fbpx
Connect with us

DailyArtMagazine.com – Art History Stories

Jozef Mehoffer – Strange Garden

Painting of the Week

Jozef Mehoffer – Strange Garden

Usually on our Painting of the Week cycle we feature internationally acclaimed masterpieces. But today we wanted to feature a beautiful painting, that unfortunately is more known locally. It’s Strange Garden, painted by Polish Jozef Mehoffer in 1902-1903 from the collection of the National Museum in Warsaw.

Jozef Mehoffer, Self-Portrait, 1869, National Museum in Krakow

Jozef Mehoffer, Self-Portrait, 1869, National Museum in Krakow

Mehoffer was a painter, graphic artist, printmaker, designer of stained glass, textiles, theatre sets, posters, interior decoration and furniture, leading representative of Young Poland. His international acclaim came with designs of stained glass windows for the Gothic St Nicholas collegiate church in Freiburg, Switzerland but he was most well known in Poland. His monumental painting was an excellent manifestation of the rich symbolism and decorative trends in Polish modernism and of the artist’s masterly technique. His art was strongly influenced by the monumental painting of Puvis de Chavannes, which he saw in Paris, and the Nabist art, which he came to know through Władysław Ślewiński. His art of 1891-5 was influenced by Symbolism and Post-Impressionism.

Jozef Mehoffer, Strange Garden, 1902-1903, National Museum in Warsaw

Jozef Mehoffer, Strange Garden, 1902-1903, National Museum in Warsaw

Strange Garden is one of the most exquisite and mysterious works in the history of Polish painting. It was made during a very significant period in Mehoffer’s life – when already became successful as an artist and was happily married. Mehoffer produced The Strange Garden when he was away on a family holiday. In the painting, he captures familial happiness.

Jozef Mehoffer, Strange Garden, 1902-1903, National Museum in Warsaw, detail

Jozef Mehoffer, Strange Garden, 1902-1903, National Museum in Warsaw, detail

The glowing, golden boy gathers our attention. Withdrawn somewhat into the shade, the woman wearing a sapphire gown looks on close by while a massive sapphire dragonfly hovers over them with its golden latticework wings outstretched in a protective embrace.

Jozef Mehoffer, Strange Garden, 1902-1903, National Museum in Warsaw, detail

Jozef Mehoffer, Strange Garden, 1902-1903, National Museum in Warsaw, detail

You are probably amused by this huge insect. An excerpt from a letter the artist wrote to his wife helps us to interpret its symbolic meaning: “Now, you are to me practically synonymous with the colour of sapphire, and holding you close, though across such a distance, I immerse myself in that colour.” Perhaps, this suggests that the dragonfly keeping watch over the family, which Mehoffer had identified as a symbol for the sun, is actually the artist himself.

Several years before painting the picture, Mehoffer had written in his journal: “I can’t say that I know what to paint, the idea is a general one: an idea of life, delight, pleasure, joy, light, sunshine and warmth.”

A perfect painting to celebrate summer 🙂

Find out more:

  

 

Art Historian, founder and CEO of DailyArtMagazine.com and DailyArt mobile app. But to be honest, her greatest accomplishment is being the owner of Pimpek the Cat.

Comments

More in Painting of the Week

  • 19th Century

    Painting of the Week: Claude Raguet Hirst, A Gentleman’s Table

    By

    A Gentleman’s Table by Claude Raguet Hirst is a mysterious painting that echoes the realism of Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, and Henry Ossawa Tanner. It explores both the dignity and the immorality of ordinary life. It depicts the human experience of the late 19th century United...

  • dailyart

    Painting of the Week: Giorgione, The Tempest

    By

    Giorgione and his masterpiece The Tempest form the rare combination of a mysterious artist and a mysterious painting. This small canvas has puzzled art historians since the 16th century and continues to do so. Who Was Giorgione? Giorgio Barbarelli da Castelfranco (1477/78-1510) is considered the co-founder...

  • dailyart

    Painting of the Week: Hasegawa Tōhaku, Pine Trees

    By

    Japan is a country of distinctive traditional arts such as tea ceremonies, calligraphy, and bonsai. A rich history of artists fills their museums with breathless wonders. Pine Trees by Hasegawa Tōhaku is one such national treasure. It is a wonderfully complex painting despite its simplistic first...

  • Ancient Egypt

    Painting of the Week: Judgement Scene from Book of the Dead of Hunefer

    By

    Death continues to be one of the greatest fears of human society. Since the dawn of recorded history through the centuries of plague, pestilence, and meeting our own modern global pandemic, death has always been a worry. It marks the end of life and forces cosmic...

  • 19th Century

    Painting of the Week: A Bar at the Folies-Bergère

    By

    A Bar at the Folies-Bergère is considered Edouard Manet’s last major painting. Presented in the Salon of 1882, just a year before the artist’s death, its theme as well as the execution unsettled the prudish Parisian society. Manet and the Parisian Salon Manet’s relationship with the...

To Top