Erwin Bindewald (1897-1950)
Two Chinese men playing draughts, a girl with the red book standing behind them
Signed and dated E. Bindewald d.j., 27
Oil on canvas, 140.5 x 90.5 cm
Bindewald was born in Charlottenburg. He moved to Berlin in 1914 where he studied till 1924 at the Berliner Kunst Akademie. Bindewald travelled in Europe, but mainly stayed in Germany and certainly never was in China. This painting was made in Europe, presumably in the China Town of Berlin. Bindewald received several commisions in Germany from factory owners who wanted their factories painted inside, usually with workers, as well as outside. In the present painting the sitter on the right seems to be a man with a Manchurian background, wearing the brown coat reserved for the highest aristocracy in China.
In China the black sleeve-ends completely cover the hands, indicating that the high aristocracy does not have to do any manuel labour. This man clearly is not a factory worker but he possibly is the (co)- owner of the factory in the background and as such might need his hands to do at least some writing. The man on the left in the modern Western suit and the sigaret in his hand looks rather Japanese and the girl behind with the red book (not yet Mao’s) looks like a Han Chinese. This is too diverse a company to be found within China in the nineteen twenties.