German Grobe was a student in the landscape class of Eugène Dücker at the Düsseldorf Academy of Art.As a young man, this German painter had already been impressed by the pictures of ships and the sea by Andreas Achenbach, an outstanding painter among the School of Düsseldorf.
In 1888 Grobe travelled for the first time to Katwijk, located on the North Sea in the province of South Holland.There he met Max Liebermann who, like himself, had stopped by the seaside hotel “De Zwaan”.Other painters also gathered there to enjoy evenings together.All in all, Grobe became so fond of the picturesque fishing village and seaside resort that he – with a hiatus during the First World War – went back there every year and turned his artistic attention to the lives of its fishermen and sailors.
The study “Stranded Bomschuit on the Beach at Katwijk” was presumably created directly on the beach and vividly demonstrates the artist’s skill at selecting interesting perspectives.The turbulent sea and the pastel-blue sky are given little room.Instead of a distant view extending kilometres out into the sea, viewers are provided with a copious bird’s-eye perspective on to the sandy beach – and what is going on there.It is low tide and the fishermen are pulling a ship on land.In the front, distinct furrows run across the beach – presumably traces of the boats’ movements above the mudflats previously covered by water.
Art historian Dietrich Bieber has praised Grobe’s oeuvre as follows:(quotation) “The depiction of a fleeting moment defined by colour and a shimmering atmosphere forms the focus of his artistic activity.The picture’s spontaneous brushstroke is the result of the painter’s need to capture the inspiring moment as quickly as possible”(end of quotation).
The oil study is distinguished by a finely moderated, greyish-blue tonality based on the subtly nuanced tones cultivated by the painters of the Hague School.