Fritz Reiss

Marriage of Convenience in the Black Forest, undatiert

About the object

These newlyweds are positively austere in their appearance, the only indication of their nuptials being the colourful posies they are holding, for the bride is still wearing the red »Bollenhut« of an unmarried women. Marriages of convenience were not uncommon, often economic aspects played a decisive role.
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Compared to the wedding party painted by Wilhelm Hasemann (cf. Cat. 43), this work by Fritz Reiss seems simple and even unspectacular. The painter is interested not in the festivities, the guests, or the procession to the church, but only in the two protagonists of the day: the bridal couple, who are represented in three-quarter view. Apparently they have just emerged from the church, although the undefined dark brown background makes it difficult to know for sure. As the title of the painting indicates, the marriage depicted here is a marriage of convenience. This sober situation, which has little to do with romantic ideals, is reflected in the coarse faces of the bridal couple. Their smiles are somewhat forced, and neither seems particularly happy with the match. Their ruddy cheeks, tanned skin, and lined faces bear witness to the hard lives of peasants in in the Black Forest. The bride seems older than the groom. Fritz Reiss also depicted their hands in an almost exaggeratedly coarse manner. Only their festive clothing and especially their small colorful corsages suggest the celebratory occasion. The inhabitants of the Black Forest were generally married in their Sunday best, since few could afford to purchase special wedding clothes. In addition to representing humorous and playful motifs, Fritz Reiss also frequently painted pictures with social-critical undertones. He often depicted the Black Forest and the life of its inhabitants in a sober, realistic manner, thereby presenting a unique view of this region. Indeed, a wedding in the Black Forest was not just a happy event; often it served as an important foundation for social continuity and survival, and marriages were often determined by economic considerations. MIRJA STRAUB (Transl. MELISSA THORSON)

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Schwarzwald Bilder :. Kunst des 19. Jahrhunderts : Städtische Galerie Karlsruhe, 3. Dezember 2016 bis 26. Februar 2017 /. Petersberg 2016, S. 240 Seiten ;.

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