Hermann Haase: Various aquarelle depicting rural life, Vierlande near Hamburg, Germany, around 1900.
Courtesy of Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

Justus Brinckmann was not only interested in distant cultures. As a preservationist, he was also concerned about the peasant culture in the Hamburg hinterland. The Vierlande in particular were acutely threatened by increasing urbanization and industrialization. When rural households were dissolved or houses demolished, Brinckmann drove up in a horse-drawn wagon. Anything that could be saved, such as chests, cupboards and costumes, went to the MKG. In addition, Brinckmann systematically documented rural life. The draftsman and watercolorist Hermann Haase (1862-1934) was commissioned to record everything that made up the Vierlande – from the layout of the farms to the furnishings of the parlors, peasant physiognomies, plaited braids, traditional costume patterns and the like. Haase’s artistic corpus includes several thousand meticulously drawn watercolors and sketchbooks.