Karl Schmidt-Rottluff

Woman with a Bag


Not on display

Karl Schmidt-Rottluff 1884–1976
Original title
Frau mit Tasche
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 952 × 873 mm
frame: 1142 × 1062 × 69 mm
Presented by Dr Rosa Schapire 1950

Display caption

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.

Gallery label, July 2008

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Catalogue entry

Karl Schmidt-Rottluff 1884-1976

N05953 Woman with a Bag 1915

Inscribed 'S. Rottluff' b.l.
Oil on canvas, 37 1/2 x 34 3/8 (95.5 x 87.5)
Presented by Dr Rosa Schapire 1950
Prov: Dr Rosa Schapire, Hamburg and London (purchased from the artist)
Exh: Sonder-Ausstellung Schmidt-Rottluff, Neue Kunst Hans Goltz, Munich, July 1917 (17, repr.); Nyare Tysk Konst, Liljevalchs Konsthall, Stockholm, February-March 1922 (202, repr.); Karl Schmidt-Rottluff: Gemälde, Aquarelle, Graphik, Kunstverein, Hanover, November 1963-January 1964 (66, repr.); Museum Folkwang, Essen, January-March 1964 (66, repr.); Kunstverein, Frankfurt, March-May 1964 (66, repr.); Akademie der Künste, Berlin, June-July 1964 (66, repr.)
Lit: Rosa Schapire, 'Bilder deutscher Künstler in der Tate Gallery' in Weltkunst, XXIII, 1 September 1953, p.6 repr.; Will Grohmann, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff (Stuttgart 1956), pp.47, 288, repr. p.194; Gerhard Wietek, 'Dr phil. Rosa Schapire' in Jahrbuch der Hamburger Kunstsammlungen, IX, 1964, pp.126, 130, 133, 136, repr. pp.132 and 136
Repr: Karl Brix, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff (Vienna and Munich 1972), pl.25 in colour

The same model posed for 'Woman putting on a Glove' and also possibly for 'Woman with a Tulip', both of 1915 (repr. W. Grohmann, op. cit., pp.53 and 261 respectively). The present work was said by Dr Schapire to have been painted in the autumn of 1915 in the artist's studio in Berlin a few weeks before he left for service on the Russian front. 'It is probably the last painting he did in 1915, he knew that the time of his freedom was over. I have the feeling that this painting, which as a subject has nothing to do with the war, is in its tragic expression and dark colours one of the most impressive documents of the misery of the war' (letter of 8 January 1951).

The frame was made by the artist, who probably also made the frames for N06248 and N06249.

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, pp.672-3, reproduced p.672

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