The Better Half: Jewish Women Artists Before 1938

Female artists in Vienna had a very difficult time before 1938. It is therefore all the more surprising how many women managed to succeed in this métier. A large number of them came from assimilated Jewish families. Painters like Tina Blau, Broncia Koller-Pinell, Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, or ceramic artists Vally Wieselthier and Susi Singer have established a place for themselves in the history of art. But many others have unjustifiably sunk into oblivion—the sculptor Theresa Feodorowna Ries, the painters Grete Wolf-Krakauer and Helene Taussig, or the painter and graphic artist Lili Rethi. The exhibition presents forty artists and describes their unusual training and careers, marked by a struggle for recognition in a male-dominated art world. It also looks at promising careers that were interrupted through exile or ended forever in the Nazi extermination camps. An exhibition with lots of new discoveries.

Curators: Andrea Winklbauer, Sabine Fellner
Exhibition design: Conny Cossa, Julia Nuler

Press commentary:
A must for all art lovers (KEK, Vienna)

Commendable and well worth seeing Der Standard, Vienna

The poster for the exhibition shows a self-portrait of Bettina Ehrlich-Bauer, who was not only an artist but also the niece of Adele, the Woman in Gold. That is enough to make her famous, but the real point of the poster is that the portrait exists only in the form of a black-and-white photo. Enlarging and coloring it as a publicity poster is not some kind of trick but a clever and highly effective strategy for approaching the subject. The Nazis were the greatest destroyers of evidence in history. The Jewish Museum is to be commended in no uncertain terms for attempting to recover this evidence. Rainer Metzger, artmagazine.cc

The platitude that Modernism was driven solely by male talent will now finally have to disappear … The catalogue reads like a detective story of the highest quality. Brigitte Borchhardt-Birbaumer, Wiener Zeitung

 

With kind support of the "Kammer für Arbeiter und Angestellte für Wien"

With kind support of the National Fond of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism

© JMW