Today, hardly anyone knows who they were, even though they made a part of art history: artists such as Elena Luksch-Makowsky, Helene Funke, and Erika Giovanna Klien contributed significantly to Viennese Modernism and artistic trends that manifested after the First World War. To commemorate these artists, their art, and their emancipatory achievements, a long overdue retrospective has now been staged in the Lower Belvedere.
The exhibition expands the view of Viennese Modernism and focuses on those women who actively helped shape the art scene at the beginning of the twentieth century. At that time, women who wanted to become artists were still at a severe disadvantage. They were denied access to education and artists’ associations, and thus to exhibition opportunities. In spite of these hurdles, some of them managed to successfully build a career. In the predominantly male art business, they had to fight hard to gain a foothold. They found training opportunities and developed strategies to market themselves. By establishing their own artists’ associations, they were able to network and become active in the art scene. Many of them exhibited at the Secession, the Hagenbund, the Salon Pisko, and the Miethke Gallery. Despite the fact that, in recent years, the lives and works of some of these formerly renowned artists have been researched and compiled into retrospectives, their work is still underestimated in importance and barely appreciated for what it is. This show brings these women back into focus. On view, in part, are rediscovered works – some of which are being presented for the first time ever – by those artists who were known in their time, but whose eminence today has completely vanished. They were nonetheless able to leave their marks on art movements such as Atmospheric Impressionism (‘Stimmungsimpressionismus’), Secessionism, Expressionism, Kinetism, and New Objectivity. On view are works by Ilse Bernheimer, Maria Cyrenius, Friedl Dicker, Marie Egner, Louise Fraenkel-Hahn, Helene Funke, Greta Freist, Margarete Hamerschlag, Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka, Hermine Heller-Ostersetzer, Johanna Kampmann-Freund, Elisabeth Karlinsky, Erika Giovanna Klien, Broncia Koller-Pinell, Frida Konstantin Lohwag, Elza Kövesházi-Kalmár, Leontine von Littrow, Elena Luksch-Makowsky, Mariette Lydis, Emilie Mediz-Pelikan, Teresa Feodorowna Ries, Mileva Roller, Frieda Salvendy, Emma Schlangenhausen, Anny Schröder-Ehrenfest, Lilly Steiner, Helene Taussig, Ilse Twardowski-Conrat, My Ullmann, Olga Wisinger-Florian, Grete Wolf Krakauer oder Franziska Zach. Curator: Sabine Fellner
“These women artists have been shrouded in silence for far too long.” ― Der Standard
“What women! What art histories! Whoever misses this will be stuck in the past.” ― Die Presse
“Justice for Viennese modernism.” ― Kurier “The Vienna exhibition City of Women (…) is justifiably a crowd-puller.” ― Republik Magazin