Jeanne Mammen

a life in pictures

Orange top, chalk-white face, jet-black hair cropped like matchsticks – Valeska Gert embodied the New Woman ideal better than anyone else. Flaunting her surrender of self-control was her hallmark, a symbol of personal freedom, and it revolutionised dance in the Weimar Republic. Jeanne Mammen conveys the grotesque presence of this icon of style without depicting the stage itself.

After the public face of the dancer, Jeanne Mammen withdrew to the solitude of her studio to paint the gentle features of the Girl with Cat in Cubist style. The soft tissue of lines underscores the young woman’s wistful affection for her pet at a time when Gert’s aggressive performances had long been banned from Hitler’s theatres. Equally discredited and outlawed was this technique of dissecting shapes, which the artist borrowed from Picasso to resist Nazi body culture and the type of art promoted by the regime.

Only in the cultural climate of the post-war years did Jeanne Mammen return to portraying life outside her own four walls. And now her portfolio includes another stage performer who inspired her audience with her critical stance. This time it is the cabaret artist Ethel Reschke with boa and feather headgear, pausing in the middle of a chanson to beckon seductively with a naked shoulder.

 

Berlinische Galerie

Landesmuseum für Moderne
Kunst, Fotografie und Architektur
Stiftung Öffentlichen Rechts

Alte Jakobstraße 124–128
10969 Berlin Germany

bg@berlinischegalerie.de

Tel +49 (0)30-789 02-600
Fax +49 (0)30-789 02-700

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