Artwork of the month December

Ferdinand Nigg, Seltsamer Ritt III, undated

Ferdinand Nigg

* 1865 in Vaduz, † 1949 in Vaduz, Liechtenstein

Seltsamer Ritt III, undated

Wool and cotton embroidery on canvas
92 x 55 cm

The embroidery Seltsamer Ritt III (Strange Ride III) in light tones depicts a recurrent theme employed by Ferdinand Nigg: three human gures each riding a wolfhound-like animal. The striking feature is that, despite the recognisable setting, the picture space, divided by lines and geometric shapes, oscillates between abstraction and guration. The masterful use of cross-stitch, with half and full stitching, and the use of different qualities of wool yarn augment the intermeshing arrangement of dynamic narrative and abstract, ornamental structure.

Within this edi ce, in the lower half of the picture we can make out a gure on the wolf-like beast looking back and raising its left hand as if in a gesture of discovery. The animal's head bears a crown. Slightly offset and above, we can make out a rider and an animal heading in the opposite direction, the rider clasping his hands over his head. In the top third, another boyish gure clinging on to the animal with his chest lying at. The changing direction of movement from bottom to top underscores the inherent aspect of motion of the narrative. All three gures are looking up and wearing tapered yellow headgear of varying shape and size that may be indicative of a representative of ce. The "ride" is framed by buildings sug- gesting civilisation, some reminiscent of human facial features. Who is embodied by this unusual, almost fairy-tale constellation of man and beast whose gestural composition the artist retains almost identically in numerous renditions? Are these peaceful – as unarmed – heralds of an imminent, perhaps far-reaching event?

The artistic treatment of the animal and its relationship to the human being is a recurrent feature in Ferdinand Nigg's oeuvre. The theme of the "strange ride" represents a closeness on equal footing – a fusion, almost – of these two aspects of life, that equally represent culture and nature.

Denise Rigaud

<b>Ferdinand Nigg, Seltsamer Ritt III, undated</b>
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein highlights a work from the permanent collection each month throughout the year. Works from the collection of the Hilti Art Foundation are also included in this series on a regular basis.