Loading Events

Marie-Louise von Motesiczky was born into a wealthy, aristocratic Jewish family in Vienna in 1906. She trained under the German painter Max Beckmann, a family friend, and embarked on a promising career. When the National Socialists marched into Austria in 1938 Motesiczky fled the country for the Netherlands, eventually settling in England. Her attempts to build a new life in a foreign country were supported by a network of fellow émigrés, among them the painter Oskar Kokoschka and the writer Elias Canetti, with whom she had a long relationship.

Lecture by Ines Schlenker, introduced and moderated by Rachel Stern.

Image above: Self-Portrait with Red Hat, 1938 (Private Collection) ©️Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust 2023

In a career that spanned over seven decades she created a large oeuvre of over three hundred paintings, mainly portraits, self-portraits and still-lifes. Reluctant to exhibit and not forced to sell her work for a living, her art developed away from the public eye, independent of current trends. Although, over the decades, she had a number of solo exhibitions both in her adopted country and abroad, her artistic career failed to take off for a long time.

Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, The Travellers, 1940 (Stanley Museum of Art, University of Iowa) ©️Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust 2023

Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Finchley Road at Night, 1952 (Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, Amsterdam) ©️Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust 2023

While her solo exhibition at the Wiener Secession in 1966 brought her artistic recognition in her native country, her breakthrough in England only came in 1985 with a solo exhibition at the Goethe-Institut in London. Since then her reputation as a major émigré artist has steadily grown, supported, after her death in 1996, by the activities of the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust.

Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Elias Canetti, 1960 (Wien Museum, Vienna) ©️Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust 2023

Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Iris Murdoch, 1964 (St Anne’s College, Oxford) ©️Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust 2023

Ines Schlenker is an independent art historian with a special interest in National Socialist, ‘degenerate’ and émigré art. Hitler’s Salon, her study of the officially approved art in the Third Reich as shown at the Great German Art Exhibition, was published in 2007. She wrote the catalogue raisonné of the paintings of the Vienna-born émigré Marie-Louise von Motesiczky (2009), co-edited the artist’s correspondence with the writer Elias Canetti (2011) and curated the exhibition at Tate Britain, London, that celebrated the opening of the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Archive Gallery in 2019. Recent publications include Capturing Time, a study of the life and work of the émigré artist Milein Cosman (2019), and Chagall (2022). She is a member of the committee of the Research Centre for German and Austrian Exile Studies.

You can find out more about the artist in the following publications by Ines Schlenker:

Marie-Louise von Motesiczky 1906–1996, exhibition catalogue, Tate Liverpool/Museum Giersch, Frankfurt am Main/Wien Museum, Vienna/Southampton City Art Gallery, 2006

Marie-Louise von Motesiczky 1906–1996. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings, Manchester and New York 2009

Liebhaber ohne Adresse. Elias Canetti und Marie-Louise von Motesiczky. Briefwechsel 1942–1992, co-edited with Kristian Wachinger, Munich 2011 (French translation available, no English translation)

Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, From Night into Day, 1975 (Tate, London) ©️Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust 2023

This event is part of the monthly series “Flight or Fight. stories of artists under repression,” which is organized by The Fritz Ascher Society for Persecuted, Ostracized and Banned Art, New York. Future events and the recordings of past events can be found HERE.

The Fritz Ascher Society is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization. Your donation is fully tax deductible.

Share This