Christian Ludwig Bokelmann, People’s Bank Shortly Before the Crash [Volksbank kurz vor dem Krach] (1877)
This painting by Christian Ludwig Bokelmann (1844-1894) captures the scene on May 9, 1873, outside the People’s Bank [Volksbank] in Vienna, where burghers holding savings accounts gathered together after hearing rumors that a bank crash was imminent. With the dawning realization of the likely loss of their savings, these figures betray a range of emotions from concern to despair. The sense of impending distress and upheaval is underscored by the overturned basket (foreground, left) that once held dirt, rubbish, and ashes. Bokelmann’s painting was exhibited at the Paris World Exhibition of 1878, where it was considered one of the most original German paintings on display.