Fruit crop – Ludwig von Hofmann
I have been contemplating this painting from the mythical world of this not well known German painter who lived (17 August 1861 – 23 August 1945) As Wikipedia informs us “In 1889, he attended the Académie Julian in Paris, where he came under the influence of Pierre Puvis de Chavannes and Paul-Albert Besnard.” Certainly the Art Nouveau and Symbolist styles are present but the general impression of this work is one of tranquil gathering from fruitful nature. After a summer of disturbingly high temperatures and draught it seems a pleasant reminder of what seems a different age. End of summer and Arcadia can exist and as I have recently discovered in the rich orchards of Trengwainton still in existence.
As I have been reading recently about Stanley Spencer and the aftermath of the First World War, I came across the following painting as a comparison. Von Hoffmann’s painting is dated 1906, and according to Boyd Hacock’s “A Crisis of Brilliance“, Spencer’s Apple Gatherers is dated 1912.
To anyone familiar with Spencer, the chunky figures have a certain primitive attractiveness- a robust Bob the Builder robust quality. The abundance and timelessness is achieved by the composition. The sketches upon which it is based shows the time and thought which went into the work. The plenitude of fruit and the couple linking arms around the apple suggest some kind of Eden restored.
In this part of Cornwall we have a special feast referred to as Allan Appletide https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allantide