His stay in Berlin is a failure. The private school of modern painting which he creates with Pechstein closes almost immediately. The enthusiast of outdoor nudism is oppressed in the big city. He watches with a sorrow mingled with anxiety the anonymous passers-by in the street. Their stylized expression is unfriendly. Groups are tight but communication is absent.
The artist expresses this discomfort from 1913 in his Strassenszenen. An oil on canvas 122 x 91 cm painted in 1913-1914 in saturated colors was sold for $ 38M including premium by Christie's on November 8, 2006.
The woodcut engraving allows saturated blacks that match the rejection of city life by the artist. A Fünf Kokotten 52 x 39 cm printed in 1914 was sold for CHF 920K before fees by Galerie Kornfeld on 15 June 2012.
On October 23 in New York, Sotheby's sells the woodcut print 26 x 27 cm of a Strassenszene, lot 99 estimated $ 500K. It is marked 12 in pencil. This is not reliable as a date. The auction house dates the print from 1913-1914.
The discomfort is carried to its paroxysm by the vision in top down and by the fleeing perspective of the vertical edges. This picture is known in five copies. Among them the print for sale is the only one on which the artist added dark purple shadows with the technique of the monotype. By its stifling atmosphere this copy is a masterpiece of expressionist engraving.