The masterpiece of German-Jewish artist Charlotte Salomon (1917-1943), Leben? oder Theater?: Ein Singspiel (Life? or Theatre?: A Song-play), has been considered an important piece of work by many art historians and scholars over the past decades. Its status as an autobiography is still under argument but given that Salomon suggested her work was her whole life, those hundreds of empathic gouache paintings reveal the tragic and happy life story of a young woman named ‘Charlotte’. In this paper, rather than analyzing the entire work of art, I will instead, focus on the happy moments and events of Charlotte in the blank of maternal love at her preadolescent age (around 9 – 13 years old). In particular, the paintings in scenes one and two will be selected and critically explored within this time. Through interpreting and analysing the usage of colours, the narratives of the paintings, the text descriptions for the paintings, the purpose of this paper is to reveal the character ‘Charlotte’ as an optimistic and rebellious young girl who never stopped loving her mother Franziska and looking forward to her future life with hopes. Therefore, I will suggest that the happiness throughout this period was one of the few happy moments in Charlotte’s life, both as a character in the artwork and as an artist herself.
Yinghua Wu, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, United Kingdom