Lesendes Mädchen. 1923. Oil on wood. Hans/Buchholz-Maetzel 67 (with color illu. on p. 34). 20.8 x 97.5 cm (8.1 x 38.3 in). From a series of four studies for murals in the lecture hall at the Kunsthalle Hamburg.
PROVENANCE: From artist's estate. Private collection Northern Germany.
EXHIBITION: Emil Maetzel, Dorothea Maetzel-Johannsen, Kunstverein Hamburg, 31 May - 29 June 1958, cat. no. 54 (along with the three other drafts).
LITERATURE: Jan Buchholz; Doris von Zitzewitz. Dorothea Maetzel-Johannsen. Leben und Werk. Neumünster/Hamburg 2013, p. 63 with color illu. on p. 61.
The sketch for the murals in the Kunsthalle Hamburg already delivers proof of the artist's empathy for the unusual format. The frieze-like compositon illustrates the mural's later purpose. The reading figure is amidst manuscript rolls waiting for her to pore over, the clock on the very left side reminds the observer of the transience of happiness, regardless whether it is of spiritual or material nature. The task the artist was confronted with could not have been completed any more evident and demonstrative. [KD]