Otto Modersohn’s paintings from the early 1920s are documents of the constant transformation of his painting under the influence of the late works of Cézanne, but without his denying or even losing his own signature. The artist trusts in the increasing simplification of his compositional means. Pictorial elements are summarised in animatedly structured colour areas. His colour palette remains true to the local colour of nature: “The power does not lie in the colourfulness”, expressed his artistic attitude. He painted this landscape study on cardboard not far from his home, on the bank of the northern arm of the Wumme, which had been provided with a new concrete bridge for the crossing only a few weeks previously. The green of the trees and shrubs defining the painting is subdued, reflecting the beginning of autumn. Bushes, trees and western dock line the shore. The highly animated scenery is enlivened by the figure of his wife, Louise Modersohn-Breling.
“Simplicity, simplification is the most important thing, not only in the form, but even more so in terms of colour. The painting must represent a chord, a harmony: 'The master first becomes apparent in simplification.'
Then rich in nuances within the chord. The most important thing is that a painting is "strong”. Paula always spoke of this, and this simplification, this summarising in form and colour, is the main means for making a painting strong. Almost all times, all great masters are then related within it (…) One sound, not however many. The less one can make do with, the better.” (Otto Modersohn, Journal, 10 September 1923)
The Modersohns spent the final weeks of the summer of this year 1923, shaken by economic crisis and inflation, in the small Franconian towns of Iphofen and Sulzfeld. Back in Fischerhude again, Otto Modersohn painted forty more works by the end of the year, including this one.
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