Ludwig Zorn

Cloudy Weather in the Black Forest, 1904

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The sky over the remote Black Forest farmhouse is overcast with dark clouds, evidently a heavy rain shower has just passed over. On the horizon, the sky is already brightening up and promises an improvement in the weather. Zorn uses this motif to show just how wet Black Forest weather can be.
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Ludwig Zorn belonged to a group of painters from Freiburg who around the turn of the century devoted particular attention to the landscape of the Black Forest. The group, which consisted of five artists, also included Hermann Dischler, who is likewise represented with a number of works in this catalogue. Ludwig Zorn earned his living as a drawing teacher at the university of Freiburg. The painting Cloudy Weather in the Black Forest shows an oft-forgotten side of the low mountain range: the heavy rainfall that keeps it so green and well-watered. In particular, due to the frequent weather systems with westerly winds from the Atlantic, clouds coming in from the sea release rain in the Vosges Mountains in France as well as on the hilltops of the Black Forest, providing the necessary moisture. Here Zorn presents an atmospheric scene with a lone Black Forest farmhouse. A winding path leads to the mountainside entrance of the farmhouse and into the roof truss, which was generally used as a hay shed and usually had a ground-level entrance for the hay wagon on the side toward the mountain. The rain clouds in the sky make the scenery seem gloomy, and the farmhouse lies in semi-darkness. The painting awakens the impression that the last drops of a heavy rain have just fallen, as suggested by the diagonal stripes on the horizon. Further away, the clouds part once more and a bright strip of light with the colors of the sunset promises better weather. After heavy rainstorms, the sky often clears over the broad valley of the Rhine, while in the Black Forest it takes somewhat longer for the clouds to pass. TILMANN VON STOCKHAUSEN (Transl. MELISSA THORSON)

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