Max Slevogt - Sonnenuntergang
Oil on cardboard 36.6 x 45.6 cm Framed. Signed and dated 'Slevogt 02' lower left, dedicated 'Herrn A. Wider z. frdl. Erinnerung' lower right. - Upper and lower edge with small colour losses due to the frame. Margins with small retouchings.
Among the depictions of landscapes in Max Slevogt's oeuvre, motifs from his adopted homeland in the Palatinate are by far the most prevalent. This also applies to the present painting, created in the immediate vicinity of the estate of Neukastel - which was originally owned by the family of his wife and would later became the Slevogt estate after he purchased it. Following his marriage to Antonie Finkler, a friend of his youth, in 1898, Slevogt repeatedly explored the surrounding countryside, which was dominated by vineyards and forests, in order to pursue his newly discovered passion for plein-air painting. In our work, the viewer's gaze sweeps across the treetops of a dark-green pine forest towards three conical mountains of the Palatinate Forest in the distance. At the right, viewers can recognise Burg Scharfenberg, a castle which is also known as “Münz” and whose silhouette is surrounded by the warm yellow glow of the setting sun. Three vertical reddish-brown tree trunks to the right of the painting's middle axis form a sort of repoussoir motif and simultaneously point from the shadowy zone in the foreground into the softly illuminated distance. The “Sonnenuntergang” (Sunset) was created at a time when Slevogt had just completed his departure from Munich to Berlin in 1901 - something that meant much more than just a relocation for him. Slevogt had already been a member of the Berlin Secession since 1899 and, since that year, Bruno and Paul Cassirer had been regularly exhibiting his most recent works in their Berlin salon. “At the end of the nineties, those landscape pieces appear ... which, in their whole individual value, make it possible to anticipate Slevogt's characteristic Impressionism.” (cited in: Berthold Roland, Max Slevogt. Pfälzische Landschaften, Munich 1991, p. 18).
We would like to thank Bernhard Geil, Slevogthof Neukastel, for his confirmatory and additional information.
Galerie Paul Cassirer, Berlin (gallery label on reverse with handwritten inscription "Slevogt", "106" and title "der Sonnenuntergang"); Private possession, Palatinate