Still Life in Grey

© Pechstein Hamburg/Toekendorf/DACS 2024. Image credit: The Henry Barber Trust, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham

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This colourful still life presents an unusual combination of objects including a cauliflower, a blue and white Chinese jar and a carved wooden stool from Cameroon (then a German colony). This last item may reference an exhibit which Pechstein saw displayed in Dresden’s Ethnographic Museum. The European avant-garde was fascinated with so-called ‘primitive art’, combining genuine admiration with attitudes now considered problematic. Pechstein was a leading member of Die Brücke (The Bridge), an artists’ collective at the forefront of the development of Expressionism, a movement which aimed for new and emotional responses to the modern world. This painting, with its deconstructed forms, shows Pechstein’s growing awareness of Cubism.

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts



Still Life in Grey




oil on canvas


H 100.3 x W 74.6 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased, 2022

Work type


Signature/marks description

signed with monogram and dated upper right: HMP


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Normally on display at

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts

University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, West Midlands B15 2TS England

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