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© Bridgeman Art Library / Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany

My German friend Peter send me a German pamphlet with a lot of great art, and my heart started pounding when I came to this great piece, Afternoon on Lake Lucerne. I saw it was Lake Lucerne, before I read it, and I haven’t been there for twenty years. The artist, Lovis Corinth, has captured the light and surroundings in such a way, that I was blown away by his technique, back to my early twenties, on a sweetheart trip.

Encircled by popular excursion mountains, Lake Lucerne is the lake with the greatest scenic variety in the Swiss country. It is somewhat reminiscent of a fjord landscape, yet remains characterised by a mild lake climate. Boat cruises on board five historic paddle wheel steamers and 15 elegant salon motor vessels count among the highlights of this region, and even though Lovis Corinth choose not to include them in his picture, it’s almost as you might hear them.

A steamer cruise across the convolute lake of Lucerne on a sun-filled summer’s day is without doubt a wonderful experience. But a trip on a late scheduled sailing through a mild summer’s evening or, shortly before Christmas, toward the sea of lights that is the town of Lucerne must at least be just as unforgettable. As is the mystical mood on the lake during the autumn mist period, and when the steamer cuts steadily through the waves on Lake Uri whipped up by the föhn wind. Trips in the cosy warmth of the saloon motor vessels, whilst the snow-covered winter landscape passes by outside, can only be described as complete relaxation.

And here I am, dreaming away, when I meant to write about this painting, Afternoon on Lake Lucerne. Here we go:

Lovis Corinth was a German painter and printmaker; his works were generally classified within expressionism and impressionism.

Corinth showed early talent that won him entry into the Academy of Fine Arts at Munich in 1880. Whilst studying at the academy Corinth developed an interest in the Barbizon school of thought; a movement towards realism in art. Corinth moved to Paris and studied under William-Adolphe Bouuereau in 1882. He then returned to Munich in 1891 and joined the Sezession in 1892, a modernist art group avoiding the traditional techniques of academic art. In 1900, he moved to Berlin, continued painting and opened a school of painting in 1902 for women. Charlotte Berend, a pupil of his, became his wife and a source of inspiration for his paintings, such as The Artist and his Family (1909). In 1911, he suffered a stroke but continued to paint, although with great difficulty, Corinth also started to surface expressionist themes in his paintings thereafter.

His portrait work varied across genres; ranging from nature-themed genre works to Post-Impressionist contemporary pieces, significant works included The Painter Charlotte Berend with a Bull, Ice Skating, Berlin, Zinnias in a Vase, and Frau Hedwig. Corinth also developed several self-portraits and he disguised himself in many others such as Victor (1910), Samson (1912), and Self-Portrait (1924). This latter piece is now held at the MoMa. Corinth had a predilection for working in print and experimented with all types of techniques related to this medium. The same year as he painted the Self-Portrait, he also painted Afternoon on Lake Lucerne, as he was staying in the area for several months.

In 1925, he went to the Netherlands to admire his favourite Dutch painters, but caught pneumonia in Zandvoort and abruptly passed away. The world lost this great artist, but various works of his can now be found in New York, Berlin, and Munich.

This article will be at my art site as well: www.passionforart.net