Monday, 2 June 2014

Agnes Meyerhof, sister of the Wild One.

Meyerhof, Agnes
(Hildesheim June 2th 1856 – August 22nd - 1942, murdered aged 86(!) in Theresiënstadt concentration camp)
Sculptor, (portrait)-painter, drawer, arts and crafts artist and printmaker. 

Obtaining by swapping prints with very friendly German collector Wolfang this wonderful print of Castle Blonay in Switzerland is a good opportunity to continu posting after a short break. For this reason I share today the entry on Agnes Meyerhof in the proposed book on some 150 pioneering German women artists born 1860-1900 and active between 1900-1940 with color woodblock printmaking. 

Agnes Meyerhof was one of four children of the well to do Hildesheim Jewish merchant Magnus Meyerhof (?- 1900). The Meyerhof family has been for 250 years residents of Hildesheim, the ancestral house located in the “Friesensteg”. The children enjoyed much artistic encouragement in childhood from their mother Caroline Schwabe (she died in 1877). Agnes' sister, Leonie Meyerhof (1858-1933) was a well known writer, playwright and literary critic. Their nephew Otto Meyerhof (Hildesheim 1884-1952 Philadelphia - USA) was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1922, fled the Nazis through France and emigrated to the USA. Both sisters were awarded street names in Hildesheim.

Agnes received first drawing lessons, with her sister, from the sculptor prof. Friedrich Küsthardt (1830-1900) in Hildesheim and later studied with Julius Maria Jakob Welsch (1832-1899) and Hugo Steiner-Prag (Prague 1880 – 1945 New-York). The Frankfurt Zoo, its animals and the palm garden were favourite subjects and she travelled to Florence and Rome. Her work is collected and displayed in the Städel-Museum in Frankfurt am Main. Only these 2 prints came to my knowledge to this day: Pelicans  and Castle Blonay in Switzerland.  
Some of the painting by Agnes Meyerhof I was able to find.

Isobel Bohun-Lockyer (1895-1982), one of the few outside the Grosvenor School british linocut printmakers of the time, also visited Blonay Castle creating this print in 1924: nice enough, but nowhere matching the free artistic cutting and printing hand of Agnes, making very curious for more examples of her printmaking.  

Gustave Courbet (1819-1877) was here too. Besides the cold walls of Blonay (he was born in Switzerland) he painted this luscious female landscape "Origin du Monde" along with its title not just a celebration of purest female beauty but also a philosophical contemplation concerning the aesthetics of sexual desire. 

Which brings me to Agnes' sister Leonie Meyerhof of whom I did find a portrait. She expresses in words, much like Courbet did in paint, deepest thoughts and feelings about sexuality, desires and the meaning of (her) life. 

Ich bin die Feuerlilie
Die wilde der Familie
Bin hoch und schlank
Bin flammenbraun
Und gucke über 
Den Gartenzaun

Ich bin die Feuerlilie
Die wilde der Familie
Ich will die Welt 
Da draußen sehen 
Komm nimm mich, Windchen
Und tu mir schön!

Ich bin die Feuerlilie
Die wilde der Familie
Meine Schwestern weiß
Sind Klosterfraun,
Die goldene Blickes 
Zum Lichte schaun   

Ich bin die Feuerlilie
Die wilde der Familie
Mein Sein ist kurz,
Ist Lust und Glut -
Rasch will ich sterben,
So find' ich's gut. -
Ich bin der Feuerlilie!  

 Te Nave Nave Fenua (The Delightful Land), 1892
(Paul Gauguin 1848-1903)

(A quick -my- translation for English readers)

I am the fire lilly, the wild one in the family.
I'm lean and tall, flaming brown and peeping over the garden wall 
I am the fire lilly, the wild one in the family.
I want to see the world outside, take me, breath of wind and do me good. 
I am the fire lilly, the wild one in the family.
My sisters white, are nuns looking up into the light with golden gazes
I am the fire lilly, the wild one in the family.
My life on earth is short and will be over soon, all lust and glow, and thats fine with me, 

I am the fire lilly ! 


All pictures borrowed freely from the internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only.


  1. All these fire lilies and pussies and what am I all excited about? Pelicans! Yay Pelicans!

  2. I knew you would be lily, but the lilies and pussies aren' too bad either.