Wilhelm Hasemann

Gutach Girl in a Sitting Room, Sewing, 1885

About the object

Hasemann's scenes of everyday life of Black Forest folk were usually arranged in his studio after the event, as is the case here: the young girl in traditional costume sits immersed in her sewing at the table in Hasemann's replica Black Forest parlour, which he repeatedly referred to as the »backdrop« for his paintings.
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Wilhelm Hasemann continually observed the everyday life of the people of Gutach and depicted their activities in his paintings. Most of the time, however, these scenes were not spontaneously observed, but were arranged by Hasemann himself and sometimes even photographed for later use in a painting. For this purpose, the painter built a studio of wood at his home in Gutach, in which he also set up a Black Forest sitting room. The studio with the furnished sitting room still exists today, although it is not well preserved. Traditionally, the sitting room was the center of a Black Forest home, the place where the family met for meals and above all where they performed their work during the long winter. The sitting room in Hasemann’s studio served as a stage set and backdrop for the models in many of his paintings, as in this picture of a young girl. Hasemann’s scene is true to the character of a typical Black Forest sitting room. It was usually the warmest room in the house and boasted a tile stove which was often connected to the oven in the adjacent kitchen. Hasemann replicated the simple wooden windows with sliding panes in the tradition of a Black Forest house to give the room an authentic effect. Along with the bench against the wooden paneling of the wall, a typical wooden chair stands at the table. A young girl in traditional costume sits at the table, concentrating on her sewing. This activity was a part of daily life for every household, but this picture may also be intended to show a seamstress who worked from home for pay. It is interesting to compare this painting with In God’s Corner (The Family Shrine), which was likewise painted in Hasemann’s studio. In both pictures, the artist plays with incident light; here, the side light causes the flowers and fruit on the table to glow. TILMANN VON STOCKHAUSEN (Transl. MELISSA THORSON)

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