Karl Julius Wilhelm Heilmann

View of the Herzogenhorn, 1924

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Between the snowy fir trees, the vista from the Feldberg opens out onto the bare summit of the Herzogenhorn. An impressive alpine panorama extends behind it. Hanging over the High Rhine Plain, low clouds glow in the pale winter sunlight.
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The vast winter landscapes of the Black Forest, covered in heavy snow, continually fascinated artists like Karl Heilmann. Heilmann worked as an art dealer in Freiburg and was self-taught as a painter. For this largescale work, he chose a vantage point on the Feldberg, the highest mountain of the Black Forest. His gaze was directed to the southeast toward the nearby Herzogenhorn, whose bare summit towers up from the forest. In the foreground, fir trees stand to the left and right, bent by the wind and the weight of snow. The middle ground shows a view into the distance across a field of snow with an Alpine panorama in the background. In good weather, the Black Forest affords a magnificent view of the entire backdrop of the Alps, about 200 kilometers away in the distance. Here the artist strikingly evokes the differing shapes of the mountains: while the Alps appear craggy and angular, the foreground shows the more rounded hilltops of the Black Forest. The Alps are by far the younger mountain range, emerging from the continental drift. In front of the impressive Alpine panorama is another area of white that looks almost like a large lake. It is the Upper Rhine Plain—the broad valley of the Rhine on the border between Switzerland and Germany. Here, thick clouds have settled in the valley; when the bright winter sunlight shines on them, they evoke the impression of a body of water. TILMANN VON STOCKHAUSEN (Transl. MELISSA THORSON)

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