Karl Schmidt-Rottluff - Nachmittagssonne
Watercolour on watercolour paper 58.2 x 77.9 cm Framed under glass. Signed 'SRottluff' in pen and ink and numbered '3945' in pencil lower right. Titled, dated and inscribed "Nachmittagssonne 1939. Teves, Frankfurt" in pencil on reverse.
Watercolour painting plays a particularly important role in Karl Schmidt-Rottluff's oeuvre. Characteristic of his works in this medium is the interplay between his intense colouring and black contours emphasising the structure of his motifs.
In the present work these lines outline the silhouettes of trees and shrubs in a loose, transparent pattern through which the vivid colours are allowed to shine. Schmidt-Rottluff has depicted a wooded mountainside bathed in late afternoon sunlight in an unusual combination of brownish-orange, reddish-brown, dark blue, salmon pink and sage green with dark green shading. The low sun produces areas of intense light and shadow and contrasts between warm and cooler tones. The loose application of colour emphasises the impression of rapidly changing light conditions and lends the large format composition a spirited quality.
Schmidt-Rottluff's artistic career in the 1930s is marred by the shadow of National Socialist persecution. He was forbidden to exhibit his works in 1936 and his art was declared “degenerate” during the following years, before he was finally forbidden to paint in 1941. Despite these reprisals, his powerful and characteristic mode of expression remained unchanged and was used in still lifes and landscape depictions.
Collection Teves, Frankfurt; Private collection