Jeanne Mammen

The urban chronicler

The 1920s were boom years in Berlin. After the First World War, young people flocked to the capital of the new republic in search of work, prosperity and a life of their own choosing, and possibly to escape traditional gender roles. Jeanne Mammen, who had benefited from a progressive upbringing and education in Paris, arrived in the German capital in 1916 impoverished and unemployed. She survived by selling fashion drawings, poster designs and illustrations. In 1920, she moved into a studio in a fashionable neighbourhood downtown west, in a rear tenement right on Kurfürstendamm at no. 29. This was her base for excursions with her pencil and sketch pad into the chic urban bustle of this major boulevard, but also to the gay and lesbian subculture around Nollendorfplatz and the proletarian pubs of Wedding. Back in her studio, she painted watercolours published by satirical magazines and still celebrated today, like “Two Women Dancing” (c. 1928).

Jeanne Mammen (1890-1976) is one of the most complex and colourful figures in recent art history, a sharp observer who portrayed glamorous contemporaries, giddy night life and figures on the margins of society: distinctive icons of the “Golden Twenties”. After 1945 her work became abstract. The retrospective shows 170 works from a career lasting over 60 years.

Read more stories about Jeanne Mammen here.

 

Berlinische Galerie

Landesmuseum für Moderne
Kunst, Fotografie und Architektur
Stiftung Öffentlichen Rechts

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