Property from the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London
MARIE-LOUISE VON MOTESICZKY (AUSTRIAN 1906-1996)
Lorette in the Studio
oil on canvas
101.5 x 76 cm (40 x 30 in)
I. Schlenker, Marie-Louise von Motesiczky 1906-1996, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings, New York, 2009, p. 382. no. 219
Painted in 1968, the central figure in the present work was Lorette Lugten. A Dutch-Indonesian, born in Batavia (now Jakarta) in 1944 she lived in London from 1967-70. As Schlenker recounts, Marie-Louise met Lorette in a chance encounter while window-shopping in Hampstead, no doubt attracted to her striking looks and mane of black hair. In an interview in 2001 Lorette recalled how Marie-Louise had struck up a conversation which led to her becoming a paid model, and sitting for the artist in her studio once a week.
In the centre of the present composition Lorette sits elevated on a set of library steps. Top right a male artist appears in a half-open door with brushes and a palette in hand. Lower left crouches the slightly diminutive form of Marie Louise, intent on capturing the symmetry of Lorette's features, her distinctive large dark eyes and eyebrows, full lips and strong nose. Marie-Louise did several drawings of Lorette (Schlenker figs. 179 & 180), and a second painting. Lorette's own intention was to become a painter herself, and in the half-length portrait of the same year Marie-Louise depicted Lorette as a fellow artist, with a brush in her right hand and a palette in her left (Schlenker no. 220).
Five works from the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust (lots 8-12)
Oil paintings by Viennese emigré artist Marie-Louise von Motesiczky (1906-1996) are once again a feature of our sale.
Motesiczky’s expressive and very painterly style had been formed before the Second World War, in large part influenced and encouraged by Max Beckmann. On first being introduced to Beckmann in 1920 she recalled: ‘A winged creature from Mars could not have made a greater impact on me’. Once in Britain it was Oskar Kokoschka, a family friend from Vienna now similarly exiled, who helped champion her work. Thereafter, and very much on a personal level, it was the writer Elias Canetti (1905-1994) a fellow émigré who exercised a major influence over her artistic output.
Marie-Louise von Motesiczky grew up with her parents and her brother Karl in central Vienna. Her mother Henriette came from an illustrious Viennese Jewish banking dynasty. Her maternal grandfather, Leopold von Lieben, was President of the Stock Exchange; her grandmother, Anna, one of Freud’s early patients. She counted the Todescos, and Ephrussis among her family circle, and she, her mother and her brother Karl spent their summers at Villa Todesco in Hinterbrühl, south west of the capital.
But over time family tragedy, financial difficulties and the rise of Nazi Germany took their toll. Marie-Louise’s father died at the end of 1909 and after the First World War her mother’s considerable inheritance gradually diminished through high taxation, poor investments, and the financial crash of 1929. Then, with the rise of the Third Reich and the Anschluss in March 1938, when Austria was annexed by Germany, she and her mother fled Vienna for the Netherlands before emigrating to England in 1939. Further distress followed when her brother Karl, who had remained in Austria, was arrested and deported to Auschwitz, dying of typhus there on 25 June 1943.
On Motesiczky’s arrival in London Kokoschka ensured her inclusion in a series of group exhibitions, and assisted her in the staging of a solo exhibition at the Czechoslovak Institute in the autumn of 1944. Further group shows followed, and in 1960 she had a second solo exhibition at the influential Beaux Arts Gallery off Bond Street. On the Continent she received acclaim for her work in exhibitions in Amsterdam and The Hague in 1952, one of her canvases being purchased by the Stedelijk Museum. The same decade she exhibited in Munich and Düsseldorf, and in the 1960s was the subject of shows in Germany and Austria, including a one-person exhibition at the Wiener Secession in 1966.
In 1985, a full twenty-five years after her work had been shown at the Beaux Arts Gallery, she was the subject of another solo exhibition in London, at the Goethe-Institut, which was widely acclaimed in the press. In 1994 a major retrospective of her work was held in Vienna at the Österreichische Galerie, Oberes Belvedere and in Manchester at the City Art Gallery. In 2006-07 her work was celebrated in a centenary exhibition at Tate Liverpool, travelling to Frankfurt, Vienna, Passau and Southampton City Art Gallery. Also in 2007 Jill Lloyd’s biography of Marie-Louise appeared: The Undiscovered Expressionist. A Life of Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, followed in 2009 by the catalogue raisonné of her paintings by Ines Schlenker itemising over 350 works. Most recently in 2019-20, Tate Britain held an exhibition devoted to her to inaugurate the gallery named in perpetuity as the ‘Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Archive Gallery’ for all future displays of Tate’s archive holdings in general.
The work of Marie-Louise von Motesiczky held in public collections
Institutions in the UK holding works by the artist include: the Ben Uri Gallery and Museum, the British Museum, Burgh House, Hampstead, Freud Museum, Garden Museum, National Portrait Gallery and Tate in London (which also holds her archive); the Amersham Museum, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester, Manchester Art Gallery, National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh and the Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow. Elsewhere her work is in the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin; the Stedelijk, Amsterdam; the Boijmans van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam; the Städel Museum, Frankfurt; the German Literary Archive in Marbach; the Albertina, Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, the Leopold Museum and the Museum Wien in Vienna; the Lentos Kunstmuseum, Linz and the Stanley Museum, University of Iowa, USA.
The Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust
The Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales (no. 7572024) and a registered charity (no. 1140890): www.motesiczky.org. The copyright for Marie-Louise von Motesiczky’s paintings, drawings and correspondence or other written work originating from her, her mother Henriette and brother Karl, lies with the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust.
Sold for £9,250
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