Karl Lorenz Rettich only came to Ahrenshoop in a mature phase of his life. His relationship with the Baltic Sea had always been a close one, for he was born into an old-established Mecklenburg landowning family from a place near the Baltic coast near Lübeck. In 1860 he began studying law in Munich, but the following year he was already an art student under Adolf Lier, who had also encouraged Carl Malchin and supported him in his initial artistic endeavours. Since this first time in Munich, Malchin belonged to Rettich's circle of friends. When Rettich studied in Weimar from 1871 after stays in Düsseldorf and Dresden, Malchin was also there. Rettich stayed until 1884, but in the end found himself unable to cope. The fear of being trapped in a provincial circle finally made him travel: first to the north, to Norway, a popular destination among artists at the time, to the Baltic islands of Vilm and Hiddensee, to Sylt, and finally to Italy, before he regained his footing in Munich in 1886. The impression of Italy on the North German must have been profound, for Rettich's second period in Munich was marked by an intensive study of classicist painting. From Munich, Rettich discovered Ahrenshoop as a destination for summer trips in 1891. Perhaps Carl Malchin pointed out the area to him; in any case, Ahrenshoop again inspired him to study in front of nature and, in the winters until 1894, to paint large-scale landscape pictures in a painterly simplified, detached but generous conception. Rettich's "Panorama of Ahrenshoop", which was acquired by the Gdansk Municipal Museum, is a representative work from these stays. The small genre painting with the amber seeker can probably be dated to this Ahrenshoop period. Rettich did not join the artists' colony, but acquired a plot of land in Graal on the Rostock Heath in 1896. This extensive, wild woodland provided the painter with the motifs for his late work, which came to rest in a dialogue with nature.
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