Karl Schmidt-Rottluff

Two Women

1912

Original title
Zwei Frauen
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 765 x 845 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the executors of Dr Rosa Schapire 1954
Reference
N06249

Display caption

Although this work was painted in Hamburg, it was probably inspired by the artist’s regular summer visits to Dangast on the North Sea coast. The dunes, grasslands and fishing villages of this area appear in a number of Schmidt-Rottluff’s paintings. The mask-like faces of the two women may reflect Schmidt-Rottluff’s familiarity with masks from Cameroon. The artists of the Brücke group drew inspiration from the African and South East Asian artefacts in the Dresden Ethnographic Museum, which they saw as embodying an unspoilt and more authentic culture.

Gallery label, July 2008

Catalogue entry

Karl Schmidt-Rottluff 1884-1976

N06249 Two Women 1912

Inscribed 'S. Rottluff 1912' and 'Schmidt-Rottluff "Frauen" Ölgem' on stretcher
Oil on canvas, 30 1/8 x 33 ¼ (76.5 x 84.5)
Presented by the Executors of Dr Rosa Schapire in accordance with her wishes 1954
Prov: Dr Rosa Schapire, Hamburg and London (purchased from the artist)
Exh: [?Ausstellung von Künstlergruppe 'Brücke', Kunstsalon Fritz Gurlitt, Berlin, April-May 1912 (among twelve unnumbered and unlisted paintings by Schmidt-Rottluff); Galerie Commeter, Hamburg, August-September 1912 (among 69-88, twelve unlisted paintings by Schmidt-Rottluff)]; Fauve Painting in France and Abroad, Roland, Browse and Delbanco, London, March-April 1951 (40); Les Sources du XXe Siècle, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris, November 1960-January 1961 (644)
Lit: W.R. Valentiner, 'Karl Schmidt-Rottluff' in Der Cicerone, XII, 1920, p.460 (reprinted in Jahrbuch der jungen Kunst, 1920, p.194); Will Grohmann, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff (Stuttgart 1956), pp.50-1, 285, as 'Zwei Frauen'; Gerhard Wietek, 'Dr phil. Rosa Schapire' in Jahrbuch der Hamburger Kunstsammlungen, IX, 1964, p.136, repr. p.137

The artist wrote (letter of 12 January 1956) that this picture was painted in Hamburg and, so far as he could remember, was included in a Brücke exhibition at the Galerie Fritz Gurlitt in Berlin in 1912 or 1913 (presumably the first Berlin exhibition of Die Brücke in April 1912, which was afterwards shown at the Galerie Commeter in Hamburg). It has a label of the Galerie Commeter on the stretcher.

His pictures of bathers were mostly inspired by his visits to the North Sea coast, at Dangaster Moor, where he spent part of each year from 1907-10 and which he revisited in the summer of 1912.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.672, reproduced p.672