At the young age of 16, Carl Marr left his home and family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to study art abroad in Munich, Germany. The story goes that this homesick lad had shared his feelings of sadness with his maid when he left go visit friends for a Christmas eve gathering. Upon his return, Carl had been beautifully moved by the kind gesture of his maid friend who had set up this tree in hopes to lift the boy’s spirits. In fact he was so inspired, he set up his easel and recorded the scene for generations to enjoy. This work of Carl’s has always been one that I have been taken by and when visiting the museum, I make it a point to soak in its ambiance.
Apart from its general beauty, I have noticed several technical things that may be of interest…. Notice that every square inch of the canvas has an influence of red and green in it to balance the harmony. As he did this from life, it makes seeing all of the color and attaining that harmony much easier. In terms of value, notice how much darker the tablecloth is compared to the candle flames. This is necessary in order for the light effect to read. In terms of edge, I have taken note of how Carl has softened the “architecture” of the furniture so as to keep the interest on the focal point.
Lastly, included below is a work that I completed that features a stable or creche that my great-grandfather built for his family many, many years ago. Enjoy… and Merry Christmas!