This is probably one of the most popular paintings by Giovanni Segantini. It shows his favourite model, the Segantinis’ maid Baba Uffer, bent over her knitting. In the background, between the slats of the fence, which emphasize the landscape format, can be seen the Swiss village of Savognin, to which the painter from South Tyrol and his family had moved just two years before the work was painted. It was here that Segantini created his mature work, finding his motifs among the mountains and their inhabitants. He depicts a life lived in harmony with nature, far away from progress and the big city. Segantini is interested in how human beings are embedded in the great cycles of the seasons and life’s phases.
The picture, its sense of nostalgia undimmed by the passing of time, is also a superb example of Segantini’s divisionist painting, in which each area of colour resolves itself into countless fine flecks of paint and nuances. The juxtaposition of complementary hues – the blue dress, for example, is shot through with orange lines – and the simultaneous contrast enhance the vibrancy of the colours and underscore the shimmering sunlight of the mountains.
The Kunsthaus Zürich holds twelve works by the artist.