Max Lieber

Black Forest Farm, undatiert

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This view shows a Black Forest farm from an unusual perspective. The rear of the farm is depicted with an entrance to the large roof, which served as a barn. A big cart is standing on the ramp in readiness. The split logs are waiting to be stacked. The darkening canopy of cloud suggests that it is eventide.
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Max Lieber chose an unusual view for this painting of a Black Forest farm. Rather than nestling it idyllically into the landscape, he shows the back side of the farmhouse with the entrance to the large loft that serves as a barn; a two-wheeled wagon, used to transport hay and straw from the meadow to the barn, stands on the ramp. Not only does Lieber show the farmhouse from the rear, he also places the scene in shadow. The cloudy sky is already dim, and the impression of darkness is reinforced by the painter’s choice of the shaded side of the building. The scene probably depicts the Black Forest farm as dusk is beginning to fall. We see no trace of human inhabitants; only the evidence of their work suggests that the farm is not abandoned. Newly split logs lie in the driveway to the left, waiting to be stacked, while freshly sawn lumber, probably produced at the farm’s own sawmill, is piled in the foreground. For many Black Forest farmers forestry was, and still is today, an important source of income. It is often referred to as the farmers’ “savings bank,” since logging can always still be pursued when the harvest has otherwise been insufficient. TILMANN VON STOCKHAUSEN (Transl. MELISSA THORSON)

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