Hans von Marées
Five Men in a Landscape
Oil on panel. 59.5 x 43.5 cm.
Even to the modern observer, Hans von Marées' paintings seem to have a mysterious and enigmatic quality. All the more surprising that according to his own words, his entire life was spent trying to understand the coherence of the human body. The depiction of nude human figures casually arranged in landscapes became his main motif, and this strict reduction of forms and the bucolic illustration of a simple life close to nature exerted a great influence on the younger sculptor Adolf von Hildebrand. They met in Italy in 1867 and cooperated just a few years later on the famous frescoes in the Zoological Station in Naples in 1873. As of 1874 they shared a studio which Hildebrand had purchased in the former abbey of San Francesco di Paola in Florence, but the friendship broke down just a year later. As the present work was found in this studio along with other works by Marées, it is fairly certain that it was painted before 1875. Uta Gerlach Laxner describes the work as illustrating “the transition from the first to the second phase of Marées' artistic development”. She recognises the direct stylistic relationship between the present work and “Drei nackte Männer” (Wuppertal, Von der Heydt-Museum), which was also found in the studio at San Francesco and belonged to Adolf von Hildebrand.
Adolf v. Hildebrand, Florence. - 1908 to Johann Ernst Sattler (1840-1923), Dresden. - Freiherr von Karg-Bebenburg, Munich. - Kunsthandlung Dr. H. Gurlitt, Hamburg. - 1938 purchased for Vogler Collection, Hamburg. - Since then in family possession.
J. Meier-Graefe: Hans von Marées, vol. II, 1909, p. 260, ill. 331. - U. Gerlach-Laxner: Hans von Marées. Katalog der Gemälde 1980, p. 157, no. 138.
München, Secession: Hans von Marées 1908/09, no. 96. - Berlin, Secession Kurfürstendamm: Hans von Marées, no. 101. - Kunsthalle Bielefeld / Kunstmuseum Winterthur: Hans von Marées und die Moderne, 25.10.1987-10.1.1988/31.1.-4.4.1988. - Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery / Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde, Tockholm / Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt 2000: SeelenReich. Die Entwicklung des deutschen Symbolismus 1870-1920, no. 8.