“CITY OF WOMEN”

Vienna, 27 January 2019

My wife and I have just been to see a wonderful exhibition which opened a few days ago in Vienna’s Belvedere Palace – we’re up in Vienna for a couple of weeks. It is titled Stadt der Frauen, City of Women. Its aim is to bring back into the public gaze the works of a bevy of women artists who were active in Vienna in the first thirty years of the 20th Century. At the beginning of this period, the first years of the 1900s, these women were fighting to be officially recognized as painters in what was then a completely male-dominated art world. At the end of this period, and more specifically after the Anschluss of 1938, many of them emigrated or were murdered in the Nazi concentration camps, and their works disappeared, either burned and smashed by Fascist hit-squads as “degenerate art” or hidden away in attics and cellars and then forgotten. It is right and fitting that these women’s works should finally re-emerge from the shadows. The BBC web site has an article on the exhibition for any of my readers who are interested in more detail.

I show here a sample of the works on show; apart from a couple (where my focus was off), the photos were taken by me on my phone. The only didactic principle driving my choices were, “would I like them on my wall (or mantelpiece)?”, a principle about which I feel strongly and have written about at length in a previous post. I show first the paintings, then the drawings, lithographs, woodcuts, etchings, and then the statues, all in chronological order – art was changing so fast in this period that I think seeing it in the order they were prepared helps to appreciate them.

Paintings

Olga Wisinger-Florian, Flowering Poppies, 1895/1900
Olga Wisinger-Florian, Duck Pond, c. 1900
Emilie Mediz-Pelikan, Flowering Chestnut Trees, 1900
Broncia Koller-Pinell, Early Market, 1907
Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka, Willows, c. 1908
Broncia Koller-Pinell, The Harvest, 1908
Broncia Koller-Pinell, Potters’ Market, 1910
Broncia Koller-Pinell, Still Life with Fruit and Parrot, 1910
Johanna Kampann-Freund, The Dead Child, 1913
Leontine von Littrow, Steamer off the Shore, 1915
Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Self-Portrait with Comb, 1926 [this is actually a copy; the original was going to join the exhibition a few days after our visit]
Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka, Freystadt, 1927
Lillie Steiner, Portrait of Lilian Gaertner, 1927
Stephanie Hollenstein, Falzarego in the Dolomites, 1932
Friedl Dicker, Interrogation II, 1934-38

Drawings, lithographs, woodcuts, etchings

Elza Kövesházi-Kalmár, Landscape with City in the Background, c. 1903
Helene von Taussig, Bare Tree, c. 1909

Elisabeth Karlinsky, Figure in Motion, 1923
Gertraud Reinberger-Brausewetter, Lonely Woman, 1926
Ilse Bernheimer, Boats No. 2 (undated)

Statues

Elza Kövesházi-Kalmár, Dancer (Butterfly), 1910/11
Elza Kövesházi-Kalmár, Head of a Man (Josef Kainz) (undated)
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Pictures: all mine, except:

Flowering poppies: http://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/full.php?ID=152256
Flowering Chestnuts: https://www.wien.info/en/sightseeing/museums-exhibitions/city-of-women-female-artists-in-vienna-unteres-belvedere