Andreas Felger, Summer, 1974
Wood print on paper, 89 x 65 cm © AFKS
89 x 65 cm

This woodcut from 1974, one of Andreas Felger’s earliest free artistic works, fascinates me in its simplicity: it is composed in three rows of lines and printed in only one colour – a summery golden yellow. The dynamically stacked arrangement of the waving ripe ears of corn suggests the spatial expanse of the cornfield and visualises the abundance of the impending harvest. The graphic style indicates that the artist was working as a textile designer at the time.

The sheet reminds me of the poem “Moonlight Night” by Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff:

It was as if heaven
Kissed the earth silently,
That in the glimmer of blossoms
Now must dream of him.

The air passed through the fields,
The ears of corn waved gently,
The woods rustled softly,
So starlit was the night.

And my soul expanded
Its wings wide,
Flew through the silent land
As if it were flying home.

Like the woodcut, the poem refers to the elements: the wind, the surging sea, the fertile earth and the ears of corn striving towards the sun. Another comparable element is added by the allusion in both works to eternal life: Eichendorff refers in the last verse with the flight to the return of the soul home, to heaven. In Christian symbolism, ears of wheat refer to the comparison of the dying grain of wheat with the death of Jesus: “If the grain of wheat does not fall into the earth and die, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it: and he that hateth his life in this world shall have it unto life eternal.” (John 12:24-26)

Text by Esther Stenkamp

The art historian and cultural manager Esther Stenkamp worked for the Andreas Felger Kulturstiftung from 2015 to 2018. She helped to establish the Freundeskreis Kunstfreunde Andreas Felger e. V. and has been in charge of the association since its foundation. Numerous art projects sponsored by the association were organised and developed by her in terms of content. From mid-2017 to 2018, Ms Stenkamp also took over the management of the Foundation’s office. Due to her work for the Circle of Friends and in the Foundation’s archive, she is very familiar with the work of Andreas Felger.