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Early Period
Worpswede
Fischerhude
Abend im Moor, Kompositionszeichnung, um 1900

Abend im Moor, Kompositionszeichnung, um 1900
Korndieme bei Soest, 1888

Korndieme bei Soest, 1888
Die Wolke, 1890

Die Wolke, 1890
sommerlicher_moorgraben

Sommerlicher Moorgraben, um 1904
Überschwemmung bei Fischerhude, 1933

Überschwemmung bei Fischerhude, 1933

About Otto Modersohn's work:

The work of Otto Modersohn is divided into three main sections. Youth and university years are summarized under the term "early period". "Worpswede" begins with the discovery of this place by Fritz Mackensen and Otto Modersohn in the summer of 1889. "Fischerhude" covers the years after 1908, when the artist left Worpswede and moved to Fischerhude. This period also includes those pictures which Modersohn painted during his journeys to Franconia in the 1920ies and his stays in the Allgäu beginning in 1930. A large complex of his work consists of compositions drawn in the evenings by the light of a petroleum lamp in highest peace and concentration. Rainer Maria Rilke who highly appreciated those drawings called them "Abendblätter". For Paula Modersohn-Becker they were the "most beautiful, most purely, the most gentle and most enormous part of Otto`s art ".

Early Period

From 1874 to 1889 Otto Modersohn predominantly painted landscapes of a small size showing simple motives: Country lanes and rivers leading into large distances filled with shimmering light.
These pictures refer to the French romantics like Daubigny, Corot, Dupre and Rousseau. Modersohn admired those painters and called them "intimates". He had discovered them at the 'Internationale Glaspalastausstellung' in Munich in 1895 and wrote in his diary: "They are wonderfullly inspired by the smallest and most insignificant in nature".

Worpswede

After having visited Worpswede for the first time, Otto Modersohn wrote in his diary: "Wednesday, 3rd of July 1889 I arrived here with F. Mackensen in joyful anticipation. I immediately saw that my expectations would not be deceived. I found a most original village, which made quite a strange impression on me; the hilly sandy ground in the village, the large moss-covered straw roofs and on each side, as far as one could see, everything so far and large like on the sea ". The artist felt inspired by this special type of landscape. Being aware of the contrast to the academic art of his time Modersohn looks for the "natural", the "original", the "unspoilt". He left the academy to move to Worpswede.
Around 1889/90 Otto Modersohn began to use more expressive colours that consolidate themselves to masses. His prefered motives were the dunes and pools in the Teufelsmoor, the Hammewiesen and the Weyerberg. Groups of trees, trunks of birches and moorland ditches with reflections alternate with summer landscapes playfully spotted with meadow flowers and grass.
His ideal is an art which goes beyond the optical view grasping the essence of the object documenting nature in its purest form.

Fischerhude

After the death of his second wife Paula Modersohn-Becker in 1907 the painter moved to Fischerhude. This move was a great challenge to him, artistically as well as personally. A change in style became evident. Some paintings of this period are darker in tone and in place of clear surface color there is a dematerialized transparency. The artist was especially inspired by the atmosphere of winterdays in Fischerhude. He loved the foggy and blurred look at the broken brightness on the bank of the Wümme. The bluish gray light gave him a feeling of intimacy which was so important to him.
In 1935 Otto Modersohn lost sight in his right eye and his vision was reduced . His latest paintings symbolise his state of mind. They show autumn and winter landscapes and cemeteries.

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