Frühling. Um 1900/1902. Oil on panel, partly cradled. Cf. Voss 249 and 388-391. Lower right signed. 58 x 50 cm (22.8 x 19.6 in). In original artist's frame, verso with two labels from frame maker Hans Irlbacher, Munich. [CB].
PROVENANCE: Private ownership Southern Germany.
The to date unknown portrait of a young girl offered here is in line with a certain type of portrait motif that can be found in several works by Stuck. It is possible that it is an early variant of "Frühling" from 1902 (cf. Voss 249), in which the girl does not look straight at the observer, but is depicted in clear profile. Struck presumably developed the spring motif with wreath and flowers from the painting "Aschenbrödel" from 1899 (cf. Voss 193). There is proof for variations of the allegoric spring pictures until 1912 (cf. Voss 388-391). It seems that the artist intended to make an allegoric series of the four seasons illustrated by a girl or a young woman as early as around 1900/1902. However, only the image of the "Sommer" can be found in his oeuvre (around 1900, cf. Voss 210). The portrait of his wife Mary Stuck with two apples; which Stuck repeatedly rendered between 1900 and 1914, could be the allegory for autumn in the cycle of the seasons. Stuck used a comparable composition for these works: A narrow strip of landscape with a very deep horizon is in the lower margin of the picture, a slightly clouded sky opens up above. In front of this stage-like background the women are captured as half figures looking straight at the observer with the shoulders and upper part of the body turned in profile. This posture can not be found in the earlier work "Sommer", comparable with the earlier variants of the portrait of Mary and therefore a precursor of the assumed "Herbst" (both around 1900, cf. Voss 203). One of the spring variants is in private possession today, two are in public ownership: the early variant from 1902 (Voss 249) in the Szépmüvészeti Múzeum in Budapest, the later from 1912 (Voss 390) in the Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt.