Young woman with a purse, Käthe
  • Franz Skarbina
  • Berlin 1849 - 1910
  • Young woman with a purse, Käthe, 1885
  • Pencil on wove paper, partly smeared
  • monogramed and dated on the lower right: F. Sk. 85
    estate stamp (Lugt 2289) and inscription on the verso: Käthe!
  • 343 × 252 mm
Margit Bröhan: Franz Skarbina, exh.-cat. Bröhan-Museum, Berlin 1995, p. 122 (ill.)

The drawing of a Young Woman in Plaid Street Costume is likewise reminiscent of one of those works Skarbina created in Paris circa 1885/86, in which he adapted a new type of woman self-consciously presenting herself on public streets and city squares. Although Käthe, as she is named by a handwritten inscription on the back of the sheet, eludes any eye contact, she knows very well her effect upon the artist and the viewer. With her resolutely upright posture and the nonchalance with which she showcases the purse on her long arm, the young woman from Berlin appears like a ballerina who knows how to set the scene effectively while simultaneously wishing to suggest a naiveté with her downcast glance. Although Skarbina has captured the woman depicted here just so seemingly spontaneously, this precisely calculated composition can‘t hide the experienced draftsman for fashion designer; incidentally, Skarbina worked for various magazines in Berlin and, from 1893 onward, served as artistic supervisor for the draftswomen of the extremly popular magazine Die Modenwelt (The Fashion World). As early as 1883, Franz Skarbina dedicated himself to educating female artists and, moreover, maintained a studio exclusively for women, where he provided painting and drawing lessons for those excluded from academic studies until 1919. For this reason, Skarbina was often referred to by his contemporaries as the “women’s painter.”