Arts & Culture

The Family of the Painter Fritz Rumpf

Lovis Corinth1901

Alte Nationalgalerie, National Museums in Berlin
Alte Nationalgalerie, National Museums in Berlin

Corinth painted this portrait of his friend’s family shortly after his return to Berlin. There is no narrative linking the figures, who should be seen as separate individuals. They are held together by the picture’s colour composition and the play of light, which ultimately creates an unrealistic effect. Thus the shadowy profiles against the light on the left are contradicted by the brightly-lit mass of colour of the two younger children. These figures release a burst of colour that runs through the entire spectrum of reds and comes to rest in the orange-red of the blouse worn by the mother, which also halts the forward movement of the figures entering the scene from the left. The white of the large window with its rectangular panes is echoed in the shirt of a seated boy who is balanced by the puzzling, shadowy figure of a boy with a parrot in the lower right-hand corner. The brushwork, which no longer has anything to do with the actual depiction of objects, and the contrasts of light and shade that are here dissolved in colour, unite the figures in an on-going process that transcends any contingent spatial configurations and becomes a metaphor for the inner workings of the mind.

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  • Title: The Family of the Painter Fritz Rumpf
  • Creator: Lovis Corinth
  • Date Created: 1901
  • Viewing Notes: Lovis Corinth was a German painter and printmaker. In 1880 he began studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, where he was influenced by Courbet and the Barbizon School. In 1884 he spent three months in Antwerp where he served as an apprentice to Paul Eugène Gorge. Afterwards he travelled to Paris and studied under William-Adolphe Bouguereau. In 1891 he returned to Germany and joined the group of progressive artists known as the Berlin Secession, finally moving to the city in 1901, where he had a one-man exhibition at a gallery owned by Paul Cassirer. To view the artworks of his favourite Dutch masters he made a journey to the Netherlands in 1925 during which he died. His early works were naturalistic in approach. Later, his use of colour became more vivid, and he created several (self-) portraits and landscapes of extraordinary vitality and power. His subject matter included nudes and biblical scenes. His mature artworks are seen as a fusion of Impressionism and Expressionism. Apart from paintings, he also created etchings from 1891 on, executing his first lithograph in 1894. Under the National Socialists, 295 of his works were confiscated as ‘degenerate art’. Among his famous compositions is 'Self-portrait with Skeleton' (1896).
  • Style: Secession
  • Provenance: Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Physical Dimensions: w140.0 x h113.0 cm
  • Original Title: Familie Rumpf
  • Credit Line: Text: © <a href="">Prestel Verlag</a> / Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Andrea Bärneuther Photo: © <a href="">b p k - Photo Agency</a> / Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Jörg P. Anders
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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