graceful, spiritual, arabesque-like
our life seems like that of fairies
in gentle dances to turn the void,
to whom we sacrificed being and present.
Hermann Hesse

Karl Mediz (1868 – 1945)
The forest fairy, 1894
Oil on canvas; 164 x 169,5 cm
Estimate: EUR 180,000 – 280,000

The beautiful Wood Fairy is seated under trees, her delicate face turned pensively to her onlookers – Karl Mediz’ wonderful appearance takes us instantly into her stride.

Her pose is the one of Raffael’s classical Madonna’s, and her dress also boasts the typical color of their attire: blue, symbol of pureness. The artist substitutes the halo against a wreath of blue flowers, and in doing so references a well-known motive in the lyric of the 19th century. Novalis writes:

“He only saw the blue flower und contemplated her for a long time with unspeakable tenderness… The flower bowed to him, und the petals disclosed an unfolded blue collar, in whose midst floated a delicate face.”

In his picture, Mediz intertwines masterfully historical references with the new Symbolism trend. The artist charges his Madonna-like Wood Fairy with new meaning: the blue flower stands for the dream of inner pureness and luck, to which the girl – and us too – aspires. Her dress is covered in the arabesque-style patterns of the new Jugendstil period, which anchors his model firmly in the present.

Through the fairy, we can feel the cool moss on the tree trunks in our back, smell the delicate wood flower’s scent, listen to the quiet babbling of the water in the background. Our senses intertwine, in the way the Symbolism intends them to.

Karl Mediz had come upon hard times when he was finally able to make a name for himself with motifs like the “Wood Fairy”: The break-through came through symbolistic paintings. Here, he creates his own world – a world of beauty, magic and myths –  one in which he finds his own artistic place. The symbol of the blue flower has brought him luck, too.

The artwork will be auctioned on April 9th, 2019 during the auction „19th century paintings” in the auction house im Kinsky.

Mag. Alexandra Markl, lawyer and freelance journalist; a visit to the exhibition „New Art from Vienna“ 2002 in Massachusetts started her steadily increasing interest in art.