Mixed media (gouache, opaque white, coloured chalk, charcoal, pen and ink, and pencil) on thin paper 32/32.3 x 25.1 cm (the image 28.6 x 22.6/22.8 cm) Framed under glass. Signed and dated in charcoal lower right '1916. H.Zille.'. - Remnants of a Berlin exhibition label to the reverse of the old framing card, inscribed in ink 'H. Zille. Charlottenburg 5, Sophie Charlottestr. 88.'. - Lines from testing pigments and pens below the black outlined depiction. Pin-holes to the corners and margins; three reinforcing rectangular strips of paper on the reverse. – The paper browned, minor traces of former mountings on the left edge. In fine original condition with fresh colours.
This colour drawing is a characteristic and well-known Zille motif. It was widely disseminated in a formal variant as a lithograph printed in black. The print was first published under the title “Kartoffelstehen” in “Der Bildermann” on 20th September 1916 (1st edition, no. 12). According to Detlev Rosenbach, there were also further editions and prints on differing papers, including a signed and numbered edition by Pan-Presse (Paul Cassirer, Berlin 1917) entitled "Kartoffelpolonaise". Hand coloured sheets are known to exist of a later edition by Rembrandt-Verlag, printed after 1923 (cf. Rosenbach 52, especially 52 a., c. and e. [from a. - g.].
Finally, the reproduction of a "drawing" by Zille belonging to the "Kartoffelstehen" series and published in “Lustige Blätter” in 1923 under the title “Schwere Zeiten” ("Fünf Stunden steh ick schon, det is rein zum Kinderkriegen!"/"Ja, Kinder kriegt man hier leichter als Heringe!") must be mentioned. The original drawing has not yet been detected (cf. information from Rosenbach). The new version, reworked and updated in the 1920s, amusingly includes a telling change of headdresses (see comparative illus.): The spiked helmet of a man in military uniform from the German Empire (1916) mutates into the round bowler hat of a bearded citizen of the Republic (1923).
We would like to thank Detlef Rosenbach, Hanover, for kind information confirming the authenticity of this work.
Formerly private collection, Berlin, in family possession since
Lustige Blätter, Jahrgang 38, no. 46, Berlin 1923, cf. p. 3, illus. ( "Schwere Zeiten", according to Rosenbach "updated version with many ammended details for reproduction, 1923. No lithograph of this version known); cf. Heinrich Zille, Berliner Geschichten und Bilder. Mit einer Einleitung von Max Liebermann, Dresden 1925, unpag. With illus. (the ammended later version entitled “Anstehen nach Kartoffeln“): Detlev Rosenbach, Heinrich Zille. Das graphische Werk, Hanover 1984, cf. no. 52, illus. p. 84 (original lithograph "Kartoffelstehen").
Berlin, 21st exhibition of the Verband deutscher Illustratoren (with exhibition label to the old framing card)