Databáze uměleckých výstav v českých zemích 1820 – 1950

Sudeten German Woman in Art


The exhibition Sudeten German Women in Art was prepared by the Fine Arts Section of the Museum Association in Teplice-Šanov as its 14th show. Emma Meisel, the exhibition’s main organizer, was a teacher at the local private lycée. She was of Jewish origin. Between 1932 and 1938, Meisel organized 18 exhibitions dedicated to German speaking artists from Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia, taking active part in exhibition, acquisition and education activities in what was then the local museum in the spa city of Teplice. In all her activities, she built on her knowledge of Czech-German art and then-contemporary art, although she was not always successful in her efforts to promote it in Teplice.

The exhibition of German speaking female artists was a unique project in the interwar period. It loosely followed the earlier activities of the Association of German Women Painters (Verein deutscher Malerinnen) which regularly exhibited in Prague’s Krasoumná jednota (Fine Arts Association) and was also established in Brno and Ústí nad Labem. These exhibitions show that there was a steady group of women artists, some of whom were self-taught. 

Meisel approached 60 artists to participate in the show. Although some of the works were purchased for the collections of the museum, we are now unable to identify the vast majority of the artifacts presented at the exhibition. Most of them were inspired by Post-Impressionism, Naturalism and the nineteenth-century academic tradition. The work of Ernestine Jelinek-Prisching, originally from the town of Kašperské Hory, is an example of this style. Jelinek-Prisching worked as a high school teacher of drawing in Moravská Ostrava and Vienna; after the death of her husband, the art historian Rudolf Prisching, she lived in Kašperské Hory and Železná Ruda. She exhibited two still lifes, a nude and a portrait. The paintings of another painter, Inge Thiele-Peschka captured the light in Dalmatia. Lili Gödl-Brandhuber worked with the same motif, but in a colourful rendition influenced by her childhood in the Haná region. Meisel considered Gödl-Brandhuber’s paintings as parallel to the work of the representatives of the art colony in Dachau. The exhibition also contained what may have been modernist artworks, such as the Portrait of Mayr-Harting by Mia Münzer featuring “repulsively deformed hands” [Meisel 1936], and the work of Grete Schmied, in which Meisel detected rudiments of abstraction. 

Selling prices may serve as one of the measures for evaluating the exhibition. Inge Thiele-Peschka, Otty Schneider, Grete Schmied, Charlotte Schroetter-Radnitz, Hermine Lindner, Gertrude Kauders and Lili Gödl-Brandhuber exhibited the most expensive works, each at the cost of over 2000 crowns. However, the most expensive oil that actually sold – Alice Adamek-Kick’s Flower Sill Life with Sword-Lilies – was considerably cheaper; the Teplice baker, Köhler, bought it for 600 Crowns. In the case of the youngest artists, there are no surviving works, originals or reproductions. According to the list of exhibited artworks preserved in the Teplice District Archive, one part of the exhibition was dedicated to applied arts. It is unlikely that the artistic quality of these artifacts was particularly high, but we may assume they were works of excellent craftsmanship that could be exhibited at a large, comprehensive exhibition. 

Emma Meisel’s conception did not avoid simplistic interpretation of gender specificity – women’s art as perceived as an artistic agenda of sorts. This may have been a reason why some of the established artists did not send their works to the exhibition. Neither Mary Duras not Gabriele Waldert were represented, both sculptors whose work and international activities exceeded the horizon of German-speaking Bohemia. The prominent regional artists Edith Plischke-Fleissner and Amai Bunzl-Hallegger were also missing. Meisel may have pursued two main purposes in her Teplice show. She certainly wanted to create a suitable complement to the interesting exhibition program of the Fine Arts Section she had built. But her aim was likely higher, as the exhibition had a state-wide significance. Although her final selection of artworks can be questioned, Meisel offered a dignified presentation of Czechoslovak German speaking female artists that placed their art into the wider framework of Czechoslovak art and helped them get selected for international shows, such as the Exhibition of Modern Art by Czechoslovak Women opened in October 1936 in Sophia. 

 Anna Habánová

Works Cited

Meisel 1936: Emma Meisel, Ausstellung der sudetendeutschen Künstlerinnen. (Malerei, Graphik, Plastik, Kunstgewerbe im Museumssaal in Teplitz-Schönau)., Teplitz-Schönauer Anzeiger LXXV, 1936, 22. 3., SOkA Teplice, fonds Muzejní společnost, sekce pro výtvarné umění, spisy (Museum Society, Fine Arts Section, files) 

Další literatura

Bohuslava Chleborádová (ed.), Umění v nouzi!? (exh. cat.), Regionální muzeum v Teplicích, Teplice 2020

Bohuslava Chleborádová, Ztracená léta a naděje – výtvarná a výstavní činnost v Teplicích mezi dvěma válkami, 1920–1938, in: Anna Habánová (ed.), Mladí lvi v kleci. Umělecké skupiny německy hovořících výtvarníků z Čech, Moravy a Slezska v meziválečném období (exh. cat.), Oblastní galerie v Liberci, Řevnice – Liberec 2013, pp. 190–201

Archival Sources

SOkA Teplice, fonds Spolky, Sekce pro výtvarné umění [Associations, Fine Arts Section]


Exhibiting authors
Reviews in the press
Meisel Emma

Emma Meisel, Eine Ausstellung sudetendeutscher Künstlerinnen, Reichenberger Zeitung LXXVII, 1936, no. 71, 24. 3., p. 5

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