Jeanne Mammen (1890-1976) was a Berlin-based artist, most famous for chronicling life in the city during the 1920s.
Born in Berlin, she studied art in Paris and Rome and lived in France until the outbreak of World War One forced her to move. While her family relocated to Amsterdam, she chose to return to Berlin.
At first, Mammen struggled to support herself as an artist, and she took any work she could, creating artwork for movie posters, satirical magazines, books, and fashion plates.
Particularly striking are her sketches and watercolours that depict people from all walks of life with a sympathetic yet unsentimental eye. Much of her focus was on women. Some her works, which capture swinging, glittering 1920s Berlin could be mistaken for contemporary party scenes.
But in addition to these more well-known works, the retrospective at the Berlinische Gallerie also shows how the artist’s work developed over decades, with 170 pieces from a career lasting over 60 years.
The artist lived in the metropolis during some of the most monumental shifts in modern history, and this is reflected in the range of her output. For example, during Nazi rule, she sketched the image of a menacing wolf on the markets page of a newspaper (right), linking war and terror to capitalism. Later on, she made theatrical collages, and moved towards abstract art, using different materials such as sweet wrappers, pipes and wire.
An illuminating retrospective of a multifaceted working artist who continually changed yet maintained her unique style, refusing to be pinned down to one particular movement.