Hans Thoma

Portrait of the Artist’s Sister Agathe, 1886

About the object

Thoma enjoyed a close relationship with his younger sister Agathe throughout his life. The portrait dates from his Frankfurt days. Even at that time, Agathe lived together with the painter and his wife Cella. After Cella’s untimely death, Agathe became even more important to Thoma as a companion and confidante.
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Like his mother, Hans Thoma’s sister Agathe (1848-1928) was very important to him and he maintained a close relationship with her throughout his entire life. This portrait was made during Thoma’s time in Frankfurt, when Agathe was already living in the home of the artist and his wife Cella (1858-1901). After Cella’s untimely death in 1901, Agathe became even more significant to Thoma as a companion. Since his marriage remained childless, his niece Ella, adopte in 1878, was also an important member of the family. The painting shows Agathe in a three-quarter view with her hair pulled back tightly into a bun. She wears a black dress, accented only by a white collar and brooch. In her hands she holds a piece of embroidery, an early allusion by the artist to the cultivation of traditional Black Forest crafts. The provenance of this painting is especially interesting. From the artist’s estate it passed into the collection of Ella Geißler-Thoma in Berlin, which was sent into storage at Oberquell palace near Glogau in Upper Silesia with numerous other private collections in 1943/44. In 1945, the painting was confiscated by Soviet and Polish troops. In 1953, it was transferred to the German Democratic Republic along with other works from the collection of the People’s Republic of Poland and was integrated into the collection of the National Gallery in East Berlin. In 1993, the picture was returned to the heirs, and in 2015 the Freundeskreis des Augustinermuseums e.V. was able to purchase it for the museum in Freiburg at an auction in Berlin. TILMANN VON STOCKHAUSEN (Transl. MELISSA THORSON)

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Winzen, Matthias: Hans Thoma :. Wanderer zwischen den Welten. Oberhausen 2017, S. 256 Seiten :.

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