The picture lies, with its two or three mysterious objects, like the apocalypse there as if it had Young’s Night Thoughts, and since, in its uniformity and boundlessness, it has nothing other than the frame as foreground, when one looks at it, it is as if one’s eyelids were cut away. 

Heinrich von Kleist

Contemplating Peter Dreher’s sky pictures

Irene von Neuendorff

If one mentions the famous names: Jacob van Ruisdael, John Constable, William Turner and Caspar David Friedrich, these are associated with the idea of virtuouso landscape painting. A particular challenge in this genre is posed by the continually changing sky. A model that does not obey any terms of reference and does not keep still. And yet this phenomenon has exerted an unbroken fascination on artists since the late Middle Ages. Before this important epoch became apparent in the Netherlands and Italy, the visual arts has exclusively served to make religious statements. They were a kind of translation medium between the divine message and the believers, who were for the most part illiterate. A strict canon of imagery did not permit individual picture creation. At that time the sky was not an independent picture theme but only the space surrounding figures of saints. Until the 15th century the gold background – the picture’s background was done in gold leaf – represented the sky, which here served to reproduce the transcendent.
In the old Dutch paintings of the late Gothic period and the Italian early Renaissance, this sacred light was replaced by landscape elements, which were still in stereotypes in design as they did not derive from observing nature but functioned as parts belonging to fixed repertoire of pictures.
With the start of the Renaissance a spiritual revolution also took place in art. Man now stood at the centre of the world and observation. With this change in consciousness, a scientific penetration of the surrounding world now became possible. The artists, polymaths like Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo, painted and modelled their works after observing nature. At the time of the Italian high Renaissance, the illusion of three-dimensional space was created on the two-dimensional surface with the aid of central perspective. In this epoch painting was as true-to-real life in effect as a photograph.
In the golden age of Dutch painting of the late 16th and 17th century, genre painting developed and with it the various themes in pictures. It is not surprising that, precisely in the flat landscape of the Netherlands with its coast, the wide sky with its continually changing clouds became a challenge for landscape painters such as Jacob van Ruisdael (1628 – 1682) or Jan van Goyen (1596 – 1656). In their famous works The view from Naarden to Muiderberg (1647) by Ruisdael, or Windmill on the river (1642) by van Goyen, they show a deep horizon, over which loom dark towering mountains of cloud, through which lighter flecks of sun are fighting. Here a moment in time is being frozen and made material, which only lasted a few seconds or minutes. Fixed for all eternity.

One of the most famous depictions of the sky is to be found in the Old National Gallery in Berlin. It is found in a picture, that is also an icon in the present day: The Monk by the Sea by Caspar David Friedrich (1774 – 1840). The painting was created between 1808 and 1810 and belongs to the Romantic era. The artist manages here with only four elements in the picture: the monk as representative of man, the beach, the sea and the sky. The composition, which lacks any perspective depth, shows a deep horizon. Beach and sea only occupy a sixth of the oil painting, over this stretches the sky with a soft colour gradient ranging from a dark Prussian blue to a whitish pinky grey to then merge into a strip of cerulean blue with white highlights. The painter confronts the observer with a radical emptiness. In the lighter part over the horizontal central axis the light of the sun is to be assumed. And yet in the painting it is not possible to determine a time of day. If one brings to mind the depiction of the creation of the world in the book of Genesis, one thinks of a primordial twilight, in which the universe, world and creatures have not yet played a role – a mystical, fathomless space. And God spoke: Let there be light! And there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. If one looks at the sky part separate from the rest of the picture, one could almost think one had an abstract painting in front of one. For this reason the painting Monk by the Sea is regarded in art history research as the epitome of the modern picture or even as the altarpiece of the modern man. With this work Caspar David Friedrich breaks with the pictorial tradition of landscape painting since never before were the different physical states, earth, air and water, confronted with each other in such an unconnected and prosaic manner and presented with so little narrative.
And yet this work also belongs fully in the Romantic tradition. The landscape space here is regarded as the mirror of the soul and no longer only as the backdrop to an event instigated by human beings. Depicting the landscape presented the possibility of expressing feelings and celebrating the beauty of nature.
In the work Monk by the Sea a human being is almost disappearing completely into overwhelming nature, part of which he himself is. Here, in an original manner, the unio mystica is being illustrated, that mystical union between God and man. Here the human being in overwhelming, incomprehensible, intangible and unconquerable nature becomes conscious of the immediate presence of God. By virtue of the fact that he merges with nature, he becomes part of God and the entire Creation. This is the zenith but also the endpoint of all knowledge.
Almost reverently, the German poet and playwright Heinrich von Kleist (1777 – 1811) said of the painting Monk by the Sea that he felt so confronted it was as if his eyelids had been cut away. He mused further that – if one were to paint this landscape with its own chalk and water – it could even cause foxes and wolves to howl. The strongest praise for this type of landscape painting.
And even if you also mused from morning to evening, from evening until the sinking midnight; and yet you would not conceive, not fathom the unfathomable hereafter! With overconfident arrogance you have the idea of becoming a light to posterity to unravel the future darkness! What holy revenge really is, only to be seen and recognised in belief; finally to know clearly and to understand! Although your footsteps are deep in the desolate sandy strand; yet a quiet wind blows over them and your tracks will no longer be seen: silly man full of vain darkness!“
With this statement about his work, Caspar David Friedrich gave voice to the idea of vanity. In it is made manifest a religious attitude in an all-embracing sense. An unfathomable creation is contrasted with the nothingness and impermanence of man, a creation which, in its spatial as well as its time dimension, is limitless and therefore incomprehensible. The individual, the single, tiny person is powerless in the face of this and acknowledges his limited ability to understand as he is trapped in his consciousness that only allows him to glimpse and identify snippets of the whole.
A further significant aspect is formed by the linguistic picture of the Darkness of the Future.
Although the human being regards himself as an animal with reason, animal rationabile, the solution to the final puzzle, his death, remains denied to him. What can I know? Runs one of the three questions of the German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724 – 1804). For him too the limitless sky represents the image of the eternal mystery and of human limitation: Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the more often and steadily we reflect on them: the starry sky above me and the moral law within me. 
There is nothing else for him to do but to endure life and accept his fate.
If one speaks about this work Monk by the Sea, then one also must speak about humility. A concept that is found amongst the German virtues. Deriving from the Old German diomuoti it means the attitude of a servant. In ethics it is the readiness to accept something as a fact and to regard oneself as rather unimportant.

Alongside Caspar David Friedrich one could also consider Peter Dreher as a kind of religious devotee of painting. He serves it as the instrument of a higher raison d’être. His work becomes a purpose in itself. Aim and purpose are here one and the same. The theme of the picture is secondary at first glimpse and only plays a part as the reason for painting. Thus the artist has so far succeeded in removing himself from the prevailing trends and thereby bestowing his painting with timelessness. Irrespective of which themes he works on, he is committed to these in truthfulness, which is to be understood in a much higher sense than pure realism. The artist is striving for authenticiy, which expresses itself in the fact that he nearly always paints exclusively from a model and in the open air.
A critique from 1974 by Dieter Honisch in the Peter Dreher catalogue on the occasion of an exhibition at the Folkwang Museum in Essen gets to the essence of what Peter Dreher is about when painting and runs:
Er wollte mehr Wirkiichkeit einfangen, als sie ein einziges Bild repräsentierte, und so malte er dasselbe Motiv immer wieder zu den verschiedensten Tageszeiten aus den unterschiediichsten Blickwinkeln oder aber auch wie etwa die Glasserie, gerade unter denselben Bedingungen. Je genauer Dreher das Glas wiederzugeben versuchte, um so mehr unterschied sich eins vom anderen. In solchen malerischen Exerzitien weist er nach, daß kein Seheindruck wiederholbar oder zu multiplizieren ist, sondern immer wieder und unter ganz neuen Bedingungen geleistet werden muß. Dreher interessiert nicht - wie den Kubismus - die Darstellung eines dreidimensionalen Gegenstandes auf einer Fläche, sondern seine Übersetzung in einen zeitlichen Betrachtungsvorgang.
He wanted to capture more reality than is represented by a single picture and so he painted the same motif again and again at very different times of day from the most varied of angles or else, in the case of the glass group of works, under precisely the same conditions. The more accurately Dreher attempted to reproduce the glass, the more one differed from the other. In such painting exercises he demonstrates that no visual impression is repeatable or is replicable, but will always have to be done again and again, and under completely new conditions.

After the invention of photography painting became dispensable in bearing witness to a period in time, depicting the reality of its surroundings. This meant that since the mid-19th century new ways of artistic expression opened up for painters and sculptors. This could however express itself in the form of fighting off the new medium, which was perceived as a monstrous provocation. Thus the French impressionists saw themselves in competition with photography. They emphasised the picturesque and the representation of the moment, which is actually paradoxical in itself given the "slowness" of the painting process. Through the more paste-like application of paint they attempted to produce a kind of third dimension, whilst photography is condemned to a smooth surface.
Today painting and photography exist side by side as media of equal value, even if they have not given up competing with each other by making use of the opponent’s means of expression. It seems to be an aim of hyperrealism to act as if a painting is a photograph. Clearly identifiable by the imitation of the lack of focus at depth. In order to achieve this mimicry, use is made of modern aids such as projectors in order to place the photograph directly onto the canvas which is then copied. In the opposite case artists use photography to let them see how painting looks. In his Nudes series, the German photographic artist Thomas Ruff (* 1958) takes individual photographs from pornographic internet pages, which he processes electronically and enlarges into superformats. The original photographs are coloured digitally and distorted with blurring and out of focus areas until the contents dissolve into individual areas of colour and the original subject is hardly recognisable and thereby removed from its grubby context.
Since 1970 there has existed a series of works by the German painter Gerhard Richter (*1932), which likewise show heaven. The large format, sometimes multi-part, pictures show different cloud formations, which are painted with oil on canvas. The four-part painting Clouds (Window) (each one 200 x 100 cm), created in 1970, creates large empty spaces which, as well as their astonishing illusionism, overwhelm the viewer and remind one of very much enlarged baroque vistas.
In an interview with his colleague Rolf-Gunter Dienst in 1962, the artist, who in the meantime has become one of the most significant contemporary German artists, described it as a kind of escape to copy photographs as he would thereby be relieved of choosing the subject and designing the composition of the picture. He said he also chose landscape themes because they had little image or were not contemporary. And as a significant, not-to-be-neglected, reason to paint something beautiful. His landscape painting appears first of all, just by the mere execution of the photographic model, to be stikingly illusionist and at the same time beautiful, nostalgic and romantic like a lost paradise. Through their structure and colourfulness these studies give rise to a certain mood in the viewer and, at the same time, lend themselves as a projection surface whereby the painting and the memories and expectations of the viewer meld into a prototype. The latter thinks: that is realistic, he has already seen something like this.

Peter Dreher is not a painter, who strives for illusionism. Mimicry, to get his paintings to look like photographs, does not interest him. It is also the last thing on his mind to copy photographs and thereby have picture segments, composition and colourfulness set for him. His realism, which still today strikes many viewers, derives from his striving for truthfulness, which is achieved through seeing accurately, taking care and dedication. To do this he is equipped with his rare talent, as if he is playing on a Stradivarius of colours. The artist namely has absolute vision. His brain, or rather his visual centre, does something that is known in the area of high-functioning autism, better known as savant syndrom. This is so finely attuned chromatically that it can work out every shade down to its superfine gradations and can produce this manually on the palette. This ability appears perhaps once only in one thousand painters.
It is his dedication to doing and his lack of calculation, which make him less prone to avant garde art movements. During the time in which the informal and conceptual art movements were predominant, he stubbornly followed his aspiration for versimilitude and painted figuratively. He followed, alert and interested, the work and reflections of his colleagues and, since his childhood, he has roamed for hours and days through museums. His interest in art was insatiable and thus he became a source of inexhaustible knowledge for his students.
He cannot stop looking. This and painting is like the air one breathes to him. His first utterances must have sounded something like chirping. The nursemaid thus once feared that a bird had got into the nursery when she heard the soft noises. There she only found the baby with eyes wide open and deeply absorbed in observing his surroundings and, whilst happily doing so in total contentment, was chirping softly. Since he was a small child, Peter Dreher has been a person, who does not like changes but who, instead loves rituals all the more. Sitting in his pram, he burst into tears when his mother chose another path instead of the customary one His preference for frequently repeating his picture motifs has given rise to numerous erroneous ideas about his work. Thus one sees in him, amongst other things, a kind of monk, who in great isolation indulges in the depiction of a single motif, a perry glass from Kaiserstuhl. His opus Tag um Tag guter Tag [Day by Day, a good Day] has been discussed many times so that his oeuvre has unjustly been narrowed down to this single group of works. In a discussion on an exhibition in the Augustiner Museum in 2014 he even had to accept being reduced to the painter with the glass. Art critics and art historians Art historians conscientiously overlook the fact that, since he started on his creative journey, Peter Dreher had covered all pictorial themes whether these were still lifes with a repertoire other than the perry glass, magnificent bouquets or skulls, interiors, buildings or landscapes, self portraits or those of friends or his children. It was very important to him that not only he, but also his students, painted from real life and not from illustrations, so that every year he spent a week together with them painting a life model. Perhaps he did find a motif rather odd for him. Thus he, for example, he just painted his pug Titus once as a fragment on a large painting, which is assigned to the Lange Kurzblicke [Long Glances] group of works. Peter Dreher's works, above all his great complex of works Tag um Tag guter Tag, is often designated as concept art or assigned to the area of series art, a branch of modern art.
The term "series" is narrowly understood in the visual arts. The individual works are – in contrast to a group of works – not associated loosely by the subject, but by so-called pictorial rules, that is stipulations, which have to be implemented in every single picture within the series. As a rule, this series could be continued ad infinitum due to the interchangeability of the individual item. Thereby the individual work loses individuality. The series content can therefore only be comprehended in the overall view. This may apply to the main works of Roman Opalka and On Kawara, with whose works those of Peter Dreher are always compared. The French–Polish artist Opalka (1931 – 2011) named his magnum opus 1 – ∞. Just using his eye to measure Opalka wrote the number "1" in 1965 in titanium white paint with the smallest available brush on a dark background into the left upper corner of a canvas especially prepared for it and and so began to paint, writing as Latin script runs, from left to right and continuing from top to bottom. By each time adding one percent more white each time, his numbers increasingly became lighter and lighter. This work is a good demonstration of the main rules of serial art.
The American-Japanese artist On Kawara became well-known through his Date paintings and, like Roman Opalka, has a high recognition value as a result. The still continuing Today series contains two thousand individual pictures. On these a monochrome, in part red or blue, in most cases however dark, background bears the date of the particular day, on which the respective pictures was created, painted in an acrylic shade on canvas. With this concept the artist would like to visualise the passing of time and, at the same time, materialise fleeting time.
To sum up the comparison of Peter Dreher with the concept artists On Kawara and Roman Opałka, the art historian Angeli Janhsen states: Roman Opałka, both painting and counting, was imprisoned and caught within his rules of the game, he was his own hostage – this is if he had stopped, all previous efforts would have been devalued. Peter Dreher’s pictures in contrast follow one after the other such that there are gaps one way or another. They do not follow on from each other, these are individual, independent pictures, he could stop at any time without the earlier pictures losing in value.
According to the pictorial rules already mentioned, Peter Dreher’s groups of work cannot be assigned to the serial art. He did not set up his series not as a series with a fixed unchangeable set of rules, just as little as he calculated the repetition. It arose of its own accord because he ascertained that he did not lose interest in his models. They remained a sensation for him.
A set of rules being in place can most probably be spoken about in the series Day by Day, a good Day I (The Glass at Night). Since here the model is always being depicted under the same conditions in a kind of experimental arrangement. This means the result should remain predictable. Changes are kept to a minimum where possible.
However, he was to break this experimental arrangement himself as early as 1980 when he received a sabbatical and used this to spend three quarters of a year living and working in New York.
Just as others pack their washbag in their case, he packed his small wooden box, in which he had stowed the perry glass from Kaiserstuhl securely, and flew off. In the series Day by Day, a good Day I, approximately thirty works exist from this New York period (1980 – 81), which are in the artist’s possession. Peter Dreher successfully managed to produce a similar lighting situation in his studio in Manhattan’s 10th Street to that he had in St. Märgen, where the main part of the work had been created, so that New Yorkers could hardly tell the pictures apart from the other night glasses. But one can find firm proof of their origin on the reverse side. The artist used painting cardboard by the Fredrix company: Finest Artists canvas acrylic primed for use with all mediums.
When he was invited by his then American gallery owner for several stays in San Diego, to begin with he travelled with his perry glass again. On the canvas this looks as though permeated by the light Californian sun. Glass cylinder, standing surface and wall surface gleam in shades of white. These Whities occupy a special place within the series of works. The impression of sun-drenched surroundings however is an illusion as these works arose in artificial light. There is a group of works besides these, which were painted in San Diego after a new model presented itself in San Diego. This glass is squater because the cylinder is wider. This means that the composition as a whole comes across as denser and taking up more space. The American painting tradition and the Californian attitude to life seemed above all to precipitate in the works, which were painted in natural daylight. Here the tonality is warmer and more monochrome, the light reflections have the effect – in all illusionism – of being more reduced and more abstract. In the glass body they appear like a reflected U. Peter Dreher was therefore contradicting the ever repeated myth of the hermit, who devotes himself in his studio in his Black Forest hideaway to the reproduction of a single motif.
He was allowing a certain dynamic and unpredictability in the creation process when he painted with natural light. In a tiny section of a picture there could then be seen sunny and matt reflections, caused by the respective weather. He was then continuing with his project on a new continent and, in so doing, proved that it was not a matter of stubborn repetition to him but in the broadest sense about the representation of light. What the series Day by Day, a good Day with all the antagonism also represents in relation to the depictions of the sky.

The fact that Peter Dreher has allegedly painted over 5000 pictures of the perry glas since 1974 interests the public and also professional circles more than the actual painting. The sheer number is the actual sensation. That a person can undertake something like this at all without going mad? For the painter such thoughts are strange or even incomprehensible. To the question: Why do you actually paint the same glass over and over again?, promptly came the counterquestion from the person addressed: Why do you live?
In our fast-moving age with its media overstimulation and the continual desire for change, such consistency may well excite astonishment and it maintains quite of itself, independently of its content and substance, a high recognition value. Peter Dreher's glass is a so-called VIP today, more famous than its originator. Thus a regular myth has spread about the man, who is either seen as a cool calculating concept artist or romanticised as a hermit, who completes his creations in the spirit of a Buddhist monk. Painting as an exercise in Zen? In this strict Japanese version of Buddhism the teacher instructs his students over and over again to repeat and do the same activity. Students are to practise for so long until the activity – for example, archery – occurs automatically. This however misses the point in the truest sense regarding Peter Dreher’s intentions in painting. Through the repetition of the motif, or rather by virtue of the fact that he does not change models, he does not want to achieve an ever greater artistry with perfection as the aim. To the contrary, his thoughts and wishes are aimed at instantly forgetting again what he has just completed in order to see his model with a fresh eye again when painting it afresh as if seeing it for the first time.
In this connection one should venture a small thought experiment: since the artist is actually always concerned with the single picture and not with the production of a series, it would only be consistent if he were to paint one picture on top of another until, ultimately, a one-meter-thick layer of oil paint is all that is left on a small canvas. Sediments of the materialised time. What a thought!
And not at all that far-fetched, Peter Drehen as actually painted over his own pictures multiple times.
One will have to reconcile oneself to not being able to pigeonhole Peter Dreher in a specific pigeon hole in art history. Through continual new painting projects he removes himself from any classification. If only this VIP didn’t stand in his way, repeatedly referring him back to the Painter with the Glass.
The only possible conclusion to be drawn when considering the content of his works and also his form-rich oeuvre, is that the artist has raised being the state of being without a concept to his concept.

Peter Dreher's landscape pictures have mainly been created around the small Black Forest village of St. Märgen, where he had a studio, in which he recuperated from his work as professor, member of numerous art committees and exhausting Percent for Art commissions. However, he also painted in Gran Canaria, Brittany, Andorra and in Vermont or in California. There are many hundreds of paintings, which were created in the open air. The local farmers took note of the man sitting with his travel easel in the middle of the pasture with good-humoured mockery. After one rain shower a tractor driver chuckled merrily at the painter: "Well, did it rain in the studio today?"
The lovely Black Forest landscape allowed him to exhaust all the possibilities opened up by brush and oils. If one views the multi-part paintings, which show a wide sky over gently curving ranges of hills, the viewer feels the spirit of North German Romanticism is living on in this South German artist of the 20th and 21st centuries. One can see expanses without people, soft clouds in a washed clean summer sky or how in the autumnal glare the ridges of the hills seem to dissolve in nothing. Just as in Caspar David Friedrich, with Peter Dreher the individual reflecting this landscape cannot be left out. And there the panel picture can be distinguished from a technically perfectly made photograph, which also might depict the abovementioned person. In the painting the subjective feeling of the artist vis-à-vis nature is reflected. It reflects the self and the inner mental state without the painter being able to control this. Here there exists an interplay between the landscape and the artist. The latter projects his entire experience so far onto the landscape and though the latter learns about himself at a sensory-aesthetic and spiritual-reflective level. Through this subjective filter the landscape is being communicated to the viewer. This reciprocity turns the landscape into a mood- and symbol-bearer.
Just as it was for the Romantic artists, the landscape around St. Märgen was a place of refuge and longing.
There are also convergences in form between the two artists – like the Romantics Peter Dreher limits himself to a few objects to depict: ranges of hills, deep lying horizons and large empty spaces of sky. No element in the picture gives a perspective of depth into the landscape open on all sides. The space could be continued on all sides. Just like in Caspar David Friedrich these spaces do not seem to be recognisable from a geographical point of view but seem so generalised that they refer beyond reality to the transcendent. In viewing the landscape paintings of both artists, this permits an individual devotional attitude before nature so patheistically conceived. The creator principle is seen in all things. Man views himself as part of this divine principle and persists in humble astonishment. This is right for an artist, who is perceived by his fellows to be modest and who has raised egolessness to his ideal.

The works only appear hyperrealistic in close proximity, as soon as you view them close up, the superficial illusory effect is lost and the characteristics become visible. In many places the paint is applied pastelike with a thick brush, in others the colour transitions into the next shade without a visible demarcation. The transitionless shade nuances remind one of the works by the French Baroque artists, for example, Poussin's painting Landscape with Orpheus (1650) or the sky over the Port with Villa Medici painted in 1639 by Claude Lorrain.
Besides his works that remind one of old masters, the flatter appearing pictures by Peter Dreher painted with pastose characteristics appear radical and almost abstract. The realism of his painting can be felt when viewing this multiplicity, it is just so credible to us that no calculation on his part was involved in their production and that he felt committed only to what he had felt, what he saw. His medium, seeing absolutely, enables him to play the notes that are on the score. The interpretation is done by the virtuoso and his knowing seeing.

Peter Dreher's panoramic skies are so far only mentioned in one catalogue as works amongst many others.
This disregard fails to do these delicate works justice. Four bundles of sky over the High Black Forest have survived today and are in the possession of the artist. All were created in 1976. Peter Dreher originally placed the works side by side, with no space between them to form a large painting. He does not do this – according to Gerhard Richter – in order to break the illusionism of the pictures by so doing.
Three thirty-piece and a group of works of forty-two individual pictures bear such sober titles as The Sky over the High Black Forest on 30 days in September or The Sky over the High Black Forest on Seven Days in October. This sobriety makes clear that this is a matter here of "Minutes of a Work Process", which was completed during one day in a month or at different times during one day. Every individual picture bears a kind of signature on its bottom edge. For example, on the work The Evening Sky over the High Black Forest: 31.8. 18.30. The numbers have been scratched into the still damp oil paint with the brush handle. On 31 August 1976 the artist finished work at 18.30 hrs. The last picture indicates the first of October as the date of its creation.
In the 42-part work the painter painted six pictures at different times of day thereby documenting the changes in the sky by the hour.
The title of the picture only constitutes formal brackets around the individual works, which all stand alone and should be viewed as an independent pictures. The individual pictures have been painted with oil paint on cardboard and kept in the almost the same modest format of the works in the series Tag um Tag guter Tag. It is pure chance that these works have nearly the same modest format of his pictures of the glass. This a standard format produced by the VANG company, which sent painting requirements all over the world, as one can see from the reverse side of the painting. Chance and modesty.
If the works from the Tag um Tag guter Tag group of works still demonstrate tone-on-tone painting with an almost monochrome paint palette, then the pictures of the sky blow this out of the water in order to explode in all possible directions: from soft to intensively glowing orange, from reserved Prussian grey-blue to the deepest cobalt blue. The Paganini of the intermediate shade tones has now played all notes with his instrument and caused a tonally coloured background to glow and ring. Just like a Bach fugue the colour motifs are varied and contrasted.

One has to be at the same time both humble and bold if one ventures into the landscape in order to paint something so fleeting and changeable as the sky. This is why the sky panaromas must also be viewed as antagonists for the Tag um Tag guter Tag complex of works. Here everything constitutes the opposite to what is depicted above. The artist is here unable to control anything because everything evades control, light situations and cloud formations change continually, by the second, by the minute. The painter here has to bid farewell to a reality requirement however constituted as he cannot materialise a definite moment. He can produce a summary of many moments, an essence of what was seen over some hours. What he can show is an idea of the sky. The idéa as a form, appearance or an archetype, which is the meaning of this Ancient Greek word when translated into German. In platonic teachings ideas are immutable, only mentally comprehensible archetypes which lie at the base of phenomena perceivable by the senses.
The reality surrounding him was here the stimulus to paint, the external world and the inner idea of what is being seen merged into an idea, a memory of many moments. One could place the following thoughts into the mouth of a Romantic painter and Peter Dreher as well, by bringing to mind that the landscape represented something familiar to him, a homeland in a deeper sense: Have I watched you, then I have seen you in my innermost being and felt that it was good and at least in this moment a peaceful moment I will think about when I feel doubt and restlessness in my inner being. Thus you are to me the continual influencer, the calm and unchangeable one that can no longer be taken from me.

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