Wilhelm Hasemann

In God’s Corner (The Family Shrine), nach 1883

About the object

This painting also features the room from Hasemann’s studio. The table and corner bench extending around two sides customarily formed the hub of domestic life. A picture hangs above the heads of the two children in the so-called »Herrgottswinkel« (literally »God’s corner«) or domestic shrine. Usually there would be a crucifix, although this was often replaced by a print with a religious motif in the Protestant area of Gutach.
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It was almost by chance that Wilhelm Hasemann came in 1880 to the town of Gutach in the Kinzig valley, where the railway had arrived in 1873. Hasemann remained in Gutach for almost the rest of his life, founding his own artists’ colony there and devoting his life to the traditions and customs of the Black Forest. The most important room in every Black Forest house was the so-called “Stube” or sitting room, usually located in a corner of the house facing the valley. The sitting room had benches built into the wall and a table around which the entire life of the family revolved. Here they ate and worked together, especially in winter, since this room was often the only heated area of the house. The Black Forest sitting room in this painting, however, was a replica installed by Hasemann in his studio. The painting shows a young girl at the table in the sitting room, working on her embroidery; a small boy seated next to her looks at the viewer. The summer sun shines through the window and flowers adorn the windowsill. In the foreground stands a wooden chair typical of the Black Forest, in which the seat and backrest are each fashioned of a single piece of wood. In the corner of the room, a picture hangs on the wall. Catholic families would usually display a crucifix here; hence this part of a Black Forest home was also referred to as “God's corner.” But since Gutach was one of the few Protestant villages in the Black Forest, here “God's corner” probably shows a religious print, though its content is not discernable. TILMANN VON STOCKHAUSEN (Transl. MELISSA THORSON)

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