Friedrich Kallmorgen

The Raumünzach Valley, 1897

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A meteorological phenomenon typical of the Black Forest with its heavy precipitation characterises the atmosphere of this landscape: after the rain, slowly-moving billows of mist linger over the dark forests. Adjoining the small wooden huts on the meadow are a number of hayricks containing fodder for the cattle.
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Friedrich Kallmorgen originally came from Altona (now a district of Hamburg) and began his studies at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf. He continued his education in Berlin and Karlsruhe, where he completed his training as a painter under Gustav Schönleber (1851–1917). Kallmorgen encountered the Black Forest on multiple occasions, and also helped found the painters’ colony in Grötzingen, a small town near Karlsruhe, which was incorporated and now belongs to the latter city. Here, members of the academy met in order to paint studies directly from nature in the manner of the Barbizon School. This painting, too, was made quite close to Grötzingen, in the Raumünzach valley in the central Black Forest. The Raumünzach river empties into the river Murg in the vicinity of Forbach; toward the end of the 19th century, the Murg valley was made accessible by railroad, and from then on became a recreational area for the inhabitants of nearby Karlsruhe. In this painting, Kallmorgen uses extremely loose brushwork to document a Black Forest valley with meadows and wooded slopes. The meadows are dotted with a number of small wooden hay sheds, where farmers temporarily stored the all-important feed for the cattle. The higher mountains in the background are almost completely concealed by clouds. The painter depicts a natural phenomenon typical of the very rainy Black Forest: after a heavy downpour, a fog forms over the woods and dissipates only gradually. TILMANN VON STOCKHAUSEN (Transl. MELISSA THORSON)

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