Elisabeth von Eicken's artistic life led from Paris to Ahrenshoop. Born in Mühlheim a. d. Ruhr into an upper middle-class environment, she had the opportunity to study in France for ten years. There she encountered the landscape paintings of the Barbizon painters. But she also saw works by German Impressionists around Max Liebermann at exhibitions in Paris. Elisabeth von Eicken explored the way of seeing of the open-air painters by painting in the vicinity of Barbizon herself. In the course of 1892 she left France and tried to assert herself in the art world of Berlin. This city remained her residence and most important exhibition platform after she joined the artists' colony of Ahrenshoop in 1893. There she built the famous summer studio "Haus Elisabeth" in 1894, in order to be able to devote herself undisturbed to her landscape painting from spring to late autumn. By painting outdoors and in direct contact with the subject, she was able to perceive every nuance of mood caused by the weather as something unique and to translate it pictorially. The sometimes apparent closeness of her painting to Impressionism, however, is hardly related to a direct response to Impressionist models. Rather, in her German exhibition environment, she seems to have absorbed the stimuli from French Impressionism that were being processed at the time by the Weimar School of Painting. From this indirect reception of the latest developmental variant of French light painting, Elisabeth von Eicken developed her own painterly esprit. Around 1895 she probably painted "Spring", a motif frequently varied by the artist. In the sunlight of the season it shines as freshly as if it had just been discovered by her. With a high degree of colouristic sensitivity, she worked out the atmospheric particularity and shaped the simple subject into a sensual experience of sun, air, light and a new joy of life. The flair of a spring day is conveyed in rich, luminous colours. Bright light penetrates through the first tender leaves of a cherry tree and witnesses how its fluffy white blossoms reveal themselves to the wind. Busy pecking chickens run across the sandy driveway, already enlivened by the growing greenery. Elisabeth von Eicken had a distinctly emotional relationship to this landscape. Her painterly lust for discovery was ignited by the seasonal rhythms of nature unbroken for years. With the First World War, her oeuvre was again lost in obscurity.


  • Title: Spring
  • Creator: Elisabeth von EickenElisabeth von Eicken (1862-1940)
  • Date Created: 1895
  • Physical Dimensions: 80 x 110 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Municipality of Ahrenshoop, all rights reserved
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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