Olive Grove at Lake Garda


Hans Thoma ( German, 1839 - 1924 )

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General Description

Hans Thoma based this dreamlike painting on memories of his travels in Italy. It shows two peasant girls in the picturesque Lake Garda region of northern Italy tending sheep beneath the twisting boughs of olive trees. Thoma was a self-proclaimed Realist working in the tradition of the French painter Gustave Courbet, whom he met in Paris in 1868. “I wanted to paint nothing I had not seen myself, experienced myself,” Thoma proclaimed. “Wherever I looked there was beauty enough—people, animals, landscapes intertwined in harmonious lines, that is what I had in mind.” Nevertheless, with its evocative atmosphere and subject drawn from memory, Olive Grove at Lake Garda reveals Thoma’s interest and participation in the international Symbolist movement of the 1890s.

Excerpt from

Nicole Myers, DMA label copy, 2017.

Related Multimedia

Gallery talk by Heather MacDonald, The Lillian and James H. Clark Associate Curator of European Art, about new items in the DMA collection. Includes Portrait of an artist in his studio [2013.13]; Erminia and the Shepherds, Guillaume Guillon Lethiere [2013-1.FA]; Olive Grove at Lake Garda, Hans Thoma [2013.14.FA]