Rudolf Riemerschmid

Children Dancing In A Wood

Rudolf Riemerschmid

Children Dancing In A Wood

This early 20th-century painting by German artist Rudolf Riemerschmid (1873-1953) depicts three children dancing in a wooded area.

It’s a joyful portrayal that celebrates the unbridled freedom of youth.

Bouncing gleefully, hand-in-hand, the woods are filled with the rhythmic sound of rhyme and laughter. A scene of utter simplicity, perhaps they’re siblings. The tallest in a lilac dress concentrates on her footwork, mastering a routine rehearsed over several months - now played out under the glow of a gentle Summer evening.

Capturing the spirit of youth was a key tenet of progressive German art in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As a reaction to starchy academy-led expectations, unshackled artists sought to express themselves more liberally. For hundreds of years, ‘good’ art was based on formulas, idealised notions of nature - achieved only via careful study of a doctrine laid down by sophisticated tutors. But artists such as Riemerschmid looked to rise up and rebel.

Off the back of this wave of anti-dogma, Jugend magazine was born and quickly became a tonic for the imagination - an antidote for oppressive conformity. Riemerschmid was a contributor, an important one, and achieved the accolade of providing cover art on several occasions. He’d previously joined the ‘Munich Secession’ movement, which also encouraged radical thought. Awarded various medals and accolades, he gained a solid reputation as a forward-thinking artist.

Did you know: The Jugend magazine formed the basis of the Jugendstil movement. Germany’s equivalent to Art Nouveau.

But then came the terrifying realities of WWI. A marked contrast to the heady days of free thinking. Riemerschmid was involved, picking up a serious head injury that eventually led to his eyesight failing. Upon returning to his studio, his rise to notoriety had been punctured. Broken, partially sighted, and lacking opportunities, he continued to labour but to little avail. We believe this to be a work from his final period.

Within this charming portrayal of kinship, dance and freedom, there’s the brush of an artist tarnished by the leaden trenches of war. Much like the 17th-century ditty, Ring a Ring o Roses, the darker side of humanity is buried in a song.

Signed lower right and held within a gilded Louis XIV revival ogee frame.

Medium: Tempera on paper laid on card
Overall size: 24½” x 22½” / 63cm x 57cm
Year of creation: c. 1920
Labels & Inscriptions: C. Blecken Munchen framemaker label on reverse.
Condition: Generally good. Frame with some light wear.
Artist’s auction maximum: £15,380

Rudolf Riemerschmid

Trained under Friedrich Fehr at the Karlsruhe Academy. Member of the Munich Secession. Exhibited regularly at the Munich Secession and the Glass Palace. Produced a portrait of King Ludwig III. Won the Golden State Medal in Graz among numerous other accolades.

Learn more about Rudolf Riemerschmid in our directory.

Conservation & History

We care profoundly about our role as custodians and every piece in the collection has been assessed by our conservator. When required, we undertake professional restoration carefully using reversible techniques and adopt a light touch to retain the aged charm of each work. We also restore frames rather than replace them as many are original and selected by the artists themselves.

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