A worth-reading picture book about the artist Charlotte Berend-Corinth | NDR.de – Culture

Status: 04.06.2022 06:00 AM

by Silk Lamann Lammerte

An Old Artist Marries a Very Young Student: This is a classic in the history of fine art. All too often, the amour fou ends up with the student abandoning her artistic ambitions and – as a housewife and mother – supporting the “genius” on her side. The relationship between Lovis Corinth and Charlotte Berend fits perfectly into this style. In 1901, when the painter married his student, the bride was 21 years old, not even half the age of her groom’s 43 years. While his name went down in art history, her name fell into oblivion. But it is worth taking a closer look.

A woman giving birth in an emergency

Woman painting herself half-naked, with round bump of a baby: Paula Moderson-Becker’s portrait of 1906 entered art history as the first self-portrait of a pregnant woman.

On the other hand, the most radical work, which Charlotte Berend-Corinth created only two years later, remained completely unknown. Life-size and in landscape form, the painter depicts herself giving birth, a woman in emergency: her stomach and chest are bare, every muscle tensed, and her face stained with pain.

Not only the unpolished depiction of remarkable physical achievement, but also the composition of the painting: the female figure is associated with the classic terrain of “The Naked Woman in the Divan”. Unlike the sprawling beauty of Titian, Goya, or Manet, the Berend-Corinth protagonist makes no attempt to please the male viewer. Her body appears “neither asexual nor sexually charged. Instead, her powerful physical presence appears as a force that gives a woman power – a force that enables her to bring life back into existence,” says author Andrea Jan, describing the painting for the first time in 1908 in a separation Berlin.

Charlotte Berend Corinth: Painter and Inspirer’s Wife

“[Ein] Well-dyed, and how ill-conceived the piece is natural strength,” judges one art critic. Another complains that the picture “Despite its undeniable artistic qualities, the unveiling of the landscape does not allow the appearance of pure pleasure.” And a third even speaks About the “Disgusting Taste” panel.

Feedback shows that the painter hit a nerve: in the art world at the turn of the century, women existed only as negative thinkers or models. The position of the active artist is not assigned to her. But Charlotte Berend-Corinth manages the balancing act to fulfill both roles: she is the painter’s wife and muse, Lovis Corinth’s nude model. But also the artist who is watching her career. She wrote in her diary: “I want to draw whatever I want and how I want it.”

Objective images on the pulse of time

She was one of the first women to be accepted into the Berlin Secession, and later elected members of the Society of Artists Charlotte Berend Corinth to the board of directors.

Her painting style is fairly traditional with her Late Impressionist brushwork. But the images are always updated by topic. Among her most impressive works are portraits of celebrities and politicians in the Weimar Republic. These include portraits of actor Max Pallenberg, dancer Waleska Geert and Minister of Culture Adolf Grimm.

forgotten artist

Despite the success, despite countless exhibitions by Charlotte Berend Corinth in Germany and abroad, hardly anyone knows her name today. Because of her Jewish origins, the National Socialists not only drove the artist into exile, but also erased the memory of her work and her life story.

Here’s another reason why the new picture book is worth reading: the book gives painter and historical figure Charlotte Berend-Corinth a well-deserved place in art history.

Charlotte Berend Corinth


page number:
192 pages
picture book
additional information:
100 color illustrations
Order number:

This topic is in the program:

Culture NDR | 05.06.2022 | 4:20 pm

NDR . logo

Leave a Comment