Past Exhibitions

All Good Art is Political

Käthe Kollwitz and Sue Coe

October 26, 2017 - March 10, 2018

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

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

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


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


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 America 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


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


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


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


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


The Mother Paintings

October 7, 2014 - December 24, 2014


Motesiczky, Marie-Louise


The final splendors of Austria’s imperial age are epitomized by Vienna’s Ringstrasse, a broad circular boulevard developed between 1857 and 1913 on land formerly occupied by the city’s medieval walls. During the resulting construction boom, this boulevard was adorned with a string of grand public edifices—a stock exchange, a university, the Burgtheater, Vienna’s City Hall, Parliament, the Naturhistorisches and Kunsthistorisches Museums, the Court Opera, the Museum and School of Applied Arts—in a medley of equally grandiose styles—Classical, Renaissance, Gothic—intended to evoke illustrious historical traditions. It was not long, however, before artists were rejecting such architectural pretensions and calling for art that honestly reflected the present time. The architect Adolf Loos famously called Vienna a “Potemkin city,” referencing the pasteboard and canvas villages created by the Ukrainian administrator, Gregory Potemkin, to fool the Russian Empress, Catherine the Great. In his acclaimed family memoir, The Hare with Amber Eyes, Edmund de Waal extends Loos’s metaphor to describe the illusion of assimilation that transfixed Vienna’s Jewish aristocracy in the decades before Hitler destroyed their fragile home.


Nestled among the municipal buildings on the Ring are the almost equally imposing palaces of the wealthy Jewish families who financed Austria-Hungary’s industrial ascendancy in the nineteenth century. These families—the Ephrussis (de Waal’s direct forebears), the Gomperzes, the Liebens, the Scheys, the Todescos, the Wertheimsteins—had for the most part migrated to Vienna from points east, drawn into the orbit of the Rothschild banking dynasty and encouraged by the relatively tolerant policies of the emperors Joseph II and Franz Joseph. The families earned their fortunes through a combination of investment and manufacturing, and over the course of time were rewarded with aristocratic titles. The families grew increasingly secular, and some converted to Christianity. Nevertheless they were rarely accepted into gentile society. For personal and business reasons, they tended to intermarry, eventually forming an intricately networked clan so complex it takes half-a-dozen family trees to sort them out.


Marie-Louise Motesiczky’s mother, Henriette, was the daughter of Anna (née Todesco) and Leopold von Lieben, granddaughter of Sophie (née Gomperz) and Eduard von Todesco, and cousin of Emmy (née Schey) von Ephrussi. As such, Henriette was heir not only to a vast fortune, but to a rich cultural heritage. Sophie von Todesco and her sister, Josephine (née Gomperz) von Wertheimstein, were renowned hostesses whose salons were frequented by writers like Henrik Ibsen, Ferdinand von Saar and Hugo von Hofmannsthal, the composers Johannes Brahms, Franz Liszt and Johann Strauss, as well as a host of other notables in such fields as art, theater, science and medicine. For girls growing up in this heady environment, poets were like rock stars, except the objects of their crushes were more accessible. Anna von Lieben is rumored to have had an affair with Josephine’s protégé, Ferdinand von Saar, and Henriette received her first teenaged kiss from Hugo von Hofmannsthal. All three women wrote poetry.


Frustrated by creative passions that had no chance of professional fulfillment and alienated in their marriages to much older bankers, Anna and her aunt Josephine also shared a history of mental illness that may have had a genetic component. After a full-blown psychotic break, Josephine took to her bed, where, aping French royalty, she continued to receive visitors. Anna suffered from a litany of complaints, including hysteria, facial paralysis and morphine addiction, that eventually brought her to Sigmund Freud, who immortalized her in the literature under the pseudonym Cäcilie M. Prompted in part by insomnia, Anna too spent long hours in bed. When she awoke, she ate voraciously, darting from one obsession (say, lamb chops) to another (caviar and champagne) and becoming immensely obese. She died of a heart attack at the age of 53.


Henriette was eighteen, and still nursing an unrequited infatuation with Hofmannsthal, when her mother died in 1900. Henriette’s family did their best to help heal this double loss, distracting her with a horse, a puppy and foreign travel. Two years later, she was in love again, with a man deemed hardly more appropriate than the poet. Edmund von Motesiczky, the illegitimate son of a Hungarian noblewoman, was a handsome dilettante who had neither money nor the desire to earn any. And he was not Jewish. To marry him, Henriette had not only to overcome her father’s objections, but to convert to Protestantism. Nevertheless the couple did marry and by all accounts were quite happy. Of Edmund’s two passions, music and hunting, Henriette shared only the latter. The pair spent autumns shooting game in the forests surrounding the Lieben castle in Vazsony, Hungary. They summered at the family estate in the Hinterbrühl, about a dozen miles south of Vienna. And in the winter, they retreated to a capacious apartment in Vienna, on the Brahmsplatz. A son, Karl, was born in 1904, and a daughter, Marie-Louise, in 1906. Both were baptized as Protestants.


This idyll came to a premature end in 1909, when Edmund took ill on a hunting trip in remote Slovakia. Too far from a hospital to receive appropriate medical attention, he died several days later. Henriette chose not to remarry, sinking more deeply into the embrace of her extended family. Karl and Marie-Louise, who was largely home-schooled by a succession of incompetent tutors and governesses, grew up in the company of their various little cousins. The Vazsony castle was eventually sold, but the Hinterbrühl remained a constant in the family’s life, a place where they gathered with friends and where Henriette could indulge her love of riding, hunting and the outdoors. Henriette had an innate joie de vivre that was bolstered by an egocentric sense of entitlement, but like her mother and her great-aunt, she retreated to bed whenever anything went wrong, and over time her culinary indulgences caused her to gain a great deal of weight. Marie-Louise, effectively replacing her father, became Henriette’s caretaker at a young age. It was the daughter’s responsibility to protect the mother’s delicate equilibrium. “I ruled the roost,” Marie-Louise later recalled, “but she had the stronger will.” In the artist’s earliest portraits, Henriette resembles nothing so much as a chubby, overgrown child.


If Hofmannsthal had been the formative influence on Henriette in her teenage years, the counterpart for Marie-Louise was Max Beckmann, who swooped down on the Hinterbrühl like “a winged creature from Mars,” brought there by a Frankfurt cousin, Irma (née Schey) Simon. Marie-Louise had already shown an aptitude for drawing, and her interest in art was sparked by visits to Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The greater autonomy permitted women in the 1920s, as well as her family’s far-flung connections, facilitated her ability to travel and study abroad. In 1924, the Simons invited her to Frankfurt, where she attended art classes at the Städelschule. In the ensuing years, she pursued her artistic education in Paris, Vienna and Berlin, and in 1927, Beckmann invited her to join his master class at the Städel. A statuesque beauty, Marie-Louise had many dalliances, often with men who were somehow unavailable. When things turned serious, she hesitated, either because she could not leave her mother, or because her mother would not let her go. Karl believed Henriette was simultaneously preventing Marie-Louise from marrying and from fulfilling her artistic destiny. “How often have I heard that mother can’t, mustn’t, shouldn’t,” he wrote his sister. “But is it a good thing to wrap a person in cotton wool?”


Henriette’s desire to keep Marie-Louise by her side was abetted by the family’s dwindling financial resources. In 1926, the Auspitz-Lieben bank failed, prompting Henriette to slash her daughter’s allowance by half. “So you must decide to live with me after all,” she declared triumphantly. All the family’s servants save the children’s former nursemaid, Marie Hauptmann, were let go, and they abandoned the huge tumbledown mansion in Hinterbrühl for a smaller chalet on the property. A good part of the Motesiczkys’ remaining fortune vanished in 1935 due to unwise investments made by yet another of their many cousins, Henk de Waal. But the greatest threat to the family’s security was Germany’s Nazi regime, which by the mid-1930s was clearly encroaching on Austria. In later years Marie-Louise was typically vague about how it happened that she and her mother ended up in Holland two days after the 1938 Anschluss, but surviving documents suggest that, already in 1937, the two women had made arrangements to leave Austria by signing over their remaining assets to Karl. Karl, believing he was not Jewish, stayed behind to look after things. When the war broke out, he was ensconced in the Hinterbrühl, where he sheltered less fortunate Jews and launched a scheme to smuggle them across the border. Eventually, he was caught and sent to Auschwitz. He died there in 1943.


Marie-Louise always rued the fact that in the end she could not help Karl, but she did save Henriette and herself. For the remainder of 1938, the two women based themselves in Holland. Here they ran into Beckmann and his wife, who had fled Germany the previous year. Although the Motesiczkys had relatives in Holland (as they did in just about every European country), they evidently did not consider settling there permanently. Marie-Louise and her mother made experimental forays to Belgium, France and England before choosing the last of these. Accompanied by the devoted nursemaid Marie Hauptmann (who had joined them in exile), they reached London a few days before Germany invaded Czechoslovakia, in March 1939. Karl forwarded their furniture, art and other sundries from Vienna, and after occupying a series of rented lodgings, Henriette and Marie-Louise bought a three-bedroom house in Amersham, a village about 27 miles northwest of London.


Not long after arriving in England, Marie-Louise painted her first allegory, The Travelers. The painting is often compared to Beckmann’s monumental allegory of exile, Departure. However Beckmann’s triptych more directly references the violent politics of Nazi Germany, while Motesiczky’s work is not only more lyrical—indeed, even comical—but at least on the surface, less opaque. The subjects, seated in a rudderless boat on choppy seas, resemble members of the artist’s immediate circle: from left to right, Marie Hauptmann, Henriette, Marie-Louise and Karl. Nevertheless Motesiczky insisted that the symbolism was not personal. The travelers are generic types, cast adrift together with their preexisting illusions and obsessions. The narcissist has brought along her huge mirror, while the obese nude clutches a mysterious phallic object that Motesiczky identified as a sausage. When one interpreter suggested it was a Torah scroll, the artist retorted, “Sausage is this woman’s Torah scroll.”


To a remarkable degree, Marie-Louise and Henriette were able to reconstruct a semblance of their former Austrian life in England, in part because they were wealthier than most refugees. Not only did they have their own furniture and Marie Hauptmann’s familiar cooking, but many old friends had washed ashore with them. The Motesiczkys reconnected with the sculptor Anna Mahler (daughter of Gustav and Alma Mahler), the painter Oskar Kokoschka and the art historian Ernst Gombrich, and they also made new contacts within the community of exiled intellectuals. Foremost among these was the Bulgarian-born writer (and future Nobel laureate) Elias Canetti, whom Marie-Louise met in 1939 or ’40. Although Canetti was married, he became the artist’s lover, friend and staunchest professional supporter for the next fifty years.


Unfortunately Canetti was a notorious philanderer. After the war, he and Motesiczky shared a London apartment, but the writer periodically returned home to his wife, Veza, and sometimes took other women to a separate third residence. In 1958 Henriette, who had remained in Amersham, began to show increasing signs of frailty, so Marie-Louise bought a house in Hampstead large enough to accommodate the two of them, along with Canetti and his extensive library. When Veza died in 1963, Motesiczky assumed she and her lover would finally marry. Instead Canetti secretly wed another, much younger woman. Motesiczky only found out about the marriage by accident some years after the fact, and she never fully recovered from the betrayal.


Whereas Karl had worried that Henriette would prevent Marie-Louise from finding fulfillment as a wife and artist, it is unlikely that a husband, at the time, would have granted her the creative autonomy that Canetti actively encouraged. But Motesiczky, too, was a woman of her time, trained to please others and not to assert herself forcefully. She achieved her ends through indirection and feigned helplessness. “I don’t believe that one follows one’s own path,” she said. “I paint because I cause people the least trouble that way. All my life my mother wanted to have me at home, and what else could I do there but paint?” Far from being an impediment, Henriette gave Marie-Louise license to develop her talent. Motesiczky once commented that her “chief gods” were Beckmann, Canetti and her mother. And indeed these were the three pillars that sustained her artistic career.


In England, Motesiczky perfected a style of representational Expressionism that owed a certain debt to Beckmann and Kokoschka. However as a second-generation Expressionist, she was less concerned with formulating a new pictorial language than with capturing the emotional content of her subjects. She and Canetti cherished those moments when one’s surroundings seem to “shine.” “You see something,” the painter explained, “and it is so animated because not just one but many memories are resonating.” Although Motesiczky almost always worked from nature, her goal was to transcend reality, to evoke the sensory residue that colors memory and surfaces in dreams. “In the course of painting I must be able to invent freely,” she said. “There a story might develop….Stories inspire the eyes.” This narrative bent—much at odds with contemporary artistic trends—may have derived from her family’s multigenerational literary proclivities. Motesiczky, whose cursory schooling had left her with a faulty command of written language, painted poems.


Motesiczky produced many compelling still lifes, landscapes, portraits and allegories, but knowledgeable observers—including Gombrich and Canetti—have repeatedly singled out the artist’s depictions of her mother for special praise. Created over a period of fifty years, the mother paintings may be divided into two groups: portraits and “stories.” The story paintings are often staged in the family’s Amersham or Hampstead gardens, which inevitably conjure the lost paradise of the Hinterbrühl. The events depicted here—a mysterious sunrise game of “catch” between mother and daughter, or a Short Trip in a ludicrous miniature car—seem to take place in an enchanted parallel universe. Shielded by Marie-Louise and by her own wide-eyed innocence, Henriette found in the natural environment a refuge from the demands of the outside world. And yet, as poignantly captured in Motesiczky’s painting The Way, there is no escaping mortality. The garden path leads eventually into darkness: the sun sets, flowers wilt and winter follows fall.


Motesiczky’s paintings chronicle her mother’s decline with an uncanny combination of honesty and love. The old brass bedstead from Hinterbrühl functions like a magic chariot, transporting Henriette from the realm of aristocratic privilege to the isolation of exile and infirmity. In her late seventies, as shown in a life-sized portrait from 1959, Henriette was still a force to be reckoned with. Her bulk dominates the pictorial space, her pipe raised in a masculine gesture of command. Some eighteen years later, in Mother with Baton, Henriette wields her conductor’s baton with far less authority. Her body has become ghostly, and even the brass bed appears to be vaporizing. Motesiczky makes no concessions to her mother’s vanity in these paintings. Her balding head is covered with a turban, then with an ill-fitting wig, and finally not at all. The artist accentuates her mother’s bulbous nose, a feature Henriette especially hated. Yet it is the eyes—pleading, generous, kind—that pull one into the mother paintings. “Despite her advanced age, for me she looked charming,” Motesiczky later recalled. “She was almost radiant each time I came into the room. 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….I was hoping that the overall impression would convey something of the immediate joy and hope she would show when someone came near her.” The mother paintings are a tribute not just to Henriette, but to the triumph of the human spirit.


After Henriette died in 1978, Marie-Louise created one last mother painting, The Greenhouse. Like many of the other story paintings in this series, it is staged in the Hampstead garden. The greenhouse mirrors the setting sun, while Henriette peacefully rakes leaves, accompanied by the ghosts of her beloved Italian greyhounds. Motesiczky also eulogized her mother in a poem:

I have found you down below!

where the dogs often go

You gather up the leaves.

Evening now is nearing

refreshing and cheering,

and still the spider weaves her spindly net

The sun sets

soon I’ll bring you to your bed

Just one bird sings in the tree

But your life is my dream


We would like to express our deepest gratitude to all the lenders whose generous cooperation made this exhibition possible, among them the Arts Council Collection, South Bank Centre, London; the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; the Manchester City Galleries, Manchester; Tate; and an anonymous private collector. Above all, we would like to thank the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust for underwriting the British loans and Jill Lloyd’s lecture, and the Trustees, especially Frances Carey, for their unstinting counsel and assistance. Jill Lloyd’s biography The Undiscovered Expressionist (288 pages; 35 illustrations; hardcover) and Ines Schlenker’s catalogue raisonné Marie-Louise von Motesiczky (560 pages; over 350 color illustrations; hardcover) provided essential information in preparing this exhibition and its accompanying documentation. Copies of these books may be purchased from the gallery for $30 and $150 respectively. Also available, for $35, is the catalogue for the 2006-07 Marie-Louise Motesiczky traveling exhibition (264 pages; over 150 color illustrations; hardcover). Domestic shipping and handling charges are $30 each for the catalogue raisonné and $15 each for the other books; New York residents, please also add sales tax. Checklist entries include catalogue raisonné numbers, where applicable.