Fritz Reiss

Advertising Design: Black Forest Coffee Party, um 1910

About the object

This picture was intended to be a design for an advertising hording. The pleasant, smiling women, the contented young man and the cosy room convey a homely atmosphere, which afternoon coffee together will make even more memorable. The composition’s central focus is the gesture of pouring - it goes without saying, this is no ordinary brand of coffee.
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In a Black Forest farmhouse, four persons have gathered for a merry coffee party. Three women in traditional Sunday dress sit at a table and are apparently being charmed by the standing figure of a young man, whom we already know from the painting Secret. This cheerful, entertaining picture was intended as a design for an advertisement. The sweetly smiling women, the talkative-seeming young man, and the cozy sitting room convey the homey mood of a coffee party (naturally a particular brand of coffee). Sun shines through the window, colorful flowers decorate the windowsill, and in the corner of the room-the socalled “God’s corner”-hangs a crucifix. The white tablecloth with its red stripes and the rustic ambience of the sitting room contrast effectively with the dark Sunday best of the peasant women. Here Fritz Reiss has created a warm and cordial atmosphere, communicated not only by the lively faces, but also by the inviting coffee-pouring gesture of the woman on the right. The attention of almost all the women is focused on the young man: the woman in the center even looks at him with an admiring smile, leaning her chin in her hand. He seems to enjoy the attention and gives the impression he has arrived spontaneously with a cheeky remark on his lips. The Sunday idyll that Fritz Reiss has staged in this picture seems to be an everyday event, though the artist has arranged the characters as if on a theater stage. The loose brushstrokes lend the picture the character of an illustration; the patchy application of paint and the various color nuances-particularly in the women’s clothing, which is shot through with coarse green dots-help create a certain liveliness and effect of depth. Fritz Reiss was known for this type of image, depicting the land and people of the Black Forest over and over again in a lively, narrative way. He also illustrated numerous books, postcards, and advertisements. This practice was by no means unusual: many Black Forest painters earned extra money by producing advertising motifs. MIRJA STRAUB (Transl. MELISSA THORSON)

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