Franz Xaver Gräßel
Gutach Woman in a Meadow, 1900
About the object
The young woman looks thoughtful, almost melancholic. She is wearing traditional folk costume and has the corresponding straw hat placed at her feet.
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The young woman gazing into the distance looks pensive, almost melancholy. She sits in a spring meadow on the slope of a hill, surrounded by a profusion of yarrow blossoms. On the ground in front of her lies her straw hat, adorned with red decoration and a black band, and she grasps her right knee with both hands. The young woman wears the traditional costume of a long, black dress over a white blouse with puffed sleeves. Her hair is braided and her skin is very light—she is probably not a farm woman at all and sat for this portrait wearing traditional regional dress. Her pensive face conveys the impression that she is lost in her own wistful thoughts. The brushstrokes in the background of the painting are executed quickly and lightly. The dark Black Forest is suggested only in those areas where a few rays of the setting sun shine through the trees. The debt Gräßel’s painting technique owes to Impressionism is especially clear in the depiction of the meadow. After finishing his studies at the Baden Grand Ducal Art School in Karlsruhe, Franz Gräßel—who was also known as the “Duck Painter”—specialized in the depiction of animals, particularly geese and chickens. In addition, he also pursued portrait and landscape painting and was especially drawn to peasant genre scenes. MARIA SANIN (Transl. MELISSA THORSON)