forms a sharp counterpoint to the dynamic plasticity of the mountain tops, quickly executed with pastose brush strokes. Intruding between is the massive wedge of the dark chain of mountains whose sharply outlined contours stand out impressively against the bright luminous clouds and mountain formation in the background. Ultimately Slevogt generates a colour-induced tension: Following on from the light, almost transparent green of the meadows is the heavy green-brown of the middle ground which, in turn, responds expressively to the whitish blue of the rain-drenched mountains. The sketch-like painting style and the overall impression of restlessness serve only to intensify the drama of the thunderstorm engulfing the Dolomites, and, at the same time, reflect the artist's own excitement as he beholds this marvellous natural spectacle.Born in Landshut in 1868, Max Slevogt died in 1932 in the town of Neukastel near Landau.
Together with Lovis Corinth, Max Liebermann and Hans Purrmann, he ranked among the leading masters of German Impressionism. In addition to numerous portraits and motifs culled from the world of music and theatre, he garnered acclaim primarily for his light-saturated and intensively coloured landscapes. This impressive work reveals with great clarity how Slevogt adopted the late Impressionist style and thus operated at the cutting edge of the modern stylistic language of his age.