Soot, charcoal, pencil.

Hermann Pleuer's railway drawings
17 September 2011 – 12 February 2012

More than one hundred drawings by Hermann Pleuer on the subject of railways are gathered in the Schloss Fachsenfeld Collection, which is on permanent loan to the Graphic Arts Collection of the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. They bear witness to the artist's intensive engagement with this subject. In a way that was rare in his time, Pleuer documented it from different angles and also recorded the consequences of its development for the city and the landscape.

The subject of the railway was generally of great interest around 1900. Pleuer turned to it from 1896. After studying art at the academies in Stuttgart (1881-1883) and Munich (1883-1886), he had previously focused on portraits, interiors and landscapes. His first railway drawings and paintings also emerged from his preoccupation with landscape; shortly afterwards he also began to describe the manufacture and technology of railways. In addition to quickly recorded impressions, Pleuer created highly detailed, precisely worked-out studies and design drawings. They were created in the surroundings of the repair workshops at Stuttgart Nordbahnhof and the old Stuttgart railway station, where Pleuer was allowed to move about without restriction due to a special permit.  He was particularly interested in the different types of locomotives and the station apron with its widely ramified rail network. The fact that the railway track also became a motif in its own right can be considered novel for the time.

In the urban area, Pleuer captured the specific architectural forms that were built on the basis of the tracks - railway bridges, signal footbridges, foot crossings. In addition, he also dealt with the motif of the station interior.

The high documentary character that distinguishes Pleuer's works and was already emphasised by his contemporaries is shown by comparing his drawings with models and historical documents.

Finally, Pleuer's drawings and studies also provide a revealing insight into his artistic working method. On site, he made quick but precise sketches, which he developed further in the studio. He took up certain motifs again and again. In this way, the process of creating his paintings can be traced. It becomes apparent that although they seem like the depiction of a moment, they were in part meticulously prepared.