Bare Conifers, Christian Rohlfs
Christian Rohlfs
Bare Conifers
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Christian Rohlfs

Bare Conifers, 1921

614 x 480 mm
Physical Description
Water tempera on wove paper (perforations in the corners)
Inventory Number
Object Number
17908 Z
Acquired in 2019 as a bequest from Ulrike Crespo from the Karl Ströher Collection
Can be presented in the study room of the Graphische Sammlung (special opening hours)


About the Work

A vivid blue dominates the composition. It is the sky, crisscrossed with low clouds and bare conifer trunks. Rohlfs applied it with dynamic brushwork: layers of wide, intersecting strokes create a rhythmic web. He also introduced streaks of light by removing the blue in places, and integrated the earthy hues of the vegetation. The impression of nature thus becomes a colour composition. The water temperas he used almost exclusively from 1920/21 onwards enhance the subtle plays of colour and light.

About the Acquisition

The Städel Museum has the photographer, psychotherapist, philanthropist, and long-time Frankfurt resident Ulrike Crespo (1950–2019) to thank for more than ninety works ranging from classical modernism to American pop art. The paintings, drawings, and prints by Wassily Kandinsky, Otto Dix, Oskar Schlemmer, Max Ernst, Jean Dubuffet, Cy Twombly, and others originally belonged to the holdings of her grandfather, the Darmstadt-based industrialist Karl Ströher (1890–1977), who amassed an extensive art collection after World War II.

Work Data

Basic Information

Bare Conifers
Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description
Water tempera on wove paper (perforations in the corners)
Geographic Reference
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Monogrammiert und datiert unten rechts (mit dem Pinsel in Blau): CR 21
  • Nicht vorhanden

Property and Acquisition

Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Picture Copyright
Public Domain
Acquired in 2019 as a bequest from Ulrike Crespo from the Karl Ströher Collection

Work Content

Motifs and References



  • 25D21 earth (soil type)

Research and Discussion


Object History
Galerie Vömel, Düsseldorf
verkauft an Karl Ströher (1890-1977), Darmstadt, 1953
Nachlass Karl Ströher, 1977
an seine Enkelin Ulrike Crespo (1950-2019), Frankfurt am Main
Vermächtnis an das Städelsche Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt am Main, 2019.


Since 2001, the Städel Museum has systematically been researching the provenance of all objects that were acquired during the National Socialist period, or that changed owners or could have changed owners during those years. The basis for this research is the “Washington Declaration”, also known as the “Washington Conference Principles”, formulated at the 1998 “Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets” and the subsequent “Joint Declaration”.

The provenance information is based on the sources researched at the time they were published digitally. However, this information can change at any time when new sources are discovered. Provenance research is therefore a continuous process and one that is updated at regular intervals.

Ideally, the provenance information documents an object’s origins from the time it was created until the date when it found its way into the collection. It contains the following details, provided they are known:

  • the type of acquisition and/or the way the object changed hands
  • the owner's name and place of residence
  • the date on which it changed hands

The successive ownership records are separated from each other by a semicolon.

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