Oil on Canvas: 17" x 15"
A young girl with strawberry blonde hair sits quietly, tenderly gazing off into the distance. She dons a brimmed hat securely strapped under her chin. Her dress is a rich, dark red, while her pinafore is a soft pink. The young girl’s peachy, supple cheeks are offset by her bright red lips. Her sweeping layers of hair brings the viewer’s attention to the oversized hat that the artist most likely used to capture the unseen light coming from the top left of the composition. The girl’s eyes appear teary as they capture strong reflections of the light. The underside of the hat is assumed to be white with tucked fabric, yet there are subtle strokes of pinks and blues.
Wegmann’s strokes are strong and unblended, lending an expressionistic touch to her form. Her colors play with the strong light source, lending an impressionistic effect to the composition. Regardless of these techniques, a completed and life-like portrait manifests itself through her thick, broad strokes.
Artist: Bertha Wegmann (1847-1926)
Bertha Wegmann was educated with her fathers support first in Copenhagen, then in Münich as a historical and genre painter. She started exhibiting her work in 1873 in Copenhagen, where 10 years later she was the first woman to become a member of the of Royal Academy Council. She participated in her times biggest exhibits and represented Denmark in many world exhibits.
In the beginning Bertha Wegmann painted storytelling figure paintings, preferably with a sentimental point, but also quite a few landscapes, particularly the mountains of Tyrol, and later some from the scenic Baltic coastal areas. Just as many of her associates, Wegmann became fascinated by the French modern movement, and from 1881 she more or less lived in Paris, where she made a name for herself at the Paris Salon.
In 1881 she won the Gold Medal at the Paris Salon. Wegmann strongly established herself as a portrait painter and has to be counted as among the very best of her time, but also as one of the best historical and genre painters of her time. Her popularity continues to grow still.