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Premiere for the women artists of the avant-garde – from October 30, 2015 to February 7, 2016 at the SCHIRN

The new century gets off to a stormy start

It is 1910. Artists and intellectuals are rebelling against the confines of the encrusted Wilhelmine period with radical innovations. Particularly in Berlin, new ideas are bubbling under the surface.

Front cover of DER STURM, July 1916, woodcut by Jacoba van Heemskerck


The atmosphere was highly charged. Art critic and composer Herwarth Walden took the bold step of founding a magazine to foster Expressionist art: DER STURM (THE STORM). It hit a nerve and quickly became one of the most important publications for interaction between writers and artists in Germany. The magazine’s great success led Walden to open the STURM Gallery, which was to make him a champion of avant-garde art.


Sonia Delaunay, Portuguese Market, 1915

The great patron of the female avant-garde

The term STURM or storm was a battle-cry leveled at anything established. Walden called for the traditional art and culture of the period to be entirely renewed.

STURM soon became a trademark with a signal effect. Herwarth Walden founded the STURM Academy, STURM evenings and STURM theatre and put out feelers for trailblazing young artists in the avant-garde centers, namely Paris, Munich, Vienna and Moscow. The STURM Gallery showed big names such as Marc Chagall, Franz Marc, Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee. What is little known is that Walden also highly regarded female artists; around a quarter of the artworks presented in the gallery were by women.

The STURM Gallery exhibited numerous international women artists, for example Scandinavian Sigrid Hjertén and Belgian Marthe Donas. Jacoba van Heemskerk from The Hague advanced to become the STURM woman artist per se – no other woman had more works exhibited in Walden’s gallery. From 1912 to 1932 Herwarth Walden organized at least 192 exhibitions in Germany and more than 170 abroad, including in New York and Tokyo.

Herwarth Walden, 1918


Else Lasker-Schüler

My husband is the greatest artist and most profound idealist I have ever encountered.

In the early 20th century it was widely believed that women lacked creative talent and consequently could never develop into artists who should be taken seriously.

Malweiber, drawing by Bruno Paul, Simplicissimus, 1901

„You see, my dear lady, there are two sorts of women painters, the first would like to marry and the others have no talent either.“

Simplicissimus, 1901

Until 1919 women were not allowed to study at the art academies in the German Empire or at other state colleges or universities, for that matter. Which makes it all the more remarkable that Herwarth Walden was not swayed by such prejudices. On comparison the gallery owner showed more women artists (namely over 30) than all his competitors together.

Else Lasker-Schüler, Jussuf prince Tiba. Postcard to Franz Marc, 1913
Else Lasker-Schüler, The Flautist, frontispiece of the epistolary novel “Mein Herz”, 1912

Writer Else Lasker-Schüler invented colorful names for many of her artist friends and acquaintances. She gave her husband Georg Lewin the famous pseudonym “Herwarth Walden”, choosing for herself the alter ego Jussuf, Prince of Thebes in her stories and letters. She also gave the magazine its name, DER STURM, as a signal for breaking new ground. Even after her divorce from Herwarth Walden in 1912 the poet remained in lively artistic contact with the STURM network.

Against everything lukewarm and fearful

Gabriele Münter, Portrait Wassily Kandinsky, 1906


The first exhibition at the STURM Gallery in Berlin in 1912 showed works by the Blauer Reiter group. Alongside artists such as Oskar Kokoschka, Franz Marc and Wassily Kandinsky, artist Gabriele Münter was also represented, who was one of the group’s founding members.

Gabriele Münter portrayed Marianne von Werefkin as an elegant, confident woman in strong colors. Werefkin was considered to have a highly vivacious and strong personality, a revolutionary spirit with an aversion to “anything lukewarm and fearful”1. As members of the Blauer Reiter group, the two painters had a longstanding friendship and shared what were sometimes difficult experiences as the partners of artists: Werefkin lived with Jawlensky for a long time and Münter had a relationship with Kandinsky.

Marianne Werefkin in a letter, 1905
0:00 min.
Gabriele Münter, Portrait of Marianne Werefkin, 1909

A vibrant capital

Capital of the German Empire, Europe’s largest trading hub, growing global metropolis. Loud, bustling, hectic. Berlin was all this at once. It had more than two million inhabitants. This was where the world of the chic bourgeoisie and that of the impoverished underclasses met.

The speed of the city’s economic upturn actually sparked growing poverty, prostitution, impoverishment and political unrest. Simultaneously, cultural life took off. Up until the late 1920s Berlin was internationally famous for its debauched nightlife, something that only came to an end with the Great Depression in 1929.

In the middle of the up-and-coming metropolis, the STURM Gallery near Potsdamer Platz became a veritable avant-garde microcosm. In addition to the trailblazing exhibitions of avant-garde art there were STURM evenings, with poetry recitals, dramatic performances by the STURM theatre and musical events. The STURM bookstore sold art books and art postcards from the STURM publishers.

Outdoor advertising on the gallery façade at Potsdamer Strasse 134a, February 1921

The driving force of STURM

The emergence of the entire STURM universe was largely the work of Herwarth Walden’s second wife, Nell Roslund, a native Swede.

Thanks to her well-paid work as a journalist and translator she not only ensured the gallery’s financial survival, but also became the organizational driving force behind STURM. It is down to her that, among other things, the STURM network continued to gain significance. Walden organized numerous exhibitions abroad and made sure the artists he showed became known internationally.

Herwarth and Nell Walden in the dining room in their apartment on Potsdamer Strasse. On the wall are pictures by Marc Chagall


Bright swirls of color, stark contrasts and geometrical shapes define the stage design for the cloak-and-dagger comedy “The Phantom Lady”.

Alexandra Exter, Scenic construction for “The Phantom Lady” by Calderón, 1924

In the 1920s Walden was very interested in Eastern Europe and the radical political changes taking place there. Naturally, works by Vjera Biller from Belgrade or Russians Natalia Goncharova and Alexandra Exter were shown at STURM. Particularly Exter’s cool, techy-looking sets still appear futuristic today. With their unusual arrangement of spatial elements they play with viewers’ expectations.

In their native countries these women already numbered among the most pioneering of women artists. They were well ahead of their time and broke with established perceptual habits. Yet historiography rarely acknowledges the female contribution to the development of Modern art. Today many of their achievements are ascribed to their male colleagues, yet the latter often profited artistically from women artists.

STURM and the European avant-garde

Maria Uhden, Dance (detail), undated

World on the brink

Against a menacing mountain landscape we see two thin figures: rag collectors. The apocalyptic scenery symbolizes the dramatic shortage of food large sections of the population suffered from toward the end of World War I. Poverty, malnutrition and hunger took a terrible toll.

The monarchy had collapsed at the end of World War I, leaving chaos in its wake. The new republic was weak and lacked support amongst the population.

Rather than being able to tackle the problems created by the country’s defeat, the young democracy was caught up in a permanent battle for survival, having to defend itself against militant groups from both the extreme right and left. Owing to the bloody unrest in Berlin, the unpopular government convened in Weimar.

Marianne Werefkin, The Rag-Picker, 1917

During World War I Magda Langenstraß-Uhlig accompanied her husband in his work as a medical officer attached to various field hospitals. It was very unusual for a female artist to volunteer to witness such dramatic situations. In the sensitive drawings she made on site Langenstraß-Uhlig addresses the inconceivable horrors of war.

There was no caring for the millions of people displaced by and returning from the War, and homeless people and amputees forced to become beggars were a common sight in many towns. The Weimar Republic faced huge challenges: After the War, the high reparation payments hampered economic recovery. Entire factories and firms were dismantled and made over to the victorious powers. And as the German Empire had been obliged to cede almost one seventh of its territory, the country was also gripped by a wave of migrants. With the loss of the social order characteristic of the imperial era, times seemed out of kilter.

Magda Langenstraß-Uhlig, Two Comrades, 1916–18

Between Apocalypse and ecstasy

Against the background of an uncertain future, people sought diversion and amusement. Especially in Berlin everyone who could afford it dove into the colorful nightlife. People went to the cinema, cabaret or dance theatres. The urban population indulged in the latest dances from America as if this would help them shake off not only the dust of the Empire, but also their despair. With a previously unknown freedom of movement, people danced the Shimmy, Charleston and Swing – ecstatic dances of death by a society on the brink.

Dancers enjoying Berlin’s nightlife in the 1920s (silent film)


Magda Langenstraß-Uhlig, Fire-Jumpers, approx. 1919

As a typical image of this era, “Fire-Jumpers” by Magda Langenstraß-Uhlig conveys the contradictory attitude to life and the mood in the cities. Opting for an expressive formal language and color contrasts, she conjures up a powerful apocalyptic scenario.

She paved the way for the Guggenheim Museum

Red, green and blue contrasts in amorphous shapes overlap like sounds in the portrait-format painting. They stem from a fixed point in the lower left quarter of the image and extend out in a wild rhythm in all directions across the entire painting.

The work by painter Hilla Rebay entitled “Composition 1” was one of the earliest abstract works to be exhibited at the STURM Gallery. The artist’s intention “to paint music”2 (having found the theoretical foundation in Kandinsky’s treatise “Concerning the Spiritual in Art”) is clearly evident in the painting.

It was not only artistically that Rebay was a pioneer: In 1927, following the end of a relationship, she emigrated to America. There she met industrial magnate Solomon R. Guggenheim, whom she encouraged to collect contemporary European art. As long-standing advisor to Guggenheim, Rebay laid the foundations for the establishment of the famous Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, today one of the world’s most important collections. It was also Rebay who commissioned architect Frank Lloyd Wright to design the spectacular museum building.

Hilla von Rebay, Composition 1, 1915
Irene Guggenheim, Wassily Kandinsky, Hilla von Rebay and Solomon R. Guggenheim, Dessau, 1930

The new woman

Gabriele Münter, Black Mask with Pink (detail), approx. 1912

The age of diverse art trends

“Woman with Hat” is an arrangement of conical volumes and geometric shapes. Shiny reflections and stark shadows not only convey the impression of plasticity, but also lend the figure a machine-like appearance.

The years from the turn of the century until the Nazis seized power were a time of stylistic experimentation for artists. This development was fostered by alternative training options and the art market beyond the state academies. Several styles existed simultaneously, were deemed of equal merit, and developed alongside, out of, or by merging with one another. Naturally, women artists also distinguished themselves in these innovative styles, shrugging off the prejudice that women were not capable of pioneering artistic achievements. For Herwarth Walden all these new styles were “Expressionist”, in keeping with his world view, while art history today distinguishes more strongly between the various artistic positions.

Marte Donas, Woman with Hat, 1918


Amazons of Modernity

During the Weimar Republic women were for the first time able to enjoy social liberties previously denied them. These new self-confident women worked, smoked and drank alcohol, gradually blurring the classic gender divides.

The growing acceptance of female skills in various areas of life paved the way for female artists to also invade this hitherto male domain. Naturally, this was not without obstacles. It was considered ambivalent praise for women artists for their work to be described as “masculine” – naturally by men.

Several women artists first published their works under a male pseudonym – or at least gave themselves a neutral touch, such as Marthe Donas, who first entered the art scene under a neutral name, “Tour”. Very few artists succeeded in liberating themselves from the structures of gender-specific evaluation.

Marthe Donas, Bust of a Woman, 1919
Detail: Signature “Tour Donas”

Alisa Georgyevna Koonen

I later found out that they were referred to as ‘the Amazonians’ in left-wing artistic circles, for they showed a somewhat martial spirit in all debates and discussions.

Frivolous and flighty?

As far as fashion goes, the woman depicted in 1915 by Sigrid Hjertén wearing a fur coat and red hat is spot on. Her head, with red cloche atop, is coquettishly cocked to one side. Her bob peeks out from below the hat, a short hairstyle revolutionary for women at that time.

In the 1920s this so-called flapper look was very popular with modern city women. Flapper was a term for flighty young women who confidently ignored traditional etiquette and female roles. They wore their skirts and hair short, put on makeup, smoked and drank, danced though the nightclubs and arranged rendezvous with men, all of which would have been inconceivable a few years before.

Sigrid Hjertén, Woman Wearing a Fur Coat and a Red Hat, 1915

Without batting an eyelid

By contrast, the portrait of a young woman by Emmy Klinker does not have the flirtatious nature of Hjertén’s woman in a red hat.

Emmy Klinker, Portrait of a Young Woman, 1920–21

The woman avoids our eye. Not even the yellow bird on her shoulder seems flighty – in fact it seems as if its chirping is annoying rather than pleasing the woman. Precisely because we as observers feel cut off and irritated, the highly expressive woman magically attracts our attention – even though she does not necessarily correspond to the contemporary notion of beauty in the conventional sense.

It is the picture of an independent woman who deliberately forgoes any kind of coquetry. It is probable that the woman depicted is a self-portrait of Klinker.

A sign of Modernity: art as a lifestyle

Theatre performance in an exhibition by Sonia Delaunay

Combining the human body with abstract elements

The man and woman in the Toboggan troupe seem wild and dynamic. The full-body costumes worn by the two figures are essentially gaudy fields of color.

The masks bear simplified, insect-like traits. The costumes conceal Lavinia Schulz and her dance partner and companion Walter Holdt. Schulz had developed dance choreographies and designed and made these as well as other free-dance costumes, using papier-mâché, wire, buckles, leather and painted sacking. In uniting several art disciplines – music, dance, painting and sculpture – the artist created a gesamtkunstwerk, for whose existence she lived.

Expressionist free dance experienced a boom in the 1920s. In striving to free the body and integrate natural movements into dance, Schulze’s works were pioneering for the German dance and theatre scene at the time.

Minya Diez Dührkoop, Toboggan dance duo (Schulz and Holdt), approx. 1924
Left: Lavinia Schulz, Toboggan Woman, original 1924; Right: Lavinia Schulz, Toboggan Man, original 1924


Dimensions of applied art

It was difficult both for men and women artists to live from the sale of their art. The artists whose output Walden showed in the early 20th century were not able to sell pieces at prices anywhere near the high figures achieved in the market today by works of Wassily Kandinsky or Franz Marc.

The art business offered many female artists a means of engaging in a creative occupation, earning money and expressing themselves. Art no longer only included painting, sculpture or architecture, but also embraced literature, music, dance, film, theatre, design or printing. Particularly in theatre but also in the field of design, the innovative spirit of artists such as Sonia Delaunay, Lavinia Schulz or Alexandra Exter was recognized. Female artists not only explored the interactive effect of individual colors at a theoretical level, but also tackled it practically. The color theories in applied art of the day are evident in Sonia Delaunay’s “Simultankleid” or Jacoba van Heemskerck’s glass windows.

Sonia Delaunay in her studio in Paris, 1925
Left: Jacoba van Heemskerck, Design for windowpane no.17, hallway window, Wulffraat residence, 1919; Right: Sonia Delaunay, Dessin 965, 1930

Against the two-class society

The artists of the avant-garde incorporated everyday objects in their concept of art; this extended to things like furnishings and tableware, fabrics and fashion, theatre stage sets, book covers or glass windows.

In the STURM world view, the idea was to design all aspects of life through art. Founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus united art and crafts and as such represented a new form of art college.

Hilla von Rebay with fellow students at the Debschitz-Schule, Munich, approx. 1911

Hilla Rebay attended the Debschitz-Schule in Munich, where in keeping with the Reform spirit no division was made between the fine and applied arts. Men and women were able to study side by side in classes, an exception back then.

Artist couples

Sigrid Hjertén painting her son Iván at home, 1916

Numerous STURM women lived in partnerships with artists – sometimes as married couples, but also in more or less open relationships, which were consequently not recognized by society. It was not rare for the women artists to be the breadwinners in the relationship.

They brought their private wealth into the partnership, but above all they earned more money with their applied art than their partners did from selling paintings. While the latter advanced their artistic careers, some STURM women moved into the applied arts, which their partners did not consider to be equal competition.

Pioneer of the sci-fi

Jakov A. Protasanov, film still from “Aelita”, b&w film with costumes by Alexandra Exter, 1924

Heed the signals!

Everywhere in the world, radio stations are receiving mysterious signals. A Soviet radio operator is convinced they are coming from Mars!

The trailblazing film on the purported interplanetary news had people flocking to Moscow’s cinemas in 1924 for the premiere of the silent movie “Aelita”. In powerful images, the modern scenic design tells of life in Socialist Moscow and the utopian-futurist society on Mars and ensured the sci-fi adventure was one of the outstanding pioneering works of young Soviet cinema, even before “Metropolis”, Fritz Lang’s milestone in film history.

Film Clip from “Aelita”

The Red Planet and its inhabitants

Director Yakov A. Protazanov had above all artist Alexandra Exter to thank for the success of his future vision of love, betrayal and socialist revolution on the Red Planet.

Her innovative stage design for the Martian kingdom and costumes for the Martian population increasingly bewitch viewers. The figures come to life in the symbiosis of movement and costume.

The STURM legacy

Herwarth Walden’s living room, with desk. On the walls are paintings by Oskar Kokoschka, Marc Chagall and others

The end of an era

In 1932 Walden closed the STURM Gallery and moved to Russia. He had already been enamored with Communism’s ideals back in the 1920s. In 1941, he became caught under the wheels of the Stalinist system, was wrongly imprisoned for treason and died in jail six months later.

Following their separation, Walden had made the remaining paintings from the STURM Gallery over to his second wife Nell. She fled the Nazis and managed to take them with her to Switzerland. It was not until the middle of the 20th century that some of them were auctioned, but there was no patching over the hole the Third Reich rent in European art production.


The STURM women and their achievements were forgotten. Now we must tell their story anew!



Go straight into the exhibition without waiting!


Opening hours, getting to us, guided tours, and much more besides – all at a glance


While you enjoy the exhibition, the children can make their very own discoveries!


Spoken by Johanna Wokalek


The Digitorial is supported by
Digitorial design and development:
Scholz & Volkmer


Marcelle Cahn
Frau und Segel/ Woman and Sail, ca. 1926–27
Öl auf Leinwand/ Oil on canvas
66 × 50 cm
Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Straßburg/ Strasbourg
© Musées de Strasbourg, A. Plisson

Jacoba van Heemskerck
Titelseite/ Cover DER STURM
Halbmonatszeitschrift für die Kultur und die Künste/ Fortnightly journal for culture and the arts
Jg./ Vol. 7; Nr./ no. 4, Juli/ July 1916
© Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg Frankfurt am Main

Sonia Delaunay
Portugiesischer Markt/ Portuguese Market, 1915
Öl und Wachsfarbe auf Leinwand/ Oil and wax-paint on canvas
90,5 × 90,5 cm
Museum of Modern Art, New York
© 2015, digital image: The Museum of Modern Art, New York/ Scala, Florence

Bruno Paul
Zeichnung/ Drawing „Malweiber“
Jg./ Vol. 6; Nr./ no. 15, 1901
© Fotothek/ Digitalisierungszentrum Klassik Stiftung Weimar, Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek/ VG-Bildkunst, Bonn 2015

Else Lasker-Schüler
Jussuf prince Tiba. Postkarte an Franz Marc/ Postcard to Franz Marc, 1913
Tinte und Kreide auf Postkarte/ Ink and chalk on postcard
14,1 × 9 cm
Franz Marc Museum, Schenkung/ donation Stiftung Etta und Otto Stangl, Kochel am See.
© H. Jahn, Else-Lasker-Schüler-Gesellschaft/ Franz Marc Museum, Kochel

Gabriele Münter
Porträt/Portrait Wassily Kandinsky, 1906
Farblinolschnitt/ Color linocut
24,2 × 17,8 cm
Leihgabe der/ loan from PSM Privatstiftung, Schloßmuseum Murnau
© Bildarchiv PSM Privatstiftung Schloßmuseum Murnau/ VG-Bildkunst, Bonn 2015

Gabriele Münter
Bildnis /Portrait of Marianne von Werefkin, 1909
Öl auf Malpappe/ Oil on cardboard
81 × 55 cm
Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus München
© Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau, München/ Munich/ VG-Bildkunst, Bonn 2015

Alexandra Exter
Szenische Konstruktion für „Dame Kobold“ von Calderón/ Scenic construction for “The Phantom Lady” by Calderón, 1924
Gouache auf Bütten, auf Karton montiert/Gouache on woven paper, mounted on cardboard
49,2 × 67,2 cm
Theaterwissenschaftliche Sammlung, Universität zu Köln
© Theaterwissenschaftliche Sammlung, Universität zu Köln

Maria Uhden
Tanz/Dance, undatiert/ undated
Kreide und Gouache/ Chalk and gouache
21 × 16 cm
Kunstmuseum Bern
© Kunstmuseum Bern

Marianne Werefkin
Der Lumpensammler/ The Rag-Picker, 1917
Tempera auf Papier auf Karton/ on paper over cardboard
67 × 97,5 cm
Fondazione Marianne Werefkin, Museo Comunale d’Arte Moderna, Ascona
© Fondazione Marianne Werefkin, Museo Comunale d’Arte Moderna, Ascona

Magda Langenstraß-Uhlig
Zwei Kameraden/ Two Comrades, 1916–18
Lithografie/ Lithograph
42,5 × 53cm
Privatsammlung/Private collection
© Foto/ Photo: Michael Habes/ VG-Bildkunst, Bonn 2015

Magda Langenstraß-Uhlig
Feuerspringer/ Fire-Jumpers, 1919
Öl auf Leinwand/ Oil on canvas
65,1 × 83,7 cm
Sammlung/ Collection Gudrun Haberstroh
© Foto/ Photo: Michael Habes/ VG-Bildkunst, Bonn 2015

Hilla von Rebay
Komposition I/ Composition 1, 1915
Öl auf Leinwand/ Oil on canvas
132,4 × 99,4 cm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, The Hilla Rebay Collection
© Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, The Hilla Rebay Collection

Gabriele Münter
Schwarze Maske mit Rosa/ Black Mask with Pink, ca. 1912
Öl auf Leinwand/ Oil on canvas
56,4 × 49 cm
Privatsammlung Süddeutschland/Private collection in South Germany
© Fotostudio Bartsch/Villa Grisebach, Berlin/ VG-Bildkunst, Bonn 2015

Marthe Donas
Frau mit Hut/ Woman with Hat, 1918
Bleistift auf Papier/ Pencil on paper
28 × 21 cm
Privatsammlung/ Private collection
© Courtesy of Roberto Polo Gallery, Brussels/ VG-Bildkunst, Bonn 2015

Jacoba van Heemskerck
Komposition 2/ Composition 2, 1912–13
Öl auf Leinwand/ Oil on canvas
80 × 60,5 cm
Collection of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag
© Gemeentemuseum Den Haag

Helene Grünhoff
Komposition mit Pink/ Composition with Pink, 1922
Gouache auf Papier/ Gouache on paper
25,3 × 34 cm
National Museum in Belgrade
© National Museum in Belgrade

Emmy Klinker
Interieur/ Interior, undatiert, undated
Öl auf Leinwand/ Oil on canvas
39 × 49 cm
Von der Heydt-Museum Wuppertal
© Foto/ Photo: Antje Zeis-Loi, Von der Heydt-Museum Wuppertal

Marcelle Cahn
Akte in Weiß/ White Nudes, 1926
Öl auf Leinwand/ Oil on canvas
71 × 80 cm
Collection Brigitte et Jacques Gairard, France, courtesy of Galerie Anne Lahumière
© Foto/ Photo: Didier Michalet

Sonia Delaunay
Étude kiosque (Prismes électriques, no. 30), 1914
Gouache auf Karton/Gouache on cardboard
31,4 × 16,4 cm
Kunsthalle Mannheim
© Kunsthalle Mannheim, Cem Yücetas

Marthe Donas
Frauenbüste/ Bust of a Woman, 1919
Öl auf Leinwand/ Oil on canvas
61 × 39 cm
Privatsammlung/ Private collection
© Foto/ Photo: Cedric Verhelst/ VG-Bildkunst, Bonn 2015

Sigrid Hjertén
Frau mit Pelz und rotem Hut/ Woman Wearing a Fur Coat and a Red Hat, 1915
Öl auf Leinwand/ Oil on canvas
116 × 90 cm
Privatsammlung/ Private collection

Emmy Klinker
Bildnis einer jungen Frau/ Portrait of a Young Woman, 1920–21
Öl auf Pappe/ Oil on cardboard
44 × 35,5 cm
Von der Heydt-Museum Wuppertal
© Foto/ Photo: Antje Zeis-Loi, Von der Heydt-Museum Wuppertal

Lavinia Schulz
Toboggan Mann/ Toboggan Man, Original ca. 1924
Sackleinen, Pappmaché, Draht, Schnallen/ Linen, papier mâché, wire, clasps
ca. 170 × 40 cm
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
© Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, Foto/ Photo: Maria Tuszynska-Thrun

Lavinia Schulz
Toboggan Frau/ Toboggan Woman, Original ca. 1924
Sackleinen, Pappmaché, Draht, Schnallen/ Linen, papier mâché, wire, clasps
ca. 170 × 40 cm
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
© Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, Foto/ Photo: Maria Tuszynska-Thrun

Sonia Delaunay
Dessin 965, 1930
Gouache und Bleistift auf Architekturpapier, auf Papier montiert/ Gouache and pencil on architecture paper, mounted on paper
50 × 32,5 cm
Privatsammlung/ Private collection
© Private Archives

Jacoba van Heemskerck
Glasfensterentwurf Nr.17, Dielenfenster, Haus Wulffraat, Wassenaar, Niederlande/ Design for windowpane no.17, hallway window, Wulffraat Residence, Wassenaar, Netherlands, 1919
Aquarell und Tusche auf Karton/ Watercolor and ink on cardboard
98,5 × 70 cm
Berlinische Galerie – Landesmuseum für Moderne Kunst, Fotografie und Architektur
© Foto/ Photo: Kai-Annett Becker

Alexandra Exter
Kostümentwurf für „Aelita“, Mars-Königin/ Costume design for “Aelita”, Queen of Mars, 1924
Gouache und Tinte auf Papier/ Gouache and ink on paper
68,6 × 46,7 cm
The St. Petersburg State Museum of Theatre and Music
© The St. Petersburg State Museum of Theatre and Music

Alexandra Exter
Kostümentwurf für den Energiewächter Gor auf dem Mars in „Aelita“/ Costume design for Gor, guardian of energy on Mars in “Aelita”, 1924
Gouache auf Papier/ Gouache on paper
53 × 34 cm
The St. Petersburg State Museum of Theatre and Music
© The St. Petersburg State Museum of Theatre and Music

Alexandra Exter
Kostümentwurf für eine Marsbewohnerin in „Aelita“/ Costume design for a Martian in “Aelita”, 1924
Aquarell und Gouache auf Papier/ Watercolor and gouache on paper
53 × 36 cm
The St. Petersburg State Museum of Theatre and Music
© The St. Petersburg State Museum of Theatre and Music

Alexandra Exter
Kostümentwurf für einen Marsbewohner in „Aelita“/ Costume design for a Martian in “Aelita”, 1924
Gouache auf Papier/ Gouache on paper
53 × 35 cm
The St. Petersburg State Museum of Theatre and Music
© The St. Petersburg State Museum of Theatre and Music


Herwarth Walden, 1918
© bpk | Nicola Perscheid

Else Lasker-Schüler, The flautist, frontispiece of the epistolary novel “Mein Herz”
© Private collection, Marbach

Outdoor advertising on the gallery façade at Potsdamer Strasse 134a, February 1921
© bpk | Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Manuscripts department

Herwarth and Nell Walden in the dining room in their apartment on Potsdamer Strasse
© Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Manuscripts department/VG Bildkunst, Bonn 2915

Irene Guggenheim, Wassily Kandinsky, Hilla von Rebay and Solomon Guggenheim, Dessau, 1930
© Photo: Nina Kandinsky. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Archives, New York

Theatre performance in an exhibition by Sonia Delaunay
© Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Manuscripts department

Toboggan dance duo (Schulz and Holdt), ca. 1924
© Photo: Minya Diez-Dührkoop, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

Sonia Delaunay in her studio in Paris, 1925
© Photo: Germaine Krull, Estate Germaine Krull, Museum Folkwang, Essen

Hilla von Rebay with fellow students at Debschitz-Schule, Munich, ca. 1911
© Archiv Rebay-Haus Teningen

Sigrid Hjertén painting her son Iván at home, 1916
© Sundsvall Museum, Sigrid Hjertén and Raster Förlag (heirs), Stockholm

Film still “Aelita”, b&w film with costumes by Alexandra Exter, 1924
© Jakow A. Protasanow, Collection Lobster Films

Herwarth Walden’s living room, with desk. On the wall are pictures by Oskar Kokoschka, Franz Marc and others
© bpk | Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin


Marianne von Werefkin, cited in Clemens Weiler (ed.): Marianne Werefkin. Briefe an einen Unbekannten, (Cologne, 1960), p. 50.
German speaker: Johanna Wokalek
English speaker: Megan Gay
Recording: Linon Medien
© Linon Medien


Dancers enjoying Berlin’s nightlife in the 1920s (film excerpt)
© Archive:

Jakow A. Protasanow: “Aelita” (film excerpt)
© Collection Lobster Films


1 “[…] everything lukewarm and fearful”, cited in: Karla Bilang: Frauen im STURM. Künstlerinnen der Moderne, (Berlin, 2013), p. 41.

2 “to paint music”, cited in: Max Hollein & Ingrid Pfeiffer (eds.): STURM-Frauen. Künstlerinnen der Avantgarde in Berlin 1910–1932, (Cologne, 2015), p. 255.


“My husband is the […]”, cited in: Max Hollein & Ingrid Pfeiffer (eds.): STURM-Frauen. Künstlerinnen der Avantgarde in Berlin 1910–1932, (Cologne, 2015), p. 12.

“You see, my dear lady […]”, cited in: Simplicissimus, 1901, vol. 6, no.15.

“I later found out […]”, cited in: Amazonen der Avantgarde im Film. Kinemathek, Oct. 1999, vol. 36, no. 90, p. 47.