Capricious creature:
“The Redhead”

Jeanne Mammen (1890 – 1976)

Drawing by Jeanne Mammen, watercolour and pencil on paper, 34,7 x 31 cm
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019

The drawing in pastel shades offers the frontal view of an elegant woman with angular facial features. A man dresses her hair as she sits with hands folded and elbows resting in front of her. She looks out with blue, made-up eyes. Her flaming red hair and red lips are eye-catchingly bright.

Jeanne Mammen (1890–1976) made her name in the late 1920s with illustrations for magazines like Simplicissimus, Ulk and Jugend. In an enthusiastic review, Kurt Tucholsky wrote that her figures leaped “from the paper with skin and hair”. Mammen’s favourite motif were women in the city: in a café, at a ball, at the bar or in some sleazy joint. "The Redhead", printed in Ulk in 1928, sits in the hairdresser’s chair. She is lost in thought as she looks towards the viewer: we are her mirror. The hairdresser is just finishing off the job. The look is perfect: the pale smock, the white skin, the brown shades in the background are an ideal background to set off her red hair, her lips and the blue shadow around her catlike eyes. "The Redhead" is a vamp rather than the sassy athletic young lass more typical of the times. This capricious creature exudes an air of cold detachment. Her beauty is not intended to seduce but is sufficient unto itself.

The Redhead (Thoughts at the Hairdresser's)
around 1928
Watercolour and pencil on paper
34,7 x 31 cm
Endowment from the Jeanne-Mammen-Society, Berlin 1997

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