Rose Bed, 1912
About the object
A woman in a straw hat and summer dress is standing in the middle of a bed of roses and is cutting the flowers. The painter has captured the moment using the impasto technique and a light brushstroke. The model is probably his wife, ceramist Elise Link. She is working in their garden in Heinsheim.
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Hermann Goebel’s painting evokes a summery atmosphere. A woman wearing a hat stands in a flowerbed, cutting roses. Her face is obscured, for she lowers her gaze and the straw hat on her head hides her countenance. She wears a plain white summer dress and her simple straw hat is adorned with a black band. The woman is probably the painter’s wife, the ceramic artist Elise Link. Here Goebel uses an exceptionally free, painterly approach to represent the colorful sea of flowers, with some of the blossoms suggested only by powerful daubs of paint. In the foreground, a red watering can stands in the flower garden. The rose bed is in the middle of a meadow, with woods or thick underbrush appearing in the background. The roses and their pink blossoms are placed on the canvas using extraordinarily coarse strokes of paint. The thick impasto creates a kind of colored relief, evoking the impression that the paint on the canvas might even still be wet. The scene is not staged; it is a spontaneous and very private snapshot of a moment. Goebel’s genuinely impressionistic handling of paint creates an especially intense coloristic mood, in which the light green tones of the grass contrast with the red of the watering can and the pink tones of the roses. Goebel studied at the Großherzoglich-Badische Akademie der Bildenden Künste (Baden Grand Ducal Academy of Fine Arts) as a master pupil under the landscape painter Wilhelm Trübner (1851–1917). At that time he lived in Württemberg, in the town of Heinsheim am Neckar near Stuttgart. From 1914 on, he belonged to the “Free Secession” in Berlin, a group founded by Max Liebermann. This painting was probably made in the garden of his house in Heinsheim. TILMANN VON STOCKHAUSEN (Transl. MELISSA THORSON)