Challenging bohemian myth in Weimar Berlin: Reinterpreting Jeanne Mammen and the artist function through her illustrations Der Maler und sein Modell [‘The Painter and his Model’] (1927)

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This paper focuses on nine drawings entitled Der Maler und sein Modell [The Painter and his Model] (1927) produced by the artist Jeanne Mammen (1890-1976). Mammen’s images appeared in the popular magazine Die Woche alongside a narrative by Hermann Krehan (1890-1972). It argues that these illustrations mockingly aligned male sexuality with artistic creativity during a time in which Mammen was actively engaging with, and contributing to women’s artistic practices. Moreover, by exploring the corresponding sympathies of Krehan’s narrative, it interprets the artist function as social mediator, emphasizing that Mammen’s art should be reconsidered to be both social and Socialist. Consequently, it moves away from previous emphasis on Mammen as a social outsider, inline with her admiration of male nineteenth-century role models, in particular, Gustave Flaubert. Mammen’s collecting habits have also been read as indexical signs of this hermetic existence. Her studio apartment, where she lived for over fifty years, still houses her library along with wax dolls, preserved gingerbread figures and Christmas decorations. Considerations of Die Woche as part of this collection, further helps reevaluate this studio apartment as a lived, porous space in the heart of West Berlin between which objects, friends and Mammen herself constantly moved.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVisual Communication ed. David Machin
Subtitle of host publicationunder the general series: Handbooks of Communication Sciences, ed. Peter J. Schulz and Paul Cobley
EditorsDavid Machin
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2014

Publication series

NameHandbooks of Communication Science


  • Artist, Weimar Republic, Jeanne Mammen, Women, Studio, Model, Bohemian, Myth