River Landscape with Bridge (Leba)
Watercolor and brush and India ink on laid paper. 49.8 x 67.8 cm. Framed under glass. Signed 'SRottluff' in black lower left. Titled and dated 'Flußlandschaft mit Brücke, 1935' in an unknown hand verso. - In fresh condition. The paper in the former passepartout section slightly browned.
The watercolor is known to the Karl and Emy Schmidt-Rottluff Foundation, Berlin.
Private collection Lübeck (until the mid-1970s); private collection North Rhine-Westphalia; Lempertz Cologne, auction 990, 2.12.2011, lot 228; private collection North Germany
The sheet shows the bridge over the Leba River and thus a typical landscape from Eastern Pomerania, where Karl Schmidt-Rottluff repeatedly retreated to in the summer months between 1932 and 1943. Here he stayed in Rumke on Lake Leba, a place he liked very much because of its solitude and unspoiled nature. With a sure instinct for an exciting composition and a balanced use of color, he created a lively landscape with a bridge running parallel to the lower edge of the picture, spanning a calmly flowing river or canal. To the left and right, he positioned simple rowing boats with a figure painted in blue and one in yellow. Behind the bridge rises a dense forest, which he rendered swiftly in water-soaked, dark or light green.
By the early 1930s, Schmidt-Rottluff was already one of the most renowned painters of his generation. His early fame came to an abrupt end when the National Socialists came to power. From 1933 onwards, he had hardly any exhibition opportunities and his works were fiercely attacked. In this respect, the present watercolor is one of the few works that were actually created in 1934.