Peter August Böckstiegel
1889 - Arrode near Bielefeld - 1951
Westfälisches Dorf imSommer
Oil on canvas. 56 x 76 cm. Framed. Signed and dated 'A. BÖCKSTIEGEL 12' in black lower right. - Borders relined and loosely backed with canvas. Narrow loss of colour in the pastose application lower right.
Acquired directly from the artist; in family possession since, South Germany
Peter August Böckstiegel was born into a family of Westphalian farmers; after an apprenticeship as a glazier and painter, he attended the vocational school of the painters' trade union in Bielefeld. There, in Ludwig Godewols, he met a teacher who encouraged his students to visit galleries and museums. One of his first excursions led Böckstiegel to the Folkwang Museum founded by Karl Ernst Osthaus in Hagen; it was here, in 1909, that he first encountered works by Vincent van Gogh. He was no less impressed by the Sonderbund exhibition, presented in Cologne three years later. At this exceptional survey of contemporary European artistic creation, multiple rooms were dedicated to the work of van Gogh.
“Halls with works in the roaring, flaming script of van Gogh's spirit. The calm lush attitude of Gauguin, black tropical jungle, radiating fairy-tale tranquillity and beauty. […] A hurricane unprecedented in the power and abundance of its artistic and spiritual development shook me, drove me back to Arrode to work.” (P.A. Böckstiegel, Aufzeichnungen meines Lebens, cited in: David Riedel, Peter August Böckstiegel: Die Gemälde 1910-1951, Munich 2014, p. 25).
In the same year, 1912, he created the painting “Westfälisches Dorf im Sommer”, which illustrates not just Böckstiegel's reception of van Gogh (see comparative illustration), but also of the work of the “Fauves”. The complementary combination of red-orange with blue and green intensifies each to a highly expressive radiance and evokes the impression of an almost hypersensitive experience of nature. In assimilating the glowing colours of his artistic role models' Mediterranean landscapes, Böckstiegel has created an extraordinarily powerful atmospheric image.