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Autumn Landscape

Villem Ormisson Autumn Landscape 1918‒1919 oil, canvas 59.7 × 64.5 cm

According to researchers, this is the first landscape of Villem Ormisson’s cheerfully colourful period, and influences from the works of Vilhelms Purvītis and Konrad Mägi have also been seen in the painting. At the same time, regardless of his youth, Ormisson had already succeeded in participating in numerous exhibitions, including in 1914 at the age of 22 together with the likes of Konrad Mägi, Nikolai Triik, Peet Aren and other already renowned artists at the 5th Estonian Art Exhibition.
Ormisson’s biography was relatively dramatic in 1918-1919 because his father died, his brothers were fighting in the War of Independence, and Ormisson himself was arrested for a short time. It is nevertheless difficult to see reflections of Ormisson’s life story in this work. Besides, it is known that Ormisson continued to work actively during the war years and also participated in several exhibitions held in both Tartu and Tallinn in 1919.
Here the artist’s primary attention is focused more on his brushing technique and colouring than on the motif. The landscape moves in ridges into the depths of the pictorial space, turning ever brighter and richer in light, yet Ormisson has not paid particular attention to dramatising the motif or articulating the composition with abundant nuances. Instead he experiments with different styles of brushing: the painting begins in the foreground with open brushstrokes, then becomes a little more controlled, yet preserving its former freedom in the case of the water hole and the haycock, for instance. Starting with the forest belt, however, Ormisson has been very precise with the paintbrush, using a short brushstroke in the style of his teachers and paragons Purvītis and Mägi. Thus he intersperses lighter-coloured brushstrokes into the green overall tone, at the same time as the colouring is altered in turn to yellowish-red in depicting the fields, in the midst of which Ormisson has placed little green patches. In the generally exceedingly greenish colouring of late spring, a brownish group of trees at the left edge of the painting, which is in a certain contrast with the rest of the entire picture, has to be noted as an interesting detail.