This view from inside a starkly bare kitchen shows an open doorway giving onto a balcony and a winter cityscape. However, the reflection in the glass door panes shows a springtime scene, where a little girl sits surrounded by greenery.

Christiane Pflug

(Berlin 1936 – Toronto 1972)

 

Kitchen Door with Ursula

1966

Oil on canvas
164.8 x 193.2 cm
Purchased with the assistance of the Women’s Committee and The Winnipeg Foundation, 1966
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery, G-66-89
© Estate of Christiane Pflug. 
Photo: Ernest Mayer


At first glance, Kitchen Door with Ursula appears to be a realistic rendering. But Christiane Pflug’s painting veers surprisingly away from reality. While the open doorway of the artist’s kitchen gives onto a winter cityscape, the door’s glass panes reflect a springtime scene. Ursula, one of the artist’s daughters, appears there, sitting on a bench surrounded by lush greenery, with a book on her knees. The spatial and temporal permutations produced by the play of reflections deconstruct the domestic space, imbuing it with an eerie, even melancholy feeling.


Christiane Pflug’s paintings and drawings are rooted in her immediate surroundings. Many of her works feature city views seen from the windows and doors of her apartment. And yet, by depicting the walls that frame those openings, the artist represents her home as a place of constraint. The dolls and little girls that often appear in her work hint at loneliness. Pflug studied fashion design but taught herself to paint. She achieved considerable success during her lifetime and was one of four women who taught at the Ontario College of Art in the 1960s.

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