Otto Modersohn - Melkersteg Fischerhude, vor der Wassermühle an der Wümmeschleuse
Melkersteg Fischerhude, vor der Wassermühle an der Wümmeschleuse
Oil on canvas 73.3 x 92.8 cm Framed. Signed 'O Modersohn.' in blueish black lower left. - With fresh colours. Several minor losses of colour to the edges and margins due to pressure from the stretcher below. With a small, retouched strip to the right margin. The lower left corner slightly torn.
The horizon of the landscape near Fischerhude, a landscape that Otto Modersohn painted many times in his life, has been set dramatically high. The milkers' footbridge has been depicted, along with the watermill and the lock on the Wümme river in the background. The footbridge runs along a steep diagonal and accelerates the perspective, so to speak, within which the expansively composed passage of the landscape has been foreshortened. The impression made by the painting is thus equally calm and dynamic. The milkmaid balancing two milk buckets offers a repoussoir; her figure is not only reflected on the surface of the water, it also establishes a link to the red mill through the colours used in it. Isolated, little miniature clouds are also idyllically reflected in the surface of the water, where the immaculate blue of the sky is intensified. The feathery, parallel brushstroke has been learned from the painting of the French avant-garde. Interestingly, it conforms to the features of the landscape. Thus the water, as though flowing into the picture plane towards the mill, is painted in vertical strokes and the extensive landscape in horizontal strokes. With its predominating primary colours, the tonality is unusually cheerful for the typically subdued palette of the Worpswede painter. In his diary he notes “Van Gogh's exquisite use of colour” and writes on 13 March 1910:
“The great and the simple must be joined by the rich, dynamic. Life and movement have to dominate everywhere. (...) You always have to keep your eye on the whole (...) it has to have become a part of one's own.” (Otto Modersohn, cited in: exhib. cat. Otto Modersohn: Fischerhude 1908-1943, Otto Modersohn-Museum Fischerhude 1992/1993, p. 64).
The Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum Hannover owns a very similar composition on cardboard, which is smaller and somewhat more sketch-like, “Melker auf dem Steg” (Inv. Nr. KM 65/1953).
Rainer Noeres, Modersohn-Museum Fischerhude, has confirmed the authenticity of the work in a letter to the consignor dated 18 February 2014.
We would like to thank Rainer Noeres for kind additional information.
Collection Carl Specht, Bremerhaven; since then in family possession, South Germany