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Hermann Scherer

Waldlandschaft, 1924-1925
oil on canvas
90.0 x 80.0 cm
Hermann Scherer executes Waldlandschaft (Forest Landscape) during a stay in Davos at Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s home. Kirchner, from 1917 to the mid-1920s, paints and engraves the landscape and rural population of Davos and its surroundings almost to the exclusion of all else. As he explains it, “Immediate creation, starting with experience and nature – you only find that in my work, and it is precisely that which captivates the young, who have healthy sensations”.

Inspired by a typical mountain landscape of the Davos valley and akin to the mountain conjured up in Thomas Mann’s novel The Magic Mountain (1924), Scherer’s canvas depicts an untamed nature that is spared any trace of industry or culture. Scherer takes his inspiration here from popular art and achieves a representation that is highly stylised and detached from all academic training. The fur trees, for example, are depicted in just a few diagonal and vertical strokes, whilst the river winds through the valley with exaggerated bends and turns, in the bright tones of pure colours.

In a composition that is similar to mediaeval landscapes, the different pictorial planes are superimposed vertically and do not vanish in the distance according to a central perspective. Brushstrokes are broad and applied quickly, and the colours mix directly on the untreated canvas, patches of which peak through between the trees and the hills. Scherer transcribes the emotions he feels before Davos’s mountain setting, turning to an expressionism that is characterised by an energetic affirmation of the pictorial gesture.
Hermann Scherer, Waldlandschaft, Paysage forestier, 1924-1925