Morning I, 1991

Morning I, 1991
Oil on cardboard, 138 x 99,2 cm

Impressions from Africa

Striking intense colour chords, Ruth Baumgarte brings together a landscape and a floral still life in this large-format oil painting. For that, she additively merges African motifs, such as dream images: A man and a boy drive two cattle in front of them. In the background, a woman is balancing a vessel on her head. On the right, there is a simply timbered shelter. A hibiscus flower that presents its blossoms in a blaze of colour complements the scene. The hibiscus, which is native to tropical and subtropical regions, symbolises delicate, fragile beauty.

The place that is depicted, or the event that is referenced, is unidentifiable. The vibrant colouring of the image motifs is rich in contrast and of differing quality: The artist chose to present the landscape in flatly applied shades of green, blue, and yellow. In contrast, the hibiscus blossoms are pictured in detail and add an expressive highlight to the composition. As suggested by the painting’s title, a morning scene is depicted. The greenish-yellow shades of the landscape create a brisk atmosphere that is still missing the blazing heat of the African midday sun.

Ruth Baumgarte does not choose typical ‘African motifs’ but depicts those moments she experienced and scenes she observed that stuck to her mind and memory. She rarely took photographs and developed the image motifs she gained during her journeys to Africa into colours and shapes in her atelier in Bielefeld. Resulting from a mix of personal experience and artistic expression, she created impressive paintings of a unique colour intensity that show a slightly different Africa.