Under the elder bush, Hans Thoma
Hans Thoma
Under the elder bush
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Hans Thoma

Under the elder bush, 1871

74.5 x 62.5 cm
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Inventory Number
SG 903
Acquired in 1938, Hans Thoma Collection of Otto Eiser-Eduard Kücher
Not on display


About the Work

A young woman sits in front of a flowering elder bush, which is still called "lilac" in some parts of the world. She gazes tenderly at the sleeping child in her lap. The intimate attention and familiarity suggest a mother with child. In fact, however, Thoma was modelling his younger sister Agathe (1848–1928) and a boy who was probably also a relative. The group, composed as a stable triangle, is reminiscent of depictions of the Virgin Mary with her Son. Hence, this summer idyll can be considered a precursor for the numerous religious motifs in the artist's later oeuvre.

Work Data

Basic Information

Under the elder bush
Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Signiert und datiert unten rechts: Hans Thoma 1871.

Property and Acquisition

Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Picture Copyright
Public Domain
Acquired in 1938, Hans Thoma Collection of Otto Eiser-Eduard Kücher

Work Content

Motifs and References

Main Motif


  • 61BB112(+54) anonymous historical persons portrayed in a double portrait - BB - woman (+ three-quarter length portrait)
  • 31D15(+3) adult woman (+ sideview, profile)
  • 42AA51 toddler - AA - girl
  • 31AA235 sitting figure - AA - female human figure
  • 31AA236 lying figure - AA - female human figure
  • 25G1 plants (in general)

Research and Discussion


Object History
Otto Eiser (1834-1898) / Eduard Küchler (1840-1919, Vater von Sofie Bergman geb. Küchler)
an Sofie Bergman-Küchler (1878-1960), Frankfurt am Main
Verkauf und Schenkung als "Hans Thoma-Sammlung von Otto Eiser-Eduard Küchler" an die Stadt Frankfurt am Main, 1938.


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”.

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