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- Ferdinand Erfmann was born into a Rotterdam actor family and, in addition to drawing and painting before the First World War, also regularly performed on stage. The two professions are merged in his paintings of the theater world and the circus. His main subject, however, was women: tough bathers, factory girls, female athletes and prostitutes - which Erfmann called 'mastodons' - immortalized in a flat, schematic figurative style that he characterized as 'psychological synthetic realism' and which incorporated some of the features of the New Objectivist movement that became popular in the Netherlands in the 1920s.
In the 1930s, inspired by his travels in the Mediterranean, Erfmann mainly painted neoclassical landscapes and mythical figures.