• Franz Gertsch
    Winter, 2009
    Acryl auf ungrundierter Baumwolle
    Acrylic on unprimed cotton
    325 x 480 cm
    Besitz von / Collection of Franz Gertsch & Maria Gertsch-Meer
    © Franz Gertsch

Franz Gertsch. The new seasons

Franz Gertsch (born 1930) paints the four seasons – the idea for this cycle of paintings developed when the painter came across the photograph of a piece of woodlands in the fall while going through his papers. The painting "Herbst" (Autumn) (2007/08) was modeled after this picture.

The perception of "Herbst," the first painting in the cycle of the seasons, is turned into an exciting visual experience in which the viewer’s active participation is called for. In order to see "Herbst" in focus as a sundrenched, autumnally shaded wooded landscape, the viewer must step back quite a bit. But the painting is also particularly fascinating when seen from close up; it becomes abstract and seemingly starts to flicker.

The painting "Sommer" (Summer) (2008/2009), which shines in powerful green hues, also holds a number of discoveries in store for the viewer. The painting appears flattish at first and the thicket of the leafy piece of woodlands seems impenetrable. But upon closer examination, one is pulled into the depths and the various zones unfold ever different and new nuances and impressions.

For Franz Gertsch, the portrayal of "Winter" (2009) meant the great challenge of painting snow for the first time. Trees, branches and twigs fashioned in finely shaded hues of brown traverse the work’s surface in a netlike manner. Several branches carry a layer of snow and the lower right corner appears entirely white at first. Seen from up close, the feeling of freshly fallen snow becomes almost tangible. Franz Gertsch has succeeded in structuring the white landscape by means of fine gradations of color, visualizing the delicate powdery characteristics of snow for the viewer.

Aside from the three seasons completed by then, "Herbst," "Sommer" and "Winter," the exhibition also features further paintings and woodcuts from the holdings of the stiftung willy michel as well as loans from the private collections of Dr. h.c. Willy Michel as well as of Franz Gertsch and Maria Gertsch-Meer. They include the imposing "Triptychon Schwarzwasser" (Schwarzwasser Triptych) (1991/92), which will be on show again after a long time.

Franz Gertsch. The new seasons