Otto Modersohn - Wümme mit Kahnfahrer
Wümme mit Kahnfahrer
Oil on light card 41.2 x 58.3 cm Framed. Dated 'IX II' [September 1911] in green-black brush lower right. Next to it black signature stamp of the estate "O Modersohn". - The card edges slightly uneven, occasionally slightly bumped; the lower right edge with narrow superficial defect and loss of colour.
In 1896 Otto Modersohn made his first excursion to the village of Fischerhude, which is only a few kilometres from Worpswede. Together with Paula Modersohn-Becker, he would return there multiple times over the years that followed; around 1908, after Modersohn-Becker's death, he finally moved there entirely. A change in style occurs during the Fischerhude period: he developed a more abstract and terser visual idiom, and a markedly more intense scale of colours provides these works with exceptional presence and depth. The work here is particularly exemplary in this sense and shows (as Rainer Noeres has explained) the artist's decisive engagement with the painting of Vincent van Gogh, whose works he had seen in 1909 at an exhibition in Cassirer's gallery in Berlin. This artistic response and conviction were also accompanied by a position related to the politics of art: Otto Modersohn “was the only Worpswede painter who expressed support for Gustav Pauli's purchase of van Gogh's painting “Champ de blé, les coquelicots”, referred to as 'Poppy Field', for the Kunsthalle Bremen.” In this conflict, which touched on fundamental questions of art and the politics of art, Modersohn had very clearly taken sides against nationalist and protectionist tendencies in art.
“Wümme mit Kahnfahrer” belongs to a group of landscape motifs created in 1911, which are distinguished by their use of colour and a particularly dynamic brushstroke as well as a masterful, tone-in-tone palette of colours. The remarkable depiction of contrasting reflections in white as well as the ground of the painting's deliberate incorporation into the composition express a new freedom and lightness that would continue to define Otto Modersohn's painting.
With a photo certificate from Christian Modersohn, Otto Modersohn Museum Fischerhude, dated 4 April 1999. We would like to thank Rainer Noeres, Otto Modersohn Museum, Fischerhude, for kind additional information.
Louise Modersohn-Breling; Private possession, Worpswede; Collection A. Gies, Bremen; formerly Pina Drewers, Bremen; Private possession, North Germany
Cf. Im Kampf um die Kunst. Die Anwort auf den Protest deutscher Künstler, Munich 1911, p. 62; Wulf Herzogenrath u. Dorothee Hansen (ed.), Felder - Das Mohnfeld und der Künstlerstreit, Kunsthalle Bremen, Ostfildern-Ruit 2002
Fischerhude 1992/1993 (Otto Modersohn Museum), Otto Modersohn in Fischerhude 1908 - 1930, cat. no. 32 with colour illus.; Fischerhude 2002/2003 (Otto Modersohn Museum), Otto Modersohn und der Künstlerstreit - "Im Kampf um die Kunst", without cat.; Fischerhude 2008/2009 (Otto Modersohn Museum), Otto Modersohn - Fischerhude 1908 - 1915. Der Neubeginn in Fischerhude vor einhundert Jahren, without cat.