Franz Xaver HOCH

(Freiburg im Breisgau 1869 - Vosges 1916)

A Shepherd and his Flock in a Hilly Landscape

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Gouache on paper mounted on board.
Signed, dated and inscribed F. Hoch. MÜNCHEN. 1898. at the lower left.
489 x 341 mm. (19 1/4 x 13 3/8 in.)
 
Drawn in 1908, the present sheet echoes the Art Nouveau manner of Franz Hoch’s late graphic work. A somewhat similar shepherd appears in Hoch’s illustration to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s lied poem Schäfers Klagelied (The Shepherd’s Lament), as reproduced in Der Deutsche Spielmann, a collection of German sings and poetry published in Munich in 1903.
 
The son of a baker, Franz Hoch was a pupil first of the landscape painter Emil Lugo in his native city of Freiburg, and later studied at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Karlsruhe, under Gustav Schönleber and Leopold von Kalckreuth. In 1898, the date of the present sheet, the artist settled on the Wörthsee near Munich, and came to be associated with the local artist’s society known as Die Scholle, founded in 1899. Hoch worked as a landscape painter, draughtsman, etcher and colour lithographer, and also produced a number of fine book illustrations. His landscapes are characterized by a slightly stylistic approach to the depiction of nature and a preference for bright colours, as well as an often melancholy atmosphere. He had a particular fondness for the landscapes of the Upper Bavarian countryside and mountains, and also painted views in Alsace, Italy, Croatia and Greece. A member of the Deutscher Künstlerbund, Hoch died fighting on the Western Front during the First World War. Shortly after his death, a retrospective exhibition of his work was held at the Kunstverein in Freiburg, but within a few years he was largely forgotten. In 2017, however, on the occasion of the centenary of his death, a comprehensive exhibition of Hoch’s paintings, drawings and prints was held at the Augustinermuseum in Freiburg im Breisgau, which holds an important collection of the artist’s work.

Franz Xaver HOCH

A Shepherd and his Flock in a Hilly Landscape