Saas-Almagell is about 80 miles due east of Montreux. Pechstein’s rendering of this scene is indicative of an expressionist approach towards form; something is amiss in the layout of paths, the perspective of the foreground house – both are sacrificed to allow for the intimacy of the scene; an entire valley is distorted and foreshortened to allow us, the viewer, the opportunity to experience it as Pechstein had. Spreading out as the composition develops, we follow lines of primitively painted cows through ever darkening greens, purples, blacks, until we reach his vibrant and magical sky. An exceptionally rare and original subject, Pechstein has managed to distill all the hallmarks of German expressionism into his landscape, and the result is quite mesmerising and overwhelming in its expansiveness.
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