Küste bei Fano
Oil on canvas 46 x 61.5 cm Framed. Signed 'H Purrmann' lower right. - In fine condition with fresh colours.Tiny loss of colour in the railing area lower left.
In the present painting Hans Purrmann depicts the seemingly untroubled pleasures of a visit to the beach at the Adriatic bathing resort of Fano in a vibrant colourfulness. Additional views of the beach and the harbour of Fano were also created during his stay there in the summer of 1940 - these include the smaller “Küstenlandschaft bei Fano” (Coastal Landscape at Fano; Lenz/Billeter 1940/08), which features an almost identical vantage point that has only been shifted slightly to the left.
From an elevated position, viewers can overlook the entire bay; their gaze follows the curved coastline into the depicted depth until it reaches the soaring steep coast far off in the background. Under a radiantly blue sky, sailboats drift across the peaceful surface of the water with their sails set. The wide, sandy beach is empty except for the hulls of a few boats that have been hauled up on to the shore. The handful of people out for a walk are concentrated in the area around the little bridge in the foreground. Everything emanates the idle lethargy of a hot summer day at the seaside.
However, with our knowledge of contemporary developments in the course of the war, this idyllic scenery takes on an ambivalent atmosphere. A considerable tolerance still existed in Fascist Italy at that time - regarding his stay at Fano, Purrmann wrote to his friend, the painter Heinrich Brüne, that “... it is not particularly interesting here, but the only part of the seaside that is not all too much a war zone and where one can gain permission to paint (which was also granted to me)!” (cited in: Christian Lenz/Felix Billeter, Hans Purrmann: Die Gemälde I 1895-1934, Munich 2004, p. 85) The painter, who had turned 60 by that time, defied the disturbing political events and utilised the opportunities available to him to realise his beloved Mediterranean light in its full intensity and abundance of colour.
Collection H.M.; Private collection, Switzerland
Fritz Nemitz, Hans Purrmann, in: Prisma 1, vol. 8, 1947, p. 16 et seq. (plate II)