The Berlin artist Jeanne Mammen (1890-1976) is best known for her depictions of strong, sensual women and Berlin city life. But there is much more to her 70 years of artistic output, with unique sketches, paintings and sculptures. In 1975, she tells the art historian Hans Kinkel, who conducts the only interview she will ever give: “You must always write that my pictures were created between 1890 and 1975. …I have always wanted to be just a pair of eyes, walking through the world unseen, only to see others. Unfortunately one was seen.”
With the beginning of the Nazi era in 1933, many of her clients had to leave Germany. Jeanne Mammen went into inner exile and created her works in secret for the next 12 years. Her artwork shows her critical view of the circumstances in which she has to live.
After 1945, she took to collecting wires, string, and other materials from the streets of bombed-out Berlin to create reliefs. In the late 1940s she began designing sets for the Die Badewanne cabaret. She created abstract collages from various materials, including candy wrappers. In the 1950s she adopted a new style, combining thick layers of oil paint with a few fine marks on the surface.
Her studio on Kurfürstendamm 29, which she occupied from 1920 until the end of her life, is almost unchanged and allows us to come very close to this artist and her work.