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A Woman Out Walking in an Elegant White Frilled Dress. Oil on painting board. 28 x 16 cm. Circa 1867.
This plein air study is conspicuous for the spontaneous manner of its execution and the spirited treatment of the light. With deft, accurate strokes of the brush Mohn has brought out the folds in the elegant dress, to which he lends materiality and plasticity. The young woman’s face and left hand are merely hinted at, as are the terrain and the vegetation. Nonetheless, the little study is astonishingly realistic; it radiates vitality and youthful freshness and has the picturesque quality of a snapshot. The play of the clear sunlight on the spotless white of the dress is the real subject of the painting. Mohn produced the plein air sketch as a detail study for the painting Sunday Morning in Spring (1867), now in the National Gallery in Berlin. Our sketch is remarkably similar in style to plein air studies made around the same time by Claude Monet.
Viktor Paul Mohn studied at the Dresden Academy, undergoing further training at the hands of Ludwig Richter from 1861 to 1866. Following a study visit to Rome (1868/69) he taught as a professor at the Dresden Academy. In 1883 he moved to Berlin, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life. The freshness and charm of Sunday Morning in Spring, which probably dates to the artist’s period in Dresden, is regarded as one of Mohn’s most successful creations in the field of genre painting.