Still Life with Umbrella and Hat
  • Hans Thoma
  • Bernau/Black Forest 1839 - 1924 Karlsruhe
  • Still Life with Umbrella and Hat, 1860
  • Oil on cardboard,
  • signed and dated on the lower right: Thoma/20.7. 60
  • 330 × 235 mm
Estate of the artist,
Ella Geißler-Thoma, Berlin (adopted daughter of the artist),
1944 Evacuation to Silesia,
1945 Confiscation by Poland,
1953 Return to the Nationalgalerie in East Berlin,
1993 Restitution to the heirs of the artist

Thoma’s artistic talent was recognized early on. A certain head bailiff Sachs from St. Blasien sent the aspiring artist’s first pictures to Karlsruhe, where they so impressed the director of the art school, Johann Wilhelm Schirmer, that he arranged a scholarship from Grand Duke Friedrich I of Baden, thus making Hans Thoma’s studies possible.1

His first semester began on September 29, 1859, and his dream of a career as an artist seemed poised to become reality.

This, along with the pride of the young art school student, serves as the background for this carefully arranged still life, which he must have painted during his first holidays back at home in Bernau. The subject is apparently his own hiking gear, consisting of boots, overcoat, shoulder bag, walking stick and umbrella, all crowned with a straw hat and wildflowers. Thus equipped, Thoma would have gone on his daily hikes through the Black Forest, in order to apply his recently acquired academic experiences to the study of nature.

Thoma himself must have highly valued this early oil study. As was the case with the portraits of his relatives, he held on to it throughout his life and later bequeathed it to his daughter in Berlin.

  1. Exh. cat.: Hans Thoma. Lebensbilder. Gemäldeausstellung zum
    150. Geburtstag
    , Augustinermuseum Freiburg, 1989