Ludwig Zorn

Zastler Hut in the Black Forest, 1906

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In the Black Forest uplands there are still many huts of this kind, which were used by herdsmen as a bothy. Anger's mise en scène captures the landscape in the warm light of late autumn, which makes the Zastler sparkle in a deep, effulgent blue.
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On the heights of the Black Forest are numerous huts once used by farmers to care for their livestock in the summer. As in the Alps, the herds were driven to the mountain pastures in early summer and remained there until autumn. This painting by Ludwig Zorn shows one such mountain hut in the midst of an autumn landscape. The leaves of the birch tree to the right are already yellow, and the scene is bathed in the warm light of late autumn. Soon the first snow will fall. The center of the landscape study is occupied by the Zastlerbach, a stream that flows slowly in a shallow channel. Light reflects deep blue on the surface of the water, while a number of stones in the stream glow in the evening light. The gently ascending slope of the meadow leads to a mountain hut in the background, the so-called Zastler Hut, located at an altitude of 1256 meters and still preserved today. Once erected as a base for herdsmen, it now serves as a mountain lodge for hikers and skiers. It lies at the edge of the Feldberg, the highest peak in the Black Forest. When Ludwig Zorn painted this picture in 1906, the Black Forest had long since been discovered as a tourist destination. The railroad brought numerous citydwellers to the mountains to hike or to ski, and the clean air and the clear water of the Black Forest were attractive to people seeking respite from the ever-increasing hustle and bustle of city life. In this painting, Zorn presents a romantic vision of a peaceful natural landscape, which was probably buried in deep snow only a few weeks after the work was created. Ludwig Zorn was a member of the “Breisgau Five,” a group of five painters from Freiburg. Hermann Dischler and Fritz Reiss, who are likewise represented in this catalogue, also belonged to this group. TILMANN VON STOCKHAUSEN (Transl. MELISSA THORSON)

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