Saturday, 27 September 2014

Who was Walli Peretz-Brutzkus ?

Walli (Waltraut)
Russia (or Lithuania ?) 1884 - ?

Painter and printmaker 

It is said Walli Peretz came to Germany in 1918 from Russia and settled in Berlin and that she was a painter and a sculptor. The sculptor bit is possibly the result of translating "holzschnitt" (or woodcut) bluntly or ignorantly. There are no examples to be found of any sculptural output by her. Her printmaking skills most probably she learned in Berlin with teacher Emil Orlik. "Walli" might be short or endearing for "Walter", around 1900 a name in use and more popular for girls then for boys. And faithful reader Markus informed me that "Walli" is also commonly used as short for "Waltraut"

These three examples of woodblock prints showing flowers in vases are all I was able to find so far.  The Sunflowers recently surfacing in France ! And there's a "Russischer Bauernhof" or Russian farmhouse but that one is described as a colored etching.

My research concerning pioneering German women printmakers (born before 1900) until know failed to have any results about this Jewish artist. In Berlin (Tiergarten area) lived a the Jewish couple: Rosa Brutzkus married to professor Dr. Eugen Wolbe (1873-1938) a Berlin pedagog. Rosa was born in Königsberg  (Lithuania) now Kaliningrad 20-07-1882 and was murdered in Riga by the Nazis 15-08-1942. Maybe she was related to Walli. Prof. Eugen Wolbe has his entry in the Wikipedia.  

Some information on the Brutzkus familie available in the Internet. 

There were two brothers Dr. Julius and Dr. Boris Brutzkus born 1870 and 1874 who both also have an entry in the Wikipedia: Julius an economist and Boris an agricultural expert. They were born in Polangen (Courland) in Lithuania which is not that far from Königsberg where Rosa (above) was born. A region then called "the Pale" and densely populated by Jews. Both brothers studied and lived in Moscow at the time some 20.000 (!) Jewish artisans and descendants of Jewish soldiers were expelled from the city in 1892. Their influence and wealth, according to Grand Prince Sergei Aleksandrovich the governor-general of Moscow and a son of Tsar Alexander II, a threat and by sending them away "saving Moscow from the Jews". 

All (biographical and/or genealogical) help, any information about Walli Peretz-Brutzkus would be most welcome, warmly received and shared by this Blog.  

(The owner of the Poppies print is requested to contact me please).   


  1. Replies
    1. Hello Karen, she is a very enigmatic artist, these are the only three examples discovering the sunflowers just a few weeks ago. I'ld love to find out who she was and doing her some honor. I'm afraid her history is covered by the dust, destruction and turmoil of WW2. Like so many Jewish artists she probably perished or simply "disappeared" from the face of the earth and from written records. So many archives were also destroyed making it very difficult to find anything and now memory is the last resort. There must still be relatives who remember "Tante Walli". One day, someone Googling her name will make contact I'm sure. The combined powers invested in the Internet creating new opportunities I sincerely hope. I currently have collected and created the short biographies of some 150 German women artists born 1850-1900 who were pioneering with color woodblock printmaking in the beginning of the 20th century. Many as obscured as Walli Peretz-Brutzkus.