Impressionist from the North
Hans Olde senior
Light, air and nonchalant painting – when referring to German impressionism, normally the name Max Liebermann comes to mind. On the other hand, an artist from Schleswig-Holstein who is still rather less known, became conversant with this genre in France and brought it back home. Hans Olde senior, born as a squire’s only son in 1855, is known as the outstanding representative of the new genre in Schleswig-Holstein. However, his importance reaches far beyond North Germany – together with colleagues, he was a driving force for the German secessionist movement and artistic modernity during the imperial period.
In a large exhibition at Schloss Gottorf, the Impressionist from the North enjoys comprehensive recognition for the first time. In addition to landscapes and harbour pictures, Olde painted several portraits of poets. Today, we still find his important interpretations of Klaus Groth, Detlev von Liliencron repeatedly in magazines and books and, above all, the portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche which still today determines our picture of the philosopher. Olde’s painted and drawn work ideally reflects the open German artist’s handling vis-à-vis French art. As for several of his generation’s contemporaries, for Olde French impressionism was formative with all of its consequences during the second half of the 20th century.