Schöner Herbstnachmittag. Um 1915. Oil on canvas. Signed in lower left. Verso of the stretcher with several inscriptions and numbers, as well as with the stamped name of the artist and two old labels. 100 x 90.5 cm (39.3 x 35.6 in). [FS].
PROVENANCE: Paul Bartels, Kiel (presumably acquired on the Munich art market around 1929). Private collection Schleswig-Holstein (inherited from aforementioned in 2017).
Since the 1910s Edward Cucuel's work has been characterized by a cheerful, light-hearted plein-air painting, which he initially practiced with his friend and teacher Leo Putz in Hartmannsberg on Lake Chiemsee. Here the painters worked side by side every summer for over four years, being active well into the golden autumn days: "The autumn surprised the two [Putz and Cucuel] sometimes very suddenly [.] sunny days, then sudden cloudiness and rain - and when that ceases, it is cold and the leaves often fall overnight. The latter happened to the two painters several times; however, that did not put the two off when a work was in progress, and when the trees became too bald, they tied whole batches of fallen leaves back to them in order to keep up the foliage's golden autumn mood and finished their pictures. What a happy and merry creation lies in this kind of work! "(Quote from: Fritz von Ostini, Der Maler Edward Cucuel, Zürich, etc., 1924, p 23. From 1914 on Cucuel was living in Holzhausen on Ammersee, where he continues the previously chosen motifs: young models, clothed or undressed, enjoying idleness, in the midst of a nature that emanates summer and autumn. While he became independent from Putz and attained his ownn style, Cucuel captured his pictures with an uninterrupted fluidity by means a fleeting brushstroke and rich hues of high luminosity. Our work with the depiction of two fashionably dressed ladies, sitting under a shady tree and enjoying a read, is particularly impressive for its contrasts: the dresses' cool black and white, highly fashionable for their graphic stripe pattern in contrast to the surrounding nature's fresh green and bright golden yellow. The sunlight that breaks through the still dense foliage on one of the last fine autumn days has been rendered particularly beautiful. The two young ladies have probably fled to the shade in search of shelter from the still intense sunlight.