Erle(n)bruck near Hinterzarten, 1885
About the object
Lugo presents the hamlet of Erlenbruck in soft, unobtrusive colours. The white glowing façade of the »Zum Schwanen« inn (The Swan) toward the centre of the composition is clearly visible. The artist spent his holidays there between 1885 and 1887. The idealised composition suggests that he painted the motif from memory.
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Emil Lugo captures the panorama of a high plateau in cool tones of gray and green. The title of the painting indicates its subject: it shows the hamlet of Erlenbruck, located at an elevation of about 940 meters on a mountain saddle between Oberzarten and Bruderhalde. The location is also clearly identifiable from the “Schwanenwirtshaus,” the large inn glowing white behind the trees. From 1885 to 1887 the artist stayed here multiple times, together with the poet Wilhelm Jensen and the latter’s family, with whom he was close friends. The Black Forest provided the travelers with a retreat from the city, and they preferred to stay in remote areas still largely untouched by tourism. During these stays, Lugo painted numerous watercolor and oil studies on location in an effort to capture the characteristic landscape of the Black Forest. This work, too, was based on a watercolor painted on location. Lugo creates the striking image of a wide landscape articulated by undulating hills and a few groups of trees. A wooden fence defines the foreground of the picture; it transitions to the middle ground with a scattering of cows and figures, though these are not included in the study. In front of the group of trees to the left are white parasols, with Marie Jensen at her easel beneath one of them. The man sitting on the rock, drawing, could be Lugo himself. The slightly idealized rendering of the landscape and the addition of the figures indicate that this painting may have been intended as a souvenir of a summer day with the Jensen family. The inscription “Christmas 1885” suggests that Lugo gave this picture to the Jensens for Christmas. MIRJA STRAUB (Transl. MELISSA THORSON)