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Woman with a Bag was completed shortly before Schmidt-Rottluff left for military service on the Russian front in autumn 1915. Its first owner felt that the dark colours and tragic expression of the portrait were a response to the misery of wartime. The woman’s face is elongated, with extended cheeks and nose, in the manner of West African masks. By contrast, her clothes and accessories are those of a fashionable European.

July 2008