Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Hans Thoma

Cornfield in Oberursel, Summer
oil on canvas
other detail unknown

Hans Thoma (1839-1924) was born in Bernau in the Black Forest, Germany. Having started life as a painter of clock-faces, he entered the Karlsruhe academy in 1859. He subsequently studied and worked in Dusseldorf, Paris, Italy, Munich, and Frankfurt, until his reputation became firmly established as the result of an exhibition of his paintings in Munich.

In spite of his studies under various masters, his art has little in common with modern ideas, and is formed partly by his early impressions of the simple idyllic life of his native district, partly by his sympathy with the early German masters, particularly with Cranach. In his love of the details of nature, in his precise drawing of outline, and in his predilection for local coloring, he has distinct affinities with the Pre-Raphaelites.

In 1899 he was made director of a gallery in Karlsruhe and was appointed professor at the art academy there. In the years that followed he received many honours, including an honorary doctorate from Heidelberg University and 1917 the "Pour le Merite". On his seventieth birthday, the Hans Thoma Museum was opened as an annexe of the Karlsruhe Kunsthalle.