View of a baroque parc in Fulda
  • Franz Skarbina
  • Berlin 1849 - 1910
  • View of a baroque parc in Fulda, 1899
  • Black chalk on paper, on an old mount
  • signed, inscribed and dated: F. Skarbina / Fulda 99
  • 186 × 265 mm

A Park Scene in Fulda from 1899 illustrates in a concise manner Franz Skarbina’s dictum, already quoted, that an artist need only study after nature “as Menzel says”. A wholly unrepresentative detail from nature ripens as a pattern for the artist here; its appearance had less to do with a detailed portrayal of baroque park architecture and more to do with the “portrait” of the old tree in the foreground. The powerful presence of its thick trunk and sweeping foliage relegates even the opulent architecture of the Palais in the background to a shadowy stage set. The fact that the baroque architecture in the park actually turns its back to us may also be read as commentary by the artist to make room for the study of nature as the top priority. This depiction is probably the Bishop’s Garden in Fulda, for a drawing so titled with identical measurements and inscription was shown in the fall of 1910 as part of a memorial exhibition for Franz Skarbina in the Royal Academy of Arts in Berlin under cat. no. 218.

Aside from traditional design forms of an academic origin, Franz Skarbina developed his own artistic image by drawing and painting the world around him. Skarbina imparted permanence to the fleeting moment by drafting, selecting, and composing those fleeting moments; in doing so, he delivered to us his own personal views on the past and present. By blurring his lines, the artist placed his focus on all that is painterly, poeticized reality, and embellished ugliness through the medium of his art; in this way, he was able to set what was eternally beautiful against the radically changing conditions of everyday life while nevertheless remaining a seismograph of his time. In summary, the works shown here are generally representative of the creative particularities of the painter, draftsman, and graphic designer Franz Skarbina: “[…] to capture and give form to life, in its fullest extent, truly artistically” (Illustrirte Zeitung, Berlin, Sept. 18th, 1902).

Dr. Miriam-Esther Owesle
(Trans. Dr. Jennifer A. Morris)