until 16.06. | Since 28 February 2019, the Bröhan Museum has been showing the exhibition “Ilna Ewers-Wunderwald. Rediscovery of an Art Nouveau Artist” Blackbox #6.
Ilna Ewers-Wunderwald (1875-1957) was a true Art Nouveau icon. Before the First World War, the myth-loving artist was celebrated by art critics, but then fell into oblivion for more than 100 years. Her work is characterized by eroticism and fantasy, a fairy-tale cosmos of water creatures and birds of paradise, dazzling flowers and grotesque mythical creatures. It is thanks to the commitment of private collectors that large parts of Ilna Ewers-Wunderwald’s artistic legacy are now available for an exhibition. With this first exhibition, the Bröhan Museum would like to make a contribution to the rediscovery of the artist.
In the Wilhelmine Society the cultural scene was dominated by men, the female sex was even denied the opportunity to study art. It is all the more astonishing that the autodidact Ilna Ewers-Wunderwald successfully took part in important exhibitions such as the Berlin and Munich Secession or the Great Berlin Art Exhibition. The artist received public admiration and recognition not only for her paintings, but also for her book designs and fashion designs, which enjoyed great popularity – as did her appearances as a cabaret artist on the Berlin Art Nouveau stage of the “Überbrettl”. She cultivated relationships with important gallery owners such as Paul Cassirer and attracted the attention of prominent artist colleagues such as Emil Orlik and Hermann Struck. With her men’s suit, short haircut and cigarette she broke the role clichés of the time.
Ilna Ewers-Wunderwald, self-portrait with the composer Gustav Krumbiegel,1912-1915
pen and gouache on paper, private property
In the 20’s Ilna Ewers-Wunderwald was forgotten. Thus she shared the fate of many Art Nouveau artists, who in a time of socio-political worries after the First World War no longer appeared contemporary. Nevertheless, she continued to paint until her last years and was still unmistakably associated with Art Nouveau in the 1950s. Literature connoisseurs still know her today as the wife of the scandalous writer Hanns Heinz Ewers (1871-1943), whose books she illustrated.
The exhibition, which was created in close collaboration with the philosopher, author and Ewers expert Dr. Sven Brömsel, shows both her works in bright pastel colors and a recently discovered series of black-and-white pen drawings. These were created after a particularly influential trip to India, which the couple embarked on in 1910. The coexistence of “beauty and horror” experienced there, as the artist’s travelogue says, was incorporated into her art. The extensive journeys to faraway places were always an almost inexhaustible source of inspiration for her.
Through the combination of pen and brush, her works oscillate between drawing and painting. Her fantastically enigmatic symbolist pictures are linearly accentuated, decorative and of a brilliant colourfulness.
“Alraune des Jugendstills – Ilna Ewers-Wunderwald” with a biographical essay by Dr. Sven Brömsel is published by Zagava Verlag.
Curator of the exhibition: Dr. Anna Grosskopf
Design of advertising motif: Gerwin Schmidt, 2019
Opening: Wednesday, 27th February 2019, 7:00 p.m.
Exhibition period: Thursday, 28th February to Sunday, 16th June 2019Zum Bröhan-Museum
Image caption cover: Ilna Ewers-Wunderwald, Aquarius 1910-1914, Pen and gouache on paper, privately owned
Ilna Ewers-Wunderwald – Rediscovery of an Art Nouveau Artist – Bröhan-Museum | ART at Berlin