Vitus Staudacher

Going to Church in Gutach, 1910

About the object

A family makes its way to church in Gutach. The father is leading the group, followed by his two adult, unmarried daughters, a young girl and presumably his wife, wearing a black »Bollenhut« (pom pom hat).
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For the 19th-century inhabitants of the Black Forest, it was important to go to church every Sunday. For this occasion they dressed in their finery and walked or drove with their families to church in the nearby village. Some Black Forest farms were so isolated and remote that going to church meant traveling long distances, and in winter the heavy snow made it impossible for many families to reach the nearest village at all. Thus many farms in the Black Forest had private chapels where they could hold small church services if needed. In this painting by Vitus Staudacher, a family from the Black Forest has just set out for Gutach. The father goes on ahead, followed by two grown, unmarried daughters and a little girl. The mother brings up the rear wearing the traditional headdress, a black “Bollenhut.” Gutach was one of only three villages in the Black Forest where unmarried women wore the famous red “Bollenhut,” the hat which has become a symbol and trademark of the region. A large farmhouse appears in the background; a woman, perhaps a maid, stands at the door watching the family. Vitus Staudacher was a musician by profession and played violin in the orchestra in Baden-Baden. He also studied art at the Baden Grand Ducal Art School in Karlsruhe and met Wilhelm Hasemann in Gutach. Staudacher frequently visited Gutach in the Kinzig valley, and this picture was painted during one of his stays there. TILMANN VON STOCKHAUSEN (Transl. MELISSA THORSON)

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