“Deutsche Zeitung für Chile,” Santiago, March 23, 1918
On Kurt Schiering’s Death
Herradura, March 19, 1918
Kurt Schiering, 31 years old, traveled to Taltal, into the pampa region that he justifiably found so beautiful. After a number of days he returned to Herradura, from where he went on an expedition with three of his friends to the high cordillera with the intention of later painting some large-format works.
The four young Germans, healthy and in good spirits, set out for Baños del Toro, known for its healing waters, on Wednesday, March 6th, early in the morning. They took the train to Rivadavia, and continued the next day with a 7-hour horseback ride through beautiful scenery, arriving finally at Hunaka, which Schiering exclaimed to be the most picturesque village he had ever seen. Small huts, walls and fences, everything embedded in greenery, overgrown with plants and blossoms, almost buried under old trees. After a short nap, they continued onward that very night, starting at 2 in the morning, through the Mal Paso Gorge, where Schiering experienced the most romantic moonlit night of his life. The travelers were enchanted, immersed in the magic of the place. Cliffs rising steeply on all sides, rushing water at their base, and all around the deepest silence – only the cluck, cluck of the mules, the creaking of the saddles, and now and then the travelers’ exclamations of wonder. And all of this flooded with moonlight. Gradually the path grew steeper, the cold grew sharper, the little stream turned into a sheet of ice, and snow started to swirl. The cold seeped through their clothes till the men’s feet grew numb, but the delight in experiencing an almost German winter weather filled their hearts, and the small discomforts were easily forgotten. The path rose ever higher, the snow blanketed the riders, colored their ponchos silvery white, until at some point a sudden gust of wind blew the ponchos up and over their heads and they were buffeted with snow. Finally day broke, but the snow covered the mountains and gorges in its dark but somehow comforting shroud, and when the travelers crossed over the Pass of Doña Ana they were not able to see the ocean, which usually can be viewed easily on a clear day from this height of 4869 meters.
Again the scenery changed and the path started its descent towards Baños del Toro. At 3200 meters they came through a valley so magically beautiful, but completely different from the last one, that the four friends all agreed that they had never seen anything to equal it. Kurt Schiering, who had traveled so far and wide, was just as awed as the others, and gazed in devotion at this work of God. Incredibly magnificent colors that outdid the most shimmering, dazzling pampa, so full of contrast that everything that had come before, everything they had seen was overshadowed. Forgetting their exhaustion and the cold of the 12-hour ride, their spirits wide open, full of gratitude and joy, the riders continued on horseback through the amazing valley, past the looming cliffs, glistening and opalescent, some of them completely golden-colored, others pitch black, some deep green or a rich brown, even others deepest blue. When this wondrous ride finally came to an end, the travelers reached their destination, the Baños del Toro. Contented, a bit frozen through, and dead tired after the long ride, they ate, bathed in the springs, and went to sleep. They spent the next day pleasantly, but that night Kurt Schiering felt unwell, and the next night, at 4:35 AM, he passed away. It was a short illness, and because he soon lost consciousness, he did not have to suffer long.
His friends watched by his side, did all they could for him, though of course the conditions were quite primitive. They found a beautiful place for his final rest, above a large rock, with a view of the mountain that he had planned to paint first. Here lies our German artist, so lovely and lonesome, in the majesty of the mountains, as sublime as in a cemetery, and rests in peace.
Translation from German C.F.