Wim Schuhmacher (1894-1986) was not yet twenty when he painted this still life in 1913. That same year, out of a sense of social engagement and admiration for Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), he decided to live and work among miners. Probably because of his poor language skills, he headed to South Limb...urg rather than Walloon Borinage , where Van Gogh had been. He set off with a ‘proper paint box, a field easel, a spirit lamp and 200 guilders in savings’ and rented an attic room in Hoensbroek. There he made countless oil studies; incidentally, without any miners in them.
He filled his sketchbooks with the rolling Limburg landscape, often with chimneys on the horizon. Schuhmacher was well acquainted with Van Gogh’s style of painting but did not imitate his hero blindly. Instead of loose brushstrokes, he used a dense structure of planes and bands.
This still life is rather modest: a vase with flowers is set in a space indicated only by a thin dividing line between the flat surface on which the vase stands and the background. Schumacher’s shading appears to be influenced by Luminism, in which the representation of light (and shadow) did not have to be realistic. Luminists were interested primarily in representing the personal experience of light.