San Francesco di Paola near Florence
Oil on canvas. 60 x 73 cm. Framed. Signed in black lower right 'H. Purrmann' lower right. - In good condition, with slight craquelure.
Lenz/Billeter 1938/20 (there erroneously with incorrect dimensions)
Ruth Lange, Florence; private collection, Hesse
Travel was an important constant in Hans Purrmann's life - starting with his first joint trip to France with Henri Matisse in 1908. In the following decades, Purrmann not only lived in France, Italy and Switzerland in phases, but also traveled to these countries regularly. His stays were reflected in numerous paintings that captured the sun-drenched beauty of southern European landscapes in all their diversity.
Between 1922 and 1924, Purrmann traveled with his family to Sorrento on the Gulf of Naples and to Rome every year in the spring and summer months. In the surroundings of Sorrento, the painter created views of the rocky coast, which he painted in varying perspectives, light and weather conditions, thus fully exploiting the peculiarity of this landscape not only in terms of motif but also in terms of color. A harmoniously rounded bay in front of a headland offered an interesting landscape formation in the "Coastal Landscape near Sorrento" (lot 61) from 1923. The crests of the waves running onto the beach show the Mediterranean in gentle motion, while the white rock in front provides a striking counterpoint. The shimmering light of a summer's day is palpable in the countless shades of color in the sky and the landscape.
The "Shore Landscape near Hendaye" (Lot 56) is located at the southernmost point of the French Atlantic coast; the place Purrmann visited with his wife in 1929 is the border point between France and Spain. The view looks east from a headland across the bay of Hendaye, with the Basque mountain massif of Jaizkibel rising in the background. The painter had probably set up his easel at a bend in the hiking trail there; the delicate towering trees in the left part of the picture lead the viewer's gaze over to the wide-opening landscape panorama. Delicate, light-flooded coloration defines this work. Purrmann painted the same view again in a strongly colored, abstracted version (cf. Lenz/Billeter 1929/16).
From October 1935, the artist lived in Florence, where he was entrusted with the administration of the German Artists' Foundation Villa Romana. Over the next few years, his time in Florence was overshadowed by the National Socialist defamation of his art as "degenerate" and his dismissal from the foundation, which he considered several times. Hitler visited Florence in 1938 and Purrmann was taken into protective custody for the duration. His works from this period do not show any signs of this stress. In "San Francesco di Paola near Florence" (lot 57), the typical Tuscan landscape rises up impressively in an abundance of different shades of green. In the center of the picture, nestled between cypresses, pines and fruit trees, lies the Villa di San Francesco di Paola, the low sun illuminating the walls in bright pink and orange. This former monastery from the 16th century was converted into a private villa in the 18th century. The German sculptor Adolf von Hildebrand bought the property south of Florence in 1874 and received illustrious guests such as Richard and Cosima Wagner, Arnold Böcklin, Johannes Brahms and Empress Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary there over the following three decades.