Friday, September 5, 2014

Lovis Corinth

Morning Sun
oil on canvas
other detail unknown

Lovis Corinth (1858-1925) was a German painter and printmaker whose mature work realized a synthesis of impressionism and expressionism. He studied in Paris and Munich, joined the Berlin Secession group. His early work was naturalistic in approach. He was initially antagonistic towards the expressionist movement, but after a stroke in 1911 his style loosened and took on many expressionistic qualities. His use of color became more vibrant, and he created portraits and landscapes of extraordinary vitality and power. His subject matter also included nudes and biblical scenes.
He was born in Tapiau, in Prussia as a son of a tanner. He displayed a talent for drawing as a child. At the Academy of Fine Art in Munich, which rivaled Paris as the avant-garde art center in Europe at the time, he was influenced by Courbet and the Barbizon school.

In 1902 at the age of 43, he opened a school of painting for women and married his first student, Charlotte Berend, some 20 years his junior. Charlotte was his youthful muse, his spiritual partner, and the mother of his two children. She had a profound influence on him, and family life became a major theme in his art.

In 1911, he suffered a stroke, and was partially paralyzed on his left side. Thereafter he walked with a limp, and his hands displayed a chronic tremor. With the help of his wife, within a year he was painting again with his right hand. His disability inspired in him an intense interest in the simple, intimate things of daily life. It was at this time that landscapes became a significant part of his oeuvre.

He was quite prolific, and in the last 15 years of his life he produced more than 900 graphic works, including 60 self-portraits. He painted numerous self-portraits, and made a habit of painting one every year on his birthday as a means of self-examination. He was perhaps better known for his ability to drink large amounts of red wine and champagne.