Another watercolor painting by Svend Keller (watercolor and pencil on paper board). The original is slightly larger than what fits on my scanner, so I had to sacrifice a little bit of the sky and some areas at the edges. What can be seen here, however (about 23 cm x 30 cm), is probably approximately what would have been visible if the passe-partout was still there. The four corners of the original show rests of glue showing where it had been fixed. Probably, there had been a signature, date and title on that lost paper frame. On the right side (at the downmost window) the paper is slightly torn. I think we will have this piece framed again.
This is in Chemnitz in the summer of 1948. Ruins like the ones shown here formed a typical component of the cityscape of German cities after the war and existed well into the 1950s and in some places even into the 1960s. At the time shown here, the rubble had been carried away, piled onto large hills in some cities, but some remaining walls where still standing. The use of the shadow cast by the ruin on the left to show its emptiness is contributing to the atmosphere of this piece, combining the special mood induced by the ruins with that of a hot summer day.
Very probably this is Georgstraße, looking at “Georgbrücke”. Georgstraße (called “Kurt-Fischer-Straße in the times of the German Democratic Republic) was where the Kellers were living, in house no. 27, see here.
If you look at the row of trees, you will see a trench, probably with water. If we actually look at the Georgbrücke here, that would be the Chemnitz river. The street behind the river is Mühlenstraße. The trees seem to be poplars. In a letter to Svend Keller, dated Nov. 9th 1956, Rolf Keller writes: “Yesterday, at Georgbrücke (Georg-Bridge) the large poplar tree was felled which was standing immediately at the bridge railing. Should I send the watercolor painting to you that you painted at that time from the attic? On that picture, it is still there.” The watercolor mentioned in this letter is very probably this painting. The house on the right, of which only the outside wall has remained, should be Georgstr. no. 25.
See here for a list of the houses in Georgstraße, with pictures, including no. 21 to 27. As can be seen there, no. 25 is missing, there seems to be a parking place now. No. 25 seems to have been similar in style to no. 21.
On this unfinished watercolor, you can see a little bit how it was done, especially if you click on the image and get an enlarged view. There is a preparatory drawing made with a thin, probably hard, pencil. You can best see it in the left lower corner, but also in other parts. This drawing was then colorized, probably working from the background to the foreground. Such preparatory drawings where probably also used in the other water color paintings I have posted here before. So these paintings where not painted in an impressionistic way but they where carefully planned. On the right side of the original, in the area that would have been covered by the passe-partout, the artist obviously tested the colors to see if they had the right hue when dried. The following detail is showing the right upper edge of the original (not visible in the picture above). At the top you can see the rests of glue where the passe-partout was fixed. At the side are the color samples.
 “Gestern wurde an der Georgbrücke die eine große Pappel gefällt, die unmittelbar am Geländer stand. Soll ich Dir eigentlich das seinerzeit von Dir auf dem Boden gemalte Aquarell senden? Da ist sie noch mit drauf.”