Werner Köhnlein

Nocturne With Figures

Werner Köhnlein

Nocturne With Figures

This early 20th-century oil painting by German artist Werner Köhnlein depicts a nocturnal scene with a couple walking by a river.

There’s a masterful quality to this eerie little piece that’s reminiscent, in some ways, of the fascinating Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (1863-1944). Amid the low-key blueish dabs and daubs, there’s a simmering atmosphere with unresolved questions. On the left, three simple lights draw the eye - a lantern, its reflection, and a single star. They create a vertical, which in turn, interacts with the figures.

Who are this couple? Are they returning home? Are they together? Saints or sinners?

While over on the right, the silhouetted trees are both aesthetically stimulating and sinister. What do they symbolise? Love, death, growth, eternity?

Little is known about Werner Köhnlein but his ability to convey enigmatic emotions is evident. He produced this piece between the wars.

Signed lower right and held within a later frame.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 20” x 22” / 51cm x 56cm
Year of creation: c. 1930
Condition: Artwork presents well. Fine craquelure but the paint is stable. Frame with some light wear.

Werner Köhnlein

Werner Köhnlein

German artist Werner Köhnlein is predominantly known for his expressive landscapes in oil, tempera and watercolour.

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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