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Walter Gramatté's artistic oeuvre, created in only one and a half decades, is considered by today's art scholars to be one of the mature achievements of second-generation Expressionism. Gramatté shared the fate of these later generations, who were only formally oriented towards the "Brücke" or the "Blaue Reiter", while the content of their art was often determined by terrible personal experiences from the years of the First World War. Born in Berlin, Gramatté succumbed to the pull of war euphoria in the summer of 1914 and was sent to the Western Front as a 17-year-old volunteer. Although he was temporarily considered unfit for military service due to illness and was able to study at the Berlin Museum of Decorative Arts from 1915 to 1916, he remained in military service until 1918. From then on, his world of thoughts and images revolved around this serious turning point in his life. Gramatté painted, drew and etched scenes in which - similar to Edvard Munch's early work - fear and anguish become pictorial as hopeless states of the soul. After the war, the artist visited the Baltic Sea several times. In a letter to Rosa Schapire, he enthusiastically compared the aura of the island of Hiddensee to a "prayer", but the landscape around Ahrenshoop no less inflamed him. The watercolour depicted here was painted in 1924 during a stay in the artist's town and bears witness to the strong emotions that the simple motif, connoted with a romantic sense of nature, must have triggered in him. In the vehement brushwork characteristic of him, Gramatté set the dark, restrained tones next to luminous colour chords. The colouristic contrast breaks up the picture surface, alienates the natural forms and heightens them into the metaphorical. In order to visibly emphasise the spiritual dimension of a motif, Gramatté varied his subjects again and again. He condensed the Ahrenshoop watercolour into an oil painting in which a dramatic thunderstorm takes place against the background of the sunset.

Details

  • Title: Sunset Ahrenshoop I
  • Creator: Walter Gramatté (1897-1929)
  • Date Created: 1924
  • Physical Dimensions: 37,2 x 48,6 cm
  • Type: Drawing
  • Rights: Ahrenshoop Art Museum, all rights reserved.
  • Medium: Watercolour over pencil on paper

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