Albin Egger-Lienz - Studie zum Kopf des Bauern II
Studie zum Kopf des Bauern II
Oil on reddish primed heavy card 28.2 x 20.8 cm Framed. Signed in brownish 'Egger Lienz' upper left. - The card slightly compressed on the upper edge, especially on the upper and lower right corners; small loss of colour at lower margin to the right.
For the large-format work “Generationen” or, alternatively, “Die Familie” (Kirschl M 418), Albin Egger-Lienz created a series of oil studies including the present variation on the head of the peasant, which is apparently modelled on the portrait of a South Tyrolean from Jenesien near Bozen. Its stylised execution seems to closely resemble the final depiction in the painting. The farmer is the only member of the group to direct his solemn gaze at the viewers; in doing so, his eyes are turned slightly to the left, evoking the impression of a living gaze. The summary modelling of the haggard face, the characteristically styled beard, the strong shadow of the nose and the tonal palette of colours are already prefigured here. The top of the study concludes with a horizontal, dark brushstroke that only suggests the broad-brimmed black hat covering the figure's head.
The present detail study was, by the way, immediately preceded by a very similar, somewhat more refined pencil drawing of the face, which was also executed in oil as an initial version (see Kirschl Z 426 “Studie zum Mann I”, with a full-page colour illus., vol. I, p. 321, and Hammer, op. cit. 1938, p. 82, with illus.).
The painting's figural composition is dominated by strong effects of light and shadow, with an almost monochrome use of colour. An oversized crucifix in the foreground towers over the farmhouse living room. Next to it the standing farmer, as the head of the family, is the central figure. His vertically set staff is an important formal as well as rhythmic element within the spatial arrangement, and it is a token: it appears as a symbol of faith and of human and divine certitudes (see comparative illus.).
Kirschl M 428, Bd. I with full-page colour illus. p. 319
Formerly private possession, Innsbruck; Private possession, Switzerland
Heinrich Hammer, Albin Egger-Lienz, Innsbruck/Vienna/Munich 1930, catalogue raisonné p. 279, no. 2; Heinrich Hammer, Albin Egger-Lienz, Ein Buch für das deutsche Volk, Innsbruck 1938, cf. p. 82 with illus. (a different similar study of head on "Bauern"); Wilfried Kirschl, Albin Egger Lienz 1868-1926, Das Gesamtwerk, vol. I, Vienna/Munich 1996, pp. 314 - 333