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Past Exhibitions

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 11, 2017 - October 13, 2017


The Woman Question

Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka

March 14, 2017 - June 30, 2017


You Say You Want a Revolution

American Artists and the Communist Party

October 18, 2016 - March 4, 2017


Recent Acquisitions

July 12, 2016 - October 7, 2016


Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Featuring Watercolors and Drawings from the Robert Lehman Collection

March 29, 2016 - July 1, 2016


Paula Modersohn-Becker

Art and Life

November 3, 2015 - March 19, 2016


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 21, 2015 - October 16, 2015


Leonard Baskin

Wunderkammer

April 23, 2015 - July 2, 2015


Alternate Histories

Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Galerie St. Etienne

January 15, 2015 - April 11, 2015


Marie-Louise Motesiczky

The Mother Paintings

October 7, 2014 - December 24, 2014


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 15, 2014 - September 26, 2014


Ilija/Mangelos

Father & Son, Inside & Out

April 24, 2014 - July 3, 2014


Modern Furies

The Lessons and Legacy of World War I

January 21, 2014 - April 12, 2014


Käthe Kollwitz

The Complete Print Cycles

October 8, 2013 - December 28, 2013


Recent Acquisitions

And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market

July 9, 2013 - September 27, 2013


Face Time

Self and Identity in Expressionist Portraiture

April 9, 2013 - June 28, 2013


Story Lines

Tracing the Narrative of "Outsider" Art

January 15, 2013 - March 30, 2013


Egon Schiele's Women

October 23, 2012 - December 28, 2012


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 17, 2012 - October 13, 2012


Mad As Hell!

New Work (and Some Classics) by Sue Coe

April 17, 2012 - July 3, 2012


The Ins and Outs of Self-Taught Art

Reflections on a Shifting Field

January 10, 2012 - April 7, 2012


The Lady and the Tramp

Images of Women in Austrian and German Art

October 11, 2011 - December 30, 2011


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 5, 2011 - September 30, 2011


Decadence & Decay

Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, George Grosz

April 12, 2011 - June 24, 2011


Self-Taught Painters in American 1800-1950

Revisiting the Tradition

January 11, 2011 - April 2, 2011


Marie-Louise Motesiczky

Paradise Lost & Found

October 12, 2010 - December 30, 2010


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 13, 2010 - October 1, 2010


Käthe Kollwitz

A Portrait of the Artist

April 13, 2010 - June 25, 2010


Seventy Years Grandma Moses

A Loan Exhibition Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Artist's "Discovery"

February 3, 2010 - April 3, 2010


Egon Schiele as Printmaker

A Loan Exhibition Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Galerie St. Etienne

November 3, 2009 - January 23, 2010


From Brücke To Bauhaus

The Meanings of Modernity in Germany, 1905-1933

March 31, 2009 - June 26, 2009


They Taught Themselves

American Self-Taught Painters Between the World Wars

January 9, 2009 - March 14, 2009


Elephants We Must Never Forget

New Paintings Drawings and Prints by Sue Coe

October 14, 2008 - December 20, 2008


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 24, 2008 - September 26, 2008


Hope or Menace?

Communism in Germany Between the World Wars

March 25, 2008 - June 13, 2008


Transforming Reality

Pattern and Design in Modern and Self-Taught Art

January 15, 2008 - March 8, 2008


Leonard Baskin

Proofs and Process

October 9, 2007 - January 5, 2008


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 5, 2007 - September 28, 2007


Who Paid the Piper?

The Art of Patronage in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna

March 8, 2007 - May 26, 2007


Fairy Tale, Myth and Fantasy

Approaches to Spirituality in Art

December 7, 2006 - February 3, 2007


More Than Coffee was Served

Café Culture in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna and Weimar Germany

September 19, 2006 - November 25, 2006


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 6, 2006 - September 8, 2006


Parallel Visions II

"Outsider" and "Insider" Art Today

April 5, 2006 - May 26, 2006


Ilija!

His First American Exhibtion

January 17, 2006 - March 18, 2006


Coming of Age

Egon Schiele and the Modernist Culture of Youth

November 15, 2005 - January 7, 2006


Sue Coe:

Sheep of Fools

September 20, 2005 - November 5, 2005


Recent Acquisitions

And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market

June 7, 2005 - September 9, 2005


Every Picture Tells a Story

The Narrative Impulse in Modern and Contemporary Art

April 5, 2005 - May 27, 2005


65th Anniversary Exhibition, Part II

Self-Taught Artists

January 18, 2005 - March 26, 2005


65th Anniversary Exhibition, Part I

Austrian and German Expressionism

October 28, 2004 - January 8, 2005


Sue Coe: Bully: Master of the Global Merry-Go-Round and Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 8, 2004 - October 16, 2004


Animals & Us

The Animal in Contemporary Art

April 1, 2004 - May 22, 2004


Henry Darger

Art and Myth

January 15, 2004 - March 20, 2004


Body and Soul

Expressionism and the Human Figure

October 7, 2003 - January 3, 2004


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 24, 2003 - September 12, 2003


In Search of the "Total Artwork"

Viennese Art and Design 1897–1932

April 8, 2003 - June 14, 2003


Russia's Self-Taught Artists

A New Perspective on the "Outsider"

January 14, 2003 - March 29, 2003


Käthe Kollwitz:

Master Printmaker

October 1, 2002 - January 4, 2003


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 25, 2002 - September 20, 2002


Workers of the World

Modern Images of Labor

April 2, 2002 - June 15, 2002


Grandma Moses

Reflections of America

January 15, 2002 - March 16, 2002


Gustav Klimt/Egon Schiele/Oskar Kokoscha

From Art Nouveau to Expressionism

November 23, 2001 - January 5, 2002


The "Black-and-White" Show

Expressionist Graphics in Austria & Germany

September 20, 2001 - November 10, 2001


Recent Acquisitions (And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 26, 2001 - September 7, 2001


Art with an Agenda

Politics, Persuasion, Illustration and Decoration

April 10, 2001 - June 16, 2001


"Our Beautiful and Tormented Austria!": Art Brut in the Land of Freud

January 18, 2001 - March 17, 2001


The Tragedy of War

November 16, 2000 - January 6, 2001


The Expressionist City

September 19, 2000 - November 4, 2000


Recent Acquisitions (And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 20, 2000 - September 8, 2000


From Façade to Psyche

Turn-of-the-Century Portraiture in Austria & Germany

March 28, 2000 - June 10, 2000


European Self-Taught Art

Brut or Naive?

January 18, 2000 - March 11, 2000


Saved From Europe

In Commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the Galerie St. Etienne

November 6, 1999 - January 8, 2000


The Modern Child

(Images of Children in Twentieth-Century Art)

September 14, 1999 - November 6, 1999


Recent Acquisitions

(And a Look at Sixty Years of Art Dealing)

June 15, 1999 - September 3, 1999


Sue Coe: The Pit

The Tragical Tale of the Rise and Fall of a Vivisector

March 30, 1999 - June 5, 1999


Henry Darger and His Realms

January 14, 1999 - March 13, 1999


Becoming Käthe Kollwitz

An Artist and Her Influences

November 17, 1998 - December 31, 1998


George Grosz - Elfriede Lohse-Wächtler

Art & Gender in Weimar Germany

September 23, 1998 - November 11, 1998


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts About Looted Art)

June 9, 1998 - September 11, 1998


Taboo

Repression and Revolt in Modern Art

March 26, 1998 - May 30, 1998


Sacred & Profane

Michel Nedjar and Expressionist Primitivism

January 13, 1998 - March 14, 1998


Egon Schiele (1890-1918)

Master Draughtsman

November 18, 1997 - January 3, 1998


The New Objectivity

Realism in Weimar-Era Germany

September 16, 1997 - November 8, 1997


Recent Acquisitions

A Question of Quality

June 10, 1997 - September 5, 1997


Käthe Kollwitz - Lea Grundig

Two German Women & The Art of Protest

March 25, 1997 - May 31, 1997


That Way Madness Lies

Expressionism and the Art of Gugging

January 14, 1997 - March 15, 1997


The Viennese Line

Art and Design Circa 1900

November 18, 1996 - January 4, 1997


Emil Nolde - Christian Rohlfs

Two German Expressionist Masters

September 24, 1996 - November 9, 1996


Breaking All The Rules

Art in Transition

June 11, 1996 - September 6, 1996


Sue Coe's Ship of Fools

March 26, 1996 - May 24, 1996


New York Folk

Lawrence Lebduska, Abraham Levin, Isreal Litwak

January 16, 1996 - March 16, 1996


The Fractured Form

Expressionism and the Human Body

November 15, 1995 - January 6, 1996


From Left to Right

Social Realism in Germany and Russia, Circa 1919-1933

September 19, 1995 - November 4, 1995


Recent Acquisitions

June 20, 1995 - September 8, 1995


On the Brink 1900-2000

The Turning of Two Centuries

March 28, 1995 - May 26, 1995


Earl Cummingham - Grandma Moses

Visions of America

January 17, 1995 - March 18, 1995


Drawn to Text: Comix Artists as Book Illustrators

November 15, 1994 - January 7, 1995


Three Berlin Artists of the Weimar Era: Hannah Höch, Käthe Kollwitz, Jeanne Mam

September 13, 1994 - November 5, 1994


55th Anniversary Exhibition in Memory of Otto Kallir

June 7, 1994 - September 2, 1994


Sue Coe: We All Fall Down

March 29, 1994 - May 27, 1994


The Forgotten Folk Art of the 1940's

January 18, 1994 - March 19, 1994


Symbolism and the Austrian Avant Garde

Klimt, Schiele and their Contemporaries

November 16, 1993 - January 8, 1994


Art and Politics in Weimar Germany

September 14, 1993 - November 6, 1993


Recent Acquisitions

June 8, 1993 - September 3, 1993


The "Outsider" Question

Non-Academic Art from 1900 to the Present

March 23, 1993 - May 28, 1993


The Dance of Death

Images of Mortality in German Art

January 19, 1993 - March 13, 1993


Art Spiegelman

The Road to Maus

November 17, 1992 - January 9, 1993


Käthe Kollwitz

In Celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the Artist's Birth

September 15, 1992 - November 7, 1992


Naive Visions/Art Nouveau and Expressionism/Sue Coe: The Road to the White House

May 19, 1992 - September 4, 1992


Richard Gerstl/Oskar Kokoschka

March 17, 1992 - May 9, 1992


Scandal, Outrage, Censorship

Controversy in Modern Art

January 21, 1992 - March 7, 1992


Viennese Graphic Design

From Secession to Expressionism

November 19, 1991 - January 11, 1992


The Expressionist Figure

September 10, 1991 - November 9, 1991


Recent Acquisitions

Themes and Variations

May 14, 1991 - August 16, 1991


Sue Coe Retrospective

Political Document of a Decade

March 12, 1991 - May 5, 1991


Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka

Watercolors, drawings and prints

January 22, 1991 - March 2, 1991


Egon Schiele

November 13, 1990 - January 12, 1991


Lovis Corinth

A Retrospective

September 11, 1990 - November 3, 1990


Recent Acquisitions

June 12, 1990 - August 31, 1990


Max Klinger, Käthe Kollwitz, Alfred Kubin

A Study in Influences

March 27, 1990 - June 2, 1990


The Narrative in Art

January 23, 1990 - March 17, 1990


Grandma Moses

November 14, 1989 - January 13, 1990


Sue Coe

Porkopolis--Animals and Industry

September 19, 1989 - November 4, 1989


The Galerie St. Etienne

A History in Documents and Pictures

June 20, 1989 - September 8, 1989


Gustav Klimt

Paintings and Drawings

April 11, 1989 - June 10, 1989


Fifty Years Galerie St. Etienne: An Overview

February 14, 1989 - April 1, 1989


Folk Artists at Work

Morris Hirshfield, John Kane and Grandma Moses

November 15, 1988 - January 14, 1989


Recent Acquisitions and Works From the Collection

June 14, 1988 - September 16, 1988


From Art Nouveau to Expressionism

April 12, 1988 - May 27, 1988


Three Pre-Expressionists

Lovis Corinth Käthe Kollwitz Paula Modersohn-Becker

January 26, 1988 - March 12, 1988


Käthe Kollwitz

The Power of the Print

November 17, 1987 - January 16, 1988


Recent Acquisitions and Works From the Collection

April 7, 1987 - October 31, 1987


Folk Art of This Century

February 10, 1987 - March 28, 1987


Oskar Kokoschka and His Time

November 25, 1986 - January 31, 1987


Viennese Design and Wiener Werkstätte

September 23, 1986 - November 8, 1986


Gustav Klimt/Egon Schiele/Oskar Kokoschka

Watercolors, Drawings and Prints

May 27, 1986 - September 13, 1986


Expressionist Painters

March 25, 1986 - May 10, 1986


Käthe Kollwitz/Paula Modersohn-Becker

January 28, 1986 - March 15, 1986


The Art of Giving

December 3, 1985 - January 18, 1986


Expressionists on Paper

October 8, 1985 - November 23, 1985


European and American Landscapes

June 4, 1985 - September 13, 1985


Expressionist Printmaking

Aspects of its Genesis and Development

April 1, 1985 - May 24, 1985


Expressionist Masters

January 18, 1985 - March 23, 1985


Arnold Schoenberg's Vienna

November 13, 1984 - January 5, 1985


Grandma Moses and Selected Folk Paintings

September 25, 1984 - November 3, 1984


American Folk Art

People, Places and Things

June 12, 1984 - September 14, 1984


John Kane

Modern America's First Folk Painter

April 17, 1984 - May 25, 1984


Eugène Mihaesco

The Illustrator as Artist

February 28, 1984 - April 7, 1984


Early Expressionist Masters

January 17, 1984 - February 18, 1984


Paula Modersohn-Becker

Germany's Pioneer Modernist

November 15, 1983 - January 7, 1984


Gustav Klimt

Drawings and Selected Paintings

September 20, 1983 - November 5, 1983


Early and Late

Drawings, Paintings & Prints from Academicism to Expressionism

June 1, 1983 - September 2, 1983


Alfred Kubin

Visions From The Other Side

March 22, 1983 - May 7, 1983


20th Century Folk

The First Generation

January 18, 1983 - March 12, 1983


Grandma Moses

The Artist Behind the Myth

November 15, 1982 - January 8, 1983


Käthe Kollwitz

The Artist as Printmaker

September 28, 1982 - November 6, 1982


Aspects of Modernism

June 1, 1982 - September 3, 1982


The Human Perspective

Recent Acquisitions

March 16, 1982 - May 15, 1982


19th and 20th Century European and American Folk Art

January 19, 1982 - March 6, 1982


The Folk Art Tradition

Naïve Painting in Europe and the United States

November 17, 1981 - January 9, 1982


Austria's Expressionism

April 21, 1981 - May 30, 1981


Eugène Mihaesco

His First American One-Man Show

March 3, 1981 - April 11, 1981


Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele

November 12, 1980 - December 27, 1980


Summer Exhibition

June 17, 1980 - October 31, 1980


Kollwitz: The Drawing and The Print

May 1, 1980 - June 10, 1980


40th Anniversary Exhibition

November 13, 1979 - December 28, 1979


American Primitive Art

November 22, 1977


Käthe Kollwitz

December 1, 1976


Neue Galerie-Galerie St. Etienne

A Documentary Exhibition

May 1, 1976


Martin Pajeck

January 27, 1976


Georges Rouault and Frans Masereel

April 29, 1972


Branko Paradis

December 1, 1971


Käthe Kollwitz

February 3, 1971


Egon Schiele

The Graphic Work

October 19, 1970


Gustav Klimt

March 20, 1970


Friedrich Hundertwasser

May 6, 1969


Austrian Art of the 20th Century

March 21, 1969


Egon Schiele

Memorial Exhibition

October 31, 1968


Yugoslav Primitive Art

April 30, 1968


Alfred Kubin

January 30, 1968


Käthe Kollwitz

In the Cause of Humanity

October 23, 1967


Abraham Levin

September 26, 1967


Karl Stark

April 5, 1967


Gustav Klimt

February 4, 1967


The Wiener Werkstätte

November 16, 1966


Oskar Laske

October 25, 1965


Käthe Kollwitz

May 1, 1965


Egon Schiele

Watercolors and Drawings from American Collections

March 1, 1965


25th Anniversary Exhibition

Part II

November 21, 1964


25th Anniversary Exhibition

Part I

October 17, 1964


Mary Urban

June 9, 1964


Werner Berg, Jane Muus and Mura Dehn

May 5, 1964


Eugen Spiro

April 4, 1964


B. F. Dolbin

Drawings of an Epoch

March 3, 1964


Austrian Expressionists

January 6, 1964


Joseph Rifesser

December 3, 1963


Panorama of Yugoslav Primitive Art

October 21, 1963


Joe Henry

Watercolors of Vermont

May 1, 1963


French Impressionists

March 8, 1963


Grandma Moses

Memorial Exhibition

November 26, 1962


Group Show

October 15, 1962


Ernst Barlach

March 23, 1962


Martin Pajeck

February 24, 1962


Paintings by Expressionists

January 27, 1962


Käthe Kollwitz

November 11, 1961


Grandma Moses

September 7, 1961


My Friends

Fourth Biennial of Pictures by American School Children

May 27, 1961


Raimonds Staprans

April 17, 1961


Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka and Alfred Kubin

March 14, 1961


Marvin Meisels

January 23, 1961


Egon Schiele

November 15, 1960


My Life's History

Paintings by Grandma Moses

September 12, 1960


Watercolors and Drawings by Austrian Artists from the Dial Collection

May 2, 1960


Martin Pajeck

February 29, 1960


Eugen Spiro

February 6, 1960


Käthe Kollwitz

December 14, 1959


Josef Scharl

Last Paintings and Drawings

November 11, 1959


European and American Expressionists

September 22, 1959


Our Town

One Hundred Paintings by American School Children

May 23, 1959


Marvin Meisels and Martin Pajeck

May 1, 1959


Gustav Klimt

April 1, 1959


Käthe Kollwitz

January 12, 1959


Oskar Kokoschka

October 28, 1958


Village Life in Guatemala

Paintings by Andres Curuchich

June 3, 1958


Two Unknown American Expressionists

Paintings by Marvin Meisels and Martin Pajeck

April 28, 1958


Paula Modersohn-Becker

March 15, 1958


The Great Tradition in American Painting

American Primitive Art

January 20, 1958


Jules Lefranc and Dominique Lagru

Two French Primitives

November 18, 1957


Margret Bilger

October 22, 1957


The Four Seasons

One Hundred Paintings by American School Children

June 11, 1957


Grandma Moses

May 6, 1957


Alfred Kubin

April 3, 1957


Franz Lerch

March 2, 1957


Egon Schiele

January 21, 1957


Josef Scharl

Memorial Exhibition

November 17, 1956


Irma Rothstein

May 19, 1956


Käthe Kollwitz

April 16, 1956


A Tribute to Grandma Moses

November 28, 1955


As I See Myself

One Hundred Paintings by American School Children

May 20, 1955


Juan De'Prey

April 19, 1955


Erich Heckel

March 29, 1955


Freddy Homburger

March 2, 1955


Masters of the 19th Century

January 18, 1955


Oskar Kokoschka

November 29, 1954


Isabel Case Borgatta and Josef Scharl

October 12, 1954


James N. Rosenberg and Eugen Spiro

April 30, 1954


Per Krogh

April 2, 1954


Cuno Amiet

February 16, 1954


Eniar Jolin

January 14, 1954


Irma Rothstein

December 8, 1953


Josef Scharl

November 11, 1953


Grandma Moses

October 21, 1953 - October 24, 1953


Wilhelm Kaufmann

September 30, 1953


Lovis Corinth, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele

May 27, 1953


A Grandma Moses Album

Recent Paintings, 1950-1953

April 15, 1953


Streeter Blair

American Primitive

February 26, 1953


Paintings on Glass

Austrian Religious Folk Art of the 17th to 19th Centuries

December 4, 1952


Hasan Kaptan

Paintings of a Ten-Year-Old Turkish Painter

October 29, 1952


Margret Bilger

May 10, 1952


American Natural Painters

March 31, 1952


Ten Years of New York Concert Impressions by Eugen Spiro; Four New Paintings by

January 26, 1952


I-Fa-Wei

Watercolors of New York by a Chinese Artist

December 1, 1951


Käthe Kollwitz

October 25, 1951


Drawings and Watercolors by Austrian Children

May 21, 1951


Grandma Moses

Twenty-Five Masterpieces of Primitive Art

March 17, 1951


Roswitha Bitterlich

January 18, 1951


Oskar Laske

Watercolors of Vienna and the Salzkammergut

October 14, 1950


Tenth Anniversary Exhibition

Part II

May 11, 1950


Austrian Art of the 19th Century

From Wadlmüller to Klimt

April 1, 1950


Chiao Ssu-Tu

February 18, 1950


Anton Faistauer

January 1, 1950


Tenth Anniversary Exhibition

Part I

November 30, 1949


Autograph Exhibition

October 26, 1949


Gladys Wertheim Bachrach

May 24, 1949


Oskar Kokoschka

March 30, 1949


Eugen Spiro

February 19, 1949


Frans Masereel

January 13, 1949


Ten Years Grandma Moses

November 22, 1948


Käthe Kollwitz

Masterworks

October 18, 1948


American Primitives

June 3, 1948


Egon Schiele

Memorial Exhibition

April 5, 1948


Miriam Richman

February 7, 1948


Vally Wieselthier

Memorial Exhibition

January 10, 1948


Christmas Exhibition

December 4, 1947


Fritz von Unruh

November 10, 1947


Käthe Kollwitz

October 4, 1947


Grandma Moses

May 17, 1947


Lovis Corinth

April 16, 1947


Hugo Steiner-Prag

March 15, 1947


Mark Baum

January 11, 1947


Eugen Spiro

November 25, 1946


Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

May 17, 1946


Ladis W. Sabo

Paintings by a New Primitive Artist

April 8, 1946


Georges Rouault

The Graphic Work

February 26, 1946


Käthe Kollwitz

Memorial Exhibition

November 21, 1945


Fred E. Robertson

Paintings by an American Primitive

June 13, 1945


Max Liebermann

The Graphic Work

April 18, 1945


Vienna through Four Centuries

March 1, 1945


Eugen Spiro

January 20, 1945


Grandma Moses

New Paintings

December 5, 1944


Käthe Kollwitz

Part II

October 26, 1944


A Century of French Graphic Art

From Géricault to Picasso

September 28, 1944


Max Liebermann

Memorial Exhibition

June 9, 1944


Juan De'Prey

Paintings by a Self-Taught Artist from Puerto Rico

May 6, 1944


Abraham Levin

April 15, 1944


Lesser Ury

Memorial Exhibition

March 21, 1944


Grandma Moses

Paintings by the Senior of the American Primitives

February 9, 1944


Betty Lane

January 11, 1944


WaIt Disney Cavalcade

December 9, 1943


Käthe Kollwitz

Part I

November 3, 1943


Will Barnet

September 29, 1943


Lovis Corinth

May 26, 1943


Josephine Joy

Paintings by an American Primitive

May 3, 1943


Oskar Kokoschka

Aspects of His Art

March 31, 1943


Eugen Spiro

February 13, 1943


Seymour Lipton

January 18, 1943


Illuminated Gothic Woodcuts

Printed and Painted, 1477-1493

December 5, 1942


Abraham Levin

November 4, 1942


Walt Disney Originals

September 23, 1942


Documents which Relate History

Documents of Historical Importance and Landmarks of Human Development

June 10, 1942


Honoré Daumier

April 29, 1942


Bertha Trabich

Memorial Exhibition of a Russian-American Primitive

March 25, 1942


Alfred Kubin

Master of Drawing

December 4, 1941


Egon Schiele

November 7, 1941


Betty Lane

June 3, 1941


Flowers from Old Vienna

18th and Early 19th Century Flower Painting

May 7, 1941


Weavings by Navaho and Hopi Indians and Photos of Indians by Helen M. Post

January 29, 1941


Georg Merkel

November 7, 1940


What a Farm Wife Painted

Works by Mrs. Anna Mary Moses

October 9, 1940


Saved from Europe

Masterpieces of European Art

July 1, 1940


American Abstract Art

May 22, 1940


Franz Lerch

May 1, 1940


Wilhelm Thöny

April 3, 1940


French Masters of the 19th and 20th Centuries

February 29, 1940


H. W. Hannau

Metropolis, Photographic Studies of New York

February 2, 1940


Oskar Kokoschka

January 9, 1940


Austrian Masters

November 13, 1939


MARIE-LOUISE MOTESICZKY

Paradise Lost & Found

October 12, 2010 - December 30, 2010

ARTISTS

Beckmann, Max

Motesiczky, Marie-Louise

ESSAY

In 1857, the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph ordered that the medieval walls heretofore surrounding Vienna’s inner city be demolished and replaced by a broad circular boulevard. The grand buildings that came to line the Ringstrasse reflected both the glory of the Imperial regime and the economic successes of the burgeoning industrial age. Alongside such civic monuments as the Hofoper, Parliament, Rathaus and Burgtheater stood the enormous homes (many occupying an entire city block) of the largely Jewish families who had helped finance the Empire’s expansion: at the Schottentor, the Palais Ephrussi; next door, on the Oppolzergasse, the Lieben mansion; down the road, at the corner of the Goethegasse, the Schey palace; and grandest of all, opposite the Opera, the Palais Todesco. The Wertheimstein family maintained its villa, with grounds so vast they are today a public park, in the garden district of Döbling, and the Todescos had a second summer Palais in Hinterbrühl, some twenty kilometers south of Vienna. These and other illustrious Jewish families, such as the Rothschilds and Gomperzes, had risen to prominence over the course of the preceding century, established banks throughout Europe and in many cases been elevated to the nobility. Some converted to Christianity, but anti-Semitism limited their social options, and they tended to marry amongst themselves. Thus by the turn of the twentieth century, Austria’s Jewish aristocracy had become a dynastic clan, linked through a complex web of intermarriage.

Traditionally, the eldest son in each family was destined for a career in business, while the remaining males were free to pursue literary, scientific or other scholarly activities. Daughters were home-schooled, by a succession of tutors and governesses, in the skills needed to make an appropriate marriage. The girls spoke several languages, dabbled in watercolor, wrote poetry, sang or played the piano. Barred from pursuing their cultural interests professionally in the nineteenth-century, many Jewish women became celebrated hostesses. The salons organized by Josephine Wertheimstein and her sister Sophie Todesco (both née Gomperz) played central roles in Austrian intellectual life, welcoming such notables as Johannes Brahms, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Franz Liszt and Johann Strauss. But dynastic marriage, often to a man older or simply duller than she, frequently proved frustrating to a clever wife. Divorce and infidelity—sometimes with another member of the extended family—were not uncommon.

Mental illness haunted the Todesco-Wertheimstein clan. Josephine suffered for years from chronic depression, which culminated in a full-blown psychotic break. Eventually, she took to her bed, overseeing her salon from this symbolic throne. Sophie’s daughter Anna, married to the banker Leopold Lieben, could not square her artistic yearnings with the prosaic realities of marriage and motherhood. She, too, withdrew to her bed, only rising in the evening to make after-hours shopping expeditions or wake the children on a whim. Afflicted with a range of hysterical symptoms and addicted to morphine, Anna became one of Freud’s first patients (under the pseudonym Cäcilie M.).

Marie-Louise Motesiczky (1906-1996) was the daughter of Anna Lieben’s youngest child, Henriette, and Edmund Motesiczky, the illegitimate son of a Hungarian noblewoman. Edmund, a talented amateur cellist who once played with Brahms, had neither money nor any pressing desire to work. Nonetheless, and despite the fact that Henriette was nursing an adolescent crush on Hofmannsthal, the marriage was relatively happy. The family spent winters in Vienna, springs and summers at the Todesco villa in Hinterbrühl and autumns at the Liebens' estate in Vazsony, Hungary. Henriette had little feeling for music, but she and Edmund shared a passion for hunting; in later years, she would rise early to shoot rabbits from the balcony of her Hinterbrühl bedroom. Marie-Louise was three, her older brother, Karl, six, when Edmund took ill while on a hunting trip in remote Slovakia. Edmund's death, in December 1909, cast a long shadow over his family’s aristocratic idyll. Henriette and Marie-Louise developed a close, almost suffocating bond, from which Karl felt completely excluded, abandoned simultaneously by both mother and father.

In 1918, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was dismantled, the monarchy replaced by a democratic republic and aristocratic titles abolished. Many wealthy families lost their fortunes, but the Motesiczkys, whose money was invested abroad, were relatively unscathed by the financial turmoil that followed World War I. Nevertheless, new laws intended to alleviate Vienna's chronic housing shortage compelled Henriette to take boarders into the family's spacious home. Like a seasoned salon hostess, she chose tenants with intellectual or artistic credentials, housing, at various times, the composers Samuel Barber and Gian Carlo Menotti, and a girlfriend of the writer Arthur Schnitzler. The family tradition of patronage was also continued by Karl Motesiczky, who used his allowance to help support first the novelist Heimito von Doderer and later the outré psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich.

By the early 1920s, Marie-Louise had become a statuesque young beauty, so tall she was nicknamed "Piz" (peetz), after the Alpine mountain Piz Buin. Henriette, who loved puns, nicknamed Piz's friend Mathilde von Kaulbach "Quappi," based on a conflation of her last name with the German word for tadpole, Kaulquappe. Both nicknames remained with the women for the rest of their lives. Piz met Quappi in 1922 while visiting relatives in Holland, and it was here that she first began to think seriously about becoming an artist. Exulting in the work of Vincent van Gogh, Piz noted, "If you could paint a single good picture in your lifetime, your life would be worthwhile." At the urging of her cousin, Irma Simon (née Schey), Piz traveled in 1924 to Frankfurt, where she took drawing classes at the Städelschule. Irma's husband, Heinrich Simon, was the editor of the Frankfurter Zeitung and an important early patron of Max Beckmann. Staying at the Simons' Frankfurt apartment, Piz attended regular Friday lunches that included such guests as the ballerina Anna Pavlova, the writer Fritz von Unruh and the conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler. But the guest who interested her most was Beckmann.

Piz's family had never been particularly fond of cutting-edge art. The artists who frequented their salons, decorated their palaces and painted their portraits were all members of the old guard: Hans Makart, Carl Heinrich Rahl, Franz von Lenbach and Egon Schiele's nemesis, Christian Griepenkerl. Accordingly, while Beckmann was welcomed cordially into the Motesiczky home, Henriette found his work repugnant. Piz, on the other hand, later recalled that "a winged Martian" could not have impressed her more. "And," she continued, "that of all the people I knew, it should be I who was privileged to recognize his paintings as beautiful and not hideous, that the Man from Mars should turn out to be a good spirit and not an evil one, this was quite extraordinary, even more extraordinary than what happened to Alice when she disappeared down the rabbit hole."

It is hard to tell whether Piz's initial infatuation with Beckmann was artistic or also personal, just as it is unclear whether his encouragement of the fledgling painter was purely professional. In any event, over the course of 1924 it became evident that Beckmann was more interested, romantically, in Quappi, who was lodging with the Motesiczkys while taking voice lessons in Vienna. He married her in 1925, after divorcing his first wife (also a singer). Piz remained friends with the newlyweds, and Beckmann continued to support her creative ambitions. After honing her artistic skills through further study in Vienna and Paris, Piz was invited to join Beckmann's master class at the Städelschule in 1927. "Paula Modersohn-Becker was the best woman painter in Germany, and you have every chance of succeeding her," Beckmann said. But he added, "Don't get a swelled head. You aren't there yet."

Piz's work in the 1920s was heavily influenced by Beckmann. His skewed, perspectives, compressed spaces, muted palette and chunky plasticity are all evident in such early paintings as Small Roulette Wheel, Dwarf, Portrait of Karl Motesiczky and Still-Life with Photo. Nevertheless, the artist always made these subjects her own. Whereas Beckmann’s portrait sitters seemed hidden behind impenetrable masks of alienation, Piz tried to reach below the surface to uncover her sitters' intrinsic humanity. Her work was less brutal, gentler, humbler; it was more Austrian. Like Beckmann's, Piz's still-lifes had allegorical connotations, but in her case the symbolism was strictly personal. She selected objects with autobiographical significance and, evoking the tradition of the memento mori or vanitas painting, combined them with flowers, clocks or other tokens of transience. In the end, Beckmann's most important teachings were, for Piz, less matters of style than of existential orientation. "What Beckmann wanted was the most intense form of self-experience, which is at the same time the greatest responsibility toward oneself," she recounted. Or as Beckmann put it, "The visible world in combination with our inner selves provides the realm where we may seek infinitely for the individuality of our own souls."

The 1920s was the decade of the "new woman," and Piz took full advantage of the freedoms that were suddenly available to her. After leaving Beckmann's class in 1928, she traveled widely--to France, Italy, Spain, Holland and America--and set up a studio in Berlin. She was at once a privileged libertine, who had multiple lovers, attended wild costume parties and spent the major part of her allowance on expensive clothes, and (half in secret) a serious painter. Nonetheless, the Motesiczkys' world of aristocratic entitlement was slipping away. In the mid 1920s, the Lieben bank failed, and in 1935, Henriette lost a substantial portion of her surviving investments. She let most of her servants go and, no longer able to maintain the grand villa in Hinterbrühl, moved her family and guests to a smaller cottage on the estate's grounds. Perhaps to reduce expenses, and also in response to the mounting Nazi threat, Henriette and Piz began making arrangements to leave Austria toward the end of 1937. Two days after the Anschluss in March 1938, they were already with their Dutch relatives in The Hague. Henriette, who had both directly and indirectly prevented Piz from marrying, would hereafter be irrevocably bound to her daughter.

The Motesiczkys' position in Nazi-ruled Austria was ambiguous. After 1918, Henriette had opted for Czech citizenship, and because she had converted to Christianity when she married Edmund, she and her children were not officially considered Jewish. Thus Karl was able to retain the family’s remaining assets and stay on in Hinterbrühl. Emboldened by a naive sense of immunity, he used his position to further the anti-fascist resistance and shelter other, less fortunate Jews. Eventually, however, he was undone by a scheme to smuggle Jews out of Austria. Karl was arrested by the Gestapo in October 1942 and spent several months in a Viennese prison before being sent to Auschwitz. He died there of typhus in June 1943.

Meanwhile, after a period in Holland (where they met up with Max and Quappi Beckmann), Piz and Henriette had decided to immigrate to England. They arrived in February 1939, staying first in London and then, in 1941, moving to the outlying village of Amersham to escape the Blitz. Given the flood of Central European refugees deluging England, it was not long before the Motesiczkys had recreated the salon-like atmosphere of their Austrian home. With furnishings sent on by Karl and a good Viennese cook, their household was like a time capsule from a bygone era. The Motesiczkys reconnected with such old acquaintances as the sculptor Anna Mahler (daughter of Gustav and Alma Mahler), the painter Oskar Kokoschka and the art historian Ernst Gombrich. But Piz's most important contact in the emigré community was, without a doubt, the Bulgarian-born writer Elias Canetti, who would win the Nobel Prize for literature in 1981.

Motesiczky met Canetti in late 1939 or early 1940, possibly through their mutual friendship with Anna Mahler. The painter and the writer developed an immediate rapport, based on a shared belief in art as a synthesis of memory, vision and personal experience. Having both lost their fathers at an early age, they were keenly aware of life's fragility, which they felt only art could transcend. For a time Motesiczky even imagined that Canetti had a godlike power to personally conquer death. There was only one problem: her new beloved was already married. At this point, Canetti’s relationship with his wife, Veza, was supposedly platonic, and certainly she tolerated decades of infidelity on his part. Veza even had an on-again-off-again friendship with Piz. Canetti was quite blasé about his need to maintain liaisons with several women at a time. "This one is mother," he wrote, "that one is sister, and the third one is daughter, although each one thinks they are the wife."

Motesiczky's relationship with Canetti, while beset by many ups and downs, lasted for over fifty years. Once Henriette and Piz were comfortably settled in Amersham, Canetti sent his precious library--some two thousand volumes--to them for safekeeping. Hereafter, he always maintained a study in his lover’s home. After World War II, the couple shared flats in London and Hampstead, though Canetti also spent time with his wife and sometimes in a third apartment of his own. In 1958, Henriette, who had remained in Amersham, began to show increasing signs of frailty, and Piz bought a big house that they could share, Chesterford Gardens, in Hampstead. Again, there was a library for Canetti, and it was here that he completed one of his best-known books, Crowds and Power. Veza's death, in 1963, should finally have brought matters to a head, but Motesiczky wanted to give Canetti time to mourn, and he showed no eagerness to marry her. It was only by accident, some ten years later, that Motesiczky learned that Canetti had, in fact, secretly married a much younger woman. For the artist, this was a "personal catastrophe" from which she never fully recovered, whereas for the writer it was just business as usual. The rift caused by the marriage was eventually, though not entirely repaired, and Motesiczky remained in touch with Canetti until his death in 1994.

Beyond a common philosophical orientation, the Canetti/Motesiczky love affair was sustained by a fervent belief in one another’s art. "You are a very great painter," Canetti told her, "and whether you want it or not, the world will hear of you. Every picture you paint will enter the history of art." Shortly after meeting the writer, when she was flirting simultaneously with Kokoschka and another potential suitor, Motesiczky wrote a fairytale about a fisherman and two fish, one male and one female. The story ends when a second angler, named Elias, catches the girl fish and throws her back into the pond. Elias was supportive of Piz’s vocation in a way that a husband probably would not have been. She knew well what marriage to a great man entailed: Quappi had given up her singing career to marry Beckmann (something his first wife had refused to do). The fish story suggests that Motesiczky subconsciously acquiesced to the trade-off implicit in the Canetti affair. Better an intellectual love match than the constraints of a conventional marriage.

Very few of the painters who dominated the art scene in prewar Austria and Germany survived, artistically, the upheaval of the Nazi period. Whether they went into actual or “inner” exile, the work they produced in the second part of the twentieth century seldom met the standards of what they had created earlier. Motesiczky is the great exception to this pattern: a painter who actually discovered her artistic identity in exile. In England, Beckmann’s influence gradually dissipated, and the solid, sculptural masses seen in Motesiczky’s prior paintings were replaced by more translucent, lambent veils of color. Just as this increased transparency allows one to see down through the structural layers below a painting’s surface, it allows more access to the interior life of the subject. With characteristic humility, Motesiczky once said that her intention was to depict women’s everyday existence: “women at the hairdresser’s, girls sitting in the windows of dry-cleaning shops doing the invisible mending and gradually getting old, dying women, bathing women, laughing women, sad women.” In fact, what she achieved was a comprehensive meditation on life and loss, death and transcendence, seen through the eyes of a woman.

In accordance with the principles espoused by Beckmann and Canetti, Motesiczky’s art was grounded in reality but filtered through personal experience. Her self-portraits are revelatory and in some respects unique within the genre. The artist was keenly aware of her sexuality and of the ways in which the female figure has traditionally been arrayed (in art and in life) to attract the male gaze. At the same time, she knew that superficial beauty is fleeting and offers flimsy protection for the vulnerable being within. A combination of diffident elegance, pride and insecurity characterizes all her self-portraits, from youth to old age. In these works, she is both object and subject.

Motesiczky was not above acknowledging the humor of her complex romantic entanglements, as in the drawings Kokoschka Fishing for Two Nudes (herself and the artist’s wife Olda) and Canetti Weighing Two Women on Scales. In her oils, however, she depicted these relationships with more ambiguity and nuance. A triple portrait from 1948 shows Canetti, the artist and her slightly senile aunt in the garden at Amersham. Canetti was relatively fond of the aunt, but at the same time he resented his lover’s aristocratic family, so fundamentally at odds with his more plebeian background. Motesiczky’s own suppressed anger may be represented by the garden shears that she holds in her hands and that belie her benign facial expression. In a self-portrait with Olda Kokoschka, the two make polite chit-chat, while the unseen husband’s shadow appears between them on the back wall. And in a final self-portrait with Canetti, it is clear that the couple’s bond has been strained to the breaking point: the writer, lost in his newspaper, is completely oblivious to the artist’s mournful gaze.

It is generally agreed that Motesiczky’s crowning achievement is the series of portraits she did of her mother, which span the five decades from 1929 until Henriette’s death in 1978. In the tradition established by her own mother, Anna Lieben, and her great-aunt, Josephine Wertheimstein, Henriette had, already in Austria, developed the habit of luxuriating in bed for days at a time. And it is thus that Piz often depicted her: reclining like a regal pasha, eyes wide with childlike wonder, tyrannical in her imposing bulk, yet nonetheless eternally innocent. As Henriette ages in these portraits, the bed is transformed from an aristocratic throne to an emblem of mortal decline. Masculine symbols, such as a gun or the pipe she habitually smoked, affirm Henriette’s authority, while her faithful dog (she always had one) acts as a spiritual familiar and link to the natural environment. When not in bed, Henriette is frequently shown in the garden at Amersham or Hampstead. The flowers that she loved (and that her daughter often included in still lifes) encapsulate simultaneously the beauty and the evanescence of daily existence. Visibly haunted by death, Henriette nonetheless retained to the last an irrepressible capacity for joy. “Despite her advanced age,” the artist recalled, “for me she looked charming. . . . I thought that if I could paint what I saw when she was in this decrepit state, without embellishment and concentrating on the genuine charm in her expression, then I would have done a great thing.”

Motesiczky once observed that, “Everything figurative, apart from a portrait, is a story for me.” As she acquired greater artistic confidence, she felt increasingly free to weave complex symbolic narratives around her subjects, or (as she put it) to “paint my dreams.” A dreamlike quality characterizes many of the mother paintings, melding personal associations, allegory and images culled from the unconscious. A 1943 canvas, Morning in the Garden, shows the artist and Henriette playing with a huge golden ball, whose radiance rivals that of the rising sun. In one of Motesiczky’s most famous paintings, The Old Song, Henriette is serenaded by a harpist. The harpist is in fact an Amersham neighbor, a fellow refugee whom Henriette found fairly annoying. The stunted eagle that hovers over the scene represents, according to Piz, the neighbor’s difficult husband. But a double-eagle was also the emblem of the Habsburg monarchy, and as the title makes clear, the harpist’s melody reconnects her listener with the past. The lost world of old Vienna provides a potent subtext for this painting, as it does for much of Motesiczky’s work. Conversation in the Library, a portrait of Canetti with his colleague Franz Steiner, has been called the quintessential depiction of genius in exile. However, even as the two subjects have been cut off from the intellectual tradition that nurtured them, they have recreated it in their book-lined refuge. Exile is loss, but it is also regeneration. This is especially clear in Motesiczky’s last, posthumous homage to her mother, The Greenhouse. Henriette, accompanied by the ghosts of her dogs, is here depicted in the Hampstead garden hunched over a rake. The artist was pleased when a viewer mistook the mother figure for a gardener. That is what she was, what both she and her daughter were: cultivators of beauty, believers in art as a lasting bulwark against mortality.

Toward the end of her life, Motesiczky became increasingly concerned about her artistic legacy. She had always been ambivalent about exhibiting: flattered and surprised that anyone should like her work, devastated if they did not. Nevertheless, she did have several successful exhibitions, most notably, at the Vienna Secession in 1966; the Goethe Institute in London in 1985; and the Belvedere in Vienna in 1994. Motesiczky’s relative wealth meant that she never had to sell her work, and she was loath to part with it. As time passed, the Hampstead house filled with paintings, giving the artist a sense of security, providing tangible evidence of the life she’d lived. The next phase of her career—sending the paintings out into the world—would, she recognized, need to occur after her death. “The paintings are meaningless when they cannot be seen,” she wrote. “I want their future to be secure, just as other people want this for their children.”

To that end, in 1992, the artist established the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust. Since Motesiczky’s death in 1996, the Trust has been actively engaged in fulfilling her mandate. Between April 2006 and December 2007, a retrospective exhibition was sent to the Tate Liverpool, the Museum Giersch in Frankfurt, the Wien Museum and the Southampton City Art Gallery. The Trust commissioned Jill Lloyd to write a comprehensive biography, The Undiscovered Expressionist, which was published in 2007. A catalogue raisonné of the paintings by Ines Schlenker followed in 2009. The present exhibition, Motesiczky’s first in America, is an organic outgrowth of the artist’s gradually expanding reputation.