Thursday, 11 September 2014

Charlotte Hilmer: on the island of Sylt.

Hilmer-Wegel, Charlotte   

(Magdeburg 04-05-1909 – 07-05-1958 Hamburg)

Painter, bookplate and printmaker. 

(left: self-portrait)

Also known as Lotte Wegel, Charlotte Hilmer actually does not fit my proper field of research criteria: German pioneering printmaking women-artists born before 1900. But bending the rules sometimes can be irresistible and like in this case very rewarding. So here's her short biography by the bits and pieces I was able to find so far.

Sylt, Dunes

Illustrating this post by a choice of examples of her work. I stumbled upon her  four 1939 expressionist woodblock prints of the isle of Sylt (Germany's most Northern North-Sea island and holiday retreat) by chance. The were created  the year she (30) married artist Arnold Hilmer, maybe on her honeymoon.

Charlotte (Lotte) studied 1928/29 in the “Landeskunstschule Hamburg” with Eduard Steinbach (1878-1939), 1929/30 in the “Kunstakademie Königsberg” with Richard Pfeiffer (1878-1962) and 1930/33 in the “Akademie für Bildende Kunste Stuttgart” with Anton Kolig (1886-1950) and Robert Breyer (1866-1941) and there was influenced by the art of Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980).

Robert Breyer: Sylt 1941

Kokoschka: Stuttgart
At first Charlotte was mostly involved with nudes and later became interested in persons, portraits and still-life working in an expressionist style. 

Eve's posture, in Charlotte's Adam and Eve woodcut, reminded me of two Rembrandt women, a small etching in Teylers Museum and Susanna and the Elders from the Mauritshuis Museum collection, both in the Netherlands. Charlottes portraits and nudes resemble closely the works that her husband created, some of them are known to show  his wife (below).

From 1941 she painted mainly landscapes in watercolor and oil and made travels to Denmark, the Netherlands and Italy.

Works by Cahrlotte Hilmer are collected in the Kunsthalle Hamburg and in the Märkischen Museum in Witten. 

In 1939 she married painter, printmaker and sculptor Arnold Hilmer (1908-1993) who she’d known from her student years and who had studied in the same classes and institutions. The following works (below) by are by him. 

Besides the known portrait of his wife reading (above), some other works including this nude and sculpted portrait could also be very well showing Charlotte. He survived her by 35 years: Charlotte tragically committed suicide in 1958.

Hamburg: am Dom (at the fair)

Family on the beach: probably Sylt
All pictures borrowed freely from the Internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only.

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