Franz Xaver Gräßel

Meadow with Flowers, 1904

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A meadow in full bloom: long-stemmed white yarrow projects above the light-green grass; the yellow spots could be meadow buttercups, interspersed with delicate purple tones of red clover. It is possible to make out a schematic rendering of a cockerel and a hen next to the small tree.
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In this painting Franz Gräßel devotes his attention to an atmospheric detail study, rendering a section of blooming meadow like a “snapshot” of nature. The work was probably painted directly on location in the spring or early summer. The loose brushwork gives the impression of a rapid sketch; at the same time, however, Gräßel also succeeds in creating recognizable flower forms with only a few daubs of paint. The green meadow is covered in white hogweed blossoms; the artist uses fine, dark green lines to trace its long stems onto the canvas. A few yellow spots also stand out amid the hogweed, perhaps representing the blossoms of the meadow crowfoot, commonly known as the buttercup. Smaller, purple accents against the light green of the grass suggest red clover which, like yarrow or buttercups, is frequently found in Black Forest meadows. In the extreme foreground, a single chamomile flower peeps out from beneath a dandelion leaf. Only upon second glance do we notice the cock and hen facing each other behind the small dark tree. The animals are only suggested by the painter and seem almost transparent. The dark forest edge serves as an effective contrast to the bright summer meadow. The suggestion of a horizon in the background is indefinite, strengthening the “snapshot-like” character of the picture even as it also makes it seem unfinished. MIRJA STRAUB (Transl. MELISSA THORSON)

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