19Pluie au Kurfürstendamm (Noinširmjogi)
Painting, oil on cardboard, 139.5 x 99.5 cm
The painting ”Pluie au Kurfürstendamm” is considered a work from Jeanne Mammen‘s graphic period. Here the artist works color against a grey background and then spreads white over it using a palette knife. The breaks and gaps in the white impasto leave grey and colorful spots exposed. Mammen thus creates an effect of gloomy, wet weather. The scene is a rainy street. Black lines represent human figures sketched in the center of the image. Parallel hatching suggests motion. Above are ovals and black lines, hinting at umbrellas that cover the figures hurrying down the Kurfürstendamm.
Max Delbrück purchased the painting at the beginning of the 1960s. He found a scrawl indicating the subtitle: ”Noinširmjogi”. Here the spelling ”noin” for nine and ”širm” für ”Schirm” (”umbrella” in German) point to the international phonetic alphabet. In a letter to Jeanne Mammen from June 7, 1962, he wrote:
”Dear Jeanne, I am starting English again. That‘s the result of the hectic situation everywhere. Please know that the paintings arrived safely with the bus, the conductor didn‘t bat an eye. There weren‘t any problems in the plane, either, although it was completely booked with 85 passengers and the huge picture blocked the way to the toilet. We also got it home from the Cologne airport in the car, although we had to tie it to the roof. The very next day we unveiled ”NOINSIRMJOGI” in the presence of all those who contributed to this linguistic creation (along with lots of wine). On the occasion even more words were invented, but I won‘t share them because they might color your intuition.”
Quote from Jeanne Mammen und Max Delbrück – Zeugnisse einer Freundschaft, Berlin 2005, p. 72