Assembly, 1964

Assembly, 1964
Watercolor and pencil on ivory-colored paper, 30,6 x 20,6 cm

Calendar images – an insight into working environments

Ruth Baumgarte produced illustrations for the Eisenwerke Baumgarte calendars from 1953 to 1967. She used a range of techniques such as red chalk, Indian ink, gouache, chalk, charcoal, pastel, sepia and watercolour on a wide variety of paper and card. The exhibition features five striking watercolour images that were produced for the 1965 calendar but not ultimately published. They are a masterful testimony to Ruth Baumgarte's exceptional skill in this medium. We take a closer look at Montage, which depicts the installation of a plant, probably in Africa. Bright colour draws our eye from the figure in the foreground of a worker with his back to us, into the picture and the background. To the left of the worker is a naked boy who is observing the action beyond. To his left are three men who seem to be debating on how to position the boiler. Meanwhile, other workers on scaffolding and a ladder are busy with the complex installation. A few palms are visible at the far right of the picture.

Ruth Baumgarte has created an atmospheric depiction of the African environment whilst going beyond the exotic. The bold composition with overlapping picture planes reveals the complexity of plant construction. The strong colours exude optimism and energy. Engineering as a driver of development.