The painting “Tidal Flats near Wyck” was created in the early 1920s and shows the panoramic view from Wyck’s beach across the tidal flats, which are only partially covered by water. For this depiction of the sea floor, the artist has selected a colour scheme consisting of finely nuanced shades of blue, grey and brown, which he has distributed in narrow strips sometimes expanding into broader areas – pools of water – in the lower part of the picture.Similar colours were reserved for the sky, while the transition from the horizontal and clearly contoured structures of the ground to the progressively lighter blue of the upper part of the sky is entirely direct.
The rough outlines of the wharfs on the Halligen islands of Langeness and Oland can be recognised in the distance, with the firmament shimmering above them in a pastel-yellow light.White cirrus clouds announce a change of weather. The scene is devoid of people.With his atmospheric image, the artist has succeeded in conveying a still and, indeed, contemplative moment.
Max – actually Maximilian – Clarenbach was known, among other things, for his images of landscapes along the Lower Rhine River.However, he also regularly travelled to paint along the coasts of East and North Frisia, including Föhr, where he spent several holidays.
Before 1900, while a student at the Düsseldorf Academy of Art, Clarenbach initially oriented himself towards the realistic landscape pictures of the “Barbizon School” and “the Hague School”.As a founding member of the “Sonderbund” artists’ association, he championed the presentation of works by the French Impressionists in Düsseldorf and Cologne during the period from 1909 to 1915, and this led to the first extensive survey of this art movement relevant throughout Europe.Over the course of time, Clarenbach himself increasingly moved more towards a moderately academic style of painting than a modern one.