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Franz Friedrich Boscovits, Girl sitting by a lake

Franz Friedrich Boscovits, dit Fritz
(Zurich, 1871 –Kilchberg, 1965)
Girl sitting by a lake, 1955.
Oil on cardboard
48,7 x 37,9 cm
Inv. BA.AMC.05g.2000.21123
Donation de Mme L. Grignet, 2000

 


Franz Friedrich Boscovits, known as Fritz, was a Swiss painter, caricaturist and graphic artist who trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich between 1890 and 1896. His first works are naturally close to the painters of the Munich School. At the end of his studies, he travelled to Florence, where he completed his training, before returning to Zurich.

At the turn of the century, the Swiss city was booming not only demographically but also intellectually and academically; it remained relatively conservative politically and culturally. Swiss painting around 1900 was marked by figures such as Arnold Böcklin (1827-1901) and Ferdinand Hodler (1853-1918), but also by numerous artists influenced by the movements of Symbolism and Art Nouveau, who produced works of great quality. Fritz Boscovits participated fully in this dynamic. He proved to be an artist who experimented and showed great technical skill. He was fully aware of the trends in painting and graphic arts. He frequented many artists of the Swiss avant-garde and was very involved in the cultural institutions in Zurich.

Fritz Boscovits painted landscapes, genre scenes and sometimes allegorical compositions, as in the frescoes on Clausiusstrasse in Zurich. Nature is a prominent element in his paintings; portraits are rather rare. Animals and mythical creatures appear regularly in the caricatures he drew for the magazine Der Nebelspalter for almost sixty-two years under the abbreviation "Bosco". His first drawings for the satirical weekly magazine date from 1889, even before he entered the Academy. Firtz Boscovits painted in oil on canvas or cardboard; his pictures are characterised by the use of strong contours and sometimes bright colours, but generally the palette is sober, often matt. The paint is applied with brush strokes. Over time, the line becomes more refined and the shapes are freed from contours. Both the paintings and the caricatures reflect the benevolent, yet sharp, gaze of a man who is sensitive to his environment.

Fillette assise au bord d'un lac (Madeleine), dated 1955, is a late work in the artist's production. A young girl sits on a pier, dipping her feet in the water while looking at her reflection. The scene is bathed in the soft, warm light of a lake where the sun's rays are reflected. The mountains can be seen in the distance. Firtz Boscovits lived with his family in Zollikon, on the shores of Lake Zurich, for many years and several of his paintings are set on the shores of this lake. Pastel colours dominate and a great sense of calm emanates from the scene. However, there is a slight tension in the girl's body. She is wearing a black swimming costume and her dark reflection on the surface of the lake somewhat disturbs the serenity of the landscape. Beyond appearances, thanks to a subtle treatment of the body and the choice of colours, the artist pays homage to his little daughter, Madeleine, who died at the age of 18.

Fillette assise au bord d'un lac (Madeleine) is part of a group of nine paintings by the painter from the donation of Mrs. Lucienne Grignet to the Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Liège. Fritz Boscovits' son Walter married a Belgian woman, Olga Odeur, whose sister, Blanche Odeur, was the mother of Madame Grignet. The paintings were in her possession. The artist also travelled several times to Belgium, where his daughter also lived. On these occasions he painted several small landscapes of Flanders.

 


 

Marie Remacle
Project Manager for les Musées de Liège
Art hisrtorian