Lesser Ury (1861–1931): Evening in the "Cafe Bauer", 1898

Lesser Ury (1861–1931): Evening in the "Cafe Bauer", 1898

8/27/2021, 2:56:03 PM
Lesser Ury (1861–1931): Evening in the "Cafe Bauer", 1898, oil on canvas, 35.5 × 26.5 cm, Private Collection Lesser Ury's painting of Berlin's well-known Café Bauer demonstrates how masterfully Ury could capture the atmosphere and “zeitgeist” of the vibrant metropolis on canvas. Opened by Vienna's Mathias Bauer at the corner of Friedrichstraße and the stately avenue of Unter den Linden in 1877, this establishment designed in the style of a Viennese cafe quickly developed into one of the city's most important places to meet. Thanks to its own generator, the Café Bauer was already providing its guests with electric light in 1884 and thus stood at the forefront of electrification in Wilhelminian Berlin, which was still largely lit by gas. It is therefore not surprising that this distinctive establishment was one of the places most frequented by Ury in the city and that we find it depicted repeatedly among the artist's cafe scenes. The Café Bauer was simultaneously more than a cafe: it stood for a new attitude towards life, which made a lasting impression on social life in the city and “revealed a luxury previously unheard of in Berlin” Present composition depicts a man in the foreground who is so engrossed in his newspapers that does not notice the lady at the next table. She looks concerned about something important for her. This is evident in her intense gaze and the way she has her hands positioned.

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