The Van Abbemuseum Collection consists of over 2800 artworks. We publish texts and images on an ongoing basis, but this record is currently in the process of being documented.
The painting 'Farm', dating from 1919, by the German artist Heinrich Campendonk, is composed of bright and dark colours and the bright colours often contrast in a complementary way. There is a man at the front of the image. Above him Campendonk painted a horse, and above that a farm. The diagonal lines of the wall and the wooden bar where the horse is standing create an effect of depth. However, this painting was not created in accordance with the laws of central perspective. The various elements are represented as though they are all at eye level, but they are shown one above the other.
Campendonk was influenced by Cubism. In this artistic movement subjects are represented from different points of view and shapes from nature are analysed into more or less independent geometrical facets. In 'Farm' this influence is clearly reflected in the representation of the farm itself, but also in a more subtle way, for example, in the horse and the man’s feet. However, in addition to these Cubist influences, the work also contains Expressionist characteristics, particularly as regards the use of colour. The colours chosen by Campendonk lead an independent life. They are not related to reality and they are not linked to a particular shape or a specific object. They were chosen intuitively on the basis of the feelings they entailed, which is an important characteristic of Expressionism.
At the request of Kandinsky and Marc, Campendonk joined the German Expressionist group “Der blaue Reiter” in 1911. Traces of the working methods and ideas of the artists belonging to this group can clearly be seen in 'Farm'. It is not only the way in which Campendonk used colour, but his subjects also corresponded to those of other members of “Der blaue Reiter”. In many cases the theme of man and animal in the landscape had a central place as a symbol for the unity between mankind and the rest of creation. 'Farm' is at the same time both clear and mysterious. The subject is recognizable, but is represented with great tranquillity. There is no question of any act or interaction between the living creatures. They are simply there. The many dark colours in which the brighter ones light up contribute to an atmosphere of mysterious silence and reflection evoked by the painting.
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