Modern Residences of Artists as the Subject and Space of Creation
Chapter 8: Life amidst nature as creation. An artist’s cottage
In an essay written in 1931, Hermann Hesse reminisced about the life he and his wife had led in the village of Gaienhofen on Lake Constance in 1904: “We at- tempted in this peasant cottage a simple, candid, natural country kind of life, un- metropolitan, unfashionable. The ideas and ideals we pursued derived as much from Ruskin and Morris as from Tolstoy”.548 The ideal of a creator’s cottage was at the peak of its glory at that time; yet living this ideal was already proving a disap- pointment to Hesse. The experience he gained in the community of Monte Verità in Ascona, which was trying to employ this ideal in real life, prompted him to finally abandon the attempt, although the cottage in which he and his wife were living was not even a radical realisation of this ideal. The cottage of William Heinesen stood at the very edge of the civilised world, on one of the Faroe islands. This was in every way a perfect seclusion place; Heinesen, a local man writing in Danish, availed himself of it until the 1930s in order to create literary texts, which are still considered masterpieces of modern Scandinavian literature, and an unusual piece of visual art.549 At that time the “art- ist’s cottage” was already considered a thing of the past – a phenomenon deemed incompatible with a serious approach to creativity and associated with the age of Symbolism and with an anachronistic stylisation of custom and behaviour. This does not mean,...
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