Wilhelm Gustav Friedrich Hasemann

Black Forest house, um 1900

About the object

The overhanging, low-pitched roof is a salient characteristic of a Black Forest farm, providing vital protection against the elements. As a rule, the famer, his family and all the livestock lived under one roof: the animals in stables below, the living quarters on the floor above and the hay usually stored in the loft. This farm in Gutach is known as Steinadeshof.
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Wilhelm Hasemann documented the traditions and customs of the Black Forest more than almost any other painter. In his adopted home of Gutach, he frequently painted the Black Forest farmhouses that are a part of the landscape and whose architecture is unique in Germany. Black Forest houses can take different forms depending on the region, but some features are common to every farmstead. Generally, livestock and humans were accommodated under the same roof: the stalls for the animals were quite intentionally used as a source of warmth, for the winters were long and hard. In addition, every Black Forest house has a low hanging roof with wide eaves, intended to protect the house from the heavy winter snow. The large, massive lofts served as a place to store the hay used to feed the cattle in winter. Since almost all farmhouses were built on slopes, the inhabitants of the Black Forest took advantage of the topography and built ground-level entrances to the loft on the side of the mountain, providing easy access for bringing in the hay. In this painting, Hasemann depicts the so-called “Steinadeshof,” a farmhouse in Gutach, Here the lower story and part of the main story are built of stone; only the working spaces and the roof are constructed of wood. The gentle landscape of the Gutach valley, located in the central Black Forest, appears in the background. The town of Gutach is famous today for its traditional headdress, the “Bollenhut,” and a large open-air museum—the Vogtsbauernhof—that preserves the culture of the Black Forest. The “Steinadeshof” that Hasemann painted around 1900 still exists today, though large portions of it were destroyed when lightning struck in 1965. The threat of fire is a constant hazard for Black Forest farmhouses made of wood. TILMANN VON STOCKHAUSEN (Transl. MELISSA THORSON)

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