Walter Stuempfig, Fisherfolk Mending Nets

Oil on canvas
Credit Line
Museum purchase, 2013
30 x 36 in.

Stuempfig created Fisherfolk Mending Nets when he was a young artist working in Paris in the 1930s. Three figures stand in the foreground, working together in the cold to detangle a net. A diagonal sweep of nets  cover the beach and lead us to the lone figure standing  in the background, isolated and close to the water’s edge. The white hat of a old woman in tattered clothing contrasts with the muted browns and grays that saturate the scene, bringing attention to the three figures. The expression “mending their nets” is found in the Book of Matthew. To mend nets requires hours of repairing and untangling to prepare for a day of successful fishing, the same qualities needed in preparation for spiritual service. Despite their poverty and harsh conditions, Stuempfig’s gentle “fisherfolk” convey a sense of nobility in their unrelenting tasks and labor.

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Walter Stuempfig