Julius Heffner

Bernau-Oberlehen, 1928

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Heffner's topographical studies of the Black Forest were very accurate. In addition, he often captured the agricultural use of the land in his works and depicted the Black Forest as a man-made cultural landscape. Thus, his paintings can also be understood as visual historico-cultural documents.
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Although a teacher in Freiburg by profession, Julius Heffner was intensely interested in the Black Forest his entire life long. He enjoyed close contact with Hermann Dischler, and like the latter, his studies of the Black Forest were marked by extreme topographical precision; thus his paintings serve above all as cultural-historical documents of the Black Forest landscape. Here he depicts the town of Bernau-Oberlehen, located on a high plateau in the Black Forest at an elevation of almost 1000 meters. Bernau was also the home of Hans Thoma, who also frequently painted the landscape surrounding the town. In the foreground, a country lane leads to the village of Oberlehen. Along the edge of the path are flowers, including yarrow. A meadow stream crosses the path; though no water is visible, it is suggested by the course of the overgrown banks. Bernau with its church tower appears in the distance, along with a country road flanked by tall trees. The gentle mountain slopes are filled with meadows; the mountaintops are wooded. The perspective here is unusual: Heffner intentionally adopts a slight bird’s-eye view, probably from a vantage point on a hill, making it seem as if he were almost flying over the landscape. From this perspective, it is especially apparent that the Black Forest is above all a cultivated landscape, created by human beings in a low mountain range. TILMANN VON STOCKHAUSEN (Transl. MELISSA THORSON)

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Augutinermuseum Freiburg: Black Forest. Suwon 2016. 4. 9., S. 123 Seiten.

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