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Contents

6

foreword

9

acknowledgements

13

The Life of Marie-Louise von Motesiczky

55

Marie-Louise von Motesiczky’s Oeuvre

73

Catalogue of Paintings

525

Selection of Drawings

540

chronology

546

list of exhibitions

548

bibliography

555

index

560

copyright credits


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Foreword

The Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust was founded by the artist several years before her death in 1996. A substantial part of her estate was passed by Motesiczky’s executors into the care of the Trust with the aim of achieving two main objectives. Beyond general charitable purposes and two areas specified by the artist in the Trust’s governing deed, the other principal responsibility of the Trust was to secure Motesiczky’s artistic legacy. The Trustees viewed this as their first priority and this present volume represents the fulfilment of their primary duty towards enhancing the artist’s reputation. It builds upon the biography of Motesiczky written by the art historian and curator Jill Lloyd, which appeared in 2007. Lloyd’s biography was published during the tour of a successful centenary exhibition which between 2006 and 2008 travelled to museums in Liverpool, Frankfurt, Vienna, Passau and Southampton. When formed, the Trust was originally composed of five Trustees, Professor Jeremy Adler, Professor Michael Jaffé (died 13 July 1997), Richard Karplus, Sean Rainbird and David Scrase. Two new Trustees, Frances Carey and Julian Chadwick, were appointed in 2006 in place of Jeremy Adler and Richard Karplus. The Trustees’ continuing commitment to the artist and her memory have enabled Ines Schlenker, who diligently researched the artist’s life and work, to complete this magnificent volume. It offers for the first time a comprehensive overview of Motesiczky’s paintings and her most important works on paper. Ines Schlenker interviewed many of Motesiczky’s family and friends, who confirmed facts and offered their recollections and invaluable insights into her life and work. The author has drawn extensively upon the artist’s archive, housed at the Trust, to support her research with documents, letters and photographs that add greatly to our knowledge of Motesiczky’s works. This painstaking approach, which lies at the heart of any such similar enterprise, has enabled the author in particular to unearth many hitherto unknown facts and provide a more accurate dating for many of Motesiczky’s paintings.

For an artist whose career appeared to be developing quietly and away from the mainstream, at least until a group of prominent exhibitions in London, Manchester and Vienna late in her career, one learns with some surprise that Motesiczky participated in more than forty exhibitions during her long life. Working from the mid-1920s until her death in 1996 she produced around 340 paintings and over a thousand works on paper. Moreover, she created works of great originality and insight at all stages of her long career and this is perhaps the more unusual achievement. Her paintings until the early 1930s, with their elongated formats and sense of suspended reality, suggest the early influence of her teacher Max Beckmann on her formative years. However, she had found her own voice by the mid-1930s before leaving Austria for England via a year in Holland as an exile from the National Socialists. Fellow exiles such as the writer Elias Canetti, the art historian Ernst Gombrich, the musicologist Hans Keller and his artist wife Milein Cosman, formed enduring friendships with Motesiczky in the years that followed. In the later part of her career came perhaps her most moving series of paintings, profound and unsparing portraits of her mother as she advanced to high old age and physical decrepitude. Motesiczky’s insights into her sitters’ lives made her portraiture unusually penetrating. Her dutiful care for her mother meant that the possessions and environment of their Hampstead home became the focus of her life and the subject of many still-lifes and views of the lovingly cultivated garden. After her mother’s death Motesiczky was able to travel more, and this too was reflected in her choice of motifs encountered on her journeys. Ines Schlenker provides full details of the origins of all Motesiczky’s paintings, including those that have come to light since her death. In addition, as one expects from a catalogue raisonné, the chronological listing of paintings is supported by a comprehensive scholarly apparatus giving exhibition history, bibliography, index, an introduction to her life and an overview of her work. All available paintings were

re-photographed for this publication. Where necessary, paintings underwent conservation treatment and were reframed. The Trustees would like to thank Ines Schlenker for her steadfast, patient and enthusiastic commitment to this extended project, which has evolved into what will remain the standard work on the artist. In completing this publication the Trustees have relied on the generous support of numerous institutions and many individuals. King’s College, London, provided institutional affiliation for the author through a post-doctoral fellowship during the early part of the project. The Trustees would like to thank Rachel Barker and Sam Hodge for their sensitive conservation treatment of individual paintings and Mike Howden for recreating many of the artist’s own frame designs or proposing alternatives when these were not available. The Trustees owe a debt of gratitude to George Lewis, a friend of the artist, who was always on hand with advice and practical help. Two Trust Secretaries in particular, Chloe Johnson and more recently Andrew Crosbie, assisted in a multitude of ways to provide administrative support. The Trustees’ special thanks go to all those involved in the production of this volume; to Tim Holton at an early planning stage, and in particular to the editor Johanna Stephenson and the designer Philip Lewis who worked tirelessly and with great commitment to create a publication of substance and beauty. It is the Trustees’ hope that this publication reaches not only those who already know and value Marie-Louise von Motesiczky’s art, but also a new audience. While it has the academic rigour required by this kind of book, its clear prose and lively detail makes it accessible to the general reader eager to learn more about an unusual and fascinating life, and an accomplished artistic career. All who encounter Marie-Louise von Motesiczky through these pages will come to appreciate more a highly gifted artist whose achievements deserve wide acknowledgement.


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Acknowledgements

In compiling the catalogue raisonné of paintings by an artist I admired enormously but unfortunately had never met I had to rely on the help of a large number of individuals, among them many of the artist’s friends and relatives. Without their kind and generous support a book of this nature could not have been written. I would particularly like to thank the Trustees of the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, Frances Carey, Julian Chadwick, Sean Rainbird and David Scrase, for their unwavering support and encouragement and their initial trust in appointing me to the task. I am also grateful to the German department at King’s College, London, to which I was attached during the first seven years of the project. A wonderful team worked together on the catalogue raisonné, including the brilliant conservators Rachel Barker, Rosie Freemantle, Sam Hodge, Mike Howden and Charoulla Salt, the archivist Louise Ray, the research assistants Nikki Light and Evi Baniotopoulou and the former secretary of the Trust, Chloe Johnson. For computer, database and website advice and practical help I could rely on Dennis McDermott, Claus Moser, David Powell, Toby Poynder, Richard Read, Markus Schlenker and David Yeandle. Andrew Crosbie, the Trust Secretary, smoothed the often hazardous way of the catalogue raisonné with good humour and extraordinary problem-solving skills. George Lewis supported this project in more ways than he probably realizes. His invaluable contribution to the catalogue raisonné cannot be overestimated. Jill Lloyd, Motesiczky’s biographer, was a supportive colleague with whom I could share information and a fascination for Marie-Louise’s paintings. Many of the above kindly read and commented on various stages of the book, ironing out numerous mistakes. Without the spirited and often inspired work of the photographers Matthew Hollow and Simon Roberton, the copy editor Eileen Power, the artistic editor Johanna Stephenson and the designer Philip Lewis the catalogue raisonné would not present itself in the splendid way it does. I am indebted to the following for granting interviews in person, allowing access to paintings, answering my questions and assisting with research: Rosalind Abrams, Eva and Jeremy Adler, Evelyn Adunka, Barbara Alden, Astrid AltschulJunesjö, Carole Angier, Olaf Ansorge, Zsuzsanna Ardó, Diana Athill, Beryl Atkins, Frederick Baker, Juliaan Bakker, Georg Baldass, Galia Bar-Or,

Mayen Beckmann, Valentina Barbara Berner, Wilhelmine Beschorner, Felix Billeter, Michael Black, Gudrun Boch, Claudia Böse, Monica Bohm-Duchen, Veronica Bolay, Sheela Bonarjee, Beatrice von Bormann, Sigrid Bothe, Cheryl Bove, Jules Breeze, Ursula Brentano, Emil Brix, Ingried Brugger, Barbara Buenger, Richard Calvocoressi, John le Carré, Augustus Casely-Hayford, Catherine Casley, Diana and Peter Clegg, David Cohen, Greg Colley, Eric Conrad, Peter Conradi, Christie Coutin, Erica Davies, Andrea Denbeaux, John Denham, Amy Dickson, Ingrid von der Dollen, Júlia Domán, Susan Einzig, Walter Elkan, Patrick Elliott, Muriel Emanuel, Fee Engel, Walter Franz Eybl, Elizabeth Fallon, Brian Fallon, Silvia Finzi, Hans-Jürgen Fittkau, Helmut Friedel, Hildegard Fritz-Denneville, Hubert Gaisbauer, Klaus Gallwitz, Elke GarbbertPerton, Gerda Garve, Mary Geraghty, Maria Ghisi, Walter Gleckner, Ernst Gombrich, Barbara Göpel, Rüdiger Görner, Mirli and Daniele Grassi, Flavia Grassi, Sarah Greenberg, Pam Griffin, Lydia Gröbl, Ken Grundy, Maria Gussago, Margaret Hamy, Sven Hanuschek, Jenny Harrington, Brian Harris, Maureen Harris, Beverley Haun, Barbara Heyman, Susanna Hiegesberger, Klaus Hinrichsen, Franz Hocheneder, Mary and Robert T. Holtby, Tim Holton, Thomas Honickel, Vivien Hughes, Jeannette Jackson, Nicholas Jacobs, Lorenz Jäger, Patricia Jaffé, Hedwig Jagersberger, Gillian Jason, Isobel Johnstone, Evamarie Kallir, Jane Kallir, Mirjam Kann, Richard Karplus, Zipi and Michael Karplus, Eda Karsten, Barbara Kaulbach, Conny and Michael Kerman, Maria-Pia Kerman, David de Keyser, Jocelyn Kingsley, Yukiko Kitamura, Christian Kloyber, Uta Kohl, Gabriele KohlbauerFritz, Nicholas Kolarz, Kinga Körmendy, Charlotte Lane, Mieke and Philip Leembruggen, Christian Lenz, Henry Lessore, John Lessore, Georgette Lewinson, Elena López Calatayud, Erika Lorenz, Eva-Maria Loudon, Patricia Lousada, Lorette Lugten, Mark Luprecht, Nicolas Lytton, Judith Mac Colum, Marian Malet, Stephan Mann, Josephine Del Mar, Helmut Mark, Sandra Martin, Monika Mayer, Harriet McKay, Herbert Medek, Gregor Medinger, Gian Carlo Menotti, Eva Michel, Michael Molnar, Guy Monier, Tim Moreton, Richard Morphet, Sybille-Karin Moser-Ernst, Erica and Walter Nessler, Andreas Neufert, Elena Newton, Elisabeth Nowak-Thaller, Margery Oplatka, Alied Ottevanger, Kurt Overlack, Beatrice Owen, Ann Pasternak Slater, Valerie Pearl, Sabine Plakolm-

Forsthuber, Anna Plodeck, Barbara Price, Erica Propper, Patrick Pye, Trude Rabley, Johannes Rafael, Hilde Randolph, Andrea Rauter, Claire Rauter, Peter Rauter, Piers Paul Read, Marjory Reeves, Gaby Reydon-Nechansky, Jan Reifenberg, Ladislas Rice, Liz Rideal, Anna-Maria and Henry Rollin, Jörg Roth, Miriam Rothschild, Anne Rowe, Nancy Salaman, Karin and Jan Willem Salomonson, Birgit Sander, Regine Schmidt, Sabine Schulze, Cyril Scurr, Ursula Seeber, Rudolf Seitz, Jürgen Sild, Josefa Simon, John A. Simpson, Cassie Sladen, Ada and Julian Sofaer, Aya Soika, Gerald Sommer, Nicholas Stewart, Ursula Storch, Ursula Vaughan Williams, Elinor Verdemato, Peter Verdemato, Jutta Vinzent, Rüdiger Volhard, Rilana Vorderwülbecke, Alexander de Waal, Victor de Waal, Kristian Wachinger, Chris Warde-Jones, Barbara and Stefan Weidle, Julia Weiner, Christiane Wettke, Tim Wilcox, Lucy Williams, Kathy Winstanley, Doris Winter, Gordon Winter, Edith Yapou, Yonna Yapou-Kromholz, Christiane Zeiller, Eva Zernatto and Rainer Zimmermann. I also must record my debt of gratitude to the numerous staff at the libraries and archives consulted and at the museums and galleries contacted for their expert advice and help with ektachromes and digital images. My special thanks go to Jo Bondy, Jantien and Peter Black, Milein Cosman and Christiane Rothländer, Karl von Motesiczky’s biographer. They generously shared their large knowledge of the artist, her work and family, tirelessly answering my questions and resolving countless problems. As always, Shulamith Behr lent me her untiring support. She first introduced me to the artist and guided me throughout the project. I am deeply grateful to my parents, Marianne and Hans Schlenker, and my friends Sharon Eytan and Henriette Stuchtey, who accompanied this project with their unfailing, patient goodwill. Above all I would like to thank my husband Michael Schaich for providing the framework and emotional support that allowed me to work on the catalogue raisonné. He patiently read and commented on every stage of the text and is my very best editor. Our daughter Hannah Schlenker has grown up with Motesiczky’s paintings and spent many hours at Chesterford Gardens. Her zest for life and her laughter often proved contagious and cheered me on. With love and admiration I dedicate the catalogue raisonné to Michael and Hannah. ines schlenker


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‘If you could only paint a single good picture in your lifetime, your life would be worthwhile.’1

The Life of Marie-Louise von Motesiczky marie-louise von motesiczky was an artist whose life spanned almost the entire twentieth century. Her works were produced over a period of seven decades and range from the first small oil painting, Small Roulette (no. 1), painted in 1924, when she was only seventeen years old, to Still-life, Vase of Flowers (no. 331), which she was still working on in 1996 shortly before her death. Her oeuvre includes over three hundred paintings, mainly portraits, self-portraits and still-lifes, and several hundred drawings. She filled some hundred sketchbooks with studies and ideas. For a long time, however, Motesiczky did not receive the attention she deserves, notwithstanding a considerable number of exhibitions. This was mainly owing to the radical political changes brought about by National Socialism. The political developments in Central Europe destroyed her highly promising career before she had reached full maturity. Forced into exile, she set about rebuilding her life in England and became one of the major Austrian painters of the twentieth century and one of the most important émigré artists in her new homeland. During her lifetime several highly successful solo exhibitions, for example at the Goethe-Institut in London in 1985 and at the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere in Vienna in 1994, paid tribute to her outstanding talent. The exhibition tour that marked the artist’s centenary in 2006 delighted audiences in Liverpool, Frankfurt am Main, Vienna, Passau and Southampton and received enthusiastic reviews, confirming her place in the history of art.


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family Marie-Louise von Motesiczky was descended from a wealthy aristocratic Jewish family that played a vital role in the intellectual and artistic circles of Vienna at the turn of the twentieth century.2 The large extended clan included the Auspitz, the Ephrussi, the Gomperz, the Lieben, the Schey, the Todesco and the Wertheimstein branches. Although secularized and gradually assimilated into Viennese society they tended to intermarry, thus creating a complicated genealogy. The family, which originated in the provinces of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, made its enormous fortune in manufacturing and banking. It had close links to the monarchy, admired German culture and put great emphasis on a good education. Over the years, individual family members were elevated to the rank of nobility. Many male members of the family, such as the philologist Theodor Gomperz and the philosopher Franz von Brentano, as well as Robert von Lieben, the inventor of the amplifying valve, distinguished themselves through scholarship. Some female family members, often artistically talented, became famous as hostesses. Josephine von

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Wertheimstein, for example, presided over the legendary salon at the Villa Wertheimstein in Döbling where the political, commercial and cultural élites of the day met. The young poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal first presented his poems to the public there. One of Wertheimstein’s protégés, the Viennese poet Ferdinand von Saar, became a family friend, celebrating important occasions in their lives with poems. Josephine’s sister, Sophie von Todesco, organized high society events at the splendid Palais Todesco (fig. 1). Situated opposite the Viennese Hofoper, it was filled with spectacular pieces of furniture and a celebrated art collection. Sophie counted painters like Hans Makart and Moritz von Schwind, composers like Johannes Brahms, Franz Liszt and Johann Strauss and playwrights like Henrik Ibsen among her friends. Members of the extended family also became well-known patrons of art and science and generous supporters of charities. Leopold von Lieben (fig. 2), Marie-Louise’s grandfather, and his cousin Rudolf Auspitz, for example, were among the founders of the Wiener Musikverein, where the family regularly attended concerts. Leopold’s brother Adolf Lieben, using part of his inheritance, created the Ignaz-Lieben-Preis that supported

Fig. 1 Palais Todesco, Vienna, photograph, 1930s (Karl Skowronnek. Zur Entwicklung der Elektronenverstärkerröhre, Berlin 1931)

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research in chemistry and physics. From 1901 this ‘Austrian Nobel Prize’ was awarded annually, honouring the cream of Austrian natural scientists.3 Sophie von Todesco’s second daughter, Anna (fig. 3), Marie-Louise’s grandmother, was born in 1847. The luxurious, aesthetic atmosphere in which Anna grew up encouraged her to draw and write poems. She married Leopold von Lieben (1835–1915), the director of his own family bank, vice-governor of the ÖsterreichischUngarische Bank and president of the Austrian stock exchange. Anna von Lieben’s life, however, also reveals a darker side of mental illness that ran in the family and was obscured by their glamorous wealth and social success.4 Hysterical symptoms had started in her teens and worsened after her marriage, temporarily vanishing during her pregnancies (Ilse was born in 1873, Valerie in 1874, Ernst in 1875, Robert in 1878 and Henriette, Marie-Louise’s mother, in 1882). Anna also suffered from bouts of facial neuralgia and insomnia. The family called in the young Sigmund Freud whose treatment consisted of making her talk about

her past traumas under hypnosis. He also supervised her daily injections of morphine. After several years of treatment without permanent improvement Freud was dismissed in 1893. Yet, as one of Sigmund Freud’s earliest and most important patients, Anna von Lieben was a crucial inspiration for the creation of psychoanalysis. Freud called her his ‘Lehrmeisterin’ (mentor).5 Using the pseudonym ‘Cäcilie M.’ to prevent her from being identified, he gave her a prominent place in his Studies on Hysteria,6 acknowledging her as ‘a highly intelligent woman, to whom I am indebted for much help in gaining an understanding of hysterical symptoms’.7 Anna von Lieben died in 1900 and a collection of her poems was published the following year.8 By all accounts, the upbringing of the Lieben children was privileged but also highly unconventional. After their marriage in 1871, Anna and Leopold had first lived at the Palais Todesco. A few years later, in 1874, they, together with four of his siblings and their families, purchased a large property at Oppolzergasse 6, that bordered the Ringstraße.

Fig. 2 Leopold von Lieben, photograph, c. 1900 (Motesiczky archive)

Fig. 3 Anna von Lieben, photograph, c. 1870 (Motesiczky archive)

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Fig. 4 Henriette von Motesiczky, photograph, early 1900s (Motesiczky archive)

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Fig. 5 Edmund von Motesiczky, photograph, early 1900s (Motesiczky archive)

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Fig. 6 Rosina von Motesiczky, photograph, 1879 (Motesiczky archive)

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Fig. 7 Franz von Hauer, photograph, 1880 (Motesiczky archive)

While the ground floor is to this day occupied by the famous Café Landtmann, Anna and Leopold moved into the apartment on the first floor of the building in 1888. The Burgtheater, directly opposite, provided regular entertainment for the occupants of the house who loved to watch the comings and goings of the actors and audiences. Anna and Leopold’s rooms accommodated an enormous art collection, that ranged from paintings by Rudolf Alt, Arnold Böcklin, Friedrich August von Kaulbach, August von Pettenkofen, Tintoretto, Makart, and Franz von Lenbach, among them his portraits of Leopold and his children, to fine pieces of furniture, tapestries and silver.9 As the youngest by far, Henriette von Motesiczky (fig. 4) led a rather lonely life and was often left to her own devices. Aged eleven she fell fervently in love with Hugo von Hofmannsthal, who had become friendly with her brothers. Being considerably older, Hofmannsthal seems to have put a stop to her adolescent infatuation once he realized how serious and how easily encouraged she was.10 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky remembered her mother as an unusual woman, a real ‘character’, natural, like a big child, who loved the countryside, dogs and hunting.11 According to her daughter, she was warmhearted and wise yet often impossible, not noticing how she came across as egotistical.12 She enjoyed luxuries big and small and expected to be waited

on. Having been protected by her daughter from the dangers and disappointments of life even during the turbulent years of emigration and exile, she appeared to ‘have never been expelled from paradise’.13 Motesiczky’s father, Edmund Franz von Motesiczky Kesseleökeö14 (fig. 5), was born in Vienna in 1866. Officially the son of the Hungarian aristocrat Matthias Motesiczky de Kesseleökeö and his wife Rosina, née Süffert (fig. 6), he was actually the result of his mother’s relationship with Franz Ritter von Hauer (1822–99; fig. 7), a distinguished geologist and director of the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna. It was in the Naturhistorisches Museum that Edmund was secretly born. While the elderly Matthias Motesiczky appears to have spent most of his time at his country estate, the two lovers had built a large house in Kierling to which they moved – this was just outside Vienna but far enough from the city to avoid gossip. Edmund was partly brought up by the family of the well-known conductor Franz Schalk. In these artistic surroundings Edmund’s musical gifts were nurtured and he developed into an excellent amateur cellist who practised six hours a day on his Stradivarius cello. He made music with Arnold Rosé and Johannes Brahms. Despite the fact that Edmund studied chemistry at the University of Vienna, being awarded a doctorate in 1896, he never practised as a chemist, but devoted his time to

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hunting and music. Although he had been acknowledged as a Motesiczky he did not inherit a lot of money and throughout his life had to make ends meet. Nevertheless he managed always to appear extremely elegant. Friends knew about his carelessness with money and his aversion to any kind of work but admired him all the more for his charm, his wit and his musical proficiency. Wolfgang Magg, a fellow cellist who had met Edmund von Motesiczky before the turn of the century, told MarieLouise von Motesiczky in 1966 that he had always been ‘full of appreciation for a genius on the one hand and a gentleman on the other’.15 Edmund von Motesiczky was introduced to the Lieben family by Molly Filtsch, the mistress of Leopold von Lieben. After his earlier unsuccessful courtship of Henriette’s sister Ilse, Henriette and Edmund fell in love. They were, however, forbidden to see each other since Leopold von Lieben did not consider Edmund a suitable match, being much older than Henriette, not Jewish and lacking good prospects. A year later he gave in and the couple were married in Hinterbrühl on 10 August 1903. In preparation for the marriage, Edmund renounced Catholicism on 1 July 1903, joining the Protestant Church

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the following day. Henriette also converted to the Protestant faith. Their son Karl Wolfgang Franz was born on 27 May 1904, and their daughter Marie Luise Josefine Alice followed on 24 October 1906. Both children were christened in the Protestant faith.

childhood The young family divided its time between three locations. The winters were spent in the spacious flat at Brahmsplatz 7 in the fourth district of Vienna (fig. 8), into which Henriette and Edmund had moved soon after their marriage. The great art collector Count Antoine Seilern (1901–78) was among their neighbours – he lived at Brahmsplatz 6 until he left for London in 1939. The hunting season was spent at the Hungarian estate of Vázsony (fig. 9), acquired by Anna and Leopold von Lieben after their marriage. A hunting diary that survives in the Motesiczky estate testifies to both Edmund’s and Henriette’s game scores, and photographs show them proudly displaying their impressive quarry (fig. 11). Family history relates that, later in life, Henriette remained famous for her robust interest in hunting. One story goes that, while staying at the family estate in

Fig. 8 View of Brahmsplatz 7, Vienna, postcard, 1912 (Motesiczky archive) Fig. 9 The Motesiczky estate at Vázsony with Karl, Marie-Louise and Edmund von Motesiczky in the foreground, photograph, before 1910 (Motesiczky archive)

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Hinterbrühl, she would go out to the first-floor balcony before breakfast and shoot a hare. In 1936 her daughter drew a portrait of her as a huntswoman: Hunting (p. 534) shows Henriette’s bulky figure sitting in a boat, aiming her shotgun at ducks, two of which have already escaped. Summers were traditionally spent in Hinterbrühl, a village in the Wienerwald south-west of Vienna that had become a fashionable rural retreat for well-to-do members of Viennese society in the nineteenth century. Motesiczky’s great-great-uncle Moritz Todesco had built Villa Todesco at Kröpfelsteig 42 on the edge of the village (fig. 10). Yet the house did not bring much luck to its initiator, as Motesiczky recounted: ‘In the 1860s, there was an Englishwoman and her great love, my great-great-uncle. There was a hunting accident and the Prince Lichtenstein was wounded. In the house the woman went off with him and my great-great-uncle said goodbye to the house with its big drawing room with its English chintz, and my great-great-grandfather got it.’16 The large estate comprised an imposing drive, an avenue of lime-trees, fruit and vegetable gardens, meadows and woodland, a swimming pool, a tennis court and numerous outbuildings including stables, a gardener’s house, a greenhouse and a Swiss chalet, the ‘Schweizerhaus’. The main house itself had twenty rooms and was furnished sumptuously. By the end of the nineteenth century it had been handed down to Anna von Lieben whose son Robert installed electric light when he was only a teenager, using a nearby mill to generate power. On her parents’ death Henriette von Motesiczky inherited the estate. Fig. 11 Henriette and Edmund von Motesiczky posing with two stags, photograph, before 1910 (Motesiczky archive)

Fig. 10 Ludwig Hans Fischer, Villa Todesco at Kröpfelsteig 42, Hinterbrühl, photograph of watercolour on paper, late nineteenth century (Motesiczky archive)

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When Marie-Louise von Motesiczky was only three years old the family was struck by tragedy. While on a hunting outing Edmund suddenly fell ill with a twisted intestine. He died a few days later, on 12 December 1909, and was buried at the Döblinger Friedhof. Apart from a brief engagement to the civil servant K. von Erhard17 shortly after her husband’s death Henriette did not enter into any other relationships. For a while she found a close friend in the fatherly figure of Albert Figdor (1843–1927), a banker who had amassed one of the largest and most important private arts-and-crafts collections of its time, consisting of textiles, furniture, tools, cutlery, jewellery, glassware and ceramics from medieval times to the nineteenth century.18 She also remained part of a large social circle. All the same, as a widow, Henriette repeatedly suffered from depression, retreating to her bed for days and leaving the children to their own devices. Despite this early loss Motesiczky remembered her childhood as protected and herself as a self-sufficient and independent child (figs 12 and 13). Yet the unlimited freedom her mother allowed her proved to be a burden for, as Motesiczky recalled, she was neither challenged to achieve a target nor able to develop her own will and resistance in the face of adversity.19 Fortunately, she found a lifelong friend and ‘second mother’20 in Marie Hauptmann, a shoemaker’s daughter from Bohemia. During her first position in a family in Vienna, the young Marie Hauptmann had become pregnant by the son of the house. The child had been given away and Marie Hauptmann accepted a new position in the Motesiczky household as Marie-Louise’s wet-nurse. Marie, whose nickname, ‘Ritschi’, was more commonly used, spent her life working for and living with the family. Although she spoke no English, she would eventually follow the Motesiczky family to England. When she died in 1954, aged sixty-nine, Elias Canetti called her ‘this best person you have ever known’.21 With Marie in Doorway, after 1954 (no. 134), Motesiczky paid a touching posthumous tribute to this ‘kind, funny, innocent, constantly working, wonderful woman’ who had given her life to the Motesiczkys.22 Her daughter, who kept in touch with her own mother, is the subject of Hilda, c. 1937 (no. 44). Within the family Marie-Louise soon became known as ‘Piz’. This nickname was coined when she had grown so quickly that a relative compared her height to that of the Swiss mountain Piz Buin. It stuck with her and was used by relatives and close friends for the rest of her life. A few people had their own special names for Marie-Louise. Ritschi, for example, preferred ‘Wepslein’, while Oskar

Kokoschka would call her ‘Florizel’; she in turn invented her own series of nicknames: she addressed her mother as ‘Has’, ‘Zipfi’ or ‘Bulli’ and her brother Karl as ‘Mucki’. Marie-Louise’s education did not follow any guidelines but was haphazard, short, of poor quality and lacked discipline.23 Henriette von Motesiczky did not take a great interest in her schooling and was, at first, content with providing private teachers. One of these ‘completely impossible private tutors’24 made his pupil read the Nibelungenlied in Old High German for a whole winter. Only as late as 1916 did Marie-Louise enter a school, the Öffentliches Mariahilfer Mädchenlyzeum in the sixth district of Vienna. She stayed for only four years, leaving in 1920, when she was just thirteen. Her school career did not get off to a promising start. She lagged behind the other

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Fig. 12 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky as a child, photograph, early 1910s (Motesiczky archive)


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children – a fact that, with hindsight, Motesiczky attributed to the want of tuition rather than her lack of ability. She, for example, still spelt words out loud.25 Her final report26 gives a glimpse of the character of the pupil and hints at traits of the emerging adult. She scored good marks in all subjects apart from German language, in which she only just achieved a pass. Certainly exacerbated by the abrupt termination of her schooling, Motesiczky’s lack of confidence when it came to writing remained with her into later life. She was often insecure about spelling, especially in English, but also in her native German, and frequently made mistakes. In contrast, her teachers described her drawing as ‘very good’. It was around this time, aged thirteen, that she first began to draw and discovered her passion for creating art herself. Most surprising, however, is the vast number of lessons she missed in her last year at school, a total of 196. All of these were ‘excused’, so her mother must have condoned her lack of scholarly enthusiasm. In the end Marie-Louise gave up school entirely. She wanted to work in the local Bördelfabrik, a factory producing shoelaces, braids and trimmings; the fact that she was not taken on upset her enormously. Henriette von Motesiczky – always an extremely liberal parent – did not seem very concerned by her young daughter’s rejection of formal schooling, reportedly replying to her daughter’s decision: ‘That does not matter, then you don’t go to school any more.’27 Later Motesiczky admitted that leaving school at such a young age had been a mistake. For the rest of her life she would feel inferior when it came to intellectual matters. To make up for her educational shortcomings, Pauly Baldass, the granddaughter of the modern architect Otto Wagner, was employed as a part-time governess. Together they would often visit the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, where the curator Ludwig Baldass gave them informal lessons in art history. By this time Motesiczky was also taking private art lessons in the Viennese studio of David Kohn, where she drew with unusual enthusiasm but found little artistic guidance.28 In November 1920 Fanny Löwenstein, another cousin on the maternal side, was nominally employed as tutor and companion to MarieLouise. During the eighteen months she spent with the Motesiczky family Fanny Löwenstein, nicknamed ‘Camousine’ in a variation of ‘ma cousine’, became a faithful friend and a stimulating influence on Marie-Louise. In the spring of 1922 Fanny married Otto Kallir, a passionate art collector. He was to play an influential role in the Viennese art world with his Neue Galerie where he introduced artists including Egon Schiele to the public.

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Fig. 13 Carl Theodor von Blaatz, Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 1911, oil on board, 560 × 377 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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ar tistic tr aining Just after leaving school in 1920 Motesiczky met the person who would become the most important early influence on her work: Max Beckmann (1884–1950). The German painter had been introduced to the Motesiczkys by their relative Irma Simon. Later in life Motesiczky likened Beckmann’s arrival in Hinterbrühl to that of a ‘winged Martian’ on earth,29 so surprised was the young girl by the presence of this powerful character who played with a grasshopper and allowed Motesiczky to stay awake the whole night, going for walks and playing tennis. As an artist of whose oeuvre Motesiczky at that time only knew the graphic work, and as a person of high moral values, tact and humanity, Beckmann proceeded to change Motesiczky’s world. Even on that first brief visit, the painter left a strong and lasting impression on her. He was to become a lifelong friend. Later, Motesiczky would go further in defining Beckmann’s role in her life by characterizing her relationship with him as that of a child with a father, having lost her own so early on.30 In 1922, however, the sixteen-year-old Motesiczky went through ‘some difficult personal experiences’31 when her first love turned into ‘a very tragic, strange affair’.32 For several years she had been hopelessly in love with her cousin Witold Schey (fig. 14), some fifteen years her elder, who, as a friend of her mother, frequently visited the family and spent a lot of time with the girl, recounting stories from the First World War in which he had been a soldier. As Motesiczky recalled afterwards, her mother had hoped the two would marry. When Witold Schey suddenly got engaged to Margarete Mayer, he was ordered to stop visiting. In order to keep the desperate Marie-Louise away from the wedding and to allow her to recover from her bitter disappointment she was sent to her aunt Ilse Leembruggen, her mother’s older sister who had married the Dutch entrepreneur Willem Leembruggen in 1895 and settled in the Netherlands. The few months in The Hague had a profound artistic effect on Motesiczky. It was here that she discovered the paintings of Vincent van Gogh, whose strong colours came as a revelation to her. She later remembered one painting in particular, The Bridge: ‘one had never seen a light like this before’.33 Subsequently she learned more about van Gogh by reading Julius Meier-Graefe’s 1921 publication, Vincent, which, back in Vienna, must have served as inspiration in several instances: Small Roulette, 1924 (no. 1), and Stool, 1926 (no. 10), both demonstrate Motesiczky’s admiration for van Gogh. The museums in the Netherlands also opened her

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Fig. 14 Witold Schey in military uniform, photograph, 1910s (Motesiczky archive)

eyes to the Dutch school, of which she particularly liked Jan Steen, Frans Hals and Vermeer. Most importantly, however, Motesiczky received inspirational artistic training. Following the example of her cousins, she attended the private art school of the Czech painter Carola Machotka in The Hague.34 It was here that she became addicted to painting. Her teacher, who ‘was very sensible and let me draw from nature’,35 made a strong impression on Motesiczky and helped shape her future: In these three months of intensive drawing mainly in charcoal and pastel I decided that this should become my life. I owe much to the seriousness with which C.M. encouraged us to work . . . The first thing she really praised was a small sketch of a little dirty street urchin, maybe a five-year-old. I did not think it much because it had to be done fast and there was no time to go into details. ‘You see, you have caught the essence – this is just right.’ I was happy and thought that was a good way of doing it 36 Towards the end of her stay in the Netherlands Motesiczky was again optimistically looking into the

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future: ‘One thing is certain . . . that these three months were the beginning of a new life’.37 On her return to Vienna, Motesiczky was determined to follow an artistic career although more encouragement and support was needed to boost her self-confidence and strengthen her belief in her talent. One person who gave the assurance she needed was Käthe von Porada, a close friend of her mother and an ardent admirer of Max Beckmann. Born in Berlin to a Viennese mother in 1891, Käthe von Porada had been trying to escape from her marriage to an Austrian aristocrat when she had met Max Beckmann and, on falling in love with his work, had become his patron. Beckmann paid tribute to their friendship in the portrait Bildnis Käthe von Porada, 1924 (Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, fig. 47). In the same year Kati, as she was known to the Motesiczky family, wrote the following encouraging poem for Motesiczky: You are healthy, and young, and rich, and beautiful, Often you could go home accompanied! You possess talent – maybe even genius – A lot of temperament and some imagination . . . You are pampered and everybody likes you, The highest gentlemen of all honour you: . . . What more do you want?! – Think of point: 1–10 And leave sadness behind! 38 A colourful drawing that shows Motesiczky as an artist, brandishing her palette, accompanies the poem and testifies to Porada’s artistic skills. Right up to Porada’s death in 1985 Motesiczky kept in touch with her: she became a wellknown fashion writer and had relationships with literary figures such as Gottfried Benn and Albert Paraz. Towards the end of her life, Porada praised Motesiczky as ‘probably the wisest woman I know, my only friend’.39 Crucial support at the beginning of Motesiczky’s career came also from Heinrich Simon (1880–1941), the editor-in-chief of the Frankfurter Zeitung and husband of Irma. Simon was an extraordinarily cultured man. Apart from playing the piano extremely well, he was also a great connoisseur and collector of modern art. He counted Max Beckmann among his favourite artists and published a monograph on the painter in 1919. The Simons always stayed with the Motesiczkys when they came to Vienna. On one of these occasions Heinrich Simon expressed his wish to see the drawings Marie-Louise had made in the Netherlands. She obliged and was rewarded with praise: ‘He spoke seriously with me – like the father I lacked: “Art is a thorny path. You have to work regularly and use your time well. But

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I think you have the right to set out on that path.”’40 Simon’s remarks fell on fertile ground. In a statement entitled Meine Zukunftspläne o. Berufswahl (My Plans for the Future or Choice of Profession), which probably dates from around this time, Motesiczky poured out her reasons for wanting to become an artist while also clearly stating her awareness of the problems involved: If I did say now I wanted to be a painter it would mean to become an artist. This however one cannot become but only be or not be. Yet I have always clearly known that the capturing of reality and the processing of impressions require long-standing practice and the learning of the means of expression the highest will-power and concentration.41 By now determined to pursue an artistic career, Motesiczky decided to take up Heinrich Simon’s invitation to come to Frankfurt am Main, where she joined the Städelschule in 1924. She attended classes in ‘Freie Malerei’ (open class for painting) under Professor Johann Vincenz Cissarz for about three months. She also, briefly, studied with Professor Franz Karl Delavilla. In the beginning, Motesiczky was enthusiastic about the school, working hard and enjoying the lessons. She did, however, complain about one of her teachers, who talked a lot and did not manage to convey much, and resorted to learning from her fellow students’ mistakes.42 During her time in Frankfurt, Motesiczky stayed with Heinrich and Irma Simon in their house at Untermainkai 3 and took part in their famous Friday gatherings, which brought together a circle of intellectuals who shaped the cultural scene in the city. Among the regular guests were the conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler, the writers Rudolf Binding, Benno Reifenberg and Fritz von Unruh, Fritz Wichert, the director of the Frankfurter Schule für freie und angewandte Kunst, Georg Swarzenski, director of the Städel Museum, the actor Max Pallenberg, and Max Beckmann. It was in Frankfurt that Motesiczky saw Beckmann’s paintings for the first time. The impression his paintings made on her may have contributed to the fact that her own attempts soon felt rather feeble and came to an early end: ‘I went away without showing even a line of my school drawings. The disgrace was great, but I would rather have died than show something bad. It was the whole story of a large school – fast, pointless life-drawings, I couldn’t find my feet there.’43 Back in Austria, she spent the summer in Hinterbrühl and took up oil painting which finally resulted in works she was happy with. Small Roulette, the

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first painting that has survived in the Motesiczky estate, is dated 1924 (no. 1). That autumn she joined the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna, attending classes in drawing and sculpture led by Professor Adolf Boehm and Professor Erich Mallina. Unfortunately she did not enjoy her time there and left after just one term, later commenting briefly: ‘A dusty studio. Life model.’44 During her stay in the Netherlands, Motesiczky had met Mathilde von Kaulbach (1904–86), a daughter of the Munich-based painter. In a letter to her mother Motesiczky sang her praises, pointing out that she was ‘as pretty as a picture’.45 In 1923 Mathilde von Kaulbach arrived in Vienna to pursue her singing career. She stayed with the Motesiczkys at their Brahmsplatz flat and soon became a close friend. Several decades later she would describe her relationship with Henriette as that of a mother to her daughter, while Marie-Louise was like a sister to her.46 It was Henriette who invented the famous nickname, adopted by Max Beckmann, by which Mathilde von Kaulbach, as the artist’s wife and subject of numerous paintings, would become well known: Quappi – inspired by the surname’s closeness to Kaulquappe (tadpole). And it was Marie-Louise who first introduced Quappi to prints by Max Beckmann, of which she possessed two – the woodcut

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Selbstporträt of 1922 (fig. 15) and a lithograph – and subsequently to the artist himself, when he visited the Motesiczkys at Brahmsplatz in 1924 (fig. 16). Quappi became Beckmann’s second wife just one year later,47 and Marie-Louise was the first to know the good news.48 The close relationship between the newly-weds and Motesiczky also bore artistic fruit. In 1928 Beckmann painted Zwei Damen am Fenster, a double portrait of Quappi and Marie-Louise, that records their friendship (fig. 17). In 1924 he had already drawn a portrait of Motesiczky (fig. 18) as well as another double portrait (fig. 19). Between 1925 and 1927 Motesiczky spent long periods of time, often in the winter, in Paris where she studied at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Montparnasse, an art school which, unfortunately, she found rather unsatisfactory. She was accompanied by her Dutch friend and fellow artist Berthe Edersheim (1901–93) whom she had met during her stay in the Netherlands. Motesiczky first lodged with the widow of a general but quickly escaped and moved to the Hotel Recamier, a small establishment on Place Saint-Sulpice. In 1926 the two friends rented a studio that belonged to a Polish dancer who ‘danced by night, but during the day she slept behind a screen’.49 They hired a model, the caretaker who came to light the fire in the

Fig. 15 Max Beckmann, Selbstporträt, 1922, woodcut on paper, 222 × 154 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London) Fig. 16 Max Beckmann with Marie-Louise von Motesiczky (left) and Mathilde von Kaulbach (right), photograph, 1924 (Motesiczky archive)

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Fig. 17 Max Beckmann, Zwei Damen am Fenster, 1928, oil on canvas, 1090 × 850 mm (Saarland Museum, Saarbrücken)

Fig. 18 Max Beckmann, Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 1924, graphite on paper, 465 × 315 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London) Fig. 19 Max Beckmann, Marie-Louise von Motesiczky und Mathilde von Kaulbach, 1924, lithographic chalk on paper, 465 × 315 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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Fig. 20 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky as Mondbl체te in the Chinese play Der verwechselte Br채utigam, performed at the Hotel Frankfurter Hof on 7 April 1927, photograph (Motesiczky archive)

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studio, and Motesiczky painted Workman, Paris (no. 12). When Beckmann saw this portrait he praised it, saying that at that young age ‘he had not got so far’.50 He invited Marie-Louise to join his master-class at the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main, where he had held a teaching post since 1925. Motesiczky took up this offer in the academic year 1927/8, probably starting after Christmas (figs 20 and 21). Her experiences as Beckmann’s pupil are recorded in the text Max Beckmann als Lehrer. Erinnerungen einer Schülerin des Malers. This eloquent tribute and rare testimonial, written with Elias Canetti’s help and encouragement some thirty-five years later, gives a detailed insight into Beckmann’s teaching methods.51 Motesiczky acknowledged that in her paintings created in Paris she was already inspired by Beckmann’s work and unconsciously adopted his style. His influence gave her great confidence and resulted in works that, in their treatment of the surface, their dark outlines and static compositions, convey something of her teacher’s painterly rigour and strength.52 Early on, when he was shown one of her drawings, Beckmann acknowledged this undeniable influence, remarking: ‘I am astonished that you understand me so well.’53 Yet from the beginning Motesiczky’s paintings had a softer, more feminine, touch. Shaking off her teacher’s direct influence, she would develop her own distinctive style and subject matter over the following years. Apart from showing her a way of painting that served as the basis for her own efforts, Beckmann’s main contribution to Motesiczky’s art was to provide her with the courage to tackle the task of painting and to persuade her to take herself seriously as an artist. Motesiczky was adamant that Beckmann did not attempt to re-create himself in his students, but rather encouraged them to find their true identities: ‘He believed that all he could do was to demonstrate to his pupils what he thought right for himself; after that it was up to them to find their own way.’54 Throughout Beckmann’s life, his appreciation of Motesiczky’s work was an unfailing source of encouragement to her. Comments including ‘Thank you for the photos. Congratulations. Carry on like this. There is a lot of serious work. You must keep it up!!’55 may have led to such happy and proud statements as: ‘By the way, I showed Becki photos of my paintings and he was rather pleased – made progress he said – you know that I am in a good mood because of it!!’56 While she attended his master-class Beckmann fuelled Motesiczky’s ambition by comparing her with Paula Modersohn-Becker, ‘the best women painter in Germany – well, you have every chance of succeeding her

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. . . But don’t get a swollen head, you aren’t there yet’.57 In 1947, when Motesiczky visited Beckmann in Amsterdam and showed him photos of her recent works, he admired her independent style and unique ‘dreamlike lyricism’.58 Taking up his earlier comparison he praised her for almost having become another Modersohn-Becker, an aim she would reach in a few years’ time if she worked hard. He continued to push her. Even the year before his death he urged her to paint: ‘Damn it Pizchen, you really do possess a great talent, paint a few good pictures and the world will become beautiful again’.59 At Beckmann’s master-class Motesiczky was given the nickname ‘Motte’. She made a number of lasting friends among her fellow students, including Theo Garve (1902–87) and Karl Tratt (1900–1937). Tratt fell passionately in love with Motesiczky – a feeling that was not reciprocated. In the summer of 1928 he visited her in Hinterbrühl and they spent their time painting together. Motesiczky, for example, worked on Two Girls (no. 19), a painting of a couple of local girls that is now lost. Knowing that his advances would not be accepted, Tratt expressed the following dream: ‘I wish I had a lot of money, then I would marry you and you could keep two lovers, to the horror of your aunts and relatives.’60 Motesiczky subsequently attempted to help Tratt financially. She purchased three of his paintings and introduced him to Käthe von Porada, who became a patron. Impoverished and ill, Tratt died the day after his thirty-seventh birthday.

Fig. 21 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky with her fellow pupils Karl Tratt (left) and Theo Garve (right) on a bench on the bank of the river Main in front of the Städel in Frankfurt am Main, photograph, 1927/8 (Motesiczky archive)

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Right from the start of her artistic career, Motesiczky struggled with two problems that she would never really overcome: her reluctance to show her work and her inability to part with it. Already in 1927, Beckmann had urged her, probably in vain, to bring pictures with her to Frankfurt so that they could be shown.61 He knew that ‘Each clash with the outside world, and therefore also with criticism, is educational’.62 In order to expose her art to public scrutiny and thus, vitally, enable her to develop successfully, he repeatedly advised her to sell herself better and exhibit her work. On one occasion he pressed submission forms into her hands, saying: ‘You must send in . . . otherwise you always chase after life.’63 Yet Motesiczky seemed content with creating new paintings rather than spending her time and energy on trying to promote them and risk the embarrassment of rejection. For many years her art grew further removed from public opinion. This reclusiveness was possible because, throughout her life, she did not depend on selling her art for a living. She lived comfortably on the income that the family wealth, albeit drastically reduced after 1938, provided and was not forced either to earn money through her art or to take up a paid job. Motesiczky’s attitude to exhibiting her work would change with her growing confidence as an artist, as a critic remarked in 1944: ‘Marie-Louise Motesicky is one of those who prefer not to exhibit before they are sure that they have something to show.’64 During her life, Motesiczky would show her work in solo exhibitions at fifteen venues, and would also participate in over twenty group shows. This scant public exposure might seem unusual for a career that spanned seven decades. Yet, considering her aversion to the exposure of her art, these exhibitions prove her strong, if often surpressed, urge to gain acknowledgement as an artist. Comments such as ‘external success was always unimportant to her’65 are misconceived. As well as having an aversion to exhibiting her paintings Motesiczky found it extremely difficult to part with them. This reluctance to sell may be explained by her own observation that the paintings were like children to her. In her diary of 1955 she made the following plea: ‘God send me children even if they are only paintings’.66 There are numerous anecdotes recounting how prospective buyers tried to humour Motesiczky in order to make her agree to a sale. Generally, she would sell a painting only to an individual she liked. It could sometimes take months or even years for her to make up her mind. Once she had resolved to part with a painting, she might request an unusual method of payment (such as a pair of handmade shoes) or

even decide to give it as a gift. Occasionally she refused to sell for reasons that were probably associated with the work of art itself. When, after a visit to her house in 1986, the conductor André Previn expressed an interest in purchasing Birthday, 1962 (no. 184), Motesiczky was unwilling to let him have the still-life. It can only be assumed that the painting possessed for her a special sentimental value that made her want to keep it. Her reluctance to sell was keenly felt by hopeful admirers. While the actor Alec Guinness admitted that he would ‘hanker for a painting by Marie Louise von Motesiczky’,67 the artist toyed with the idea of painting his portrait.68 In his diary Alec Guinness described a subsequent visit to Chesterford Gardens:

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In afternoon collected Alan Bennett and we went to Madame Marie-Louise M—’s flat to look at her paintings. On the whole liked them very much. And her. Couldn’t very well discuss prices in front of Alan – and indeed wasn’t very sure if she was willing to sell. The one I liked most was of an Italian girl’s head [ probably Spanish Girl, 1928, no. 21] but she said that belonged to someone in Paris. The portraits of her mother are marvellous but I’m sure she wouldn’t part with . . . We were there for an hour and a half and I think the poor old lady got a bit fatigued – she began to relapse into German phrases.69 Yet, eventually, for reasons unknown neither the purchase nor the portrait were carried out. Following her studies under Beckmann, Motesiczky decided to continue her education in Berlin. For the academic years 1928/9 and 1929/30 she was enrolled in the Studien-Atelier für Malerei und Plastik Robert Erdmann in Charlottenburg, where she studied life drawing. According to Max Beckmann she struggled with her new life: ‘Poor Pizchen is very desperate about Berlin and has to fight hard. – Nevertheless it’s good for her.’70 Motesiczky had particular difficulties in coming to terms with the practical aspects of her independent lifestyle: ‘I am going to die, housework, housework, housework!!’71 Apart from the burdensome chores, Motesiczky had to contend with doubts about her own artistic ability, which she fought with a brave tenacity: Think how hard it is to paint good pictures, to make progress, to become someone, think of the women who are singers, only one in a hundred succeeds. And the women artists!! Every hundred years one of them makes it!! Therefore it is hard because even if


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you are nothing special you need strength and perseverance to produce reasonably good works . . . The funny thing is that, although life has so far proved itself as an interesting yet rather dubious dame, I still expect miracles (in general) or as they say so charmingly here, I want to light my cigarettes on the stars.72 By chance, she bumped into the Austrian painter Wolfgang Paalen (1905–59) whom she knew from Paris. To Motesiczky’s horror he was now making abstract paintings which were being shown at the Galerie Flechtheim in Berlin.73 She would meet Paalen again in 1956, on a trip to Mexico: he had settled there and had become a wellknown Surrealist painter. Together, they undertook trips in his jeep and explored the local villages and forests. Motesiczky was charmed by Paalen, who confessed to having been in love with her when he was young.74 Now his feelings were rekindled and he even toyed with the idea of proposing to Motesiczky.75 Unsure about how to react, she seems to have delayed her response. When Paalen committed suicide soon afterwards, Elias Canetti blamed her lack of sympathy for his death.76

early career While living in Berlin, Motesiczky started a relationship with the fellow artist and illustrator Siegfried Sebba (1897–1975; fig. 22), whom she had first encountered in Heinrich Simon’s circle when he was working for the Frankfurter Zeitung. The affair must have lasted several years but, since none of the numerous letters by Sebba in the artist’s estate is dated, it is impossible to be precise. Knowing that her mother did not approve of Sebba, who was Jewish but neither aristocratic nor wealthy, Motesiczky kept the relationship secret. Only occasionally do her letters contain references to him, but these hint at her utter happiness.77 Sebba was always extremely appreciative of Motesiczky’s work, encouraging her not to be distracted and praising her talent: ‘Don’t be sad and restless because of work and all. If I was as naturally gifted for painting as you are, I would be much happier.’78 In the early years of their relationship Motesiczky was pregnant with Sebba’s child at least once but felt unable to have the baby and decided on an abortion.79 It is unclear when the affair turned into a friendship, but in 1934 they were still discussing leaving Europe for the United States. Motesiczky, on travelling there, made enquiries about their possible

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emigration. By then Sebba had already left Nazi Germany and gone into exile. In 1932, in order to improve his financial position, Sebba had accepted a post as stage designer at the Hessisches Landestheater in Darmstadt where his sets, which included that for André Gide’s Oedipus, were critically acclaimed. After the National Socialist seizure of power he fled to Basle, leaving all his works behind in his Berlin studio. He moved to Stockholm the following year and worked there in a theatre. He was also in contact with Motesiczky’s brother Karl (fig. 23), who himself had emigrated to Norway and attempted to help Sebba to get work in Oslo. By the autumn of 1935 Sebba seemed to have given up hope of making a living in Europe. He paid a farewell visit to Motesiczky in Vienna and, in the spring of the following year, finally left for Palestine. There he became a well-known artist, creating works such as Sheep-shearing, 1947 (Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv), which became ‘the most popular painting of modern Israel’.80 For the rest of her life, Motesiczky appears to have felt a lingering sadness about the end of her relationship with Siegfried Sebba. They met again in 1968 when he had moved back to Germany, and Motesiczky travelled to Israel to see a retrospective exhibition of his work in 1994. She subsequently provided the funds to make a video of his work. Motesiczky’s relationship with Sebba was not the only one she had in the 1920s and 1930s. As a beautiful young woman she had many admirers, generally very well educated, sometimes older men. Most of her suitors were

Fig. 22 Siegfried Sebba, photograph, c. 1930 (Motesiczky archive)

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‘unsuitable’ for they were either married or deemed socially unacceptable (as in the case of Siegfried Sebba). Some, like Karl Tratt, found their feelings unrequited, yet several men managed to capture her heart. In the mid-1920s she was in love with Christoph Bernoulli (1897–1981), the Swiss art historian, writer and publisher. They had met in Frankfurt where Bernoulli, who worked for the Frankfurter Zeitung, was part of the Simon circle. Their relationship ended in 1926 when he married. In 1930 Motesiczky befriended the American architecture student Paul Montgomery Doering, who rented the small flat at Brahmsplatz 7 which the Motesiczkys owned. It was situated on the fourth floor, above their own flat. How long their relationship lasted is not known. Even the Austrian novelist Heimito von Doderer (1896–1966), a friend of her brother Karl, was drawn to Marie-Louise. Karl von Motesiczky had first met Doderer in 1924 and soon supported his career both financially and by arranging public readings of his work. Doderer in turn dedicated a poem to Marie-Louise, probably written during a visit to Hinterbrühl in September 1928. In the first line he enigmatically refers to an amorous approach that, after some initial resistance, might have been successful:

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Lively Memory (for marialouise von motesiczky) The trembling birch forest, rejecting-granting girl! the farm stood brown against the sky and the snow tongues white on the mountain, the boy ran, stumbling, in fears and joys, the work of creation shone in the sun, the summits divided the clouds, the wind carried gossamer.81

Fig. 23 Karl von Motesiczky with his cello, photograph, c. 1940 (Motesiczky archive)

The German philosopher Ernst Bloch (1885–1977) also appears to have been close to Motesiczky, as towards the end of his life he admitted to a mutual friend, the art historian and journalist Benno Reifenberg, that ‘we almost married’.82 While no details are known about Motesiczky’s friendship with Bloch, another important early relationship, though shrouded in secret, is typical of the artist’s later choice of men. In 1925 she met the Hungarian Baron Lajos Hatvany (1880–1961), also known as Ludwig Deutsch, a sophisticated writer (fig. 44). Hatvany was also the extremely wealthy owner of a sugar factory and a generous patron of the arts who counted Thomas Mann among his friends. His opposition to the Horthy regime in Hungary forced him into a ten-year political exile, part of which he spent in Vienna. Being considerably older than Motesiczky, he was already married to the sculptor and writer Christa Winsloe when they met. Both correspondence and meetings therefore had to be conducted with the utmost secrecy and Hatvany always used his nickname, Laczi. While staying in the Hermesvilla in Vienna he wrote the following characterization of his relationship with Motesiczky: ‘you are my beloved excess, necessary luxury, – more than I deserve. My happiness (marriage) is perfect – and still I miss you, something is missing when you are gone. In my wife I have everything, – you are the surplus, – I miss the surplus.’83 Hatvany intensely disliked his time in exile, although he moved in social circles appropriate to his origin, belonging for example to the famous Viennese salon of Eugenie Schwarzwald. He later confessed: ‘With the exception of a few highlights, which your modesty prohibits me from describing, I think with horror of my Viennese years. The exile was a great disease’.84 The affair ended in 1927 when Hatvany voluntarily returned to Hungary. He was subsequently imprisoned and, upon his release, was prohibited from appearing in public and writing for newspapers. He emigrated to England in 1938, spent the Second World War in Oxford and returned to Hungary after the war.

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Motesiczky commemorated their relationship in Still-life with Tulips, 1926 (no. 11), in which a book bears the inscription ‘Laczi’, presumably referring to one of his publications Motesiczky was currently reading. Numerous letters in the artist’s estate bear witness to another love affair in the mid-1930s that also had to be conducted in secret. This time Motesiczky chose her cousin Herbert Schey, the twin brother of Witold Schey, with whom she had fallen in love unhappily as a teenager. In order to keep the affair from his wife, Herbert Schey destroyed all of Motesiczky’s letters as he read them. Numerous letters by him, signed off with ‘# ’ in imitation of his initial, survive in the artist’s estate. They indicate that the relationship must have started in early 1937. One letter contains the following declaration of love: ‘You are really a sweet and rare being. I . . . am foolish enough to give it to you in black and white: that maybe I have never been so truly in love with someone as I now feel for you.’85 Despite all attempts at keeping their relationship secret, Henriette von Motesiczky, who often invited Herbert Schey – sometimes with his wife – to her home, seems to have had her suspicions yet did not interfere. In May 1938, just a few weeks after Motesiczky’s departure from her native country, Herbert Schey and his wife emigrated to Brussels, moving on to the United States, where they settled. The 1930s, however, had still more personal turbulence in store. In the early years of the decade, her family’s history of consulting psychoanalysts finally caught up with Motesiczky. Probably from 1932 until at least 1936 she underwent psychoanalytical treatment with the Freudian analyst Paul Federn, whom she later described as one of her mentors. The reason for this is unknown, but may be related to her struggle to combine her love life and her familial duties with her efforts to establish herself as an artist. Like her brother Karl, who had ample experience of psychiatrists, Marie-Louise felt obliged to keep her therapy a secret from her mother and turned to Kees Leembruggen, a Dutch relative, for financial help with the fees. Although a need for psychoanalytical help ran in the family, this appears to have been Motesiczky’s only encounter. Later in life she shared Elias Canetti’s dislike of psychoanalysis, calling its practitioners a ‘presumptuous and self-confident gang’ of ‘devils’.86 Her feelings are vividly expressed in the sinister painting Psychoanalyst, 1962 (no. 183). Against this background, it was probably a bold step, when, in April 1933, Motesiczky ventured the first public display of her paintings. She showed two works, The Balcony, 1929 (no. 30), and an unidentified still-life, in the

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‘Frühjahrsausstellung des Hagenbundes’ in her home city. Founded in 1900, the Hagenbund was a Viennese artists’ association midway between the conservative Künstlerhaus and the breakaway Secession. In the 1920s, the Hagenbund enjoyed the reputation of being the most modern avantgarde movement in Vienna.87 Women, at first completely rejected as members, were later occasionally accepted as associate members. Motesiczky exhibited as one of the guests the Hagenbund allowed to join their shows. Although her participation in this exhibition is not well known and not mentioned in later reviews, it left a lasting mark on the artist as her first public exposure. Motesiczky later maintained that, appalled by a devastating review, she subsequently refused to show her works in her native country. However, the contemporary reviewers of the Hagenbund exhibition were not as critical as Motesiczky claims. The critic of the Neues Wiener Journal, for example, ignored all works by younger artists (with the exception of one small painting) by summarily dismissing them.88 The Reichspost published the article that probably stayed in Motesiczky’s memory, for here she was accused of ‘leaving herself wide open in format and composition and precariously approaching kitsch’.89 Yet this negative view was counterbalanced by a positive one in the Neues Wiener Abendblatt, which singled out her works: ‘We should further add laudably . . . M. L. Motesiecky’.90 It is not known whether she chose to ignore the praise and focus on the rebuke or whether she had been unaware of the positive reception by a large number of visitors. In any case, she stuck resolutely to her decision and did not exhibit in Austria for over thirty years. Her next exhibition, in 1939, was to take place in the relative anonymity of The Hague, after she was forced to leave her homeland. These first reviews reveal confusion about the correct spelling of the artist’s name, which would last all her life. Now the convention is to spell her name Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, but various versions of both her Christian names and her surname were used throughout her lifetime. Variations of her first names range from the original ‘Marie Luise’ on her certificate of baptism to ‘Marie Louise’, ‘Marialouise’91 and ‘Marieluise’.92 By far the greatest problem was presented by her surname, which must have been difficult to pronounce, let alone spell, a problem that became particularly acute after her emigration to England. While most often the ‘z’ is omitted, one comes across a number of other, sometimes bizarre, misspellings. Some resorted to spelling it ‘Moteschitzky’,93 presumably in imitation of its pronunciation. Motesiczky herself did not use the

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aristocratic ‘von’ and even left out the hyphen between her Christian names. In the 1930s Motesiczky devoted most of her time to painting. She worked either in the Viennese flat or in Hinterbrühl, where she had her own studio in one of the outbuildings. A substantial amount of time was spent travelling, visiting, for example the United States, Spain, Italy and, in 1937, the World Fair in Paris. She also occasionally saw the Beckmanns. During these relatively quiet and productive years the Motesiczky family found a new friend, the Austrian painter Oskar Kokoschka (1886–1980). According to the composer Gian Carlo Menotti, who, together with his friend and fellow-musician Samuel Barber rented a flat from the Motesiczkys in the winter of 1933/4, Kokoschka had painted a portrait of Henriette von Motesiczky in the nude which she kept in her bedroom.94 Menotti would have been familiar with Henriette von Motesiczky’s bedroom, as her ornate dressing table became an inspiration for, and features prominently in, his first major work, the opera Amelia al Ballo (Amelia goes to the Ball ), which had its world première at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 1937 and made its composer famous overnight. Kokoschka’s painting, unfortunately, has not been identified and may be lost. The friendship between the Kokoschkas and the Motesiczkys proved durable and was resumed when Kokoschka, together with his wife Olda, met the Motesiczkys again in England. By 1935 the financial situation of the Motesiczky family became precarious. Nine years earlier they had lost half their fortune when, amid the general economic decline, the family bank Auspitz, Lieben & Co. crashed, costing Henriette von Motesiczky an estimated 20,000 Schillings a year in income.95 Now Henk de Waal, the Dutch relative who was looking after their money, was warning them urgently to cut back their expenditure.96 For a number of years the family had spent more than the interest earned on their capital which was, therefore, dwindling. In 1933, for example, they had needed a sum total of 122,525 Schillings while their income had only amounted to about 60,000 Schillings. The three members of the family appear to have enjoyed a relatively grand lifestyle, keeping the flat on Brahmsplatz as well as the estate in Hinterbrühl, paying for a number of staff, travelling frequently, giving expensive presents and occasionally purchasing paintings such as one by Max Beckmann, bought for 1,061 Schillings in 1933. Records show, for example, that in the twelve months between October 1929 and September 1930 Marie-Louise

spent 3,530 Marks on clothes, while needing only 22 Marks to purchase paint.97 In 1933 she received an annual allowance of 9,108 Schillings. Karl, who at the time was living in Denmark and had been undergoing costly psychoanalytic treatment with the controversial analyst Wilhelm Reich for at least two years, needed 17,614 Schillings and was told to economize drastically. Henriette proved to be a shrewd businesswoman. By saving on the running of her Viennese household and limiting Karl’s expenses to 7,098 Schillings she reached the necessary target and spent only 85,100 Schillings in 1934.98 Karl’s belt-tightening, however, was not entirely voluntary. Presumably on behalf of her mother, Marie-Louise wrote a letter to Reich asking him to complete Karl’s analysis as soon as a satisfying conclusion could be reached. With his health restored Karl was then expected to start earning his living.99 Still more measures had to be taken in 1935 and the family, having dismissed Henk de Waal, turned to Rein Bakker, a lawyer from The Hague, for advice. He suggested leaving the country for a few years to save on tax and again urged Karl to break away from Reich.100 Following Bakker’s advice, and to protect Marie-Louise from Karl’s extravagance, Ilse Leembruggen – who was a well-known benefactress – started some time before the war to pay a small monthly amount to Motesiczky. When Motesiczky had to flee to England she wrote to Bakker suggesting that the payments stop, ‘since Tante Ilse now surely had to help so many people in more urgent need’.101

Motesiczky’s world was turned upside down in March 1938 when the National Socialists marched into Austria. Although uninterested in and uninformed about politics, she had been instinctively aware of the imminent threat for some time. One episode that illustrated the impending disaster particularly stood out in her memory. While playing tennis, which she loved but was not very good at, in summer 1937, the uncanny shouts of ‘Sieg Heil ’ from Austrian Nazis frightened her. As was the case with many assimilated Jews in Germany and Austria, the rise of the National Socialist party in neighbouring Germany had made her aware of her Jewish roots for the first time – something that had never mattered in her life before. She was panic-stricken at the Anschluß on 12 March 1938 and abruptly decided to leave the country the following day with her mother. They travelled on their Czech passports, acquired at the end of the First World War when all subjects

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of the Austro-Hungarian Empire were allowed to choose their nationality. Not knowing how long their enforced absence from home would be, they went first to the Netherlands, where they could count on Ilse Leembruggen’s help and make use of their Dutch bank account. After moving several times, renting rooms at the Pension Zonnetij and the Hotel PaysBas in Amsterdam for a while, they eventually went to stay in a boarding house in Hilversum where Karl visited them in the autumn. While Henriette von Motesiczky ‘felt very lost in the new Dutch surroundings’,102 her daughter carried on painting, creating works such as Self-portrait with Red Hat (no. 47), which pays tribute to an unidentified lover left behind, and Still-life with Sheep (no. 48), arranged on an ironing-board. Socially, they lived a rather secluded life, meeting friends only occasionally. Among the few people with whom they maintained regular contact were Max and Quappi Beckmann, who had emigrated to Amsterdam after his work had been included in the infamous Munich exhibition of ‘degenerate’ art in 1937. One day, when the couple visited the Motesiczkys, they enjoyed an outing together. In return, Motesiczky called on the Beckmanns, who had set up home in an old tobacco warehouse in the centre of the city. On her birthday in 1938 Beckmann gave her a drawing of a beach scene that is still in the artist’s estate (fig. 24). Being aware of the dire economic conditions under which the couple had to live, Motesiczky tried to help improve their situation. Towards the end of her life she revealed that Beckmann had been so desperate that he was toying with the idea of commiting suicide – refraining from it only for Quappi’s sake.103 She turned to her aunt, suggesting that Ilse support the Beckmanns financially by purchasing works of art. Eventually, three paintings entered the Leembruggen collection. The several hundred guilders paid for them relieved the most immediate pressure of poverty.104 These transactions, which continued even after Ilse Leembruggen had returned from the transit camp of Westerbork where she was sent several times for brief periods, marked the beginning of a friendship between the Beckmanns and Ilse Leembruggen, whom Beckmann refers to simply as ‘Tante Ilse’ in his diaries of the time.105 Motesiczky’s concern for her teacher’s wellbeing continued even after she had left the Netherlands. Towards the end of the war her fear for his safety is evident in her diary, as she notes that she harboured ‘desperate thoughts about B. [Beckmann]’.106 When, in June 1945, she finally learned that the Beckmanns were well, she noted triumphantly ‘Beckmann is alive!’107

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and proceeded to send him parcels of painting equipment.108 She visited him in Amsterdam as soon as it was possible. As a token of his gratitude Beckmann included Motesiczky in one of his works. The reclining figure in Apollo, 1942, is reputedly modelled on her, and after Quappi’s death she inherited the painting (fig. 25). Marie-Louise’s brother Karl declined to join his mother and sister in exile. He had led a rather eventful life, if not always a happy one. His sister, to whom he was very close, remembered him as gifted and searching, wanting to understand everything.109 His eager restlessness is exemplified by his frequent change in studies. After his Matura Karl, who, like his father, was an excellent cellist, began reading law at the University of Vienna. From November 1925 he studied medicine at the University of Heidelberg, continuing in Vienna in the autumn of 1926. The following May he returned to Heidelberg, first enrolling as a student of medicine, then reverting to law and, from December 1927, settling on theology. In autumn 1929 he moved to Marburg and, in April 1931, to Berlin to pursue his theological studies further. In the German capital he came into contact with the Viennese psychoanalyst and communist Wilhelm Reich (1897–1957), who treated him from September 1932 for his lack of self-esteem and sexual shyness. Apart from being Reich’s patient, he also became his financier, student and collaborator in the sexual-politics movement. After the National Socialist seizure of power Reich and Karl von Motesiczky first fled to Vienna and, in April 1933, went into

Fig. 24 Max Beckmann, Strandszene, 1938, graphite on paper, laid down on card, 185 × 228 mm, signed bottom right: ‘Meinem lieben Pizchen Motesiczky zum 24. Okt. 38 Amsterdam von Beckmann’ (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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exile in Denmark. From there, Karl followed Reich to Oslo in October 1934. It was here that he met his girlfriend Aagot, a Norwegian, with whom he probably lived from the end of 1936 until his return to Vienna. After years of feeling rejected by the opposite sex Karl had now finally found brief happiness. He wrote poems and articles on sexual-political matters, some under the pseudonym ‘Teschitz’, and in 1935 published a book, Religionsstreit in Deutschland, in which he analysed the struggle of the Christian Church in Germany against National Socialist attacks on its autonomy. Finding it difficult to cope with Reich’s increasingly exotic ideas, Karl finally broke with him in summer 1937 and returned to Vienna to study medicine. His sister was relieved to have him home since she felt that Reich had brutally exploited her brother.110 After the Anschluß, Karl von Motesiczky decided to stay on in Austria in order to save the Hinterbrühl estate from falling into the hands of the Nazis and as an act of resistance. Once his mother and sister had left for Amsterdam, Karl von Motesiczky packed up Marie-Louise’s paintings from the 1920s and 1930s, an estimated forty works.111 With the help of Otto Kallir he found a courier and despatched the large crate to the Netherlands. During the war the

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paintings were stored in a wool factory in The Hague belonging to relatives. Karl’s work ensured that, apart from a few works of art that could not be located after the war (and two Beckmann drawings that had also been hidden),112 the majority of Motesiczky’s early oeuvre survived. The successful transfer of the works of art, however, proved to be only a brief respite from the concerns of exile. The months in Holland were an anxious time for the Motesiczky women, full of discussions about the future and their eventual destination. They were considering going to Paris, and Marie-Louise visited the French capital to investigate the possibility of settling there. Other options were England or Switzerland. Karl urged them in vain to come back to Vienna for a holiday. Worries about the future were interrupted by a welcome distraction when Motesiczky had a chance to show thirtytwo of her paintings in her first solo exhibition, arranged by Rein Bakker, by now a family friend. The exhibition, ‘Tentoonstelling van werken door Marie Louise Motesiczky’ at Esher Surrey Art Galleries in The Hague, opened its doors to the public on 7 January 1939. It stayed open for three weeks and, to Motesiczky’s great surprise, attracted much attention and was favourably received by the press. One critic called her ‘a fresh and fascinating talent’

Fig. 25 Max Beckmann, Apollo, 1942, oil on canvas, 695 × 895 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, currently on loan to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh)

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and praised the paintings as ‘intelligent and amusing’.113 Several others remarked on the sad fact that, due to the Anschluß, the artist was prevented from showing this exhibition in her native country.114 A photograph of the private view that survives in the artist’s estate (fig. 26) shows a large group of guests gathered around Motesiczky, who seems slightly overwhelmed by all the attention. Her nervousness was somewhat allayed when her dog, Poli, relieved herself in the exhibition, which Motesiczky took as a sign of good luck.115 Karl, immensely proud of his sister’s achievement, had wanted to attend the opening but could not make it. In 1985 she recounted that, for the grand occasion, she wore an unusual, modern hat:

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The next day, I heard that there was something about me in the newspaper. My first thought was: probably about the hat which I was wearing. The fact that the pictures might be reviewed and even sold did not enter my head. The exhibition was a great success in the press, and I did not notice that nothing was sold.116

Fig. 26 Group photograph at the opening of the exhibition ‘Tentoonstelling van werken door Marie Louise Motesiczky’ at Esher Surrey Art Galleries, The Hague, 7 January 1939 (Motesiczky archive)

Shortly after the opening of the exhibition, Motesiczky and her mother must have decided to emigrate to England. For the journey they were joined by the indefatigable Marie. They travelled via Switzerland and stayed for a month with their friend the psychoanalyst Trudi Boller-Schwing in

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Zürich, arriving in London in February. One painting of 1940, The Travellers (no. 50), refers directly to the experience of exile by recording her recent crossing of the Channel. In a wooden barge that drifts helplessly on a stormy sea, four vulnerable passengers huddle together. Their flight must have been sudden since they were clearly not able to dress properly or bring many belongings, apart from a mirror and a large sausage. As the painting originates from the artist’s own experience of exile, the passengers have been interpreted as members of the Motesiczky household: her wet-nurse, her mother, her brother or uncle and the artist herself. Yet the generalized title succeeds in depersonalizing the four evacuees and allows Motesiczky to express the universal emotions excited by a sudden and enforced journey into exile.

first years in england Once in England, Motesiczky, her mother and Marie first lived in a hotel in Sloane Square and then in a flat at Marble Arch. Probably from July 1939 they rented rooms in a house at 76 Adelaide Road in Hampstead, north London, belonging to Marie Seidler, an opera singer who had emigrated to England from Vienna. Karl managed to pack up a substantial proportion of the contents of the Viennese house, including many pieces of furniture, plates, cutlery, linen and artworks, which he sent on to London in three large containers. The Austrian authorities prohibited the transfer of only one painting, a German old master painting of St Christopher and the Devil which they wanted to acquire for a museum.117 When in 1940 the German air raids started to devastate the capital the Motesiczkys moved to Amersham in Buckinghamshire, north-west of London. Only a short train journey away, Amersham lies in the beautiful countryside of the Chiltern hills. Elias Canetti described the place as ‘a sort of idyll’,118 albeit in a state of war, where many emigrants from continental Europe as well as evacuees from London lived at that time. Motesiczky later conceded that, despite the war, ‘although it sounds crazy, this, to some extent, was really a very nice time’.119 She moved in circles of fellow refugees intent on upholding cultural and intellectual standards even during the state of emergency of the war. Around this time Motesiczky started a relationship that was to last for the rest of her life. In 1939, while living in London, she had met the writer Elias Canetti who, with his wife Veza, had emigrated to England in January that year.120 Born in Rustschuk (Rousse), Bulgaria, in 1905,

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Canetti had just achieved critical acclaim in Vienna with his first novel, Die Blendung, when he was forced to leave Austria. Although they had mutual acquaintances, such as Motesiczky’s relative Fritz Schey,121 their paths had never actually crossed in Vienna. Yet Canetti must have been aware of Motesiczky’s place in Viennese society. Motesiczky and Canetti possessed a mutual friend in Anna Mahler (1904–88), the Viennese sculptor and daughter of Gustav and Alma Mahler. Canetti stayed in Anna’s studio at 31 Hyde Park Gardens before he moved to Hampstead and thus became a neighbour of Motesiczky while she was living in Adelaide Road. During this time Anna Mahler created a portrait bust of Motesiczky which, unfortunately, was irreparably damaged and no longer exists. Details of the early months of the friendship between the painter and the writer are not known, and it seems that an intimate relationship started only when, on the recommendation of Motesiczky, the Canettis also moved to Amersham in autumn 1941. They found lodgings with Gordon Milburn, a retired Anglican priest, and his wife who lived in a house called ‘Durris’ in Stubbs Wood, where Motesiczky had stayed some months earlier. Father Milburn was to inspire the work of both the Canettis as well as of Motesiczky. In Party in the Blitz, the fourth part of his autobiography covering his years in England, Elias Canetti devoted a whole chapter to the idiosyncrasies of

Fig. 27 ‘Cornerways’, the Motesiczkys’ home in Amersham, view from the garden, photograph, early 1940s (Motesiczky archive)

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his landlord.122 Veza Canetti bitingly caricatured the couple in her short story Toogoods oder das Licht, characterizing them as mean and riddled with double standards.123 While the Canettis present an ambivalent if not downright negative picture of Gordon Milburn, Motesiczky is more lenient. Her portrait Father Milburn, painted in 1958 (no. 154), shows the by then aged priest as a quiet authority whose earnest seriousness is palpable. In 1941 the Motesiczkys acquired a three-bedroom house at 86 Chestnut Lane, Amersham, using money from the Dutch bank account.124 ‘Cornerways’ (fig. 27), not far from Stubbs Wood and reached by a shortcut, possessed a large garden in which the family kept chickens and grew vegetables. Since Canetti’s room at the Milburns’ was not big enough for all their possessions, Motesiczky offered to give a home to his substantial library of almost two thousand books. Several photographs, taken in the early 1940s in the large living room-cum-studio in ‘Cornerways’, show Motesiczky and her mother, the Canettis and Marie posing in front of Canetti’s books, which filled a whole wall, and Motesiczky’s paintings (fig. 28). Probably for her birthday in 1942, Canetti gave Motesiczky the manuscript of a collection of aphorisms. Held together by a yellow cord, these pages contain distillations of his recent thoughts on the war, God, his contemporaries, books, love and death.125 The blossoming relationship between Motesiczky and Canetti was to be artistically productive for both sides, moving between extreme closeness and dramatic discord. The ambivalent character of the relationship is evident in the following remarks: while Motesiczky called Canetti her ‘personal catastrophe’,126 at the same time she counted him among her ‘Hauptgötter ’ (main gods), the three people who had the strongest influence on and were most important in her life, besides her mother and Max Beckmann.127 She saw herself faced with the problem: ‘completely without C. world makes no sense – with C endless torment.’128 All through her life Motesiczky suffered from the fact that, despite their intimate friendship, she was never allowed to play a prominent role in Canetti’s life. His habit of isolating her socially, his reluctance to introduce her to his friends or go out together often caused bitter arguments and made Motesiczky doubt his feelings. In public as well as in some of the correspondence129 they used the impersonal ‘Sie’. Privately, however, they invented nicknames. While Motesiczky called Canetti ‘Pio’ (thus honouring him as the author of the book depicted in Orchid, 1958, no. 153), Canetti used either ‘Muli’, if he talked to her as a woman or his girlfriend, or ‘Mulo’ if he addressed Motesiczky the

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Fig. 28 Elias Canetti and Marie-Louise von Motesiczky in her studio at ‘Cornerways’, Amersham, photograph, early 1940s (Motesiczky archive)

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painter. From the start, the relationship was complicated by the fact that Canetti was married. As the photographs show, Motesiczky was at first on good terms with Veza Canetti. In fact Veza must have been fond of Motesiczky, as is clear from her dedication of a text so far unpublished: ‘My novel “The Response” is dedicated to the painter Marie-Luise Motesizky. The soft magic that emanates from her has given me an idea for a figure and her refinement has tamed my wildness and determined the figures and the music of my book.’130 Yet the initial goodwill soon turned into mutual dislike. In an undated drawing Motesiczky portrays Veza Canetti as a queen whose hardened expression does not bode well for her subjects (fig. 29). Unlike the ups and downs of the relationship, the mutual professional support turned out to be unwavering. Despite their different metiers, each was unreservedly convinced of the other’s talent. They gave one another the help that was needed to enable or facilitate the creation of a work. During the first years of exile, when Canetti, who refused to write articles for money,131 was unable to earn a living, Motesiczky’s financial support was crucial to his survival. Her assistance lasted for several decades, even though the amounts of money were often relatively small and did not allow Canetti to work free of financial worries for long. Her intellectual contribution to Canetti’s work, although at first glance not immediately obvious, must also not be underestimated. They talked about work in progress or just completed; they discussed the public reception of their work, celebrated their successes or comforted each other if the reaction had been less favourable. Sometimes

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Fig. 29 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Veza Canetti, undated, black chalk on paper, 440 × 570 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

Motesiczky was directly involved in the creative progress: some of her dreams, which she told Canetti, found their way into his writing. His growing literary success, which followed the publication of Masse und Macht in 1960, was a source of happiness and pride to Motesiczky and confirmed her belief in his gift. Canetti, in turn, acknowledged that she had contributed much to his work, with which she ‘will be linked as long as human beings are around’.132 Similarly, Canetti’s influence on Motesiczky’s work cannot be overestimated, although, according to Motesiczky, he did not really know a great deal about painting.133 Crucially, Canetti believed wholeheartedly in Motesiczky’s paintings and frequently expressed his admiration: ‘You are a very great painter and, whether you want it or not, the world will come to know it. Every picture that you will paint will enter the history of painting.’134 Apart from her mother, Canetti was Motesiczky’s most important interlocutor and critic, although she was aware that he often praised her work too much. He also encouraged friends and acquaintances to visit her exhibitions and used his growing fame to draw attention to her work. His letters are full of encouragement and admonishing advice to create new pictures. Motesiczky later admitted that she hardly ever painted a picture without eagerly looking forward to the moment when she could show it to Canetti.135 He received several paintings as presents, for example the enigmatic early Self-portrait with Red Hat, 1938 (no. 47), the pensive and more mature Self-portrait with Pears, 1965 (no. 202), and the touching Mother with a Straw, 1962 (no. 186). Apart from arranging several commissions for Motesiczky he commissioned paintings from her himself – not all of which were carried out. As well as Veza and Elias Canetti, Motesiczky frequently saw a number of other friends in Amersham in the 1940s. Among them were Olda and Oskar Kokoschka (fig. 30), who had arrived in England in October 1938. After a brief stay in Polperro, Cornwall, they returned to London. Kokoschka, who had already enjoyed a successful career before being forced into exile, has been repeatedly identified as a major shaping force on Motesiczky’s later works. Unlike Beckmann, who actually taught Motesiczky and whose direct influence on her early works cannot be overlooked, Kokoschka never formally instructed her. She was certainly familiar with his work and even possessed several examples of it. In 1940 he painted a portrait of her wearing a straw hat. Keeping the original (fig. 31), he presented a signed copy of the portrait to the sitter’s mother (fig. 83). Motesiczky’s estate also includes a framed watercolour

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Fig. 30 Olda and Oskar Kokoschka in Venice, photograph, 1948 (Motesiczky archive)

Fig. 31 Oskar Kokoschka, Marie-Louise, 1940, watercolour on paper, 465 Ă— 375 mm (Fondation Oskar Kokoschka, Vevey)

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still-life of a vase of flowers by Kokoschka. He personalized the drawing by adding the small figure of an Italian greyhound – a breed that the Motesiczkys kept for many years (fig. 32). During the war he also entrusted Motesiczky with the three fans he had once painted for his former lover, Alma Mahler (who was the cousin of Henriette von Motesiczky’s sister-in-law).136 Kokoschka was generally allowed to see Motesiczky’s latest work or, a very rare privilege, even work in progress, and he made no secret of his views on her paintings. It is likely that she took at least some of his comments to heart, although it is difficult to establish their real impact. Later in life she counted Kokoschka among the four people who had meant most to her, alongside her mother, Beckmann and Canetti.137 She recalled that, upon meeting Kokoschka again in London before the war, she had not been aware

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of how lucky she was to know him and to be ‘adopted’ by him.138 However, while she loved Kokoschka’s dazzling, fascinating personality and valued his sense of humour,139 she considered his influence on her painting to be limited, conceding only that he had loosened up her style. It would have been unwise to follow him further since she considered his pupils to be pale imitations of their teacher, something to which she definitely did not aspire.140 More importantly his criticism, always frank yet sometimes harsh, hurt Motesiczky deeply, as her diary entry on 8 May 1945 shows: ‘It is peace . . . Kokoschkas appear. O.K. is awful with my painting of mother.’141 A few weeks later Kokoschka called another painting, Dorothy (no. 74), ‘hopeless’.142 When it was forthcoming, however, his praise for her work was eagerly taken up. Motesiczky remembered one instance when he came into her studio, saw a painting

Fig. 32 Oskar Kokoschka, Flowers with Porcelain Dog, 1950s, watercolour on paper, 580 × 480 mm (private collection, Austria)

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on which she still intended to do work and exclaimed: ‘Don’t touch it!’ Motesiczky followed his advice, conceding that she probably would have ruined the picture had she continued to paint.143 During a period when she was furious about Kokoschka’s rejection of one of her paintings she made a ‘drawing Olda, K, I’144 which is probably identical to Kokoschka Fishing for Two Nudes (fig. 33). It shows Kokoschka standing among the reeds trying to catch the two nudes in the water with a fishing rod. The nudes are his wife Olda, standing, and Motesiczky, swimming vigorously in the water as if trying to get away. The humorous composition probably refers to another dimension of their relationship: in the early 1940s Kokoschka appears to have had his eye on Motesiczky. Not succeeding, he tried to arrange a match for her.145 His intended partner for her was Michael

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Croft, later Lord Croft, who had been his first English patron. Croft was only twenty-two when Kokoschka painted his portrait in 1938/9 (private collection, fig. 178). Croft apparently proposed to Motesiczky, who refused to marry him.146 The reason for her lack of interest is not documented, but is likely to have been the blossoming relationship with Elias Canetti. In 1951 Motesiczky painted a triple portrait that paid tribute to another aspect of her acquaintance with the Kokoschkas, her friendship with Olda. Two Women and a Shadow (no. 109) shows Olda and Marie-Louise trying to have a private conversation while Oskar Kokoschka, represented by a silhouetted dark profile, prevents any confidences from being exchanged by appearing to listen in. Paintings such as Two Women and a Shadow may have inspired the author Iris Murdoch in her description of the

Fig. 33 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Kokoschka Fishing for Two Nudes, 1945, charcoal and pastel on paper, 510 × 380 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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remodelled interior of a formerly musty and old-fashioned house in the novel The Book and the Brotherhood, first published in 1987: ‘The drawing room . . . was now painted a glowing aquamarine adorned with a huge scarlet abstract by de Kooning over the fireplace and two colourful conversation pieces by Kokoschka and Motesiczky.’147 Despite her continuing acquaintance with fellow émigré artists such as Kokoschka, Motesiczky had, as an exile, discarded the professional networks that might have helped her art reach a wider audience. Nevertheless, she managed to have her work shown regularly in her adopted country. Although not interested in politics, during the war she participated in several exhibitions in London which had a political dimension and more or less openly took a stance against the National Socialist regime and its consequences. In July 1941 she showed a self-portrait at the ‘Exhibition of Contemporary Continental Art. Paintings, Water-Colours, Sculptures’ at the Leger Gallery that comprised works by Martin Bloch, Georges Braque, Giorgio de Chirico, Hugo Dachinger, Raoul Dufy, Georg Ehrlich, Max Ernst, Oskar Kokoschka, Anna Mahler, André Lhote, Pablo Picasso and Fred Uhlmann. The following year a portrait was included in the ‘Exhibition of Works by Allied Artists’ at the R.B.A. Galleries. In April 1944 she participated in ‘AIA 1944. Artists’ International Association Members’ Exhibition’ at the R.B.A. Galleries. The previous year she had become a member of the Artists’ International Association. Founded in 1933, the Association demonstrated against all forms of Fascism and strove to forge a link between artist and public by organizing conferences and lectures and staging exhibitions. In order to reach as large an audience as possible, some shows were arranged in underground stations or factory canteens while others travelled around the country. Towards the end of 1944 the Czechoslovak Institute in London staged an ‘Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture by Marie Louise Motesicky and Mary Duras’. This two-woman exhibition brought together the paintings of Motesiczky and the sculptures of Mary Duras. Born in Vienna in 1898, Duras had emigrated to England, now also lived in Amersham and was a friend of both Canetti and Motesiczky. Motesiczky showed twenty-eight paintings, portraits, selfportraits, still-lifes, figure compositions and landscapes. Among Duras’ works was a portrait head of Motesiczky (fig. 34). The exhibition catalogue contained a foreword by Jan Masaryk, Foreign Minister of the London-based Czechoslovak government in exile, which repeated some ideas that Elias Canetti had already voiced in a review of

Motesiczky’s work. The short text provides a fascinating insight into Canetti’s views of Motesiczky’s paintings:

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We meet an artist of the same rank [as Mary Duras] but of a different kind in the painter Marie Louise Motešicky. Her art is dominated by one passion, usually and very wrongly, styled masculine: the search for truth. Her portraits have an intensity and vitality that have become rare to-day. Each human being in her eyes is unique and original, and yet something very round and full. She does not despise, she does not praise, she makes her task as difficult as possible. With some of these portraits one feels reminded of the great Dutch painters, and nobody need be ashamed for this. The spirit of this art is European; its culture is that of the modern French school. A palette of so much taste can have accomplished itself only in France. But there is a third element, that directly moves one’s heart and that appears most convincing in her still-lives: a distinctness and force deriving

Fig. 34 Mary Duras, Marie Louise, undated, painted plaster, height 320 mm (private collection)


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from another, less sophisticated world. It takes time to find out what it really is, for it has been completely transformed into modern ways of expression. However, it is undoubtedly the world of Slavic folkart. There is a sense for bright and comic things as those have, who know the life of peasants. It is the essentially joyful of her art. Truth, that succeeds in portraying man with such intensity, is not only of the soul: it is the truth of the colours that love one another.148 The exhibition was favourably reviewed. The art critic Eric Newton, a fellow resident of Amersham and a painter himself, expressed his admiration for Motesiczky’s work in an article which appeared in the Sunday Times.149 He subsequently purchased Still-life with Pansies, 1942 (no. 56), intending it as a present for his mother, and continued to sing Motesiczky’s praises when he reviewed her exhibition at the Beaux Arts Gallery in 1960. The critic Edith Yapou counted the show at the Czechoslovak Institute among the ‘outstanding events in the yearly array of London exhibitions’.150 While Motesiczky’s works were still on display, Kokoschka approached John Rothenstein, then director of the Tate Gallery, enquiring if a painting from the exhibition might be accepted by the Tate. This attempt to further Motesiczky’s cause was probably undertaken without her knowledge. Kokoschka made use of his acquaintance with Rothenstein, who had already expressed his wish to incorporate works by Kokoschka in the Tate’s collection. Rothenstein initially welcomed the idea of acquiring a Motesiczky painting and, having visited the exhibition, made a selection of five possible works.151 The offer was eventually declined by the Tate’s Trustees and it would be another forty-two years before the first three paintings by Motesiczky entered the Tate collection, in 1986. In the course of the war, communication with Motesiczky’s brother had become increasingly difficult. After his mother and sister had left Austria Karl von Motesiczky looked after the family properties, especially the estate in Hinterbrühl. When the villa, which had been built on a spring, causing subsidence, had to be pulled down in 1939, the family had already become accustomed to living in the smaller ‘Schweizerhaus’. Karl now spent most of his time there, planting an orchard in the grounds. At weekends his anti-fascist and Jewish friends would meet in the relative safety of Hinterbrühl. Some found shelter there for several months. In the autumn of 1939 he founded a resistance group with friends. Three years later, in summer 1942,

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they helped two Jewish couples from Poland escape to Switzerland. The group, however, was denounced. Karl von Motesiczky and his co-conspirator Ella Lingens were arrested by the Gestapo on 13 October 1942 and sent to Auschwitz four months later. Karl kept his spirits up for a while by asking for his cello to be sent to him, but he fell ill shortly afterwards and died on 25 June 1943 in the prisoners’ infirmary. In 1980 he was awarded the Israeli title of ‘Righteous Among the Nations’, which honours people who risked their lives to save Jews from the Nazis. Ella Lingens, who made herself useful as a doctor, survived the Holocaust. Although Motesiczky learned of Karl’s death via a letter from Irene Carlin, a Swiss relative, in October 1943, she later claimed he had died just a few weeks before the end of the war which would have made his loss even more futile since it could almost have been avoided. MarieLouise had always been Karl’s confidante and ally since he had not been close to his mother and often felt misunderstood by her. For the rest of her life she felt guilty for not having been able to save him.152 In After the Ball, 1949 (no. 87), she pays a touching tribute to her brother. She depicts him with his Norwegian girlfriend Aagot after a fancy dress ball in Vienna. Although both are exhausted from the evening’s entertainment they tenderly and protectively hold each other in a moment of brief happiness. At the end of the war Motesiczky decided to go back to London. She first stayed at 139 Maida Vale. At around the same time as Canetti moved from ‘Durris’ to 187 Maida Vale in 1948, she moved into a flat on the second floor at 14 Compayne Gardens in West Hampstead, which she shared with her friends Georgette Lewinson and Julia Altschulova. From 1951 to early 1957 Elias Canetti also had a room in the flat, where he often worked. He was in the habit of writing through the night and catching up on his sleep in the morning, and Motesiczky had to be careful to avoid any noise in order not to disturb his rest. Although initially she was very happy to share her day-to-day life with Canetti after she had waited so long, in the end living together proved to be too difficult. She suffered from Canetti’s moods and felt socially isolated, ‘in solitary confinement as it were’.153 To the apparent relief of both, Canetti vacated his room, agreeing on a trial period of living apart. At about the same time Motesiczky’s artistic career took a turn for the better. The early 1950s finally brought more opportunities to show her work. Following the good reception of her 1939 Dutch exhibition, Motesiczky had two solo exhibitions in the Netherlands in 1952. In February

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Kunstzaal Van Lier in Amsterdam showed a selection of twenty-five paintings that went on to Kunstzaal Plaats, The Hague, in March. Both exhibitions were a great success, with artists, critics and the public united in their praise for ‘a fascinating painter’154 and her work of ‘rare quality’.155 Her expressionism was termed ‘gay, honest, problemless’156 or ‘lyrical and soft’.157 Several reviewers singled out her portraits, which would not easily find their equals in our time.158 One critic, quoting a young Dutch painter, simply exclaimed: ‘That such good painting still exists in our days makes one feel much happier.’159 By chance, a Max Beckmann exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum had just finished, which led critics to compare Motesiczky’s work with that of her teacher, concluding, however, that Motesiczky had arrived at her own personal style that was a softer version of added warmth and humanity.160 The final seal of Dutch approval was the purchase of Finchley Road at Night, 1952 (no. 110), by the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, Amsterdam. At the time of her two solo exhibitions in the Netherlands Motesiczky had also talked about her struggle to gain recognition in her adopted country: ‘I myself have exhibited a few times in London, but in spite of positive reviews, e.g. by Eric Newton, I have not had much success. It is a very difficult scene for foreigners.’161 Unfortunately this statement proved to be true over the following few years. In September 1953 she learned that the famous Cork Street gallery Roland, Browse and Delbanco, which dominated sales of contemporary British art to museums throughout the country during the 1950s and 1960s, was planning an unusual show for the following month. The gallery had occasionally shown individual works by Motesiczky within the previous few years. The exhibition, entitled ‘The Renaissance of the Fish. Paintings from the 17th to the 20th Century’, was to celebrate an unconventional and not easily marketable subject matter: fish still-lifes. Having completed Lobster (no. 119) a few months earlier, Motesiczky thought of submitting it. She was, however, doubtful whether a lobster would be considered a fish and decided to quickly paint a still-life of undisputable fish, Still-life with Fishes (no. 122). Although both paintings were initially accepted for the exhibition, only Lobster was finally listed in the exhibition catalogue. Motesiczky had more success the following year, when, thanks to the mediation of her relative Gretl Rupé, the Städtische Galerie in Munich put on an exhibition of works by the Bavarian painter Erna Dinklage (1895–1991) and Motesiczky. The opening was packed with old and

new admirers of her work, among them Ludwig Baldass, by then director of the Gemäldegalerie at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna; Eberhard Hanfstaengl, director general of the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen; Günther Freiherr von Pechmann, director of the Porzellanmanufaktur in Berlin and of the Neue Sammlung in Munich, who was enthusiastic about the paintings; and the Russian writer Fedor Stepun, who had been a friend of her brother Karl and praised her paintings as ‘essential’.162 The thirty-four paintings shown by Motesiczky, most of them new, received praise for their stylistic unity.163 In 1955 the Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen in Düsseldorf put on an exhibition of Motesiczky’s paintings. It coincided with a memorial exhibition for the Düsseldorf painter Heinz May (1878–1954) and exhibitions of sculptures and drawings by Curt Beckmann (1901–70) and Hans van Breek (1906–93), the brother of Arno Breker. Despite her success abroad and the difficulties in gaining artistic recognition in London, in the mid-1950s Motesiczky decided to stay in the country that had offered her refuge. After nearly twenty years of living in England and having been naturalized as a British citizen in 1948,164 she finally severed her links with Austria in summer 1956. She sold the family estate in Hinterbrühl to Hermann Gmeiner, the founder of the SOS-Kinderdorf movement, who proceeded to build another of his villages for orphaned and homeless children on the site (fig. 35). Motesiczky was willing to part with her property for a price that did not reflect its true market value in order to give the children a permanent new home and a stable environment, and to honour her brother ‘who loved children and justice’.165 Once the Hinterbrühl complex was fully established Gmeiner wrote to Motesiczky acknowledging her contribution in enabling the creation of the ‘largest and most beautiful European SOS-Kinderdorf ’, whose model character for villages all over the world was invaluable.166 In 1961 Henriette and Marie-Louise von Motesiczky erected a monument to Karl in the grounds of the Kinderdorf (fig. 36). Its inscription reads: ‘Für die selbstlose Hilfe, die er schuldlos Verfolgten gewährte, erlitt er den Tod’ (He perished for the selfless help he granted to the innocently persecuted).167 Motesiczky had always dreamed of keeping a studio in Hinterbrühl, and later often regretted not having done so and painting the children.168 She also continued to wonder about the pictures she could create in her home city: ‘Vienna is so stimulating for me from an artistic point of view, I have so many ideas – this has to do

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Fig. 35 SOS-Kinderdorf in Hinterbrühl, photograph, 1960s (Motesiczky archive)

with the memories of my youth . . . and nevertheless I think that I could one day paint my best pictures here’.169 After the war, she maintained the habit of visiting Vienna regularly, usually twice a year, in spring and in autumn.

hampstead Since Marie’s death in 1954 the domestic arrangements for Henriette von Motesiczky, living in Amersham with hired help, had been somewhat unsatisfactory. In 1958, Motesiczky, travelling to Austria, finally found a carer and housekeeper who would bring stability to her mother’s life as well as the culinary delights of her homeland. Maria Pauzenberger (1912–98) joined the household at the end of April and was soon known simply as ‘Bauzen’. She became famous for her Viennese specialities, of which in particular her Apfelstrudel was a much-loved delicacy. Bauzen looked after Henriette von Motesiczky for the rest of her life. After Henriette’s death in 1978 she married and moved away, occasionally visiting Marie-Louise, who painted her portrait in 1990 (no. 309). In the late 1950s, with her mother getting steadily older and frailer, Motesiczky had to find a new solution to their way of living. After a long house hunt, she found a property in Chesterford Gardens in Hampstead in 1959. She had to spend almost a year, in which she did not get much painting done, making extensive alterations to the house. In spring 1960, she moved into her new home with her mother. The house, a substantial semi-detached, three-storey Edwardian red-brick building on one of

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Fig. 36 Karl von Motesiczky’s memorial stone at the SOS-Kinderdorf in Hinterbrühl, photograph, 1960s (Motesiczky archive)

Hampstead’s quiet roads not far from the village centre, provided more than ample living space. Soon two small rooms on the top floor were rented out to the Berlin-born Edith Loewenberg, a friend of Erika Mann. The communal living area for the Motesiczkys was on the ground floor, while Motesiczky’s bedroom on the first floor looked out over a large garden with mature trees and beautiful flowerbeds. The large adjacent studio (fig. 37), facing the road, provided wonderful northern light and plenty of space to set up arrangements for a still-life or comfortably instal a sitter. Elias Canetti moved into a large room on the second floor that overlooked the garden and housed part of his library (fig. 38). He loved the house and the garden, which he called ‘a little paradise’,170 and especially valued ‘the fantastic Biedermeier peace’171 of life there which enabled him to hide from the world and work undisturbed. In a scaled-down version of her childhood custom, Motesiczky again enjoyed the use of two homes: the large family house in Chesterford Gardens and the house in Amersham which was kept on and where they, especially Henriette, often spent the summer months. In the mid1970s Motesiczky finally sold the Amersham property, having rented it out for several years. To visitors, the house in Chesterford Gardens, with its old Viennese furniture, its collection of art and artefacts, its Viennese cooking and, above all, its Austrian inhabitants with their native dialect who maintained a traditional way of life, seemed like a relic from a lost world, an Austrian island in an English sea. Beatrice Owen, a friend whose portrait Motesiczky painted in 1973 (no. 244), found in the house ‘the atmosphere of

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central Europe, the elegance and style that was totally natural, the values with which I had grown up . . . it was a magical household then, always full of the most gifted people of their time, who could forget their fame in M-L’s company and inspire each other’.172 Over the years Hampstead had provided a home for many refugees from Europe, so Motesiczky became part of a lively intellectual and artistic community. A very close friend was the fellow artist Milein Cosman, born in Düsseldorf in 1921. Her husband, the musicologist Hans Keller (1919–85), often provided a sounding-board for arguments on the nature of art. The couple are depicted in Studio with Nude Model, 1970 (no. 239), practising their respective professions. The modern architect Godfrey Samuel (1904–82), who shared Motesiczky’s interest in music, art and travel, was the perfect companion for numerous concerts, visits to museums and holidays. She took enormous pleasure in her friendship with this ‘gentleman in the truest sense of the word’173 whose portrait she painted in 1976/7 (no. 256). Motesiczky also knew many of her fellow artists in exile, such as the

painters Jacob Bauernfreund (or Bornfriend) and Hilde Goldschmidt and the sculptors Siegfried Charoux and Georg Ehrlich. Yet, with the exception of Milein Cosman, she only occasionally sought their company. Outside her immediate Hampstead circle Motesiczky kept up a number of longstanding friendships, for example with the composers Samuel Barber (1910–81) and Gian Carlo Menotti (1911–2007), the actor Ernst Ginsberg (1904–64)174 and the Renaissance scholar Paul Oskar Kristeller (1905–99), all of which had begun during her years in Austria. The German philosopher Theodor W. Adorno (1903–69) was also a friend. They presumably knew each other through Motesiczky’s relative Gretel Karplus (1902–93), who had met Adorno in 1923 and married him in 1937. In 1935 Adorno wrote appreciatively to the composer Ernst Krenek: ‘By the way do you know MarieLouise von Metesitzky? She is rather unusual and if you have not met her, I would be happy to arrange it.’175 Motesiczky’s friendship with the Adornos endured. In March 1961, for example, they met again in Paris. They finally decided to dispense with the formal ‘Sie’ and

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Fig. 37 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky’s studio in Chesterford Gardens, photograph, 1995 (Motesiczky archive)


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Fig. 38 Elias Canetti at his desk in Chesterford Gardens, photograph, 1963 (Foto Archiv, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich)

solemnly agreed to call each other ‘Du ’.176 Later that year they holidayed together in the Swiss resort of Sils Maria. Motesiczky enjoyed the reunion, writing home: ‘Adorno always has something nice to say, for example that I have a wonderful profile or that I have the nature of a young girl without being backward. This, of course, contributes to my relaxation!’177 For a few years in the early 1960s it finally seemed that Motesiczky had overcome her reluctance to show and sell her paintings. She found a dealer in Helen Lessore (1907–94), who owned the well-known Beaux Arts Gallery in Bruton Place in London and was an artist herself. Under Helen Lessore’s directorship the Beaux Arts Gallery had become famous for presenting young artists to a wider audience, as well as showing work of the ‘older, under-rated and half-forgotten, or the artist appreciated abroad, but not yet in London’.178 The first category probably included Francis Bacon, one of the most important artists with whom Helen Lessore was associated as dealer, albeit briefly. The second category certainly included Motesiczky. Lessore staged a solo exhibition for Motesiczky in 1960 and included her work in several group shows. Among them was an exhibition of the gallery’s regulars in 1963, which presented Mother with a Straw, 1962 (no. 186), and one of the final shows in 1964 before the gallery closed down, entitled ‘Last Anthology’, where Motesiczky’s paintings hung alongside those of Craigie Aitchison, Frank Auerbach, David Bomberg,

Heinz Koppel, Leon Kossoff, Walter Sickert and Euan Uglow. Although she did not find the experience of dealing with a commercial gallery especially daunting, Motesiczky was still hesitant when it came to giving up pictures. When in 1965 the gallery was forced to close its doors for financial reasons she was not overly disappointed, although she worried about ‘never again being able to join in the art scene’.179 Personal concerns, however, soon took the upper hand. When Veza Canetti died in 1963, Motesiczky hoped that she would finally be able to become Elias Canetti’s wife. Yet, just like her vain longing for Canetti’s child, Motesiczky’s wish to marry was never realized, as he never proposed. The last few years before Veza’s death had been characterized by Motesiczky’s growing aversion to and jealousy of her rival, whom she saw as the reason for most of her problems with Canetti. Another source of discomfort was Canetti’s unjustified and almost obsessive jealousy of Motesiczky’s male acquaintances and his mission to control her activities. Milein Cosman, for example, recounts the story of a walk in Holland Park during which the women repeatedly noticed a strange rustling behind the bushes. Motesiczky was unconcerned, remarking: ‘That is probably Canetti!’180 Paradoxically, Motesiczky seems to have come to terms with Canetti’s female friends. She knew, for example, of Friedl Benedikt (1916–53), the young author who was Canetti’s pupil and mistress. When Benedikt died in April 1953 Motesiczky received a call from Paris with the sad

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news, which she related to Canetti when, shortly afterwards, he phoned from Scotland.181 The author Iris Murdoch (1919–99) also had a liaison with Canetti in the early 1950s and it lasted several years.182 Motesiczky and Murdoch presumably met during that time and were linked by a bond of friendship and goodwill for the rest of their lives. On leaving St Anne’s College, Oxford, to dedicate herself to full-time writing in 1963, Murdoch commissioned Motesiczky to paint her portrait as a parting gift to the college. She chose Motesiczky as an artist she personally admired and thought undervalued in this country. With this commission she hoped to help increase Motesiczky’s reputation and make her more familiar to a wider audience: ‘I admire her work very much & think she is not well enough known in England.’183 Iris Murdoch, completed the following year (no. 193), shows the wellknown author with an absent, dreamlike expression on her face and a slightly windblown air about her. The reception of the portrait was ambiguous: some viewers felt it did not do justice to the sitter. However, when Murdoch saw the finished portrait, which lacks idealization and does not dwell on her feminine qualities, she found it uncannily accurate, noting in her diary: ‘I think it is wonderful, terrible, so sad and frightening, me with the demons. How did she know?’184 The first success in Motesiczky’s native country came in May 1966 when the Wiener Secession staged a large solo exhibition. Plans for a Viennese exhibition had been discussed for some time. Three years earlier the Österreichische Galerie in Schloß Belvedere had been about to stage an exhibition of her work when government subsidies were drastically cut and the project had to be put on hold.185 Now, Motesiczky had managed to interest another extremely prestigious venue in her work. A catalogue was produced that included illustrations, some in colour, of most of the fifty-two works shown. Benno Reifenberg contributed a thoughtful essay about her work with which Motesiczky, usually wary of comments on her pictures, was very pleased.186 The exhibition, opened by Heimito von Doderer,187 attracted a substantial number of visitors. The guest book contains enthusiastic comments like ‘Wonderful paintings as one sadly sees so rarely’, often singling out the portraits which were considered ‘masterly’. Other visitors praised the enchanting poetry and honesty of ‘these strong and pure paintings in which the inexpressible can always be imagined’.188 Further publicity came from Elias Canetti, who was awarded the Dichterpreis der Stadt Wien on 16 May. He was more than happy to use his increased fame to draw everyone’s attention to

Motesiczky’s exhibition, which included two portraits of him (Conversation in the Library, 1950, no. 103, and Elias Canetti, 1960, no. 165). The exhibition was also well received by the critics, who called it ‘a fascinating surprise’189 and mused that Motesiczky, ‘had everything been as it should, should long ago have been acknowledged as one of our most important women artists’.190 Another reviewer praised the artistic consistency of Motesiczky, ‘who has hardly changed at all, but become constantly refined’.191 Several critics picked up on her stylistic link with Beckmann.192 While one journalist considered Motesiczky to be standing ‘in the shadow of the master’,193 most, following Reifenberg’s analysis, concluded that she ‘did not submit to the power and greatness of the master, but has conquered her own view of the world – and her own style’.194 One critic even went so far as to praise their relationship as exemplary: ‘This meeting with Beckmann . . . influenced . . . the artist’s work and stance in such a fruitful way . . . that one could not imagine more ideally in any similarly close teacher-pupil-relationship.’195 Apart from critical acclaim, the exhibition also brought about the acquisition of works by Motesiczky by several public Austrian collections. The Österreichische Galerie Belvedere bought a small portrait, Frau Ziegler, 1938 (no. 45), for 20,000 Schillings. Towards the end of her life Motesiczky recollected that ‘the Belvedere bought the very smallest painting for such a tiny sum that I straight away lost it in a telephone box. The first money I had earned . . . at sixty.’196 The Neue Galerie der Stadt Linz (now Lentos Kunstmuseum, Linz) purchased Self-portrait with Pears, 1965 (no. 202), for 19,000 Schillings, the Kulturamt der Stadt Wien acquired Elias Canetti (no. 165), passing it on to the Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien (now the Wien Museum). The exhibition subsequently travelled to the Neue Galerie der Stadt Linz in December 1966 and, in October 1967 was shown at the Galerie Günther Franke in Munich. At the start of this leg of the tour Canetti predicted: ‘You will become the great German portraitist’, and praised the group of recent works as ‘the best . . . you have created so far’.197 At least with the exhibition in Munich he would be proved right. The following lines written by Henriette von Motesiczky to Käthe von Porada neatly sum up the Munich success: ‘Piz had an exhibition in Munich, wonderful reviews and also sales. She was very pleased. She could have sold even more, but she finds it hard or impossible to part with some paintings.’198 Long after the end of the exhibition Günther Franke received a request from a client wanting to commission a portrait from

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Motesiczky.199 From 27 October to 24 November 1968 the exhibition, now consisting of seventy works, was shown at the Kunsthalle in Bremen. Motesiczky was devastated about one review that, once again, highlighted her stylistic debt to Beckmann, and ignored her claims to original work.200 Quappi tried to console her by pointing out that ‘Max did not believe in you in vain, don’t forget that!’201 Several critics wrote appreciatively and, all in all, the Bremen exhibition seems to have been a success. The same catalogue was used for all four venues although the paintings shown varied slightly, often incorporating her most recent works. Motesiczky had been rather nervous at the opening of the Viennese exhibition but her anxiety diminished during the course of the tour. Before the opening in Munich she announced to Benno Reifenberg: ‘I am (maybe without reason) more confident than in Vienna – maybe because I am working rather well at the moment but maybe also because since Vienna I have somewhat got used to the frightening state of “exhibiting”.’202 Yet, a little while later, during the Bremen exhibition, she confessed to Theo Garve to still feeling ‘even significantly smaller than usual’.203 Her oeuvre during this period was dominated by a singular series of works, her ‘mother paintings’. The 1960s and 1970s witnessed an ever-closer bond between daughter and ageing mother. Yet over the years the burden of looking after Henriette von Motesiczky became increasingly restricting and, at times, even imprisoning. Caring for her weakening mother and making sure that she was able to enjoy the two things she liked best – doing nothing and eating well204 – often prevented Motesiczky from painting. On an emotional level, she felt obliged always to present a brave and happy face in order to guarantee her mother’s good health – a task that sometimes overwhelmed her.205 In autumn 1977 she pleaded in her diary: ‘Mother unfortunately often very difficult. Patience, patience, I must love her as long as she is there. Strength, strength oh please strength for the new year’.206 One way of combining her duty of caring for her mother and carrying on with her work was to use Henriette as a model. Her mother became one of her favourite subjects. Over the years Motesiczky produced a series of beautiful and moving images, chronicling her mother’s descent into extreme old age. Together with her portraits and self-portraits these striking and truthful paintings are among the best of her artistic oeuvre. The Sunday Times art critic Marina Vaizey called the mother paintings ‘surely one of the most moving series of portraits to be produced in the post-war period’,207 and the eminent

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art historian Ernst Gombrich compared them with the work of Albrecht Dürer, who had immortalized his mother in works of similar detachment.208 In a frank and unflattering manner, which has been taken as a ‘violation of the divine Fourth Commandment: “Thou Shalt Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother!”’,209 they capture the gradual, harrowing decline towards death, combining the deep affection of a daughter who shared almost all her life with her mother with a penetrating power of observation. Motesiczky adopts a distanced objectivity and inexorable clarity in her mother pictures that are paired with the affirmation of personal dignity and love for her subject matter. Referring to From Night into Day, 1975 (no. 251), the art critic Robert Clark asked the rhetorical question: ‘What other living painter anywhere has produced so poignantly simple and delicately alive an image of mortality?’210 Despite the large number of portrait paintings, not to mention numerous sketches and drawings, Motesiczky always felt there were even more expressions on her mother’s face to be recorded. When Henriette von Motesiczky died on 8 June 1978, aged ninety-six, she had not quite finished with her task.211 Just a few hours before her death Motesiczky had repeatedly read one of her mother’s own poems to her. Entitled ‘Ein Traum’ (‘A Dream’) and written in 1955, it is dedicated to Max Beckmann, who so profoundly influenced her daughter’s art. Motesiczky felt as if her mother’s ‘own words had given her “a blessing”’212 on her journey towards death by acknowledging her daughter’s chosen profession. The death of her mother must have hit Motesiczky hard. Having spent the greatest part of her life under the same roof, she now missed her companion. With The Greenhouse, painted in 1979 (no. 266), she created a memorial to her late mother. Surrounded by her Italian greyhounds she is seen raking leaves in the garden while the setting sun is reflected in the window of the greenhouse. Still-life with Asters, 1985 (no. 281), also pays tribute to Henriette von Motesiczky. Depicting her mother’s now empty chair at the dining table, Motesiczky expresses the loneliness of which she had become acutely aware. As a final celebration she produced forty memorial books containing photographs, samples of her mother’s poems and drawings and images of her own paintings. These were given to friends and family members on the occasion of what would have been Henriette’s hundredth birthday in 1982. Despite her sadness over the loss of her mother, Motesiczky eventually managed to relish the positive consequences. According to relatives she seemed

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rejuvenated after her mother’s death, travelling a great deal and enjoying her new-found freedom.213 In her diary she likens her tentative explorations to ‘the first steps of a newborn alone in the world’.214 She also had substantial work done on the house to adapt it to her new circumstances. Keeping only her studio on the first floor she moved downstairs to occupy the whole of the ground floor; the rest of the house was turned into separate accommodation for lodgers. The room Canetti had usually stayed in now became a guest room,215 reflecting the dramatic deterioration in Motesiczky’s relationship with him that had dominated the final years of her mother’s life. In 1973 Motesiczky suffered her most bitter disappointment when she learned, via friends and relatives, of Elias Canetti’s second marriage. Until then, Canetti, who now spent a lot of time in Zürich but regularly visited London, had managed to keep secret from Motesiczky his relationship with the conservator Hera Buschor, their marriage and the subsequent birth of their daughter Johanna in 1972. Feeling betrayed and unable to recover from this new slight, she broke off all contact with Canetti. Henriette von Motesiczky banned him from the house. Tentative attempts at rekindling the friendship were made only after a break, when it was possible to re-establish it on a brotherly basis.216 In time Motesiczky conceded that Canetti had to live his new, independent life as a husband and father: ‘Slowly, very slowly the scales come down for you, your wife and the little child and my pan is too light’.217 An undated drawing shows him weighing up his options, balancing two women on large scales (fig. 39). Motesiczky’s unfailing belief in Canetti’s professional ability survived her affront and was finally vindicated in 1981 when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. From the $180,000 he received as prize money he repaid some of the debts incurred over the years when he had been dependent on her financial support. Motesiczky received numerous congratulatory letters on Canetti’s success from friends and relatives, who were keen to point out her contribution:

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By contrast, her own artistic career had been flagging for a while. During the 1970s Motesiczky had not been able to take much part in the contemporary art scene. She

participated in just two group exhibitions. ‘Hampstead in the Thirties. A Committed Decade’ at the Camden Arts Centre, London, in 1974, included two paintings that illustrate both Motesiczky’s work and personal experience at the time of her emigration and arrival in Hampstead: Selfportrait with Red Hat, 1938 (no. 47), and The Travellers, 1940 (no. 50). ‘Portraits Today’, an exhibition of the Contemporary Portrait Society held at the Qantas Gallery, London, in 1975, presented the recently finished portrait of Gordon Winter (no. 252) to the public. Motesiczky also twice attempted to show her work at the Royal Academy. In 1977 she submitted the portrait of Godfrey Samuel (no. 256), of which she was extremely proud, for the Summer Exhibition, under the title A Friend of the Royal Academy. After hoping in vain, Motesiczky indignantly noted in her diary: ‘Royal Acad. rejected’.219 She overcame her disappointment in the early 1980s, probably in 1981, and sent two paintings, Countess with Plum, 1944 (no. 65), and Alexander de Waal, 1981 (no. 272), to the Summer Exhibition. Yet again, the paintings were not accepted. The previous year, however, the exhibition ‘Max Beckmanns Frankfurter Schüler 1925–1933’ had finally introduced Motesiczky to the public as a Beckmann pupil, while also acknowledging her as an artist in her own right. It was held at the Kommunale Galerie im Refektorium des Karmeliterklosters in Frankfurt am Main and, for the first time, brought together almost all of Beckmann’s pupils at the Städelschule: Carla Brill, Inge Dinand, Theo Garve, Georg Heck, Walter Hergenhahn, Anna Krüger, Leo Maillet, Hella Mandt, Friedrich Wilhelm Meyer, MarieLouise von Motesiczky, Alfred Nungesser and Karl Tratt. On the whole, Beckmann’s pupils had remained obscure, belonging to the so-called lost generation in Germany, whose career was cut off by Hitler’s rise to power. The exhibition, which was intended to celebrate Beckmann as an ‘outstanding stimulator of young talent’,220 received ‘an outstandingly strong response from the Frankfurt population’, reaching visitor figures that were well above average.221 Motesiczky showed fourteen paintings, spanning the whole of her career. Her long-awaited artistic breakthrough in Britain came a few years later, with the major solo exhibition at the Goethe-Institut in London in 1985 entitled ‘Marie-Louise von Motesiczky. Paintings Vienna 1925 – London 1985’. Initiated by the Viennese author and former cultural affairs correspondent in London for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Hilde Spiel (1911–90), and steadfastly supported by the institute’s director, Günter Coenen, the show assembled

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Three cheers for your friend Canetti! I think the Nobel Prize Committee should do as they do in hockey: credit not only the player who finally shoots the puck into the goal, but give an ‘assist’ to the team mate who feeds the puck to the scorer. You deserve such a credit – and indeed an accolade!218


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seventy-three paintings from numerous public and private collections or in the artist’s possession. The sizeable catalogue contained introductions to Motesiczky’s work by Günter Busch, the former director of the Kunsthalle Bremen; Richard Calvocoressi, then a curator at the Tate Gallery and until 2007 the director of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; and Ernst Gombrich who greatly admired her paintings. Like Motesiczky, Gombrich had left Vienna to settle in England before the war. He had been introduced to the artist by his sister Dea, a violinist and the wife of John Forsdyke, director of the British Museum from 1936 to 1950, who had been a musician friend of Karl von Motesiczky in Vienna. In his introduction Gombrich particularly praised Motesiczky’s artistic independence that made her ‘incapable of adopting an “ism”’ or ‘striking a pose’.222 In addition, as if to put an end to the discussion about Beckmann’s influence on Motesiczky’s work, he stated: ‘What she owes to her admired teacher, therefore, is not so much a style, let alone a manner, as a moral outlook, an approach to the vocation of art.’223 The exhibition achieved universal critical acclaim. A number of major British newspapers, as well as several continental ones, published glowing reviews of the exhibition. Marina Vaizey hailed Motesiczky as ‘a dazzling talent’ who had been ‘unveiled late in life’.224 John Russell Taylor called her work a ‘blinding revelation’,225

Fig. 39 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Canetti with Two Women on Scales, undated, brush, ink, black chalk and pastel on paper, 180 × 270 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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and Larry Berryman attested to its ‘staying power’.226 Motesiczky received enthusiastic letters of appreciation from visitors to the exhibition. One admirer, for example, wrote gratefully: ‘I am an ordinary Englishwoman aged 58 who occasionally visits art exhibitions, and your paintings meant more to me than I think any other painting ever has. I think they would be just as important to other ordinary folk . . . I can’t thank you enough for the experience you have given me by your works.’227 Elias Canetti was ecstatic about the success of the exhibition: It is simply wonderful, the pictures themselves have their effect, late, but still in time, the painter Mulo has been recognized and acknowledged. I am very happy to have lived to see that, although I always knew it and there was never a second, whatever else happened between us, that I lost faith in your painting. You always knew that and some of my power of faith has passed into the painter. But all that is not so important now, because now there are the pictures and will never disappear again. There are few things that seem so just . . . The painter Mulo exists and now will always exist! I don’t think it has ever happened before: that a painter was discovered at 80 when still alive. Even the process itself is unique.228 Motesiczky herself at first did not realize the impact the reviews had. In retrospect, she called the triumph of the exhibition simply a ‘fairytale’.229 Although the artistic recognition that followed the exhibition at the Goethe-Institut came relatively late in life, Motesiczky felt no bitterness but only intense pleasure and satisfaction. Not having expected such a response, she was all the more overwhelmed by the power of the positive reviews.230 The exhibition’s success also enabled her to sell a number of paintings. Several were purchased by private collectors. Three works representing the early and late period of her oeuvre, View from the Window, Vienna, 1925 (no. 4), Still-life with Sheep, 1938 (no. 48), and From Night into Day, 1975 (no. 251), entered the collection of the Tate Gallery, London. They were presented to the public as recent acquisitions in 1986. ‘Marie-Louise von Motesiczky. Paintings Vienna 1925 – London 1985’ travelled to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. This second venue was arranged with the help of Peter Black,231 a young art historian who, in the 1980s, lived in the artist’s house in Chesterford Gardens. He was a fervent admirer of Motesiczky’s painting and worked hard to help it gain prominence, showing her works at two small exhibitions in 1989 and 1991 in London

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and Cambridge and mediating in a substantial number of sales to private collectors. He is now married to one of Motesiczky’s Dutch relatives. Motesiczky’s growing fame was certainly also due to the interest that began to develop in the 1980s in the artists who had fled Nazi-occupied Europe. Increasingly, exhibitions were staged to present the work of these exiled artists to a wider public. Three paintings by Motesiczky, Model, Vienna, 1930 (no. 33), Frau Seidler, 1940 (no. 51), and Mother and Child, c. 1954 (no. 133), for example, were shown in the exhibition ‘Kunst im Exil in Großbritannien 1933–1945’, held at the Orangery of Schloß Charlottenburg, Berlin, in early 1986 and subsequently at the Städtische Galerie in Oberhausen, the Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien and the Camden Arts Centre, London. At the last of these it was titled ‘Art in Exile in Great Britain 1933–1945’ and incorporated an additional body of works that were of more direct relevance to the location. It celebrated the ‘considerable contribution to the cultural and political life of Camden’232 that these artists had made. The exhibition had a lasting influence, especially in Germany and Austria, where the art of emigrants had been ignored for a long time. The growing public awareness of exile art in Great Britain, the new home of so many displaced artists, also led to the exhibition ‘Emigré Artists’ at the John Denham Gallery, London, in 1987. It brought together seventy-eight works by thirty-eight artists who had been forced by the National Socialists to leave their native countries. In the introduction to the catalogue John Denham acknowledged that many of the artists, among them Jankel Adler, Martin Bloch, Jacob Bornfriend, Milein Cosman, Hugo Dachinger, Georg Ehrlich, Hans Feibusch, Paul Hamann, Erich Kahn, Walter Nessler, Kurt Schwitters, Arthur Segal and Fred Uhlmann, had so far been ‘seriously neglected’ or even ‘virtually forgotten’.233 Motesiczky, who had shared this fate for the greatest part of her life, showed two paintings, Still-life with Scales, 1929 (no. 28), and Still-life with Gong, 1941 (no. 53). As well as having entered the canon of exile artists, Motesiczky was by now also firmly acknowledged as a London painter. In 1986 Camden Arts Centre, just down the road from Chesterford Gardens, staged an exhibition that followed on from the 1974 show of local artists and was called ‘Hampstead Artists 1946–1986’. Motesiczky’s work was represented by an early portrait of her mother, Reclining Woman with Pipe, 1954 (no. 129). As late as 1992, an exhibition in Berlin for the first time linked Motesiczky with Jewishness. The large-scale

presentation, ‘Jüdische Lebenswelten. Jüdisches Denken und Glauben, Leben und Arbeiten in den Kulturen der Welt’, at the Martin-Gropius-Bau gave an overview of Jewish life and thinking around the world. It included Conversation in the Library, 1950 (no. 103), Motesiczky’s portrait of two Jewish intellectuals, fellow emigrants and friends, the poet and anthropologist Franz Baermann Steiner (1909–52) and the writer Elias Canetti (1905–94). Until now, Motesiczky’s Jewish origins had never been considered in connection with her oeuvre. Depicting no subject matter that could be termed specifically either Jewish or Christian, the paintings themselves bear no witness to the religious beliefs of their creator. The themes of expulsion and flight, traditionally associated with Jews and other victims of Nazi terror, are expressed indirectly and transported to a non-specific level, as for example in The Travellers, 1940 (no. 50). Motesiczky had become aware of her Jewish roots only through the racial policies of the National Socialists. In the years immediately before her emigration, the term ‘Jude’ (Jew) in reference to Motesiczky, her friends and relatives, entered her correspondence only occasionally in a semi-comic, mocking tone. The experience of the Second World War and the Holocaust had changed this nonchalant attitude and led to an awareness of shared identity. When, for example, on a visit to Vienna in 1958, Motesiczky encountered a complete stranger, she managed to create an immediate understanding by asking: ‘Are you a Jew? – Yes, he said – Me too, I said – and contact was established’.234 Despite this instant affiliation, Motesiczky, who did not believe in God and had no faith in an afterlife, was not a religious person. Over the years she increasingly accepted her Jewish heritage, refraining, however, from adopting its religious rites. Her contribution of two guineas towards six trees for the Tuttnauer Memorial Forest in Israel in 1966 should probably be seen as a token gesture of goodwill towards the State of Israel rather than a political or religious statement.235

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final years Her growing reputation as a painter, instigated by the exhibition at the Goethe-Institut, caused Motesiczky to consider her artistic legacy in the last years of her life. She summed up her thoughts in the following letter: I had my first true success late, when I was 80. This however does not mean that my name is established – that I can ask for high prices – you have to have many


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exhibitions, there should be a book etc. I will not live to see this anyway. My oeuvre is small, I gave a lot of time to my mother. Every picture counts . . . All that matters to me is that what I attempted with all my strength in sixty years does not disappear and that also ‘the image’ of my mother in the broader sense survives. The paintings are meaningless if they cannot be shown . . . I want to make sure that the paintings continue to live, also physically – that people can see them – that they don’t disappear in kitchens, ante-rooms, cellars and finally in flea markets. Unfortunately, museums are the only place where they can be safe. I don’t need to live to see that, but I would like to secure their future like other people want that for their children.236 After consultations with many friends, relatives and strangers and the birth and subsequent dismissal of various ideas, this train of thought eventually led to the setting up of the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust in 1992. The Trust’s main aim is to further the education of the public in the fine arts and to look after Marie-Louise von Motesiczky’s artistic and personal legacy by familiarizing a wider audience with her work. Motesiczky nominated five trustees, Jeremy Adler (Professor of German, King’s College, London), Michael Jaffé (Director, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 1923–97), her relative Richard Karplus, Sean Rainbird (Curator, Tate Gallery, London, now Director of the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart), and David Scrase (Assistant Director, Collections, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge), to oversee the Trust’s work, and she made over to it her house with its contents, including her paintings, drawings, sketchbooks, letters, diaries, photographs and books, as well as sufficient funds to finance it. In 2006 Jeremy Adler and Richard Karplus were replaced by Frances Carey (Head of National Programmes at the British Museum) and the solicitor Julian Chadwick. The Trust was thus in a position to carry out the work Motesiczky wished, to research her life and work and to preserve her paintings. It would not have been possible to write her biography or compile a catalogue raisonné of her paintings while she was still alive since she obstructed all efforts to gain information. She was, however, happy for this work to be carried out after her death. Two years before she died, Motesiczky experienced a final triumph in her native Austria: the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere in Vienna held a retrospective exhibition of her work, organized by Peter Black, in spring 1994. Fifty works, mainly paintings but also a few drawings, from

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seven decades were shown, spanning her entire career. The accompanying catalogue, which sold out completely, brought together two earlier essays on Motesiczky by Ernst Gombrich (in German translation) and Benno Reifenberg, with Jeremy Adler’s fresh appraisal of her paintings entitled ‘Kunst als Feier’. Reviewers expressed unanimous relief that, finally, this artist had come home and received the recognition she deserved. Since the honour of a solo exhibition at the Belvedere is only rarely bestowed on living artists, the show was seen as an act of reparation.237 In the wake of the exhibition, the Österreichische Galerie also purchased Self-portrait with Comb, 1926 (no. 13), for 300,000 Schillings, its second Motesiczky painting. Motesiczky received several congratulatory letters marking the importance of this acquisition: ‘Paintings, unlike books (as you said) need a physical home to survive; yours have got it now – and what a one, one of the best in the world. So, you too, dear Marie-Louise, will never die.’238 The exhibition went on to be shown at the Manchester City Art Galleries later in the year. By the time of this exhibition the artist had already established her reputation as an important Austrian painter of the twentieth century. In recognition of her achievement she was awarded the Österreichisches Ehrenkreuz für Wissenschaft und Kunst I. Klasse on 19 September 1994.239 The following year six of her paintings were included in the exhibition ‘Neue Sachlichkeit. Österreich 1918–1938’ at the Kunstforum Bank Austria in Vienna as a matter of course. Her natural place in the canon of Austrian art has since been repeatedly confirmed, for example by the inclusion of Elias Canetti, 1960 (no. 165), in the exhibition ‘Blickwechsel und Einblick. Künstlerinnen in Österreich’ at the Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien, and the selection of five of her paintings for the exhibition ‘Jahrhundert der Frauen. Vom Impressionismus zur Gegenwart. Österreich 1870 bis heute’ at the Kunstforum, both in 1999. Motesiczky suffered badly from shingles in 1990. Yet, amid the pain and preoccupation with the fate of her work, her will to paint and her painterly interest remained undiminished and she picked up a brush whenever possible. In her last decade or so she preferred still-life painting, mainly using flowers from her own garden. The last painting she was working on was Still-life, Vase of Flowers, 1996 (no. 331). It still stood on her easel when she died on 10 June 1996. A memorial meeting was held at the Tate Gallery on 24 October 1996. Her ashes were buried in the family grave on the Döblinger Friedhof in Vienna on 28 October 1997.

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‘It is wonderful to have such a gift’240

Marie-Louise von Motesiczky’s Oeuvre

the young motesiczky grew up surrounded by her family’s traditional art collection, which revealed the influence of the fashionable historicism of the nineteenth century. Her great-grandparents acquired works of art by Makart and commissioned Lenbach to paint their portraits. Motesiczky, however, started to break this mould by admiring the avant-garde works of Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka, whose paintings she collected on postcards. Her trip to the Netherlands in 1922 introduced her to Jan Steen, Frans Hals and Vermeer and opened her eyes to the paintings of Vincent van Gogh. Shortly afterwards Max Beckmann and his work entered her life. By the time Motesiczky started out on a professional painting career she had already encountered the main stylistic influences that were to shape her work – with the exception of Oskar Kokoschka, whose art she got to know intimately only in England. In her choice of Beckmann as artistic model Motesiczky is unique among her fellow Austrian artists of the 1920s and 1930s. In retrospect, she admitted that among the conservative tastes of her social circle this must have seemed rather extravagant: ‘among my mother’s friends, admirers of Hofmannsthal, I would have been hard put to it to find one who was not horrified by Beckmann’s early drawings, and certainly nobody would have considered his paintings anything but perfectly hideous.’ 241 Motesiczky was therefore at the cutting edge of modern art when her paintings were first exhibited in 1933.


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Yet, despite being under the spell of her teacher, Motesiczky was aware of another major problem: ‘It was certainly no easy matter to maintain even a spark of independence.’ 242 Early on Lajos Hatvany warned her of Beckmann’s overbearing influence: ‘The mannerism of Beckmann is certainly harmful to you artistically. Remember what the old Jew tells you, who, in fact, rather likes B.!’ 243 In a radio interview in 1987 Motesiczky confirmed that her work, especially of the 1920s, owes much to Beckmann and that, even late in life, the catalogue raisonné of his paintings served as an extraordinary inspiration if ever she ran dry (the bird in Sheela Bonarjee, 1964, no. 190, for example, was modelled after one in Beckmann’s 1940 painting Die M wen, fig. 147). She emphasized, however, that she considered her oeuvre to be independent and of her own style, which in turn she described as more lyrical and colourful than her teacher’s.244 Nevertheless, most reviewers of Motesiczky’s art refer to Max Beckmann as her formative and main stylistic influence. Yet, while occasionally her painting is dismissed as an ‘emasculated reminder’245 of Beckmann’s, there seems to be general agreement that ‘any sense of direct indebtedness soon fades’246 and that, in her lighter touch, there is no slavish devotion to her teacher’s model. Since throughout her career Motesiczky never followed an ‘ism’ or a temporary fashion, it is acknowledged that she succeeded in finding an artistic identity by settling on her own subject matter and evolving a painterly idiom for herself. To a lesser degree this realization of painterly influence and kinship yet independence also refers to Oskar Kokoschka as the other key figure for Motesiczky’s oeuvre, under whose tutelage her brushwork became progressively freer. Ernst Gombrich succinctly did away with the whole question of epigonism by demanding that ‘we must not look for imitations [of Beckmann and Kokoschka] in her oeuvre, but at the most for emulations’.247 In a similar vein the critic Edith Hoffmann (née Yapou) characterized Motesiczky’s debt to ‘two leaders of expressionism’ in the following way: ‘Her capacity to model with paint, to build up a composition, bold, in big shapes, plastic and clear, is due to Beckmann’s teaching, while her gayer, softer colours, and her tendency to turn portraits into symbolic compositions is influenced by Kokoschka.’248 Erhard Göpel, a friend of Beckmann and, as the co-author of the catalogue raisonné of his paintings, an expert on his work, also praised Motesiczky’s success in proving her independence: ‘It must have been difficult to defend yourself against such a strong influence as that of Beckmann and to arrive at your own

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style. Come to think of it, you are the only pupil of Beckmann who managed to assimilate the influence and to stay an independent artist, and that means a lot.’249

drawings and sketchbooks The result of this tension was an oeuvre, created over a period of more than seven decades, that comprises several hundred oil paintings, numerous drawings and around a hundred sketchbooks, as well as a clay relief of a kneeling nude (now lost) and a painted cupboard that stood in Motesiczky’s dining room. Probably least known, even to admirers of her art, is the considerable body of drawings that survives almost exclusively in the archive of the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust. She was always reluctant to admit to being able to draw, although she had in fact been doing it all her life. Unfortunately the drawings were never dated by the artist and therefore, unless they refer to a particular painting, are often difficult to allocate to a specific period. In addition, with the exception of some extraordinary works such as At the Opera, 1920s (p. 527), Self-portrait Playing Darts, late 1920s (p. 528), Siesta, 1933 (p. 530), Erna Wohl in the Bath, 1934 (p. 530), Portrait Frau L., 1934 (p. 532), Aunts, Sketching, 1934 (p. 533), and Hunting, 1936 (p. 534), most of the early drawings, completed before her arrival in England, appear lost. Judging by the surviving examples, however, Motesiczky carried out her drawings, which vary greatly in size, in many different media, including chalk, charcoal, pastel and pencil, as well as, occasionally, watercolour, felt-tip pen and ballpoint pen. The subject matter of the drawings also covers a great range, comprising cows, monkeys and other animals, figurative scenes that are difficult to decipher and might stem from dreams, landscapes such as her immediate surroundings or impressions gained on holiday, selfportraits and many portraits. Apart from a large number of drawings of her mother, her favourite model, there are portraits of unidentified sitters as well as several studies for finished portraits. Motesiczky valued portrait drawings for giving her a chance to try her hand at a person’s features, but she also employed them as an aide-mémoire in the absence of the model. Many drawings are preparatory sketches for paintings – not all of which were ultimately carried out. They often show her experimenting with different elements of a composition, for example moving around and replacing the objects of a still-life or the human subjects of a figural scene. In most cases there is one drawing linked with one particular painting, yet occasionally

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Motesiczky created a substantial number of drawings, especially for portraits of her mother. From Night into Day, 1975 (no. 251), seems to have held a special fascination for Motesiczky since there are more drawings for it than for any other painting, plus a whole sketchbook. The surviving sketchbooks almost span Motesiczky’s entire career, although almost certainly some early ones are lost. They vary enormously in size, quality and origin. In many cases Motesiczky drew on only a few pages, usually at the beginning and end, leaving most of the sketchbook empty. In just a few instances the whole sketchbook has been filled. The sketches are often very rough and were probably carried out quickly. Like the drawings, the sketchbooks use a variety of media. Motesiczky usually employed a soft pencil, but she also used ink, felt-tip pen, ballpoint pen and watercolour on a few pages. She frequently recorded ideas for figural compositions, such as variations on a swimming pool or street scenes. She also liked to sketch the immediate view that presented itself to her, capturing the countryside, parks, urban neighbourhoods or the view from a window. Other pages contain portraits (often just the head, sometimes whole figures – mainly unidentified and not related to paintings), animals (dogs, pigs, monkeys, donkeys, peacocks, snakes, cows, deer, pelicans), flowers, still-lifes and nudes. A few sheets carry notes of the colours Motesiczky intended to use in a worked-up version of the sketch. Sometimes the sketches are interspersed with personal notes, phone numbers and abandoned drafts of letters. Rarely is a page torn out.

paintings The most important body of work in Motesiczky’s oeuvre is certainly her oil paintings. In total 337 paintings are known. For a working life that lasted over seven decades this might seem a relatively small output. Motesiczky was a slow worker,250 and although she worked continuously throughout her life, usually concentrating on one painting at a time, there were long periods of inactivity where she did not get much work done. Apart from personal problems with Canetti, it was mainly her mother, the worries connected with her well-being and the running of the household, that restricted her freedom and kept her from the studio. Motesiczky acknowledged that she devoted herself to her mother while never experiencing it as a sacrifice: looking after her mother was always more important to her than preparing an exhibition. Therefore, she admitted, many chances might have been missed since it

was not possible to do everything with the same intensity.251 Besides, being privileged enough not to have to earn a living, she was never under economic pressure to paint more pictures in order to make money. Taking her profession very seriously, she was happiest when she was not distracted by her surroundings and able to paint in peace. Usually she based her paintings on a charcoal underdrawing, laid directly on the primed canvas; towards the end of her career she sometimes employed pastel, chalk or charcoal on top of the paint. A rare example of her use of other materials can be seen in Still-life Christmas Mail, 1988 (no. 294). She also produced five paintings and one drawing on hardboard. Apart from completed or almost completed canvases her estate also contained ten canvases that show only an underdrawing, as well as twenty that are probably finished but were not attached to a stretcher. Many of Motesiczky’s paintings remained unframed during her lifetime. If paintings were framed, she preferred simple wooden frames that defined a clear boundary without ‘painting the picture further’.252 She chose colours that did not occur in the picture, often a light grey. As if to make up for the lack of a frame, Motesiczky employed a stylistic device in a number of still-lifes and portraits incorporating the frame in the picture. Usually on two sides, the top and one side, she painted solid blocks of colour, giving the image firm support. Self-portrait in Black, 1959 (no. 159), with its two distinct black borders, is the most striking example. In Nude, 1931 (no. 36), and Self-portrait with Red Hat, 1938 (no. 47), the black lines, although thinner, are no less effective in anchoring the figure. In some paintings Motesiczky experimented with different colours, positions and lengths of the two-part frame (for example, Dwarf, 1928, no. 22; Hilda, c. 1937, no. 44; Chemist s Shop, 1964, no. 196; and Mother in Green Dressing Gown, 1975, no. 250). In a simplified version, the border runs along just one side, as for example in Small Roulette, 1924 (no. 1), where she first tried out this idea, Fr ulein Engelhardt, 1926/7 (no. 15), Frau Saaler, c. 1942 (no. 60), and Frau Litwin, 1952 (no. 115). In a further variation, Motesiczky dissolves the strict border, incorporating it as part of the composition, for example a window (Still-life with Tulips, 1926, no. 11, and Portrait of a Russian Student, 1927, no. 16), the back of a sofa (Dorothy, 1945, no. 74) or a door-frame (Marie in Doorway, after 1954, no. 134). The paintings are usually medium-sized. There are a few exceptions among the figural paintings, which tend to be larger. The Old Song, 1959 (no. 158), is by far the biggest canvas Motesiczky ever used. The elongated vertical format

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of some earlier works, including View from the Window, Vienna, 1925 (no. 4), View of Vienna, 1925 (no. 3), and Summer Landscape, 1926 (no. 14), which was inspired by Beckmann, was not repeated later. Some late still-lifes, such as Still-life with Lemon, 1980 (no. 268), were painted on a particularly intimate scale. On a practical level, Motesiczky tackled the problem of making an inventory of her paintings only late in life. For the first decades of her artistic career there are only disparate records and no consistent lists. In 1985 she hired a part-time secretary, Barbara Price, who prepared the first comprehensive set of index cards for the paintings. Compiled with great care and to the best of the artist’s knowledge, they nevertheless contain a number of mistakes.253 The majority of Motesiczky’s paintings have been neither signed nor dated. So, according to Barbara Price, some dates had to be arrived at by guessing. Even earlier on, in numerous instances Motesiczky had dated her paintings incorrectly. Having completed a picture she would not automatically sign and date it. So it could be decades later that the need finally arose, perhaps in connection with an exhibition or at the request of a buyer. It is not surprising that she sometimes assigned a work to the wrong year. In one instance, when asked to sign and change a small detail of the composition she took the opportunity to overpaint a substantial part of the original. Sheela Bonarjee, 1964 (no. 190), now sports a totally new background, painted in the 1980s. It is also incorrectly dated 1969. As a consequence of these peculiarities, a substantial number of paintings in Motesiczky’s oeuvre cannot be matched to a specific year with any certainty. The catalogue raisonné therefore contains time spans for several paintings where even a stylistic analysis did not allow greater precision. In a number of cases, however, mistakes in dating paintings have been rectified by crossreferencing information from the archive. For her paintings Motesiczky preferred to use understated titles that often fail to explain the content of the picture. Although The Balcony, 1929 (no. 30), might from its title be a landscape, it is in fact a self-portrait in the nude. Another painting, created in 1940, depicts four people in a boat (no. 50). Knowing the artist’s biography, it is immediately clear that the subject matter is her enforced crossing of the Channel into exile. However, its unspecific title, The Travellers, opens up the field for different interpretations.254 The title of a double portrait, Evelyn and Friend, painted in 1980 (no. 270), obscures the fact that Evelyn’s companion is the artist herself.

Throughout her life, Motesiczky used various signatures for her work. She sometimes put only her name or the date, but usually used a combination, employing several variations of her first name and surname, ranging from ‘Marie Louise’, ‘marie louise ’ and ‘marie louise . m .’ to ‘motesiczky ’, ‘M. Motesiczky’, ‘m . motesiczky ’ and ‘M.L. Motesiczky’. At times she used only her initials, signing ‘MM’, ‘M.M.’, ‘MLM’ or ‘M.L.M.’. In an attempt to make her name more memorable to a potential purchasing public, she experimented with shortening it to ‘Motesi’ (Still-life with Clematis, 1948, no. 82) or, omitting the ‘z’, simplifying it to ‘Motesicky’. This version, by no means easier to pronounce, was originally used for Still-life with Gong, 1941 (no. 53), Countess with Plum, 1944 (no. 65), and Three Heads, 1944 (no. 69), although later overpainted and the missing letter inserted. The most difficult task, however, is to establish the often complicated provenance of numerous works. Motesiczky often gave paintings away, then changed her mind and wanted them back. Sometimes she kept them for signing or refused to return paintings to their rightful owners after they had been shown in an exhibition. Occasionally she re-used a canvas, overpainting the unsuccessful earlier image. In the absence of documentation it is often impossible to give the exact dates when paintings passed from one owner to another. Equally, some (temporary) owners may have been omitted from this account. Furthermore, it has not been possible physically to locate every painting. While a few were lost during the artist’s lifetime, some current owners could not be found and one painting, Portrait, American Model, 1965 (no. 199), was destroyed in a house fire in 2003. On the other hand, it seems that Motesiczky did not dispose of paintings with which she was not happy. Several unfinished, apparently abandoned works have come to light in the course of research for the catalogue raisonné.

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artistic identity Apart from a comparatively small number of paintings that have been shown repeatedly in major exhibitions, Motesiczky’s oeuvre seems not to have been as exposed to the public as it might have been. Being forced into exile early in her career brought with it the loss of professional networks that she struggled to rebuild in a foreign country. Natural reticence, a tendency to dither, an inability to make decisions and an inborn demand for respect that stemmed from her aristocratic upbringing made it even more difficult


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for her to assert herself professionally. All in all, despite her aversion to public exposure and her reluctance to sell her paintings, she managed to show her work in a substantial number of both solo and group exhibitions yet still remained relatively obscure. Her art never followed the current fashion and probably failed to touch the right nerve in her adopted country, where German Expressionism and Neue Sachlichkeit were neither understood nor liked, and never had a great following. Even Max Beckmann and Oskar Kokoschka, long recognized as leading artists of the twentieth century in their home countries, struggled to gain artistic recognition in Great Britain. Failed attempts to mount exhibitions abroad, for example in New York in the 1960s, can probably also be attributed to the lack of interest in figurative art in the post-war period when abstract paintings dominated the international art scene. Even in her native Austria, where her social and artistic networks had all but disappeared, she experienced difficulties in gaining recognition for several decades. Despite being an outsider in both her home and her adopted country, Motesiczky never gave up believing in her work and kept the hope of eventually being recognized. She often worried about the success of an individual painting, especially while working on it, and she occasionally experienced periods of hopelessness. Friends, who were equally convinced of Motesiczky’s talent, would usually try to cheer her up. While Miriam Rothschild simply enthused: ‘You are such a fantastically gifted creature’,255 Quappi Beckmann conjured up her late husband’s good judgement: ‘don’t despair or rather don’t doubt yourself – it is not true – it [lack of success] is not up to your pictures!! Remember what Becki told you!!’ 256 Elias Canetti resorted to pointing out the importance of Motesiczky’s pictures ‘without which I can not even imagine my life’.257 Yet, ultimately, Motesiczky, against the odds, harboured no doubts about the quality of her oeuvre: ‘I know that my things are now worth nothing. (although I believe in my painting more than ever.)’258 Coming to terms with the negative effects emigration had had on her work, she was aware that one does not necessarily work best under the best conditions and that the experience of exile is not entirely negative. She appreciated London as a sanctuary of human individuality and especially liked ‘the reticence of English life’: The artist is left alone with himself. Sometimes too much. He has to learn to use his imagination; he needs more perhaps here than elsewhere. I shall never

be English enough to fall in love with quarries or old tree trunks, but London for me contains everything. And the exotic English faces: marvellous eccentric old ladies and a whole race of quixotic gentlemen – a sanctuary of human individuality, intricate and inexhaustible.259 Apart from Britain being a treasure trove for models, Motesiczky especially liked the country’s beautiful parks and museums.260 In the 1980s she described her still being in England in a matter-of-fact, non-sentimental way: ‘I am simply here . . . The language really is a disadvantage for me. But an émigré . . . in the sense that I have experienced an injustice – [I am] not at all.’261 Besides, she had become a firm part of a community of fellow emigrants who made her feel at home: ‘Here in Hampstead we are an absolutely German speaking island. You would not realize that you are in England at all.’262 Her struggle for recognition as an artist was not helped by the relatively small amount of public exposure of her work within her lifetime. This resulted in a lack of artistic guidance through contemporary, impartial outside criticism. There were plenty of comments on her paintings from her mother, Canetti, some family members and friends. Yet these remarks often were too well-meaning, encouraging and sometimes effusive to give her an independent opinion that might have changed her work. More exposure to criticism and increased confrontation with contemporary artists, whom she often failed to understand, would probably have caused Motesiczky’s art to develop differently. As it was, she came to terms with this fundamentally lonely existence. Her art was allowed to develop independently; she relied on the sense of culture and identity that she had brought with her. In retrospect she summed up the lack of confrontation in her painting: ‘Isolation is a word. It sounds sad, but it can also be something very beautiful. Whether the isolation is good or bad only becomes clear much later.’263 Being forced into exile did, however, change her outlook on life. Before, she had been concerned only with painting beautiful pictures, but the experience of exile made her focus less on herself. Probably as a consequence of her reclusive creative existence, Motesiczky did not leave any theoretical statements about the principles of her art other than a categorical rejection of abstract art. In her diaries and letters she rarely commented on individual paintings, mainly discussing their progress or lack thereof, occasionally expressing her satisfaction at a successful completion.

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This gives even more weight to the few self-revelatory remarks in which she expressed her primary concern with the narrative structure of her pictures. She once explained her method as follows: ‘I usually have to paint after nature – but in the course of a picture I have to be able to invent freely. Then a story can evolve … stories inspire the eyes.’264 Oskar Kokoschka particularly admired this gift. ‘You can still tell stories!’, he praised her.265 While she is once quoted as saying: ‘Everything figurative, beyond the portrait, is for me a story’,266 she later extended this to portraits.267 Guided by her overriding interest in human character, Motesiczky always saw the figure as suggestive of drama.268 Beyond that, it is especially the still-lifes that she uses in a masterly way to tell a story. Objects act as reminders of absent friends or lost family members: in Still-life with Tulips, 1926 (no. 11), a book is inscribed with the name of a secret lover. The book that features in Orchid, 1958 (no. 153), is a reference to her relationship with Elias Canetti. Still-life with Photo, 1930 (no. 34), is full of reminders of a world about to crumble. In Still-life with Sheep, 1938 (no. 48), this world has already disintegrated and needs to be reassembled. The empty chairs in Still-life with Asters, 1985 (no. 281), emphasize the artist’s loneliness after her mother’s death. Conceiving a narrative was thus at the heart of her creative process.

Motesiczky’s artistic world revolves around a limited number of subjects: landscapes, self-portraits, portraits, among which the series of her mother are the most striking, and still-lifes. The latter play a special role in her oeuvre. They form a large group of works that Motesiczky produced throughout her career. Combining a momentous tranquillity with a gentle brilliance, they are also filled with charm and poetry. Generally, the still-lifes show Motesiczky’s domestic surroundings and personal belongings. While they occasionally focus on individual objects (for example Still-life with Fish, 1982, no. 277), they usually present a combination of items. Although carefully arranged, these compositions often seem to record a casual scene that the artist came across by chance. Many of the objects depicted in the still-lifes have survived in the artist’s estate. Amazingly, the toy roulette of the first stilllife, Small Roulette, 1924 (no. 1), although slightly warped, was still in the artist’s possession at her death. For the more recent still-lifes, she used flowers from her own garden which she arranged in vases in colourful bunches.

Significantly, the spatial relations of many still-lifes are unclear and undefined – Motesiczky frequently uses a crooked perspective and overlaps parts (the most obvious spatial manipulation, however, occurs not in a still-life but in Studio with Nude Model, 1970, no. 239). Several still-lifes such as Irises and Peonies, 1945 (no. 72), present an extraordinarily narrow view. Others, including Still-life, Red Rose, 1961 (no. 176), are seen from an extremely close viewpoint which elevates the objects to a monumental scale. Landscapes, although painted only occasionally, also run through Motesiczky’s career like a red thread. They were often inspired by one of her frequent trips abroad. Her visit to a bullring in Madrid in 1927 is recorded in Bull ght, 1928 (no. 20). A holiday in North Wales during the Second World War resulted in Pier Llandudno, 1944 (no. 64). A visit to relatives who had settled in Portugal produced a rare seascape, Cascais, 1954 (no. 127). Her long trip to Mexico in the 1950s inspired several paintings, among them Yucatan, Mexico, 1956 (no. 145). Kitzb hel, 1958 (no. 155), is a souvenir of a skiing trip to the Austrian resort with friends. A particularly striking view over the Bay of Tunis led to the creation of Tunisian Landscape, 1964 (no. 197). Mountains and Orange Trees in Mallorca, 1989/91 (no. 307), is a reminder of one of her last holidays. Apart from her travels, she drew her inspiration from her familiar surroundings. Kr pfelsteig, Hinterbr hl, 1927 (no. 17), and View from the Window, Vienna, 1925 (no. 4), define the main localities of her childhood and young adulthood. Regent s Park, 1951 (no. 108), Finchley Road at Night, 1952 (no. 110), and Golders Hill Park, 1981 (no. 274), mark the small area in north London in which her later life was based. Other outdoor scenes, usually including figures, take place in her own Hampstead garden.269 She usually relied on sketches done in situ when it came to preparing landscapes, but sometimes resorted to photographs as aides-mémoire in the creative process. She often took her camera with her on trips270 and occasionally based a landscape painting on a photograph. Haystacks, c. 1958 (no. 156), for example, may have been inspired by a photograph and Mountains and Orange Trees in Mallorca, 1989/91, was based on a series of photographs taken during a recent holiday. One paintsmeared photograph that survived in the estate must have been the direct model for The Two Lakes, c. 1988 (no. 296). Deeply interested in, and fascinated by, human beings and their relationships, Motesiczky’s main subject is the portrait. Her portraits, of which she painted a large number, are generally considered to be her best and strongest works.271 For Ernst Gombrich, ‘Motesiczky’s

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portraits are marked by the sensitive empathy which enables her to convey the presence of the sitter without resorting to caricature or expressionist distortion’.272 They are painted with a psychological insight that seeks an inner truth yet does not lack a ‘mischievous chuckle’.273 Critics have repeatedly compared her portraits with works by Rembrandt in terms of seriousness and humanity.274 Indeed, she admired and was inspired by Rembrandt: ‘No one has ever died for a portrait by Rembrandt (yet some might have lived for it, me for example, ha, ha)’.275 Like Rembrandt, Motesiczky never sought to flatter the sitter. Her portraits refrain from beautification and idealization and instead attempt tenderly to penetrate the true character of the person portrayed. She consistently employed statuesque poses and the half-length format. She focused on the model’s head, which she rendered in detail, while often treating the rest of the body and the clothes summarily; the surroundings stay undefined and are merely hinted at in many instances. She also liked to create some interest, without diverting attention from the sitter, for example by dividing the background into two distinct halves behind the sitter’s head (Portrait of a Russian Student, 1927, no. 16; Model, Vienna, 1929, no. 27; Model, Vienna, 1930, no. 32; or Coloured Model, c. 1956, no. 148). Since Motesiczky preferred to have already or to establish a personal relationship with her models, she paid particular attention to emphasizing the sitter’s characteristic personality as she understood it. In several instances she depicted her subject with defining objects which were invented. The actress Ray Litvin, whom Motesiczky painted in 1952 (Frau Litwin, no. 115), for example, is shown holding a cigarette although she was not a smoker. Similarly, Maureen Fallon, the subject of Portrait Maureen, 1977/8 (no. 258), did not play the trombone, but Motesiczky felt the instrument best expressed her personality. Sometimes, for example in Portrait of Elizabeth, 1990 (no. 308), sensing that part of a painting could not be carried out satisfactorily, Motesiczky tried to disguise the troublesome area by adding a piece of fabric that, like a curtain, gently smoothes over the edges.276 While Motesiczky chose to work with life models, she painted some portraits from memory. For several others she used photographs as aides-mémoire. This solitary method suited her aversion to being watched at work or to anyone seeing a painting before it was finished. In the last decades of her life she increasingly relied on photographs. Usually, she took a whole series of photographs (for example for the portraits of Victor de Waal, 1979, no. 260; Elizabeth Tollinton, 1990, no. 308; Jeremy Adler, 1992/4,

no. 319; and Mitzi Rafael, 1988, no. 290), showing the model in different poses and guises, so that she could continue working in the absence of the sitter. For her portraits of Elias Canetti, she had to resort almost exclusively to photographs because he declined to sit. The posthumous portrait of Marie, Marie in Doorway, after 1954 (no. 134), was also based on a photograph. Individual photographs sometimes even seem to have inspired paintings. Those showing her elderly mother taking a slow walk along a garden path appear to have led to the creation of The Way, 1967 (no. 216). A substantial number of Motesiczky’s sitters remain unidentified. In the 1920s and early 1930s she tended to use anonymous, probably paid, models. Due to high unemployment there was a good market for models into which Motesiczky could easily tap.277 Identities stay hidden in generic titles such as Model, Vienna, 1929 and 1930 (nos 27, 32 and 33), and Nude, 1931 (no. 36). Only occasionally do the titles of early portraits hint at the sitter’s social group (Apache, 1926, no. 9) or particular occupation (The Undertaker, 1925, no. 2). After her move to Britain Motesiczky’s portraits became more frequent. She painted the portraits of those close to her, Marie (Girl by the Fire, 1941, no. 52), her landlady (Frau Seidler, 1940, no. 51), her landlord (Father Milburn, 1958, no. 154), a neighbour (Old Woman, Amersham, 1942, no. 59), her relatives (Countess with Plum, 1944, no. 65) and friends (Portrait Ludwig Baldass, 1957, no. 151). Henriette von Motesiczky, of course, was the subject of a whole series of portraits. She was constantly available and also willing to sit. Yet Motesiczky still chose other models who remain anonymous (Portrait of a Smiling Lady, 1944, no. 67, or Indian Mother with Child, 1945, no. 76). Having exhausted her immediate surroundings and encountering problems finding suitable models, later she even turned to strangers. In her search for new faces she spoke to people she passed on the street or found sitting on a park bench and whose looks she found interesting, and asked them to sit for a portrait. This approach produced portraits such as Sheela Bonarjee, 1964 (no. 190), and Lorette as Painter, 1968 (no. 220). She also managed to convince some of her lodgers to become models (Man with Green Scarf, 1975, no. 249). A few poignant portraits are memorials to deceased loved ones. After the Ball, painted in 1949 (no. 87), commemorates Karl von Motesiczky who had perished in Auschwitz in 1943. Marie in Doorway, after 1954 (no. 134), is a posthumous tribute to her dear friend and ‘second mother’, Marie Hauptmann. Although Motesiczky did not seek commissions, she was aware of the importance of portraiture for her development

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as an artist. She was frequently asked by friends, relatives and strangers to make portraits, yet felt able to take up only a few commissions: ‘I must and want to paint more people – but I think it should not be portrait commissions but people I ask – that is the limit of what I can bear.’278 Over the years, however, starting in the 1950s, she carried out several portrait commissions – not always to the full satisfaction of the patron. As happened with Iris Murdoch, 1964 (no. 193), several resulted in disapproval, even rejection, of the paintings. Her detached objectivity allowed the viewer an insight into aspects of the sitter’s personality that he/she might not be willing to disclose. In 1954, for example, she was commissioned to paint the portrait of Ursula Vaughan Williams (1911–2007), the young wife of the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958), a friend of Elias Canetti (no. 132). Motesiczky portrays the sitter seated in an armchair, her gaze directed towards the floor. Although the portrait was first accepted, it was returned to the artist in 1958. According to its current owner, the Vaughan Williams had been dissatisfied with the fact that the sitter, a lively and vivacious person, was portrayed in a pose that, they felt, did not accurately convey her beauty and character. Several decades later Baron Philippe de Rothschild (1902– 88) commissioned Motesiczky to paint his portrait. After staying with him at Mouton Rothschild in France for a few weeks in spring 1986 Motesiczky created a striking likeness (no. 287). Yet it soon became clear that the Baron, who had seen only an illustration of the portrait, neither intended to accept nor was prepared to pay for it. Portrait Philippe de Rothschild subsequently found its way into the collection of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. Another commission the following year proved equally disappointing. On the recommendation of Ernst Gombrich, Motesiczky was invited by the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland to paint a portrait of Cyril Frederick Scurr, one of the Association’s former presidents (no. 288). The finished work, however, did not meet the approval of the patrons since, according to the sitter, ‘the style of the portrait was not suitable to hang at the Association in the gallery of presidential portraits at their headquarters’.279 Portrait of the Anaesthetist Dr Cyril Scurr is now in a private collection. Yet, despite these bad experiences, Motesiczky carried on accepting commissions, always agonizing about her ability to capture adequately the personality of the individual portrayed. Some of the sitters were eminent figures, for example the journalist Benno Reifenberg, 1968 (no. 218), the zoologist Miriam Rothschild, 1968/9 (no. 224), Victor de

Motesiczky took up the challenge, using a press photograph as model. The finished work, however, did not find favour with Canetti and Portrait Elias Canetti, 1992 (no. 315), now belongs to the National Portrait Gallery in London. While some portraits of Canetti entered public collections, several remained in the possession of the artist. Study of Canetti Reading, c. 1945 (no. 78), and Canetti, London, 1965 (no. 200), show the author involved in what must be one of his favourite activities, reading – as does Self-portrait with Canetti, 1960s (no. 237). Here, however, the emphasis is on the almost palpable estrangement of the two protagonists who occupy different parts of the composition and appear not to be interacting. This, presumably, has to be read as a comment on the current state of their relationship. Another work that may be interpreted as a double portrait of the painter and the author goes to even greater lengths to display the problems Motesiczky had with their relationship. Nude with a Rat and Books, painted in the early 1970s (no. 246), shows a female nude (Motesiczky) reclining on a low bed. A rat (Canetti) is positioned between her drawn-up legs, totally engrossed in reading a book and a newspaper propped up against the nude’s torso. Robbed of any space to move and any chance of attracting the rat’s attention, her face has taken on a resigned, longsuffering expression while the rat, preoccupied with itself, is seemingly unaware of her plight. The different hopes and expectations which characterized the relationship are revealed in another, earlier painting in which Motesiczky had already unsuccessfully attempted to incorporate Canetti into her family. In the Garden, 1948 (no. 81), whose

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Waal, the Dean of Canterbury, 1979 (no. 260), and Robert T. Holtby, the Dean of Chichester, 1987 (no. 289). One of her favourite subjects was Elias Canetti, who also commissioned a number of paintings over the years, including one of Veza which was not carried out.280 He repeatedly expressed a wish for a portrait of himself, which Motesiczky granted several times in the course of her life. Elias Canetti, 1960 (no. 165), for example is now in the collection of the Wien Museum. In 1990 Canetti approached Motesiczky with the following words: Again and again I am asked for a portrait, even by artists who are not too bad. I always decline, for two reasons, first because I think of the very best portraitist who knows me as well as nobody else, but then also because I cannot sit. I therefore commission you to paint a portrait of E.C. from memory. I believe that could turn out extremely well.281


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German title is Familienbild, brings together the artist, her aunt Ilse Leembruggen and Canetti in a sunlit outdoor setting. Yet Canetti’s frowning looks, detached stance and disapproving attitude suggest that he did not feel comfortable at being thus appropriated. In a few, rare cases Motesiczky went beyond the mere depiction of the individual by placing it in a social context. In Conversation in the Library, 1950 (no. 103), two scholars, Franz Baermann Steiner and Elias Canetti, conduct a heated discussion. The young couple Lo and Lilly, painted in 1951 (no. 107), enjoy a meal together. Mother and Child, c. 1954 (no. 133), shows the artist’s friend Georgette Lewinson as a new mother, playing with her baby son. These double and triple portraits, however, remain the exception in her oeuvre. An equally small but distinct group of works that stand out among the figural compositions are the so-called ‘fantasy paintings’. In an oeuvre that is otherwise firmly based in reality, these magical, sometimes uncanny pictures seem to originate in the realm of fairytale, fantasy or vision. Set in a mysterious imaginary world, their cryptic symbolism can be difficult to decipher but nevertheless succeeds in captivating the viewer. The majority of these ‘fantasy paintings’, in which critics perceived a kinship with Max Beckmann,282 date from the 1950s and 1960s. By this time a mature artist, Motesiczky had long found the style and subject matter that suited her and now felt able to explore further: For many years I have worked almost exclusively from nature because I did not dare to render the wealth and the uniqueness which moved me, without looking at it. But it has always been a complicated process to transform reality, to reveal it through colour, so that one can grasp it at all. Now I feel I have come far enough even to paint dreams.283 Among these paintings inspired by dreams is Morning in the Garden, 1943 (no. 61), in which two women wearing nightclothes play an enigmatic, almost surreal ball game. In The Magic Fish, 1956 (no. 146), a scantily clad woman is engaged in a grotesque, seemingly fateful battle with a flying fish. Parting, 1957 (no. 149), presents an eclectic group of human beings and disembodied angels in a strange gathering around a crystal ball. These often playful scenes can border on caricature, as in Confrontation in the Forest, c. 1970 (no. 240), which shows the artist’s defence against lesbian advances, or in Swimming Pool, 1967 (no. 210), in which comical characters populate a pool by the sea. In

imitation of the biblical David playing the harp before King Saul, The Old Song, 1959 (no. 158), depicts an old woman, Henriette von Motesiczky, reclining in bed while listening to a white-haired, ermine-cloaked ‘rhapsodian’ playing a harp at her bedside. A tousled bird, reminiscent of a heraldic eagle, appears to disturb the rendition. Apart from biographical allusions which are difficult to decipher, The Old Song conjures up the universal image of the loneliness of old age. Hilde Spiel called the painting a ‘grandiose allegorical composition’.284 Similarly, several of Motesiczky’s ‘fantasy paintings’ can be read as allegories. Swimming Pool has connotations of a Fountain of Youth and The Travellers, 1940 (no. 50), can be seen as a Ship of Fools. As numerous small sketches show, Motesiczky possessed a wealth of further ideas for fantastical paintings which were never carried out. Perhaps following in the footsteps of Rembrandt and van Gogh, Motesiczky also created a large number of selfportraits during her long career. Apart from many sketches and drawings, numerous paintings present the artist to the viewer. They are generally considered to be among the best works in her oeuvre, simply ‘perfect pictures’.285 One admiring critic compared them to the other outstanding series: ‘The self-portraits are no less moving than the portraits of the mother.’286 In the self-portraits Motesiczky carefully confronts her own reality. She tentatively investigates various aspects of her personality, her beauty, her age, her profession, her relationships, and extracts powerful images which capture her current state of mind and the circumstances in which she finds herself. The self-portraits are an outstanding record of self-observation and form a chronicle of her life. In one series of self-portraits, Motesiczky focuses on herself as a woman. These paintings exude an uncompromising sense of reality and faint melancholy, while at the same time depicting a woman who is aware of her charms. The graceful, youthful face with its characteristic slightly open lips and large, questioning eyes hardly changes and remains easily recognizable over the years. Her attitude to life and her outward circumstances, however, change as the years advance. Self-portrait with Comb, 1926 (no. 13), shows the young Motesiczky at her daily toilet, holding a comb and a little hand mirror. Pale and fragile, she appears only shyly to confront her own image. In contrast, the drawing Self-portrait Playing Darts, late 1920s (p. 528), depicts a more self-confident Motesiczky as an energetic sportswoman who looks at ease in her felt slippers and untidy surroundings. A self-assured if somewhat defiant

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woman faces the viewer also in Self-portrait with Straw Hat, 1937 (no. 42), and in Self-portrait with Red Hat, 1938 (no. 47), Motesiczky reaches the climax of her elegance, beauty and confidence despite the recent personal upheaval of leaving her home country. In the full knowledge of her enchanting good looks she coquettishly includes the profile of a recent lover. The experience of the London Blitz and the start of a complicated love affair with a married man cause Selfportrait in Green, 1942 (no. 55), to take on the air of startled anxiety and alarm. A sense of resignation characterizes Three Heads, 1944 (no. 69), which shows Motesiczky as a weary housewife going about her domestic chores. In Self-portrait with Veil, 1955 (no. 142), Motesiczky, slightly worried, honestly assesses her by now mature face. As a concession to her concern about her thinning, fine hair, a veil protectively envelopes her head, enabling her to hide. The middle-aged woman in Self-portrait in Black, 1959 (no. 159), dressed in elegant clothes, appears ready for a night out. Yet her face wears a mixture of sadness and desolation that does not bode well. Motesiczky’s tranquil disillusionment has progressed further in Self-portrait with Pears, 1965 (no. 202), in which, faced with the onset of old age and loneliness, she seems to be pondering the nature, or even the loss, of beauty. The Last Self-portrait, 1993 (no. 322), however, is a final triumph of defiance. Beautifully made up, the artist movingly portrays herself adopting a regal posture while her sparse hair, now white, is covered by a hat. The aristocratic aloofness of the grand figure conveys the ultimate victory over concepts of age and beauty. Several of the self-portraits also reveal Motesiczky’s fascination with her own reflection. She repeatedly explored this motif in photography, taking pictures of herself in a mirror or a shop window or posing for others with a mirror (fig. 40). Motesiczky often included the mirrors in her self-portraits as a ‘symbol of a thoughtful search to find the truth behind appearance’.287 Far from being a symbol of female vanity in these works, the mirrors should be seen as the tool that enabled her to carry out the painting. In some works such as Self-portrait with Comb, 1926 (no. 13), At the Dressmaker s, 1930 (no. 35), or Self-portrait with Mirror, c. 1985 (no. 284), the mirror is a mere accessory. In others, however, the mirror becomes an integral part of the composition since the artist is seen only as a reflection in it. In Self-portrait with Mirror, 1949 (no. 85), and Selfportrait with Pears, 1965 (no. 202), Motesiczky presents the image she actually saw when producing the work. By taking up the position of an onlooker and distancing herself from her image she objectifies and legitimizes

the scrutiny of herself that would otherwise be considered vanity. Self-portrait in Mirror Looking Left, 1940s (no. 91), again shows only Motesiczky’s mirror-image. Yet, curiously, she disguises the likeness by avoiding a frontal view, instead depicting her profile. This alienation is taken a step further in Self-portrait in Mirror, Yellow Roses, c. 1976 (no. 255), which at first glance seems to be a still-life. The small mirror allows a partial view of her face, an eye, the nose and part of the mouth, which appears younger than her age would suggest. In her penchant for mirrors Motesiczky may have been inspired by Max Beckmann who also frequently depicted them. Yet, in contrast to Self-portrait with Comb or At the Dressmaker s, his mirrors only occasionally show no reflection. Another, very small group of self-portraits presents Motesiczky in her profession as an artist. Motesiczky tackled this traditional subject matter very rarely. Only a handful of paintings testify to her being a painter. In Self-portrait in Blue, 1964 (no. 195), she balances an open sketchbook in her lap and holds a pink crayon which she uses for drawing. The lack of professional attire that might give rise to doubts about her seriousness as a draughtswoman is rectified in Self-portrait with Palette, 1960 (no. 168), which unmistakably characterizes her as a painter with all the attributes of the trade. Wearing an artist’s smock and a cap and holding a large palette, she stands by the easel and is in the process of painting a bird. This creature, on the other hand, refers to another fruit of Motesiczky’s artistic labours, The Old Song, 1959 (no. 158), in which it figures prominently. In contrast, Lorette in the Studio, 1968 (no. 219), presents a scene in a crowded studio where two painters are in the process of painting a model. Here, however, the model takes centre stage while Motesiczky, sitting at her easel, is only partially visible. Finally, in Hampstead Garden, c. 1970 (no. 242), Motesiczky and her easel are almost completely hidden by a row of bushes while the girl on the space-hopper, on whose picture she is working, occupies the foreground. A number of further self-portraits highlight Motesiczky’s relationships with a select number of close friends, for example Oskar Kokoschka (Two Women and a Shadow, 1951, no. 109) and Elias Canetti (In the Garden, 1948, no. 81, and Self-portrait with Canetti, 1960s, no. 237). Perhaps surprisingly, apart from The Short Trip, 1965 (no. 204), in which the artist herself is hardly recognizable, there are no paintings showing Motesiczky together with her mother. She had once, in the early stages of the conception of The Old Song, considered such a composition, but she soon discarded the

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Fig. 40 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky photographing her reection in a window, photograph, 1963 (Motesiczky archive)

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idea. Many sketches and drawings also record ideas for compositions that unite the two women. However, they were never carried out as paintings and Motesiczky instead concentrated on portraits of her mother alone. The portraits of Henriette von Motesiczky play a unique role in Motesiczky’s oeuvre. It is generally agreed that they must be counted among the very best examples of portraiture. For one admirer, this series of paintings is ‘the most original, deepest and most coherent contribution among your paintings to the art of the twentieth century’.288 He further confessed to ‘know no other cycle of works in the history of modern painting in this field that is so innovative, tackled with such courage and solved with such artistic mastery’.289 Elias Canetti once told Motesiczky that the legendary series of mother portraits ‘is your greatest, truest work … for whose sake your painting will always survive’.290 Motesiczky herself considered the paintings of her mother her most important achievement and wanted to make sure they did not disappear from public view after her death. Motesiczky’s paintings of her mother are characterized by penetrating sympathy for her model and unbiased observation. They go beyond the portrait by summing up a main part of Motesiczky’s life and testifying to the lasting and loving relationship between mother and daughter. Apart from the portraits in oil there are an enormous number of sketches and drawings in which she attempted to record her mother’s every pose, expression and idiosyncrasy. The series was created over a period of fifty years, with the earliest, Henriette von Motesiczky – Portrait No. 1, dating from 1929 (no. 29) and the last painted posthumously (The Greenhouse, 1979, no. 266). The majority of these portraits were created in the 1960s and 1970s when mother and daughter shared a house. Motesiczky combined her duty of looking after her ailing mother and the necessity to create new works by using her as a frequent model. The portraits of Henriette von Motesiczky allow a rare glimpse of her personal circumstances and predilections. Throughout her life, Henriette had been extremely fond of the countryside, revelling in outdoor activities such as riding and hunting. An early drawing, Hunting, 1936 (p. 534), shows her indulging in her passion. She was, however, equally partial to taking rests, even when younger, as several portraits prove. In Henriette von Motesiczky – Portrait No. 1, 1929, she typically reclines in bed. In another early drawing, the intimate Siesta, 1933 (p. 530), she takes an afternoon nap. With her advancing years, Henriette found it increasingly difficult to move around unaided. In the

later portraits she is therefore presented in a limited number of activities in her immediate surroundings. Many of these paintings depict her spending a large part of her life in bed. In several others she sits comfortably in a chair, following another masculine passion, smoking a pipe, as in the statuesque Henriette von Motesiczky, 1959 (no. 160), or partaking of small meals (Henriette von Motesiczky with Dog and Flowers, 1967, no. 213, and Mother in Green Dressing Gown, 1975, no. 250). She was mainly confined to enjoying the tranquillity of her own garden, where she took a little exercise and went for short walks, depicted in The Way, 1967 (no. 216), or Mother in the Garden, 1975 (no. 248). In The Short Trip, 1965 (no. 204), she is seen driving an invalid car, of which, over the years, she possessed several models. Henriette, who was actually notorious among the residents of Hampstead for her dangerous driving, is here taking a brief ride on her lawn. She also liked to help out in the garden, performing little tasks like weeding or raking leaves (The Greenhouse, 1979). Henriette M., 1961 (no. 177), in which she forlornly looks out of the window that appears to be closing in on her, sums up the old woman’s sadness at the restrictions in her freedom. Some of the portraits were painted with a specific story in mind. The most striking example is The Old Song, 1959, which speaks not only of Henriette’s passionate curiosity for news of the outside world but also of the personal tragedy of the harpist’s failed marriage – represented by the ugly bird, the husband, who spoils the music. In many portraits Henriette is accompanied by one of her beloved Italian greyhounds, of which she had three over the years, named Franzi, Bubi and Maxi. The faithful dogs attempt to join in every activity, taking exercise in the garden, begging for food, and slipping under the duvet to take a nap. The series of mother paintings is most outstanding for its ‘extraordinary love of truth and a tendency to exaggerate all that embodies the opposite of general concepts of beauty’.291 With her affectionate mercilessness and unsparing, often brutal honesty Motesiczky makes no attempts to hide her mother’s less than ideal figure and lack of conventional beauty. She even highlights her shortcomings, including the lack of hair to which she had grown accustomed. Henriette had in fact lost her hair very early on and over the years employed various means of disguising this. Her use of a turban is documented in Portrait with Turban, 1946 (no. 80). Several portraits show her wearing a wig, for example Reclining Woman with Pipe, 1954 (no. 129), Henriette von Motesiczky, 1959, and Henriette M., 1961. In The Old Song, 1959, Henriette von Motesiczky,

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now in her seventies, has a balding head with only a few grey wisps of hair left. In her old age she no longer bothered to hide her baldness when sitting for a portrait. In Mother with Baton, 1977 (no. 257), her remaining hair is held together in a thin, short ponytail. Here, and in several other portraits, the indication of a slight moustache suggests the growth of unwanted hair. Accompanying Henriette von Motesiczky’s final years, the mother portraits are the extremely moving record of physical decline into extreme old age. In her final years the formerly rather robust Henriette became ‘thin . . . like a ghost’.292 Despite her ailments she showed immense

courage. Motesiczky praised her: ‘So brave, like a soldier. Never ever a complaint.’293 The late portraits, such as From Night into Day, 1975 (no. 251), and Mother with Baton, manage to convey the fragility of the emaciated body, highlighting arms that are thin like sticks and emphasizing the now even more pronounced characteristic facial features of a bulbous nose and large, dark sunken eyes. Mother in Bed, c. 1977/8 (no. 259), executed in the last year of Henriette’s life, shows her noticeably near death. Devoid of hair she conveys a strangely asexual quality. Omitting any paraphernalia Motesiczky focuses on the familiar face in the knowledge that she is painting her for one last time.

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Notes

1 Motesiczky 1985, p. 11. 2 Motesiczky’s biography is based on material from the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London, whose archives contain the artist’s writings, letters, photographs, drawings and paintings. On the Lieben family see: Arnbom 2003, pp. 177–208; Die Liebens, exh. cat. 2004, passim. 3 Prohibited by the Nazis, the Ignaz-Lieben-Preis was last awarded in 1937. In 2004 it was reinstated by the American businessman Alfred Bader who was born in Vienna. 4 On Anna von Lieben’s role in the creation of psychoanalysis see for example Swales 1986. 5 Freud 1986, p. 243. 6 Freud/Breuer 1978, pp. 127 f., 134 f., 248–55. 7 Ibid., p. 135. 8 Lieben 1901. 9 Arnbom 2003, p. 189. 10 Henriette von Motesiczky included an account of this brief relationship in her unpublished typescript Erinnerungen, dated October 1966: Motesiczky archive. 11 Zeitreisen, Radio Bremen 2, 13 July 1991. 12 Zeitgenossen, Südwestfunk 2, 2 August 1987. 13 ‘nie aus dem Paradies ausgetrieben worden ist’: Menschenbilder, Ö1, 23 February 1986. 14 The information on Edmund von Motesiczky has been taken from Menschenbilder, Ö1, 23 February 1986; Peter Swales to his colleagues, 8 January 1980: copy in the Motesiczky archive; Gaugusch 2004, p. 233. 15 ‘voll Anerkennung für ein Genie auf der einen Seite und Gentleman auf der anderen’: Wolfgang J. Magg to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 29 November 1966: Motesiczky archive. 16 Undated manuscript by Marie-Louise von Motesiczky: Motesiczky archive. 17 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 13 March 1954; undated autobiographical typescript by Marie-Louise von Motesiczky: Motesiczky archive. 18 His collection is documented in Falke 1930. 19 Zeitreisen, Radio Bremen 2, 13 July 1991. 20 ‘zweite Mutter’: Menschenbilder, Ö1, 23 February 1986. 21 ‘dieser beste Mensch, den Du je gekannt hast’: Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 6 September 1987: Motesiczky archive. 22 ‘gütige, lustige, unschuldige, ständig arbeitende, wunderbare Frau’: Menschenbilder, Ö1, 23 February 1986. 23 Zeitreisen, Radio Bremen 2, 13 July 1991. 24 ‘ganz unmögliche Hauslehrer’: Zeitgenossen, Südwestfunk 2, 2 August 1987. 25 Ibid. 26 Jahreszeugnis Öffentliches Mariahilfer Mädchenlyzeum, Linke Wienzeile 4, Vienna: Motesiczky archive. 27 ‘Das macht nichts, dann geh halt nicht mehr in die Schule.’: Zeitgenossen, Südwestfunk 2, 2 August 1987. 28 Motesiczky 1985, p. 11; Zeitgenossen, Südwestfunk 2, 2 August 1987. 29 Motesiczky 1984, p. 52.

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30 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Sophie Brentano, undated: Motesiczky archive. 31 Motesiczky 1985, p. 11. 32 ‘eine sehr tragische, sonderbare Sache’: Menschenbilder, Ö1, 23 February 1986. 33 ‘hat man halt noch nie gesehen gehabt, so ein Licht’: Zeitgenossen, Südwestfunk 2, 2 August 1987. Motesiczky probably refers to Bridge at Arles (Pont de Langlois), 1888, which is now in the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo. 34 Zeitreisen, Radio Bremen 2, 13 July 1991. 35 Motesiczky 1985, p. 11. 36 ‘In diesen 3 Monaten intensiven Zeichnens vor allen in Kohle und Pastell beschloss ich dass dies mein Leben werden soll. Dem Ernst mit dem C.M. uns zur Arbeit anhielt … habe ich viel zu verdanken Die erste Sache dies sie wirklich lobte war eine Skitze von einem kleinen dreckigen Gassen Bübchen so ein 5 Jahriger etwas. Ich dachte es sei nicht viel, weil es so schnell gehen musste und keine Zeit war es auzuführen. Siehst du da hast Du das wesentliche getroffen das ist gerade gut. Ich freute mich und dacht aber so kann man’s auch machen’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 14 November 1980: Motesiczky archive. 37 ‘Eines ist sicher . . . daß diese 3 Monate ein Anfang waren zu einem neuen Leben’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Henriette von Motesiczky, [26 June 1922]: Motesiczky archive. 38 Du bist gesund, und jung, und reich, und schön, Begleitet könnt’st Du oft nach Hause gehn! Du hast Talent – vielleicht sogar Genie – Viel Temp’rament und etwas Phantasie . . . Du wirst verwöhnt und jeder hat Dich gern, Es huld’gen Dir die allerhöchten Herrn: . . . Was willst Du mehr?! – Denk an Punkt: 1–10 Und lass die Traurigkeit im Winkel stehn! A photograph of the poem, which is now part of a private collection, is in the Motesiczky archive. 39 ‘wohl die klügste Frau, die ich kenne, meine einzige Freundin’: Käthe von Porada to Peter Zingler, 24 April 1974: Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Max Beckmann Archiv, Munich. 40 Motesiczky 1985, p. 11. 41 ‘Wenn ich nun sagen würde ich will Malerin werden so würde das heißen Künstlerin werden. Dieses kann man aber nie werden sondern nur sein o. nicht sein. Doch daß das Erfassen der Erscheinung u. das Verarbeiten der Eindrücke jahrelange Übung u. das erlernen des Ausdrucksvermögens höchste Willenskraft u. Konzentration erfordert ist mir immer völlig klar gewesen.’: undated, handwritten note by Marie-Louise von Motesiczky: Motesiczky archive. 42 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Henriette von Motesiczky, [1924]: Motesiczky archive. 43 Motesiczky 1985, p. 12. 44 Ibid., p. 11. 45 ‘bildhübsch’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Henriette

von Motesiczky, [8 July 1922]: Motesiczky archive. 46 Quappi Beckmann to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 14 February 1951: Motesiczky archive. 47 Beckmann 2000, pp. 9 f., 12. 48 Zeitreisen, Radio Bremen 2, 13 July 1991. 49 Motesiczky 1985, p. 12. 50 Ibid. 51 Max Beckmann als Lehrer was first given as a lecture at the annual meeting of the Max Beckmann Gesellschaft in Murnau in 1963 and subsequently published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Motesiczky 1964) and, in English translation, as Motesiczky 1984. 52 Zeitreisen, Radio Bremen 2, 13 July 1991. 53 Motesiczky 1984, p. 52. 54 Ibid., p. 51. 55 ‘Dank für die Photos. Alle Achtung. Nur so weiter. Es ist viel ernsthafte Arbeit darin. Nur jetzt Stange halten!!’: Max Beckmann to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 12 February [1926], reprinted in Beckmann 1994, p. 31. 56 ‘Im übrigen habe ich dem Becki Photos von meinen Sachen gezeigt u. er war ganz zufrieden – hab Fortschritte gemacht sagt er – Du weisst dass ich darüber guter Laune bin!!’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Henriette von Motesiczky, 17 March 1930 (postmark): Motesiczky archive. 57 Motesiczky 1984, p. 52. 58 ‘traumhafte Lyrik’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 14 August 1947 (postmark): Motesiczky archive. 59 ‘Verflucht noch mal Pizchen, Sie haben doch wirklich ein schönes Talent, malen Sie ein paar gute Bilder und die Welt wird wieder schön’: Max Beckmann to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 15 January 1949, reprinted in Beckmann 1996, pp. 237 f. 60 ‘Ich wünschte ich hätte viel Geld, dann würde ich Sie heiraten und Sie dürften sich 2 Geliebte halten zum Entsetzen aller Ihrer Tanten und Verwandten.’: Karl Tratt to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 30 May 1933: Motesiczky archive. 61 ‘Das Bild finde ich recht interessant. Bringen Sie’s doch mit, wenn’s geht, damit Sie’s nächstes Jahr mit ausstellen können.’: Max Beckmann to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, end September 1927, reprinted in Beckmann 1994, p. 100. 62 ‘Erzieherisch ist jede Reibung mit der Aussenwelt, daher auch die mit der Kritik’: Max Beckmann. Über den Wert der Kritik (Eine Rundfrage an die Künstler), 1912, quoted in Göpel/Göpel 1976, vol. 2, p. 3. 63 ‘Sie müssen einschicken . . . sonst laufen Sie immer hinterm Leben nach.’: Menschenbilder, Ö1, 23 February 1986. 64 Yapou 1944. 65 ‘Der äußere Erfolg war ihr immer unwichtig’: Anonymous [Victor Matejka] 1966. 66 ‘Gott schick mir Kinder wenn’s auch nur Bilder sind’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 6 February 1955: Motesiczky archive.


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67 Alec Guinness to Anne Kaufman-Schneider, 19 August 1986, kindly made available by Piers Paul Read. 68 Linda de Vriess to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 16 November [1986]: Motesiczky archive. 69 Alec Guinness, diary entry for 4 June 1987, kindly made available by Piers Paul Read. 70 ‘Das arme Pizchen ist sehr verzweifelt über Berlin und hat schwer zu kämpfen. – Trotzdem ist es gut für Sie.’: Max Beckmann to Quappi Beckmann, 27 November 1928, reprinted in Beckmann 1994, p. 133. 71 ‘ich gehe zugrund, Haushalt, Haushalt, Haushalt!!’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Henriette von Motesiczky, [1928/9]: Motesiczky archive. 72 ‘Denke nur wie schwer es ist gute Bilder zu malen, Fortschritte zu mach etwas zu werden, denke an die Sängerinnen von 100 wird eine etwas u die Malerinnen!! Alle 100 Jahre wird aus einer etwas!! Darum ist es schwer denn selbst wenn man nichts besonderes ist braucht das Kraft u. Ausdauer halbwegs gute Arbeiten zu machen . . . Das merkwürdige ist das, obwohl sich das Leben bisher als eine interessante aber recht zweifelhafte Dame erwiesen hat, ich noch immer das Wunder (im algemeinen) erwarte oder wie man hier so schön sagt mir die Zigaretten an den Sternen anzünden möchte.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Henriette von Motesiczky, [1928/9]: Motesiczky archive. 73 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Henriette von Motesiczky, [1929]: Motesiczky archive. 74 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 4 May 1956: Motesiczky archive. 75 Wolfgang Paalen to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 7 January 1958: Motesiczky archive. 76 Hanuschek 2005, p. 433. 77 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Henriette von Motesiczky, [1929]: Motesiczky archive. 78 ‘Sei nicht traurig u. unruhig, wegen Arbeit u. so. Wenn ich so gute Anlage von Natur zum Malen hätte, wie Sie, wäre ich fröhlicher.’: Siegfried Sebba to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, [1929]: Motesiczky archive. 79 In connection with a pregnancy she must have consulted the eminent gynaecologist Professor Bernhard Zondek whose invoice for 500 Marks, dated 15 April 1929, survived in the artist’s estate. Motesiczky’s correspondence with Siegfried Sebba and Irma Simon also hints at an abortion. 80 ‘das populärste Bild des modernen Israel’: Gabler 1981, p. 70. 81 Lebhafte Erinnerung (für Marialouise von Motesiczky) Der erschauernde Birkenwald, abweisend-gewährendes Mädchen! der Hof stand gegen den Himmel braun und die Schneezungen weiss am Berg, der Knabe lief stolpernd in Ängsten und Freuden, in Sonne erstrahlte das Schöpfungswerk, die Gipfel zerteilten die Wolken, der Wind trug Altweiberfädchen. (Motesiczky archive) 82 ‘beinahe hätten wir uns geheiratet’: Benno Reifenberg to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 22 November 1965: Motesiczky archive. 83 ‘du bist mir lieber Überfluss, notwendiger Luxus, – mehr als mir zukommt. Mein Glück (ehelich) ist vollkommen – und doch fehlst Du, es fehlt was, wenn Du weg bist. Ich habe an meiner Frau alles, – Du bist das Mehr, – mir fehlt das Mehr.’: Lajos Hatvany to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, [1926]: Motesiczky archive. 84 ‘Mit Ausnahme einiger Lichtpunkte, die zu beschreiben mir Deine Bescheidenheit verbietet, denke ich mit Schaudern an die Wiener Jahre. Das Exil war eine grosse Krankheit’: Lajos Hatvany to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 17 September 1929: Motesiczky archive. 85 ‘Du bist wirklich ein süßes und seltenes Wesen. Ich . . .

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bin dumm genug, es Dir schwarz auf weiß zu geben: daß ich vielleicht nie noch so ehrlich in jemanden verliebt war wie ich es jetzt für Dich empfinde.’: Herbert Schey to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 6 August 1937: Motesiczky archive. ‘anmassenden u. selbstsicheren Bande’, ‘Teufeln’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, [after 1945]: Motesiczky archive. On the Hagenbund see Die verlorene Moderne, exh. cat. 1993. Born 1933. ‘während Maria Motesiczky sich im Format und in der Komposition Blößen gibt und sich bedenklich dem Kitsche nähert’: tr. 1933. ‘Noch wären rühmlich anzureihen . . . M. L. Motesiecky’: F. 1933. Heimito von Doderer: Lebhafte Erinnerung, poem, dated 1928: Motesiczky archive. Elias Canetti to Viktor Matejka, 14 October 1967: Dokumentationsarchiv des österreichischen Widerstandes, Vienna, Nr. 18861/22. I thank Christiane Rothländer for this information. Ibid. Jill Lloyd in conversation with Gian Carlo Menotti, 23 June 2002: Motesiczky archive. Henriette von Motesiczky to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 25 October 1926: Motesiczky archive. Henk de Waal to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 12 March 1935: Motesiczky archive. Motesiczky archive. Motesiczky archive. Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Wilhelm Reich, [1934]: Motesiczky archive. R.V. Bakker to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 14 March 1935: Motesiczky archive. ‘denn Tante Ilse hätte jetzt sicher so vielen Menschen zu helfen die es mehr brauchen’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Sophie Brentano, undated: Motesiczky archive. Motesiczky 1985, p. 13. Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Sophie Brentano, undated: Motesiczky archive. This episode is recounted in numerous undated letters from Motesiczky to Sophie Brentano (Motesiczky archive), see also Beckmann 2000, p. 29. Beckmann 1979. ‘verzweifelte Gedanken an B.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 23 February 1945: Motesiczky archive. ‘Beckmann lebt!’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 22 June 1945: Motesiczky archive. Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entries for 3, 7 and 10 August 1945: Motesiczky archive. Menschenbilder, Ö1, 23 February 1986. On Karl von Motesiczky see Christiane Rothländer, especially 2004a. ‘bis aufs äußerste ausgebeutet’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, undated autobiographical typescript: Motesiczky archive. Adunka 1994. Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Sophie Brentano, undated: Motesiczky archive. Veth 1939. A.d.B. 1939; Anonymous [1939]. Handwritten note by Marie-Louise von Motesiczky on Veth 1939: Motesiczky archive. Motesiczky 1985, p. 13. Karl von Motesiczky to Henriette von Motesiczky, [October 1938]: Motesiczky archive. The painting is probably identical with Versuchung eines Heiligen of the Danubian School, which was confiscated after Karl von Motesiczky’s arrest. It was sold at an auction at the Dorotheum, Vienna, on 19 October 1943 for RM 14,300. In 1949, when the painting was in the possession of the

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Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen in Munich, Henriette von Motesiczky tracked it down (I thank Evelyn Adunka for this information). It was subsequently returned to her. Canetti 2005a, p. 25. ‘das war dann eigentlich zum Teil eine sehr schöne Zeit, so verrückt das klingt’: transcript of a BBC radio programme, 1988, details unknown: Motesiczky archive. See Hanuschek 2005 and Schlenker 2005 for more information on the relationship between Canetti and Motesiczky. Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 28 November 1974: Motesiczky archive. Canetti 2005a, pp. 32–47. Canetti 2001, pp. 197–204. Zeitreisen, Radio Bremen 2, 13 July 1991. Elias Canetti’s Aufzeichnungen für Marie-Louise were published in 2005 by Hanser Verlag (with an afterword by Jeremy Adler). ‘persönliche Katastrophe’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Sophie Brentano, 8 November 1974: Motesiczky archive. Menschenbilder, Ö1, 23 February 1986. See also Gaisbauer/Janisch 1992, p. 173. ‘ganz ohne C. Welt ohne Sinn – mit C endlose Quälerei.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for summer 1977: Motesiczky archive. To be published soon by Hanser Verlag. ‘Mein Roman “The Response” ist der Malerin MarieLuise Motesizky gewidmet. Denn der leise Zauber, der von ihr ausgeht, hat mich zu einer Figur angeregt und ihre Feinheit hat meine Wildheit gebändigt und die Figuren und die Musik meines Buches bestimmt.’: undated note by Veza Canetti: Motesiczky archive. Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Sophie Brentano, [after 1977]: Motesiczky archive. ‘verbunden sein wirst solange es Menschen gibt’: Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, [1956]: Motesiczky archive. Zeitreisen, Radio Bremen 2, 13 July 1991. ‘Du bist ein sehr grosser Maler und ob Du es willst oder nicht, die Welt wird es erfahren. Jedes Bild, das Du noch malst, wird in die Geschichte der Malerei eingehen.’: Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 20 July 1978: Motesiczky archive. Zeitgenossen, Südwestfunk 2, 2 August 1987. Henriette von Motesiczky to Käthe von Porada, 14 November 1969: Motesiczky archive. Zeitgenossen, Südwestfunk 2, 2 August 1987. ‘adoptiert’: Menschenbilder, Ö1, 23 February 1986. Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Benno Reifenberg, 17 January 1964: Deutsches Literaturarchiv, Marbach, Estate Benno Reifenberg. Zeitgenossen, Südwestfunk 2, 2 August 1987. ‘Es ist Frieden . . . Kokoschkas erscheinen. O.K. ist scheusslich mit meinem Bild v. Mutter.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 8 May 1945: Motesiczky archive. ‘hoffnungslos’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 17 June 1945: Motesiczky archive. ‘Nicht anrühren!’: Zeitgenossen, Südwestfunk 2, 2 August 1987. ‘Zeichnung Olda, K, ich’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 25 June 1945: Motesiczky archive. Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, [1940s]: Motesiczky archive. Interview with Georgette Lewinson, 15 May 2000. Murdoch 1988, pp. 536 f. Elias Canetti, handwritten note, [1944]: Motesiczky archive. Newton 1944. Yapou 1944.

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151 John Rothenstein to Oskar Kokoschka, 16 October 1944: Motesiczky archive. 152 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 1 November 1960: Motesiczky archive. 153 ‘quasi in Einzelhaft’: Renée Cushman to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 27 February 1957: Motesiczky archive. 154 Engelman 1952. 155 Veth 1952. 156 Braat 1952. 157 ‘lyrisch en zacht’: Prange 1952. 158 Filarski 1952a. 159 Braat 1952. 160 M.B. 1952; see also Buys 1952, Filarski 1952a, Gruyter 1952, Prange 1952. 161 Anonymous 1952a. 162 ‘essenziell’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 22 August 1954: Motesiczky archive. 163 Carwin 1954. 164 Certificate of Naturalization for Marie Louise Motesiczky known as Motesiczka, dated 17 April 1948: Motesiczky archive. 165 ‘der Kinder und Gerechtigkeit liebte’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Sophie Brentano, undated: Motesiczky archive. 166 ‘größtes und schönstes europäisches SOS-Kinderdorf ’: Hermann Gmeiner to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 27 June 1978: Motesiczky archive. 167 The inscription is based on the dedication of a book by Bruno Seidel, a friend of Karl von Motesiczky (Industrialismus und Kapitalismus. Sozialethische und institutionelle Wandlungen einer Wirtschaftsform, Meisenheim/Glan 1955): ‘Für die selbstlose Hilfe, die er Verfolgten gewährte, erlitt er im Konzentrationslager Auschwitz selbst den Tod.’ 168 Menschenbilder, Ö1, 23 February 1986. 169 ‘Wien ist so anregend für mich malerisch mir fallen so viele Dinge ein – das hängt mit Jugenderinnerungen zusammen . . . und trotzdem könnt ich mir denken dass ich hier meine besten Bilder malen könnte einmal’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 4 May 1957: Motesiczky archive. 170 ‘ein kleines Paradies’: Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 27 July 1963: Motesiczky archive. 171 ‘die phantastische Biedermeier-Ruhe’: Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 24 February 1965: Motesiczky archive. 172 Beatrice Owen to Jill Lloyd, 21 July 2000 (original in capitals): Motesiczky archive. 173 Peter Verdemato to Ines Schlenker (e-mail), 9 July 2004: Motesiczky archive. 174 In his autobiography Ernst Ginsberg recalls the hospitality of the Motesiczky women when, in 1933, he arrived in Vienna as a poor emigrant: Ginsberg 1965, pp. 135 f. 175 ‘Kennen Sie eigentlich Marie-Louise von Metesitzky? Sie ist durchaus ungewöhnlich und sollten Sie ihr noch nicht begegnet sein, so möchte ich das gern arrangieren.’: Theodor W. Adorno to Ernst Krenek, 29 April 1935: Rogge 1974, p. 80. 176 Entry of 16 March 1961: ‘feierliches Du mit Piz’: Adorno. Eine Bildmonographie, 2003, p. 255. 177 ‘Der Adorno weiss mir immer etwas nettes zu sagen z.B. dass ich ein wunderbares Profil habe oder dass ich das Wesen eines jungen Mädchens habe ohne dabei zurückgeblieben zu sein. Trägt natürlich zur Erholung bei!’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Henriette von Motesiczky, 13 August 1961: Motesiczky archive. 178 Helen Lessore, exh. cat. 1994, p. 3. 179 ‘nie mehr mitspielen kann im Kunstbetrieb’: MarieLouise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 25 June 1964: Motesiczky archive. 180 ‘Das ist wahrscheinlich der Canetti!’: interview with Milein Cosman, 9 December 2004.

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181 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 3 April 1953: Motesiczky archive. 182 On the relationship between Murdoch and Canetti see Conradi 2001, pp. 405–33 and Hanuschek 2005, pp. 402–4. See Schlenker 2001 for more on the portrait of Iris Murdoch. 183 Iris Murdoch to the Principal of St Anne’s College, Oxford, 25 June [1963]: personal file, St Anne’s College, Oxford. 184 Iris Murdoch, unpublished diary entry for 16 February [1964], kindly made available by Peter Conradi. 185 Fritz Novotny, Österreichische Galerie, Schloß Belvedere, to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 15 June 1963 and 19 December 1963: Motesiczky archive. 186 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Benno Reifenberg, 1 September 1967: Deutsches Literaturarchiv, Marbach, Estate Benno Reifenberg. 187 Fleischer 1996, p. 528. 188 ‘Wunderbare Malerei, wie man sie leider so selten sieht’; ‘Portraits meisterhaft!’; ‘Die Könnerschaft ist bewundernswert! Besonders im Porträt!’; ‘Die Poesie der Bilder entzückt’; ‘keine “Falschmünzerei”’; ‘diese starke und reine Malerei, in der das Unaussprechliche immer zu ahnen ist’: guest book for the exhibition ‘Marie-Louise Motesiczky’ at the Wiener Secession in May 1966: Motesiczky archive. 189 ‘Eine fesselnde Überraschung’: b. 1966. 190 ‘hätte längst, ginge es immer mit rechten Dingen zu, als eine unserer bedeutendsten Malerinnen gewürdigt werden müssen’: Spiel 1966. 191 ‘die sich fast nie geändert, aber dauernd verfeinert hat’: Vogel 1966b. 192 For example BA 1966, Baum 1966, Freundlich 1966 and K.S. 1966. 193 ‘Im Schatten des Meisters’: K.S. 1966. 194 ‘Der Gewalt und Größe des Meisters nicht erlegen zu sein, sich eine eigene Weltsicht – und eine eigene Handschrift – erobert zu haben’: Freundlich 1966. 195 ‘Diese Begegnung mit Beckmann . . . prägte . . . in einem derart fruchtbaren Maß Werk und Haltung der . . . Malerin, wie man es sich idealer bei einem ähnlich engen Lehrer-Schüler-Verhältnis kaum vorstellen kann.’: Baum 1966. 196 ‘das Belvedere hat das allerkleinste Bild gekauft um so eine kleine Summe, daß ich sie sofort in einer Telefonzelle verloren hab’. Mein erstes verdientes Geld . . . mit sechzig.’: Gaisbauer/Janisch 1992, p. 173. 197 ‘Du wirst der grosse deutsche Porträtist werden’, ‘das Beste . . . was Du bis jetzt gemacht hast’: Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 1 October 1967: Motesiczky archive. 198 ‘Piz hatte eine Ausstellung in München, wunderbare Kritiken und auch Verkäufe. Sie war sehr zufrieden. Sie hätte auch noch mehr verkaufen können, aber sie trennt sich von manchen Bildern so schwer oder garnicht.’: Henriette von Motesiczky to Käthe von Porada, 14 November 1967: Motesiczky archive. 199 Theo Garve to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, [after November 1968]: Motesiczky archive. 200 d.w. 1968. 201 ‘Max hat nicht umsonst an Dich geglaubt, vergiss das nicht!’: Quappi Beckmann to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 6 January 1969: Motesiczky archive. 202 ‘Ich bin (vielleicht zu unrecht) zuversichtlicher wie in Wien – vielleicht weil ich ganz gut arbeite die letzte Zeit aber vielleicht auch weil ich mich seit Wien an den beängstigenden Zustand der “Ausstellerei” etwas gewöhnt habe.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Benno Reifenberg, 1 September 1967: Deutsches Literaturarchiv, Marbach, Estate Benno Reifenberg. 203 ‘noch bedeutend kleiner als sonst’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Theo Garve, 23 November 1968: Motesiczky archive.

notes

204 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Benno Reifenberg, 11 January 1969: Deutsches Literaturarchiv, Marbach, Estate Benno Reifenberg. 205 Ibid. 206 ‘Mutter leider oft sehr schwierig Geduld Geduld ich muss sie lieben so lange sie da ist. Kräfte, Kräfte oh bitte Kräfte für das neue Jahr’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for autumn 1977: Motesiczky archive. 207 Vaizey 1985. 208 Gombrich 1985, p. 7. 209 ‘Verstoß gegen das göttliche Vierte Gebot: “Du sollst Vater und Mutter ehren!”’: Ernst Jahoda to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 1 July 1986: Motesiczky archive. 210 Clark 1994. 211 Zeitgenossen, Südwestfunk 2, 2 August 1987; Tate Gallery, 1996, p. 504. 212 ‘eigenen Worte habe ihr “den Segen” gegeben’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for spring 1978: Motesiczky archive. 213 Interview with Victor de Waal, 23 January 2002. 214 ‘Die ersten Schritte eines Neugeborenen allein auf der Welt’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for summer 1978: Motesiczky archive. 215 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Quappi Beckmann, 8 April 1980: Motesiczky archive. 216 Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 27 February 1974: Motesiczky archive. 217 ‘Langsam, ganz langsam senkt sich die Waage mit Ihnen und der Frau und dem Kindchen und meine Schale ist zu leicht’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, November [1973]: Motesiczky archive. 218 Allerton Cushman to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 22 December 1981: Motesiczky archive. 219 ‘Royal Acad. abgelehnt’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for summer 1977: Motesiczky archive. 220 ‘hervorragender Anreger junger Talente’: Vogt 1980, unpaginated. 221 ‘eine außerordentlich starke Resonanz bei der Frankfurter Bevölkerung’: Kurt Lotz, Magistrat der Stadt Frankfurt, Amt für Wissenschaft und Kunst, to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 18 December 1980: Motesiczky archive. 222 Gombrich 1985, p. 6. 223 Ibid., p. 7. 224 Vaizey 1985. 225 Taylor 1985. 226 Berryman 1985. 227 José Eckhard to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 19 July 1986: Motesiczky archive. 228 ‘Es ist einfach wunderbar, die Bilder selbst haben ihre Wirkung getan, spät, aber noch zur Zeit, ist der Maler Mulo erkannt und anerkannt worden. Ich bin sehr glücklich, das noch zu erleben, gewusst habe ich’s immer und in keiner Sekunde, was immer sonst zwischen uns geschah, habe ich den Glauben an Ihre Malerei verloren. Sie haben es immer gewusst und etwas von meiner Glaubenskraft ist auch auf den Maler übergegangen. Aber das alles ist nicht mehr so wichtig, denn jetzt sind die Bilder da und werden nie mehr verschwinden. Es gibt wenige Dinge, die so gerecht erscheinen . . . Der Maler Mulo existiert und wird nun immer existieren! Ich glaube nicht, dass das je vorher schon passiert ist: dass ein Maler mit 80 noch zu Lebzeiten entdeckt wurde. Es ist also auch als Vorgang etwas Einzigartiges.’: Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 1 January 1986: Motesiczky archive. 229 ‘Märchen’: Menschenbilder, Ö1, 23 February 1986. 230 Zeitgenossen, Südwestfunk 2, 2 August 1987. 231 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Simon Jervis, 13 July 1993: Motesiczky archive. 232 Dobson 1986, unpaginated. 233 Emigré Artists, exh. cat. 1987, unpaginated. 234 ‘Sie sind Jude? – Ja – sagt er – ich auch – sage ich – und


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der Kontakt ist hergestellt’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 19 March 1958: Motesiczky archive. Motesiczky archive. I am grateful to Jeremy Adler for his comments on Motesiczky’s attitude to Judaism. ‘Ich hatte spat, mit 80 meinen ersten wirklichen Erfolg. Das heisst aber nicht dass mein Name gefestigt ist – dass ich wirkliche Preise habe – man muss viele Ausstellungen habe ein Buch müsste existieren u.s.w. da werde ich so wie so nicht mehr erleben. Mein Euvre ist klein, ich gab viel Zeit meiner Mutter. Jedes Bild zählt . . . Es geht mir einzig darum dass das was ich mit aller meiner Kraft in 60 Jahren versucht hab nicht verschwindet und ach “das Bild” im übertragenen Sinne – meiner Mutter bleibt. Die Bilder sind sinnlos wenn sie nicht gezeigt werden können . . . Es geht mir darum das die Bilder weiter leben, auch körperlich – das Menschen sie sehen können – dass sie nicht verschwinden in Küchen Vorzimmern Kellern schliesslich auf Trödelmarkten. Leider sind Museen das einzige wo sie sicher sein können. Ich brauche das nicht zu erleben, aber ich wollte dass ihre Zukunft gesichert ist wie andere Leute es für ihre Kinder wollen.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Kurt Noll, [1987?]: Motesiczky archive. Kruntorad 1994. Carole Angier to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 22 August 1994: Motesiczky archive. Motesiczky archive. ‘es ist wunderbar, eine solche Gabe zu haben’: Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 1 September 1971: Motesiczky archive. Motesiczky 1984, p. 52. Ibid. ‘Künstlerisch schadet Dir der manirierte Beckmann ganz sicher. Lass Dir das vom alten Juden, – der im übrigen B. recht gern hat! – sagen.’: Lajos Hatvany to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, [1929]: Motesiczky archive. Zeitgenossen, Südwestfunk 2, 2 August 1987. Mullaly 1960. Taylor 1985. Gombrich 1985, p. 7. Hoffmann 1949, p. 67. ‘Es muss schwer gewesen sein, sich eines so starken Einflusses wie dem von Beckmann zu erwehren und zu einer eigenen Form zu kommen. Wenn ich es recht überlege, so sind Sie die einzige Schülerin von Beckmann, der es gelungen ist, den Einfluss zu verarbeiten und eine selbständige Künstlerin zu bleiben, und das will viel sagen.’: Erhard Göpel to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 13 May 1966: Motesiczky archive. Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 22 August 1954: Motesiczky archive. Menschenbilder, Ö1, 23 February 1986. ‘das Bild weiter malt’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Benno Reifenberg, 11 January 1969; see also Jan Willem Salomonson to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 6 August 1992: Motesiczky archive. Interview with Barbara Price, 22 January 2004. Plakolm-Forsthuber 1994, p. 193 already remarked on this. Miriam Lane [Rothschild] to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, [spring 1969]: Motesiczky archive. ‘Also nun sei nicht verzweifelt oder vielmehr zweifle nicht an Dir selber – es ist nicht wahr – es liegt nicht an Deinen Bildern!! Denke daran was Becki Dir sagte!!’: Quappi Beckmann to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 7 June 1951: Motesiczky archive. ‘ohne die ich mir das Leben überhaupt nicht vorstellen kann’: Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 3 May 1966: Motesiczky archive. ‘Ich weiss doch dass meine Sachen jetzt nichts wert sind. (obwohl ich mehr an’s malen glaube denn je.)’:

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Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Sophie Brentano, [c. 1977]: Motesiczky archive. Hoffmann 1949, p. 67. ‘Die Parks sind so schön! und die Museen after all’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Theo Garve, 7 February 1966: kindly made available by Gerda Garve. ‘Ich bin halt da . . . Die Sprache ist schon ein Nachteil für mich. Aber Emigrant . . . in dem Sinn, daß mir hier irgendein Unrecht geschehen ist – überhaupt nicht.’: Menschenbilder, Ö1, 23 February 1986. ‘Wir sind hier in Hampstead eine absolut deutsch sprechende Insel Sie würden überhaupt nicht merken dass Sie in England sind.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Theo Garve, 7 February 1966: kindly made available by Gerda Garve. Motesiczky 1985, p. 13. ‘Ich muss nach der Natur malen meistens jedenfalls – aber im Verlauf des Bildes muss ich frei erfinden können Da kann noch eine Geschichte entstehen . . . Geschichten beflügeln die Augen.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 18 October 1980: Motesiczky archive. ‘Sie können noch Geschichten erzählen!’: Anonymous [Victor Matejka] 1966. Hodin 1961/2, p. 19. Anonymous [Victor Matejka] 1966. Black 1996. See for example Morning in the Garden, 1943 (no. 61), In the Garden, 1948 (no. 81), Garden in the Summer, 1960 (no. 169), Hampstead Garden, c. 1970 (no. 242), and The Greenhouse, 1979 (no. 266). Michael Karplus to Ines Schlenker (e-mail), 15 July 2004: Motesiczky archive. See for example Newton 1944, Hart 1966, Helfgott 1966. Gombrich 1985, p. 7. Newton 1944. Ibid.; Hodin 1961/2, p. 21. ‘Für ein Rembrandt Porträt ist noch nie jemand gestorben (gelebt mag wer dafür haben, ich z.B. ha, ha)’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 10 November 1980: Motesiczky archive. See also Apples from Hinterbrühl, 1955 (no. 137). Plakolm-Forsthuber 1994, p. 175. ‘ich muss u. will mehr Menschen malen – aber ich glaube es sollen nicht Porträtaufträge sein sondern Menschen die ich auffordere – das ist gerade die Grenze von was ich ertragen kann.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 4 May 1957: Motesiczky archive. Cyril Scurr to Ines Schlenker, 31 March 2000: Motesiczky archive. Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 7 May 1963: Motesiczky archive. ‘Ich werde immer wieder um ein Porträt gebeten, auch von nicht ganz schlechten Künstlern. Ich lehne immer ab, aus zwei Gründen, einmal weil ich an den allerbesten Porträtisten denke, der mich so gut kennt wie niemand anderer, aber dann auch, weil ich nicht sitzen kann. Ich gebe Ihnen also den Auftrag, aus der Erinnerung ein Porträt von E.C. zu malen. Ich glaube, das könnte besonders gut werden.’: Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 25 February 1990: Motesiczky archive. Taylor 1985. Quoted in Hodin 1961/2, p. 19. ‘großartigen allegorischen Komposition’: Spiel 1966. ‘vollkommene Bilder’: Tassié 1966. ‘Die Selbstbildnisse sind nicht weniger ergreifend als die Mutterbilder.’: Anonymous [Victor Matejka] 1966. Borzello 1998, p. 140. ‘der originellste, tiefste und einheitlichste Beitrag Deiner Malerei zur Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts’: Daniele Grassi, typescript, c. 1986, p. 8: Motesiczky archive.

289 ‘kenne in der Geschichte der modernen Malerei auf diesem Gebiet kein weiteres so neues, so mutig in Angriff genommenes und künstlerisch so wohl gelöstes Kapitel’: ibid., p. 9: Motesiczky archive. 290 ‘Dein grösstes, eigentlichstes Werk ist . . . um derentwillen Deine Malerei immer bestehen bleiben wird’: Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 23 December 1975: Motesiczky archive. 291 ‘phantastischen Wahrheitsliebe und einem Hang zur Übersteigerung dessen, was das Gegenteil allgemeiner Schönheitsbegriffe darstellt’: b. 1966. 292 ‘Mager . . . wie ein Geistchen’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for winter 1977: Motesiczky archive. 293 ‘So tapfer, wie ein Soldat. Keine Klage nie aber auch nie.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for winter 1977: Motesiczky archive.

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Catalogue of Paintings


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Notes on the Catalogue Raisonné

The artist’s estate held at the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust in London formed the basis for work on the catalogue raisonné. Motesiczky herself had put together a card index and several folders of photographs of her work which, in the course of preparing the present publication, could be amended and corrected. During the process of establishing the current whereabouts of some works, several so far unrecorded paintings and drawings came to light, and a few recorded works could not be found. The archive of the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, mainly collected by the artist and added to after her death, was the chief source for compiling the provenance, exhibition history and bibliography of the paintings while the additional archives and libraries listed in the Bibliography were consulted for further information. Every attempt has been made to gather and verify as much information as possible about the paintings. The following three works, however, did not warrant a separate entry. Too little is known about a portrait of Gian Carlo Menotti, which Motesiczky painted in 1933/4 and gave to the sitter who, in 2002, was unable to locate it. One painting, showing a deer in a park, was virtually ‘disowned’ by Motesiczky. She gave it to friends on condition that it was never shown to anybody. Finally, it was not possible to gather information on a painting, probably a portrait of Maria Pauzenberger, which is in a private collection in France.

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catalogue number The works are numbered chronologically by year. Works that were impossible to date follow on from the last dated painting. title With few exceptions, the artist herself gave her pictures the English titles, and corrections have been made only in a few instances where the title was factually misleading or grammatically incorrect. Most of the German titles are also by Motesiczky herself, in some cases given to the painting when it went on exhibition in a German-speaking country. Occasionally, if Motesiczky chose only a German title, it has been translated into English here. Some paintings, including the unstretched canvases, which Motesiczky never exhibited or inventorized, have now been given descriptive titles. With the exception of those drawings exhibited during Motesiczky’s lifetime, most loose works on paper bear descriptive titles not given by the artist. Drawings made in sketchbooks are left untitled. date The dates used by Motesiczky have generally been kept, unless incorrect. The artist did not keep records of her production and would sometimes, years later, sign and date a work when the year she had painted it had slipped her mind. Documents in the archive and testimonies of contemporaries have often helped to establish the correct date. Where possible, undated paintings have been allocated an approximate time of creation, such as 1960s or c. 1970, based on the motif, style or technique, clues given by the support of the painting or documentary evidence. In a few instances, when it proved impossible to determine the date, the work has been left undated.

medium/size In the vast majority of cases Motesiczky used oil on canvas. The dimensions of the works are given in mm, height before width. In some cases, when it was impossible to access the back of a framed picture to get the exact measurements of the stretcher, the image was measured from the front and ‘sight’ measurements are provided (in the case of drawings, the image was measured up to the mount). signature Motesiczky did not consistently sign her paintings. The signatures vary greatly throughout her career. Some were added long after the creation of the work, others were altered. Where possible to decipher, the original version is also given. verso Very few works have an image on the back. Generally in oil, its subject matter is indicated. owner Unless wishing to stay anonymous, the current owner is named. In the case of public collections the work’s inventory or accession number is given in brackets. Name changes of museums and galleries have been noted. If the current location of a painting is unknown, the last known owner is mentioned in the provenance. Academic degrees are omitted. description of work Apart from the visual inspection of the painting, the description of the work is based on the available archival and published material as well as interviews with contemporaries. It aims to provide information about the work’s creation, interpretation and reception. Motesiczky’s idiosyncratic spelling has been kept in the original German whereas minor corrections have been introduced in the English translation to render the text more easily readable.


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provenance The provenance of some of Motesiczky’s paintings is complicated. In several cases the facts are disputed. The artist had a tendency to take back works she had given away or sold and not return them to their former owners. She also did not keep consistent records. Where possible, dates of purchases or gifts have been established. sources This section contains archival sources that provide additional information about the painting. exhibitions The exhibitions are listed chronologically and identified by place and year (full information is provided in the List of Exhibitions on p. 546). This is followed by the number under which the work was exhibited, if known, and a reference to the work’s illustration in the exhibition catalogue. A colour illustration is indicated by ‘(col.)’. Differing titles or dates used in the exhibition catalogue are also listed. In the case of exhibitions without accompanying catalogues the majority of works shown could be identified with the help of exhibition reviews, archival documents such as letters and lists, and labels on the backs of the paintings.

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bibliography This section lists the published material on the individual work. It attempts to be as comprehensive as possible. Books, essays and articles are ordered chronologically by year and alphabetically within a year and referred to by the author’s surname and the year of publication (full information is provided in the Bibliography on p. 548). Details of the references and illustrations follow: ‘n.p.’ indicates that the publication does not have page numbers, ‘(col.)’ a colour illustration. Illustrations are referred to by page numbers (plate or fig. numbers are given only when no page number was available). In some instances, when, for example, working from black-andwhite photocopies and in cases where the original source could not be located, errors may have occurred. Differing titles used are given in brackets. Sometimes, when the painting is not referred to by title in the text, its identity has had to be established from the context.

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Small Roulette Kleines Roulette 1924 Oil on canvas, 398 × 503 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Small Roulette demonstrates Motesiczky’s admiration for Vincent van Gogh, whose works she had first seen on a trip to the Netherlands in 1922. She subsequently eagerly read about him in Julius Meier-Graefe’s 1921 publication Vincent. Together with Stool, 1926 (no. 10), perhaps an even more marked tribute to van Gogh, Small Roulette shows the strong artistic influence of the Dutch painter on the young artist before she came under Max Beckmann’s spell when visiting his master-class in Frankfurt in 1927/8. Motesiczky depicts a detail of a wooden chair with a straw seat and a curved back. Placed on a carefully executed parquet floor, the chair stands out as a solid object against a wall with a sweeping green floral pattern. A folded white cloth is draped across the corner of the seat of the chair, slightly disturbed by the miniature roulette (which incidentally survived in the artist’s estate). A red coral necklace, probably the one Motesiczky is wearing in At the Dressmaker’s, 1930 (no. 35), lies next to the roulette, its curved shapes echoing the pattern on the wall. This very early work already uses a device Motesiczky was to employ throughout her career: the black border, here marking the right side of the composition. It reappears, for example, in Mrs Bolter, 1986 (no. 285), and again, on two sides, in Nude, 1931 (no. 36), Self-portrait with Red Hat, 1938 (no. 47), and Self-portrait in Black, 1959 (no. 159). Curiously, Motesiczky did not get the perspective quite right in Small Roulette. While the legs of the chair are not straight but wonderfully alive, its left edge does not align with the back, the mistake being hidden by the cloth and the roulette. In addition, the floorboards, which are not continued up to the left edge of the painting, do not form a consistent line where they meet the wall. bibliography López Calatayud 2005, p. 25; Schlenker 2006a, pp. 16–19, illus. p. 17 (col.); Lloyd 2007, p. 54.

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The Undertaker 1925 Oil on canvas, 464 Ă— 332 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This empathetic portrait shows the head of an unknown Austrian undertaker. Wearing the contemporary uniform consisting of a black cape and a pointed hat, known as a Dreispitz, he is posing in front of a grey curtain. No hair is visible under his hat or on his clean-shaven face. Under slightly raised eyebrows, large and soulful eyes, hooded yet open wide, gaze into the distance. Two deep lines run from the nose down towards his chin which is prominent, rounded and marked by a dimple. In its simple formality and austerity this portrayal is eminently appropriate for the sombre profession of the sitter. exhibition Liverpool 2006, ex catalogue.

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View of Vienna Blick aus dem Fenster 1925 Oil on canvas, 792 × 334 mm Signed (top right): M. Motesiczky 1925. Walter Elkan, London

Similar to View from the Window, Vienna, 1925 (no. 4), this is a view from the artist’s window. Here, on a misty and overcast day, Motesiczky is painting the scene from her bedroom in the family flat on the fourth floor of Brahmsplatz 7. The interior and exterior spaces are sharply divided by the starkly contrasting dark window frame, painted black by the artist and her brother Karl in emulation of the colour scheme in a friend’s flat, and much to the annoyance of their mother. White cushions and a richly patterned, heavy blanket in red and various shades of silver, strategically placed to draughtproof the window, mark the splendid decoration of the interior. The outside is rather more austere. Through the window the façades and roofs of the houses opposite can be glimpsed, with the cupola of the JohannStrauss-Theater, a well-known venue for light opera which Motesiczky sometimes attended in the mid-1920s, crowning the view. The overall cold silvery colour scheme suggests this might be a winter scene, which in fact it is not. Motesiczky described her intentions in the following words: ‘I wanted to capture the foggy dampness, to paint the cold damp feeling. I applied the colour rather thickly, putting heaps on the palette as in other early pictures.’1 note 1 Quoted in Tate Gallery, 1996, p. 501. provenance Artist; Walter Elkan (purchased 1986). bibliography Tate Gallery, 1996, p. 501; Lloyd 2007, pp. 208 f.

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View from the Window, Vienna Blick aus dem Fenster, Wien 1925 Oil on canvas, 625 × 310 mm Tate, London (T04849)

This view of wintry Vienna was painted from the artist’s studio, situated above the family’s fourth-floor apartment on the Brahmsplatz. The north-facing room looks onto a jumble of closely interlocking roofs, façades and inner courtyards leading up to the focal point of the painting: the cupola of the Johann-StraussTheater, famous for its performances of light opera that the artist recalled attending in the mid-1920s. The familiar roof-top scene, refreshed and slightly alienated through the snow, quietly evokes the city’s charms in winter. This transformation inspired Motesiczky to apply a straightforward approach of recording the view: ‘I was very concerned to give exactly the impression of what I saw there. There was hardly any change or invention involved in making the subject into a nice picture.’1 The artist painted another version of the same view from a floor below (View of Vienna, 1925, no. 3). Despite its wintry setting, the colour scheme of yellow, pink and brown in this painting creates a much warmer overall effect. The painting gives the perfect illusion of being a ‘window to the world’, which it literally depicts. The window pane on the right, the strip of yellow curtain on the left and the snow-covered balustrade at the bottom provide small clues to the actual interior surroundings of the artist.

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sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Richard Morphet, Tate Gallery, London, to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, [1986]: ‘Your works in the Tate are causing much interest & enjoyment to visitors.’ Elinor Verdemato to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 23 March 1988: ‘Eigentlich möchte ich Dir heute nur gratulieren, denn von Peter hörte ich, daß Du 3 Bilder nun in der Tate hängen hast. Das ist doch einfach grossartig und so schön daß Du es erlebst!’ note 1 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Sean Rainbird, 27 November 1987, quoted in Tate Gallery, 1996, p. 501. provenance Artist; Ilse Leembruggen (before 1948); artist (gift after Ilse Leembruggen’s death in 1961); Tate Gallery (presented by the artist in 1986). exhibitions London 1985, no. 3, illus. p. 18 (col.); Cambridge 1986, no. 3, illus. p. 18 (col.); London 1986c; Vienna 1994, no. 11, illus. (col.), shown as Blick aus dem Fenster, c. 1935; Manchester 1994, no. 10, dated c. 1935; Liverpool 2006, no. 3, illus. p. 51 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 3, illus. p. 51 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 3, illus. p. 51 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 3, illus. p. 51 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 3, illus. p. 51 (col.). bibliography Tate Gallery, 1986, n.p.; Vann 1987, p. 15; Fallon 1996, illus. n.p.; Tate Gallery, 1996, pp. 500–502, illus. p. 501; Vorderwülbecke 1999, pp. 54 f.n., 56 f.n., illus. p. 109 (View from the Window); Phillips 2001, p. 31; Michel 2003, p. 50, illus. Abb. 60 (col.) (c. 1935); Foster 2004, p. 143, illus. p. 143 (col.); Lloyd 2004, p. 212 (dated 1926); López Calatayud 2005, p. 25; Behr 2006, p. 561, illus. p. 560 (col.); R. Gries 2006, n.p.; Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, exh. booklet 2006, n.p., illus. n.p. (col.); Orth 2006, n.p.; Schlenker 2006b, pp. 204 f.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 50; Schlenker 2006d, p. 260; Vinzent 2006, pp. 159 f., illus. p. 382; Lloyd 2007, pp. 55, 207, 267 f.n.


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Hinterbrühl, Glasshouse 1925 Oil on canvas, 533 × 414 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Set among the outbuildings of the Motesiczkys’ large estate in Hinterbrühl, near Vienna, nestled the glasshouse (fig. 41). It was squeezed between the white-washed wall of one building and the low roof of another, whose long metal chimney juts out in the foreground. The complex of buildings is surrounded by forest. A single telegraph pole, eerily bare of wires as in Street in Hinterbrühl, 1925 (no. 7), provides the connection to the outside world. The triangular roof of the glasshouse is covered by numerous individual wooden shutters, all closed against the sun, so barring a view of the inside. Motesiczky carefully observes how the sunlight, falling through the holes of the metal roof, casts a light pattern on the glasshouse. In the lower right corner of the painting the wooden borders of outdoor flowerbeds can be glimpsed.

Fig. 41 The glasshouse in Hinterbrühl (left) with flowerbeds and a painted crucifix, photograph, 1920s (Motesiczky archive)

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Still-life with Coffee Pot Stilleben mit Kaffeekanne 1925 Oil on canvas, 433 × 475 mm Dated (bottom right): 1925 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

In this early still-life, Motesiczky used a technique that she employed only in a few works from the mid-1920s (see for example Hanni, Hinterbrühl, 1925, no. 8) in which the paint is applied in thick swirls of impasto. This was soon abandoned for a less heavily worked style. Here, the artist chose a slightly raised perspective to capture the corner of a marble-topped chest of drawers, which is placed against a brown wall, the top drawer with its knob just visible. A seemingly accidental collection of objects is gathered on its surface: a pink cloth or shawl, a blue cup, a saucer holding a pot with a cactus-like plant, probably a tillandsia, some of whose long spiky leaves touch the wall, and, at the front, a white coffee pot and a Semmel, a simple Austrian bread roll decorated with the pattern of a star. The combination and arbitrary placement of items, probably of a personal nature, suggest that we might be looking at the artist’s dressing-table, captured at breakfast time. exhibitions Cambridge 1986, ex catalogue; Liverpool 2006, no. 1, illus. p. 47 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 1, illus. p. 47 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 1, illus. p. 47 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 1, illus. p. 47 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 1, illus. p. 47 (col.). bibliography López Calatayud 2005, pp. 22, 25, illus. n.p. (two details, col.); Sander 2006, pp. 126 f.; Lloyd 2007, p. 55.

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Street in Hinterbrühl Straße, Hinterbrühl 1925 Oil on canvas, 550 × 390 mm Dated (bottom right): 1925 Private collection, London

During the nineteenth century Hinterbrühl, a village in the Wienerwald south-west of Vienna, became a fashionable rural retreat for the wealthy Viennese. Many magnificent villas were erected, among them the Villa Todesco, built by Moritz Todesco, Motesiczky’s greatgreat-uncle. The artist spent the summers of her childhood and youth here and during the winters the Motesiczkys lived at the family home in Vienna. This painting shows the Parkstraße which runs parallel to the Hauptstraße, the main thoroughfare of the village, and leads to the tram station. The tree-lined street, empty of people, rapidly takes the eye to the centre of the picture. Between the trees one glimpses a house, a wooden fence and several telegraph poles. In her nineties the artist recalled how for weeks she had taken her handcart to the same spot at half-past four every day and painted the lime trees as she experienced them. ‘I even counted the leaves. And I thought to myself, what you find so beautiful belongs to you. Therefore you must paint it as it is.’1 The resulting image, however, with its strangely empty road, leaden sky and stylized leaves, is not naturalistic. The telegraph poles stand isolated and useless without their connecting wires. The whole scene has an air of expectancy that borders on the enigmatic and was described by one critic as ‘a sort of Expressionist Surrealism’.2 Motesiczky may have known Max Beckmann’s street scene Blühende Akazie, 1925 (fig. 42), which adopts a comparable viewpoint and depicts a strikingly similar atmosphere.

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sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 8 July [1925]: ‘Der Sommer vergeht so geschwind alles läuf einem durch die Finger wenn man nur mehr festhalten könnte. Aber das ist nich wesentlich – ich arbeite (ein Landschaft) u sehe u gehe fiel im Dorf herum. Die fertigen Bilder liegen dort auf der Gasse herum u man muß sich nur die Mühe nehmen sie zu malen. So ein Sommer ist eine schöne Sache! vielleicht die schönste Jahreszeit! Bäume mit tausend Blättern, weisse Zäune große Kastanienblätter (wibrierende Stille, Urwaldähnliche Üppigkeit) das müßte man alles mal machen.’ notes 1 ‘Ich habe sogar die Blätter gezählt. Und ich habe mir gedacht, was du so schön findest, das gehört dir. Deshalb mußt du es so malen, wie es ist.’: Moser 1992, p. 176. 2 Helfgott 1966. provenance Artist; Louise Rupé (c. 1930); artist (not returned after 1985 exhibition); Eva and Jeremy Adler (loan in 1989, later gift). exhibitions The Hague 1939; Vienna 1966, no. 1, illus.; Linz 1966, no. 1, illus.; Munich 1967, no. 1, illus.; Bremen 1968, no. 1, illus.; London 1985, no. 2, illus. p. 17 (col.); Cambridge 1986, no. 2, illus. p. 17 (col.); Vienna 1994, no. 1, illus. (col.), shown as Straße in der Hinterbrühl; Liverpool 2006, no. 2, illus. p. 49 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 2, illus. p. 49 (col.). bibliography Helfgott 1966, n.p.; Reifenberg 1966a, n.p.; Vogel 1966a, n.p. (Straße in der Hinterbrühl); Vogel 1966b, n.p. (Straße in der Hinterbrühl); Gaisbauer 1986, n.p.; Moser 1992, p. 176, illus. p. 118; Adler 1994, p. 18 (Straße in Hinterbrühl); Black 1994, p. 9; Melchart 1994, n.p. (Straße in der Hinterbrühl); Schmidt 1994a, p. 6 (Straße in der Hinterbrühl); Anonymous [ Jeremy Adler] 1996, n.p.; Michel 2003, pp. 16 f., illus. Abb. 7 (col.) (Straße in der Hinterbrühl); Black 2006, p. 57 (Street, Hinterbrühl); Lloyd 2006, pp. 36, 39 (Straße in Hinterbrühl); Schlenker 2006c, p. 48; Schlenker 2006d, p. 254; Vinzent 2006, p. 161 (Straße in der Hinterbrühl); Lloyd 2007, p. 55.

Fig. 42 Max Beckmann, Blühende Akazie, 1925, oil on canvas, 550 × 450 mm (private collection, Germany)


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Hanni, Hinterbrühl 1925 Oil on canvas, 412 × 294 mm Dated (bottom right): 1925 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Hanni, whose surname is unknown, was probably a local girl from Hinterbrühl. The fact that the painting has also been referred to as ‘Arbeiterin/Junge Farbige’ (female worker/ young black woman) suggests that she may have worked in the local Bördelfabrik, a factory producing shoelaces, braids and trimmings. It is said that when Motesiczky left school at the age of thirteen she intended to work there. Placed on a chair directly in front of a wall decorated with an arrow-like pattern on a green-beige wallpaper, the young girl, with her long, thin neck projecting from a bony chest and her large black eyes gazing guardedly at the viewer, appears vulnerable and ill at ease. Apart from the curiously shaped hairstyle and the little red earring – the only adornment in an otherwise starkly bare painting – the girl’s slightly foreign looks are most noticeable. It is unlikely that Hanni was a young black woman, as the term ‘Junge Farbige’ suggests. She may, however, have been a gypsy girl. Motesiczky’s tendency to ‘exoticize’ the sitter is more apparent in Apache, painted in the following year (no. 9). There, even the title suggests the ‘otherness’ of the sitter and obscures his probable local origin. Hanni, Hinterbrühl was probably among the paintings which the artist’s brother, Karl von Motesiczky, sent on to the Netherlands from Vienna in 1938. During the war it was stored in a factory belonging to the artist’s Dutch relatives. It was located again in 1954 and, with the other works that survived the war in this way, was sent over to England. exhibitions London 1985, no. 1, illus. p. 65; Manchester 1994, no. 1. bibliography Vorderwülbecke 1999, p. 31, illus. p. 65 (Hanni); López Calatayud 2005, p. 22 (Portrait of Hanni Hinterbrühl), illus. n.p. (two details, col.); Lloyd 2006, pp. 36, 39, illus. p. 39 (col.).

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Apache 1926 Oil on canvas, 461 × 270 mm Dated (bottom left): 1926 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Like Hanni, Hinterbrühl, 1925 (no. 8), this half-length portrait of an unnamed young man probably depicts a local inhabitant of Hinterbrühl whom the artist imbued with exoticized features. In front of a gleaming white background, on which the shadow stands out dramatically, Motesiczky portrays a haggard face with prominent cheekbones. On the one hand, the almond-shaped, slightly slanting eyes, the black hair and the receding forehead give the sitter a foreign air that might be reminiscent of a Native American or an inhabitant of the Mediterranean; a document in the artist’s estate lists this painting as ‘Spanier’ (Spaniard). On the other hand, ‘apache’ was a term widely used in Paris in the 1920s that referred to a type of young male, ‘the ideal of a true ruffian’, living in one of the French capital’s poorer districts outside the city. He did not have a regular job and lived off stolen goods or prostitution. Typically, an apache would wear a peaked cap, a short belted jacket and a garish neckerchief. His hair would be smoothed down with pomade. At the weekend, apaches would congregate and visit fairs and dances, inventing an ‘Apache Dance’.1 Motesiczky, who lived in Paris for a few months in 1926 (and, as has been suggested, could have painted the portrait there), was probably aware of this meaning of apache. The young man’s clothing, especially the colourful yellow scarf with a red border, as well as his hairstyle conform to the above description. One detail, however, firmly locates him in his Austrian surroundings: the blue jacket sports what probably is a stag-horn button, habitually used for the Austrian traditional costume. Apache was probably among the paintings which the artist’s brother, Karl von Motesiczky, sent on to the Netherlands from Vienna in 1938. During the war it was stored in a factory belonging to the artist’s Dutch relatives. It was located again in 1954 and, with the other works that survived the war in this way, was sent over to England.

note 1 Max Beckmann and Paris, exh. cat. 1998, p. 170. exhibitions Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 4, illus. p. 53 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 4, illus. p. 53 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 4, illus. p. 53 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 4, illus. p. 53 (col.). bibliography Michel 2003, p. 18, illus. Abb. 14 (col.); López Calatayud 2005, pp. 14, 25; Schlenker 2006c, p. 52; Lloyd 2007, pp. 55, 147.

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Stool Stockerl 1926 Oil on canvas, 612 × 382 mm Signed (bottom right): 1926 Motesiczky; dated (bottom left): 1925 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This still-life, probably painted in Paris, comes close to being an intimate portrait of a chair. Placed against the wall next to a piece of furniture stands a simple wooden stool with a straw seat. A pink shawl, with a pattern of darker flowers, is draped across it and a tiny metal frying pan is placed next to the shawl. The heads of two pink carnations lie scattered on the floor. It is tempting to juxtapose Stool with Vincent van Gogh’s depiction of chairs, especially Van Gogh’s Chair (fig. 43). Motesiczky had admired van Gogh since she first encountered his pictures in the Netherlands as a young girl. In the mid-1980s, looking back on her life, Motesiczky sought to emphasize how much his work had influenced her: In 1922 I had my first experience of Van Gogh when I saw his pictures in a room in The Hague – it was unforgettably wonderful – The Bridge and others – so much light … I was given Meier Graefe’s book to read. This and some other things decoded it all. I thought: if you could only paint a single good picture in your lifetime, your life would be worthwhile. I also started to look at the Dutch school a great deal – Jan Steen and Frans Hals, and Vermeer. This happy time lasted four months. Holland is a wonderful country if you want to be a painter. It was difficult to return to Vienna after ecstasy like that. How and what should I learn? It was Van Gogh’s sun which in the cold Hague spring was a revelation to me.1 Four years after her stay in the Netherlands, Motesiczky had already met Max Beckmann and seen a number of his paintings. Yet it is van Gogh’s chair and his use of light that seem to have stimulated Motesiczky here. A copy of Julius Meier-Graefe’s book Vincent (published in 1921), which includes an illustration of

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Van Gogh’s Chair, is in the artist’s estate. Van Gogh’s and Motesiczky’s chairs are similarly positioned and both hold personal belongings of their absent owners: in van Gogh’s case, the male paraphernalia of smoking (a pipe and some tobacco), and, in Motesiczky’s case, female symbols of beauty (a shawl) and duty (a kitchen implement). While no object in van Gogh’s painting throws a shadow, Motesiczky carefully explores the play of light and shadow in all its detail as if to record faithfully what had initially most impressed her in his art. Stool was probably among the paintings which the artist’s brother, Karl von Motesiczky, sent on to the Netherlands from Vienna in 1938. During the war it was stored in a factory belonging to the artist’s Dutch relatives. It was located again in 1954 and, with the other works that survived the war in this way, was subsequently sent over to England.

Fig. 43 Vincent van Gogh, Van Gogh’s Chair, 1888, oil on canvas, 918 × 730 mm (National Gallery, London)

note 1 Motesiczky 1985, p. 11. exhibitions Liverpool 2006, no. 7, illus. p. 59 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 7, illus. p. 59 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 7, illus. p. 59 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 7, illus. p. 59 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 7, illus. p. 59 (col.). bibliography López Calatayud 2005, pp. 8, 12, 14, 18, 25, illus. n.p. (full and numerous details, col.); Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, exh. booklet 2006, illus. n.p. (col.); Sander 2006, pp. 126 f.


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Still-life with Tulips Stilleben mit Tulpen 1926 Oil on canvas, 637 × 460 mm Dated (bottom left): 1926 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This early emblematic and autobiographical still-life is believed to have been painted in the artist’s room at the Hotel Recamier, 3 Place Saint Sulpice, in Paris. A light blue table, the surface of which is tilted towards the viewer, is shown in front of a brown wall (perhaps a shuttered window or the back of a painting) and a grey curtain. On the table are a bowl containing three potted pink tulips resting on a large, slim booklet and a couple of smaller books, one bearing the inscription ‘Laczi’. Two apples arranged on top of these books complete the composition. None of the books bears a title and only one shows an enigmatic trace of its identity. ‘Laczi’ was Motesiczky’s nickname for Baron Lajos Hatvany (1880–1961), also known as Ludwig Deutsch (fig. 44). The proprietor of a sugar factory, a socialist, a well-known author

Fig. 44 Lajos Hatvany, photograph, undated (Petőfi Irodalmi Múzeum, Budapest)

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and erudite patron of the arts, especially literature, he came from one of the most prominent and wealthy Jewish families in Hungary and counted Thomas Mann and Arthur Koestler among his friends. During the regency of Admiral Horthy (1920–44) he went into exile in Vienna, from where he opposed the Horthy regime. Although Hatvany belonged to the famous Viennese salon of Eugenie Schwarzwald and continued to write, he later expressed his intense dislike of his time in exile: ‘With the exception of a few highlights, which your modesty prohibits me from describing, I think with horror of my Viennese years. The exile was a great disease, I have been cured by prison.’1 Motesiczky befriended Hatvany during his lengthy political exile. Letters and diaries suggest that the first of their infrequent and secret meetings took place in 1925, when Hatvany and his wife Christa Winsloe, a sculptor and writer, stayed at the Hermesvilla in Vienna. In 1927, Hatvany felt it safe to return to Hungary where he was immediately arrested and sent to prison. Upon his release nine months later, he was prohibited from appearing in public and writing for newspapers and instead concentrated on literary activities. He emigrated to England in 1938, spent the Second World War in Oxford and returned to Hungary after the war. After their years of intimate friendship Motesiczky and Hatvany kept in touch via letters and occasional visits. In 1925/6 Motesiczky recorded reading one of Hatvany’s publications, perhaps the fictional academic journal Die Wissenschaft des Nicht Wissenswerten of 1908 or Das verwundete Land, an investigation of Hungary’s recent past, published in 1921. The latter is probably the work depicted here. The young artist cleverly disguises her reverence for the considerably older, established figure. The true identity of ‘Laczi’ has remained hidden until very recently. A similar, though less discreet, homage is paid to Elias Canetti in Orchid, 1958 (no. 153).

note 1 ‘Mit Ausnahme einiger Lichtpunkte, die zu beschreiben mir Deine Bescheidenheit verbietet, denke ich mit Schaudern an die Wiener Jahre. Das Exil war eine grosse Krankheit, ich bin durch das Gefaengnis kuriert.’: Lajos Hatvany to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 17 September 1929: Motesiczky archive. exhibitions London 1985, no. 5, illus. p. 20 (col.); Cambridge 1986, no. 5, illus. p. 20 (col.); Vienna 1994, no. 2, illus. (col.); Manchester 1994, no. 3; Vienna 1995, no. 44, p. 307, illus. p. 141 (col.); Liverpool 2006, no. 6, illus. p. 57 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 6, illus. p. 57 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 6, illus. p. 57 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 6, illus. p. 57 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 6, illus. p. 57 (col.). bibliography Black 1994, p. 3; Schmidt 1994a, p. 7; Neue Sachlichkeit, exh. cat. 1995, illus. p. 141 (col.); Vorderwülbecke 1999, p. 32, illus. p. 71; Phillips 2001, illus. p. 32; Michel 2003, pp. 17–19, 37, 57, illus. Abb. 10 (col.); López Calatayud 2005, pp. 14, 25, illus. n.p. (two details, col.); Behr 2006, p. 561; Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, exh. booklet 2006, n.p.; Sander 2006, pp. 126 f.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 56; Lloyd 2007, pp. 58 f., 159.


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Workman, Paris Arbeiter, Paris 1926 Oil on canvas, 1306 × 692 mm Signed (bottom right): Motesiczky 1926 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, on permanent loan to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh

This full-length portrait of an unnamed French worker was painted in Paris where Motesiczky spent the winter months between 1925 and 1927 studying at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Montparnasse. The setting is the studio Motesiczky rented with her Dutch friend and fellow artist Berthe Edersheim (1901–93). It belonged to a Polish dancer who ‘danced by night, but during the day she slept behind a screen’.1 The sitter is believed to have been the caretaker who, every morning, came to light the fire in the studio. Judging from the look on his face, his reaction to being asked to sit for his portrait was probably mild astonishment and amusement. Seated on a chair on a raised platform, he is smiling to himself. His sensible clothes, heavy shoes and brown cap do not seem at odds with the modest surroundings, and his statuesque and awkwardly formal posture suggests that he is unused to being a model. The simplicity of the flat surfaces and the unobtrusive background of the plain white wall echo the atmosphere of the sparsely furnished studio. Only a small cupboard is partially visible on the left and another, just discernible, can be glimpsed behind the sitter’s chair. The only relief from this austerity is the colourful scarf draped over the back of the chair that, as family tradition has it, belonged to the artist and was produced by the Wiener Werkstätte. This painting was the first of Motesiczky’s works that Max Beckmann was allowed to see back in Vienna. She later remembered that ‘His reaction was very positive. He said that at my age he had not got so far. It was a fine simple statement, almost like the comment of an older colleague.’2 After seeing this work, Beckmann suggested that Motesiczky attend his master-class at the Städelschule in Frankfurt, an invitation she took up in the academic year 1927/8. With Workman, Paris she seems to have anticipated her future teacher’s

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advice to students who tackled over-ambitious compositions: ‘Amusing. But try and suppress these things for a time; they will come out all the more strongly later. For the present you should paint labourers.’3 sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, notebook entry for 5 May 1985: ‘Als ich den Arbeiter in Paris malte, war ich 20 Jahre alt. Es war das erste Arbeit, die Beckmann von mir sah . . . Er war erstaunt und erfreut.’ notes 1 Motesiczky 1985, p. 12. 2 Ibid. 3 Motesiczky 1984, p. 53. provenance Artist; Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust; lent to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (2008). exhibitions The Hague 1939; London 1985, no. 6, illus. p. 65; Cambridge 1986, no. 6, illus. p. 65; Vienna 1994, no. 3, illus. (col.); Manchester 1994, no. 2; Vienna 1995, no. 45, pp. 137, 307, illus. p. 142 (col.); Liverpool 2006, no. 8, illus. p. 61 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 8, illus. p. 61 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 8, illus. p. 61 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 8, illus. p. 61 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 8, illus. p. 61 (col.). bibliography A.d.B. 1939, n.p.; Anonymous [1939], n.p.; Gruyter 1939, n.p.; Veth 1939, n.p.; Motesiczky 1984, p. 50; Berryman 1985, p. 628; Calvocoressi 1985, p. 60; Motesiczky 1985, p. 12; Gaisbauer 1986, n.p.; Winterbottom 1986, p. 11; Anonymous 1994b, illus. n.p. (detail); Anonymous 1994j, illus. p. 14; Black 1994, pp. 3 f., 6 f.; Cohen 1994, p. 93; Plakolm-Forsthuber 1994, p. 166 (Französischer Arbeiter); Schmidt 1994a, p. 6; Neue Sachlichkeit, exh. cat. 1995, illus. p. 142 (col.); Tabor 1995, n.p. (Arbeiter); Anonymous 1996b, n.p.; Anonymous [ Jeremy Adler] 1996, n.p.; Black 1996, n.p. (Paris Workman); Fellner/Nagler 1996, p. 14; Black 1997, p. 992; Aus der Meisterklasse Max Beckmanns, exh. cat. 2000, p. 58 (Arbeiter); Dollen 2000, p. 235; Phillips 2001, p. 30; Schmied 2002, illus. p. 97; Michel 2003, pp. 19 f., illus. Abb. 15 (col.); Lloyd 2004, p. 212; López Calatayud 2005, pp. 11 f.n., 14; Davies 2006b, n.p.; R. Gries 2006, n.p. (Arbeiter); Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, exh. booklet 2006, n.p., illus. n.p. (col.) (Workman in Paris); Sander 2006, pp. 122 f.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 60; Schlenker 2006d, p. 254; Vinzent 2006, p. 161; Lloyd 2007, pp. 57 f., 65, illus. fig. 13 (col.); Wiesauer 2007, n.p. (Arbeiter).


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Self-portrait with Comb Selbstporträt mit Kamm 1926 Oil on canvas, 830 × 450 mm Dated (bottom left): 1926 Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna (9094)

This touching self-portrait of the 20-year-old artist shows the external features for which Motesiczky was known among her friends and acquaintances: the big, questioning, somewhat sad eyes, the piercing gaze, the long limbs – features that the painting especially emphasizes. Painted in Vienna the year before Motesiczky joined Max Beckmann’s masterclass at the Städelschule in Frankfurt, her future teacher nevertheless provided both direct and indirect inspiration for the painting. On a visit to the Louvre with Motesiczky, Beckmann had talked appreciatively about El Greco’s portrait of St Louis, King of France, and a Page (fig. 46). Motesiczky remembered this recommendation and modelled her first, austere and revealingly mannered self-portrait on the work of both painters. While the general posture and the gracefully elongated hands are taken from the Spanish master, Beckmann’s range of colours has been adopted, along with the unusually tall and narrow format he used, for example in his 1924 Bildnis Käthe von Porada (fig. 47), portraying a friend of the Motesiczky family. Motesiczky depicts herself at the intimate daily task of combing her long reddish-blonde hair (see fig. 45). In one hand she holds a comb and in the other a little hand mirror. Pale and fragile, she is sitting upright on a chair in a poised and strangely elongated pose. Pausing for a moment, she shyly and questioningly confronts her own image. This is a traditional posture for self-portraits and, despite the lack of painterly accessories, it is not difficult to imagine the comb and mirror replaced by a brush and palette in an obvious statement of the sitter’s profession. sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Gretl Rupé to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 15 September 1968: ‘Sei beruhigt, Louisje hat nie daran gedacht daß Du ihr Dein frühes Selbstbildnis … schenken würdest. Sie hat nur einmal gesagt: “ach wenn ich es noch einmal für eine gewisse Zeit geliehen bekäme.” Ich

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Fig. 45 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky at her dressing table, photograph, c. 1920 (Motesiczky archive)

verstehe Dich sehr gut, daß Du Dich nicht davon trennen kannst, nachdem Du Dich schon von den anderen Selbstbildnissen hast trennen müssen!’ Daniele Grassi, typescript, c. 1986, p. 7: ‘Man betrachte das “Selbstporträt mit Kamm” von 1926 mit den drohend vor Dir aufgetürmten 20 Jahren Deiner Jugend – Du jedoch thronst so hyperlanglinig über Deinem Zugeständnis gegenüber Alter und Geschlecht, bereits ganz in Beschlag genommen von einer Betrachtung, die, nach Senkung des Spiegels, nicht nur den eigenen Formen gilt. Die Komposition ist ausgeglichen in ihrer auf- und absteigenden Bewegung, fließend und elliptisch mit dem einzigen schneidenden Akzent des sägeförmigen Kammes.’ Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Gerbert Frodl, Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna, 26 April 1994: ‘I am so pleased to accept your offer to purchase the “Self Portrait with Comb” for OS 300,000. I am proud to know that the painting will be enjoyed as part of the permanent collection of the Belvedere. Regarding the possible gift or loan of a larger collection of my works to be exhibited at the Belvedere, it was extremely helpful to hear from Dr Schmidt about the pictures

Fig. 46 El Greco, St Louis, King of France, and a Page, 1590–97, oil on canvas, 1200 × 960 mm (Musée du Louvre, Paris)


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that would be of most interest to the Museum. It will take me a bit of time to select the proper collection and decide upon the appropriate conditions for their exhibition. As soon as I have decided on a specific proposal, I will write to you again. In the meantime, if you have any further ideas that you would like me to take into consideration, I would appreciate to receive them from you.’ Carole Angier to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 22 August 1994: ‘congratulations on your permanent Belvedere exhibition – and on your decoration by the Austrian government!! Paintings, unlike books (as you said) need a physical home to survive; yours have got it now – and what a one, one of the best in the world. So, you too, dear Marie-Louise, will never die.’ Inge Miller-Aichholz to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 22 October 1995: ‘Gestern hörte ich, dass die Österr. Galerie im Belvedere fertig und wieder sehenswert geworden ist. dein Bild hängt auch dort.’ provenance Artist; Ilse Leembruggen (before 1948); artist (gift after Ilse Leembruggen’s death in 1961); Österreichische Galerie Belvedere (purchased 1994). exhibitions The Hague 1939, no. 6; London 1960, no. 1, shown as Self-portrait; Vienna 1966, no. 2, illus., shown as Frühes Selbstportrait; Linz 1966, no. 2, illus., shown as Frühes Selbstportrait; Munich 1967, no. 2, illus., shown as Frühes Selbstportrait; Bremen 1968, no. 2, illus., shown as Frühes Selbstportrait; Frankfurt am Main 1980, no. 70, illus., shown as Frühes Selbstbildnis; London 1985, no. 7, illus. p. 21 (col.); Cambridge 1986, no. 7, illus. p. 21 (col.); Vienna 1994, no. 4, illus. on cover (detail, col.) and in the catalogue (col.); Vienna 1999a, p. 104, illus. p. 105 (col.); Vienna 2004a, illus. p. 313 (col.); Klosterneuburg 2006, illus. p. 213 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 5, illus. p. 55 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 5, illus. p. 55 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 5, illus. p. 55 (col.).

Fig. 47 Max Beckmann, Bildnis Käthe von Porada, 1924, oil on canvas, 1200 × 430 mm (Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main)

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bibliography Anonymous [1939], n.p.; Gruyter 1939, n.p.; Anonymous [Eric Newton] 1960, n.p.; BA 1966, n.p. (Frühes Selbstbildnis); Kraft 1966, n.p.; Pack 1966, n.p.; Reifenberg 1966a, n.p. (Selbstportrait); Reifenberg 1966b, p. 16, illus. p. 16 (Selbstporträt); Spiel 1966, n.p.; Tassié 1966, n.p. (Frühes Selbstporträt); Albrecht 1968, n.p.; Dr. S. 1968, n.p.; Motesiczky 1984, p. 50, illus. p. 51 (Self-portrait); Anonymous 1985, n.p.; Calvocoressi 1985, p. 60; f.th. 1985, illus. n.p.; Feaver 1985, n.p.; Gombrich 1985, p. 6; Taylor 1985, n.p.; Spiel 1987, illus. after p. 154 (col.) (plate 2); Adler 1994, p. 18 (Selbstbildnis mit Kamm); Adunka 1994, illus. p. 20 (detail); Baker 1994, illus. p. 11; Black 1994, pp. 4, 6, illus. p. 5; Cohen 1994, p. 94, illus. p. 94; G.F. 1994, n.p.; Koch 1994, illus. p. 98; Kruntorad 1994, n.p., illus. n.p.; Kulturjournal, Radio Bremen 2, 21 February 1994, transcript p. 2; Melchart 1994, illus. n.p. (col.); Packer 1994, n.p.; Plakolm-Forsthuber 1994, p. 166, illus. p. 166 (col.); Schmidt 1994a, p. 6; Schmidt 1994b, illus. n.p.; Wagner 1994, n.p.; Neue Sachlichkeit, exh. cat. 1995, p. 137, illus. p. 136; Anonymous [Jeremy Adler] 1996, n.p.; Black 1996, n.p.; Cohen 1996a, n.p., illus. n.p.; Cohen 1996c, illus. p. 62; Österreichische Galerie Belvedere 1996, p. 40, illus. p. 41; Tate Gallery, 1996, p. 501; Walsh 1996a, pp. 57 f.; Walsh 1996b, illus. p. 38; Black 1997, p. 992; Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts, 1997, p. 118, illus. p. 118; Das Jahrhundert der Frauen, exh. cat. 1999, p. 138, illus. p. 138; Neufert 1999, illus. p. 183; Vorderwülbecke 1999, pp. 33, 38, 54, 56 f.n., illus. p. 74; Phillips 2001, p. 30; Michel 2003, pp. 19 f.n., 21, 30, 40, 46, 58, 61 f., illus. Abb. 18 (col.); Lloyd 2004, p. 212; López Calatayud 2005, p. 14; McNeill 2005, illus. on cover (col.); Breidecker 2006a, n.p.; calendar 2006, published by the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna, illus. n.p. (February) (col.); Crüwell 2006c, n.p., illus. n.p. (col.); B. Gries 2006, n.p.; Huther 2006a, n.p.; Huther 2006b, n.p.; Kneller 2006, n.p.; Orth 2006, n.p.; Sander 2006, pp. 120 f.; Schlenker 2006b, pp. 206 f.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 54; Schlenker 2006d, pp. 254, 261; Weiner 2006, n.p.; Lloyd 2007, pp. 58 (Self-portrait with a Comb), 217; Michel 2007, p. 117, illus. p. 116 (col.); Spiegler 2007, n.p.; Wiesauer 2007, n.p.


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Summer Landscape Sommerlandschaft 1926 Oil on canvas, 950 × 286 mm Dated (bottom left): 1936 (overpainted) Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This lively, sun-filled pastoral scene was painted at Hinterbrühl, the Motesiczky family’s summer retreat in the Wienerwald near Vienna. The beautifully balanced composition is divided into two sections of almost equal size: the fields in the lower half of the picture and the majestic trees in front of a bright blue sky above. Three figures are involved in haymaking: the two in the foreground are building haystacks while one in the middle distance seems to be cutting the grass with an invisible scythe. In the background, behind a row of trees, a horse-drawn cart with a load of white sacks is driving along an avenue on top of a little hill. The painting succinctly captures the atmosphere of a rural idyll during an undisturbed long, lazy summer in the countryside, which Motesiczky so often enjoyed. The hot weather – no cloud is dulling the sky – promises a good hay harvest. Although in her early career Motesiczky, under the influence of Beckmann, frequently used a vertical format (see for example Selfportrait with Comb, 1926, no. 13), this particularly tall and narrow example is unique. sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Michael Jaffé, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 18 July 1986: ‘You may like to know that Derek Hill came this morning; and he shares my great admiration for your latest masterpiece in portraiture. He liked a number of other things, including a tall landscape which we were unable to include in the hang for lack of space in our Gallery’ exhibitions The Hague 1939; London 1985, no. 4, illus. p. 19 (col.), dated 1925; Cambridge 1986, no. 4, illus. p. 19 (col.), dated 1925. bibliography Anonymous [1939], n.p.; Plakolm-Forsthuber 1994, p. 166; Schmidt 1994a, p. 6; Vorderwülbecke 1999, pp. 31 f., illus. p. 69; Lloyd 2006, pp. 36, 39, illus. p. 38 (col.).

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Fräulein Engelhardt 1926/7 Oil on canvas, 626 × 594 mm Signed (bottom right): 1926 Motesiczky Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Some time after the death of the artist’s father in 1909, her mother Henriette von Motesiczky employed an elderly Viennese lady called Fräulein Engelhardt as a companion. In spring 1910, for example, Henriette von Motesiczky and Fräulein Engelhardt travelled to Rome together. Fräulein Engelhardt also kept Henriette company when at home in Vienna and Hinterbrühl. The artist remembered an incident when Fräulein Engelhardt sat on an unsafe straw armchair which collapsed; she could not disentangle herself and, helplessly startled yet also slightly amused, she cried: ‘I can’t get out of it’.1 In her portrait, Fräulein Engelhardt is safely placed on a solid reddish-brown leather armchair with a high back. The table in front of her, on which she is resting her arms, is covered by a pink tablecloth. Pointing to a small sprig of withered leaves on the table with one forefinger of her wrinkled and arthritic hands, she gazes pensively at the little still-life in front of her. Yet, the half-closed eyelids reveal nothing but dark and empty voids. Detached from the strictly scraped-back grey hair, this seemingly unseeing face gives the impression of an impenetrable wooden mask. Despite the year on the painting, Fräulein Engelhardt has always been dated 1927 – the only exception being the exhibition in 1939. It is impossible to decide whether, as in several other cases, Motesiczky added the signature much later and incorrectly, or whether more recent exhibitions made a mistake. note

bibliography

1 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, undated: Motesiczky archive.

A.d.B. 1939, n.p.; Anonymous [1939], n.p.; Gruyter 1939, n.p.; Veth 1939, n.p.; Winterbottom 1986, p. 11; Vann 1987, illus. p. 14 (two details, 1 b/w, 1 col.); Fallon 1988, illus. n.p.; Pyle 1988, n.p.; Vorderwülbecke 1999, pp. 33 f., illus. p. 77; Dollen 2000, pp. 119, 235, illus. p. 232 (col.); Dollen 2002, pp. 1744 f., illus. p. 1744 (col.); Michel 2003, pp. 19 f.n., 22, 30, illus. Abb. 21 (col.); López Calatayud 2005, p. 32; Sander 2006, pp. 122 f.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 62; Sternburg 2006, n.p.

exhibitions The Hague 1939, no. 15, dated 1926; London 1985, no. 9, illus. p. 65, dated 1927; Cambridge 1986, no. 9, illus. p. 65, dated 1927; Dublin 1988, no. 1, shown as Ms Engelhardt, 1927; Manchester 1994, no. 5, dated 1927; Liverpool 2006, no. 9, illus. p. 63 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 9, illus. p. 63 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 9, illus. p. 63 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 9, illus. p. 63 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 9, illus. p. 63 (col.).

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Portrait of a Russian Student Porträt eines russischen Studenten 1927 Oil on canvas, 828 × 542 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

The sitter for this portrait, which was probably painted in Paris, is an unknown Russian student whom the artist may have met through her brother Karl who was, at the time, in contact with Russian scholars like the writer Fedor Stepun (1884–1965). Stiff, upright, and formally dressed in white shirt and grey suit, the sitter is positioned in front of a wall whose yellowish-green paper seems to match the colour of his outfit. The pink centres of the light green circles are echoed by the pink curtain on the right and by the lips of the sitter. His thin figure supports a large head, crowned by carefully combed blonde hair and bearing an emaciated, serious look accentuated by his pointed chin, hollow cheeks, a long, straight nose and uncomfortably staring, almond-shaped eyes (not unlike those of the contemporary portraits Apache, 1926, no. 9, and Hanni, Hinterbrühl, 1925, no. 8). A pronounced artery on his forehead seems to testify to his nervousness. His hands make curious movements as if in the process of gesticulating or just not knowing what to do. As in Model, Vienna, 1929 and 1930 (nos 27 and 32), the background is divided into two sections, the two walls of a room, one lit by the light streaming in from the window on the right, the other in shadow, with the corner placed just behind the sitter’s head. The picture has been extended by about 4 cm both at the bottom and at the right side, at an unknown date. Although Motesiczky made the effort to continue the image, she did not entirely succeed. The enlargement of the trouser legs at the bottom does not fit precisely. On the right, the area beyond the pink curtain, which probably denotes a window, has not been completed, especially in the bottom right corner, where bare canvas shows through. exhibitions

bibliography

Cambridge 1986, ex catalogue; Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 11, illus. p. 67 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 11, illus. p. 67 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 11, illus. p. 67 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 11, illus. p. 67 (col.).

López Calatayud 2005, p. 14 (Portrait of a Prussian Student); Sander 2006, pp. 122 f.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 66.

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Pagina 100

Kröpfelsteig, Hinterbrühl 1927 Oil on canvas, 614 × 572 mm Signed (bottom right): 1927 Motesiczky Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Kröpfelsteigstraße 42, at the end of the street leading out of the village, was the address of the large Motesiczky family estate in Hinterbrühl (fig. 10). Built by Moritz Todesco, brother of the artist’s maternal great-grandfather, the grand Villa Todesco with its eighteen rooms stood in vast grounds, complete with tennis court, swimming pool, greenhouse and stables. In this sunlit landscape Motesiczky depicts the road that runs around the boundary of the estate and gently winds up the hill to the neighbouring village of Weissenbach. On the left a short section of outer wall and screening bushes can be glimpsed. The canvas is dominated by the dense bank of foliage in varying shades of green that makes up the forest on the other side of the quiet country lane, topped by the wooded foothills of the Kleiner Anninger. Trees with thick foliage throw delicate shadows on the empty road, while the telegraph poles along the pavement are bereft of wires and shadows and seem to float above the ground. In 1956, Motesiczky, who by then had created a life for herself in England, sold the grounds at the Kröpfelsteig (the villa had been pulled down in the 1930s). An SOS-Kinderdorf now occupies the site. Kröpfelsteig, Hinterbrühl was probably among the paintings which the artist’s brother, Karl von Motesiczky, sent on to the Netherlands from Vienna in 1938. During the war it was stored in a factory belonging to the artist’s Dutch relatives, located again in 1954 and, with the other works that survived the war in this way, sent over to England.

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exhibitions London 1985, no. 8, illus. p. 22 (col.); Cambridge 1986, no. 8, illus. p. 22 (col.); Vienna 1994, no. 5, illus. (col.); Manchester 1994, no. 4; Vienna 1995, no. 48, p. 308, illus. p. 146 (col.); Liverpool 2006, no. 10, illus. p. 65 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 10, illus. p. 65 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 10, illus. p. 65 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 10, illus. p. 65 (col.). bibliography Moser 1992, p. 176; Schmidt 1994a, illus. p. 4; Michel 2003, p. 16, illus. Abb. 8 (col.); Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, exh. booklet 2006, n.p.; Sander 2006, pp. 128 f.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 64.


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Model in Frankfurt Porträt Frau Ansberg, Frankfurt c. 1927/8 Oil on canvas, 367 × 216 mm (sight) Private collection, the Netherlands

Motesiczky chose an unusually tall and narrow format for this portrait of her cleaner in Frankfurt. It was painted around the time when Motesiczky attended Max Beckmann’s master-class at the Städelschule in 1927/8. It is not clear whether the name of the sitter, Frau Ansberg, is correct or, as Peter Black has suggested, was simply made up by the artist for an exhibition in 1994. The austere and restrained mood of the portrait is accentuated by the sitter’s sombre black dress, her dark hair severely combed back, her dark eyes and earrings. The firmly closed straight mouth provides a faint touch of colour. This freshening effect, however, is counterbalanced by the furrowed forehead which gives the face an expression that hovers between disapproval and sorrow. As in Dwarf, 1928 (no. 22), Frau Ansberg’s slightly upturned nose leaves the long and narrow nostrils clearly visible. The sitter’s lengthened neck, which adds an aura of haughtiness to the portrait, might have been determined by the unusual format of the canvas. Peter Black has highlighted the influence that Egyptian mummy portraits may have had on Model in Frankfurt. Motesiczky would have been familiar with this kind of depiction, as one was displayed in the family residence and Vienna had a good collection. According to the current owners of Model in Frankfurt, Motesiczky herself did not like the painting. sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Jan Willem Salomonson to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 6 August 1992: ‘Ich verstehe nicht recht, wieso es möglich war, dasz soviel Zeit verflosz ehe ich mich dazu entschieden habe dir mit groszer Wärme zu danken für das frühe, von uns beiden hoch geschätzte Frankfurter Bildnis, das du uns mit liebenswürdiger Grossmut – entgegen unserer auf Ankauf hinzielenden, und auch so schon recht unbescheidenen Absicht – einfach geschenkt hast! Vielleicht erklärt sich meine zögerhafte Reaktion aus dem heimlichen Wunsch erst noch sehen zu können wie das überaus feine, vornehme und ausdrucksvolle Bildchen aus seinem

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neuen, gleich in Auftrag gegebenen “Fenster” herausschaut. Dazu brauchte es freilich einige Zeit, aber glücklicherweise nicht viel und so steht dein Werk heute bereits vor uns in einem hübschen Rahmen. Dieser ist keineswegs einer solchen Art dasz du zu befürchten brauchst, dasz er – wie du es selbst ausdrückst – das Bild “weiter malt”. Er hat (und erfüllt wie ich glaube) blosz die Aufgabe, dein gemaltes Bild zu “verstehen”. Bereits während der kurzen Zeit, seit Karins Londoner Reise, die das Bild bei uns verbringt, spüre ich wie intensiv und häufig wir es betrachten und nach mancher Lektüre und jedem Museums-

besuch von neuem, und mit anderen Interessen, ins Auge fassen.’ provenance Artist; Karin and Jan Willem Salomonson (gift 1992). exhibition Vienna 1994, no. 6, illus. (col.). bibliography Tate Gallery, 1996, p. 501 (Portrait of Frau Ansberg, Frankfurt, c. 1926/27); Lloyd 2007, p. 67.


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Pagina 103

Two Girls Zwei Mädchen 1928 Oil on canvas, 1150 × 610 mm Dated (bottom right): 1927 Artist (lost)

This painting, now lost, was made in Hinterbrühl, the Motesiczkys’ summer retreat near Vienna, after the artist had attended Max Beckmann’s master-class in Frankfurt for a year. In its unusual oblong shape and the austerity of the composition it clearly shows her teacher’s influence and also bears a close resemblance to Motesiczky’s At the Dressmaker’s, 1930 (no. 35). Sadly, only a blackand-white photograph survives of this work showing two adolescent girls in a bare room. One girl sits on a simple, narrow chaise longue that projects into the picture plane with extreme foreshortening. One leg stretched out, the other tucked under it, she is naked apart from a shift. Curiously, her head, which appears too large and adult, does not fit her body. Only the back of the second girl, standing behind the chaise longue, is visible. Half-dressed in a camisole, skirt and shoes, she is looking at herself in a little mirror on the back wall. She raises one hand as if arranging her hair, which is tied back in a long ponytail. Family tradition has it that one of the girls in the picture was Anna Beschorner, the sister of Hans Beschorner, the Motesiczkys’ Hinterbrühl chauffeur. In the summer of 1928 the painter Karl Tratt, a friend and fellow Beckmann student, visited Motesiczky in Hinterbrühl. It is said that he declined to paint from these models since Motesiczky had already done it. She, however, apparently did not like the painting for its obvious debt to Max Beckmann’s work. The date in the lower right corner of the painting is incorrect and was probably added later. bibliography Michel 2003, pp. 28, 40, illus. Abb. 24; Lloyd 2007, p. 67.

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Bullfight Stierkampf 1928 Oil on canvas, 743 × 433 mm Signed (bottom right): 1928 Motesiczky Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

In summer 1927 Motesiczky travelled in Spain, visiting Seville, Granada and Madrid. She was accompanied by relatives from the Netherlands, Rak and Henk de Waal. Motesiczky must have been fascinated by the bullfights they attended during her visit. A collection of postcards and photographs of bullfights in the artist’s estate testify to her lasting interest in bullfighting (fig. 48). Of one she saw in El Puerto de Santa Maria, north of Cadiz, she wrote excitedly to her mother: Despite the bad bulls and bullfighters it was really very strange and exciting. – Sadly the bulls had more in common with cows than with wild beasts and therefore had to be enraged in a very cruel manner. The spears that are plunged into the bull’s back were filled with some sort of fireworks which then began to burn and make a bang in the bull’s back. One of the bullfighters was wounded and thrown in the air by the bull and further other quaint sensations. The whole thing had something of a dangerous Lustmord with musical accompaniment. Nothing for the faint-hearted.1 The bullring shown in this painting is probably the Plaza de Toros in Madrid, which the artist must have visited. From her place on the shady, cooler and more expensive side of the arena, the artist shows an unusual, distorted view of the circular bullring. In the late afternoon the sun is very low, casting long shadows and bringing out the triangular crenellations on the roof. The audience fills the seats, waving red and yellows flags. The focus of attention is the drama unfolding in the bottom right corner where, in the first phase of a traditional bullfight, a mounted picador provokes the bull in order to weaken him, plunging his first banderilla into the beast’s shoulders. Two toreros on foot, their colourful capes ready, wait to join the fight once the bull is weaker still.

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Fig. 48 Bullfight at the Plaza de Toros in Madrid, postcard, 1920s (Motesiczky archive) note 1 ‘Es war trotz der schlechten Stiere u. Stierkämpfer doch sehr merkwürdig u. aufregend. – Leider hatten die Stiere mehr Ähnlichkeit mit Kühen als mit wilden Bestien u. mussten daher auf sehr grausame Art in Wut gebracht werden. Es wurden in den Spiessen die man dem Stier in den Rücken bort eine Art Feuerwerk getan welches dann im Rücken des Stieres zu brennen u zu knallen begann. Einer der Stierkämpfer wurde verwundet u. von dem Stier in die Luft geworfen u. noch andere nette Sensationen. Das ganze hatte etwas von gefährlichem Lustmord mit Musikbegleitung. Nichts für zarte Nerven.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Henriette von Motesiczky, [1927]: Motesiczky archive. exhibitions The Hague 1939, shown as Arena; Cambridge 1986, ex catalogue; Liverpool 2006, no. 12, illus. p. 69 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 12, illus. p. 69 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 12, illus. p. 69 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 12, illus. p. 69 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 12, illus. p. 69 (col.). bibliography A.d.B. 1939, n.p.; Michel 2003, p. 44, illus. Abb. 50 (col.); Lloyd 2006, pp. 38, 41; Sander 2006, pp. 128 f.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 68; Schlenker 2006d, p. 254; Lloyd 2007, p. 74; Wiesauer 2007, n.p.


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Spanish Girl Spanierin 1928 Oil on canvas, 436 × 264 mm Private collection, Switzerland

Sixty years after the creation of Spanish Girl Motesiczky called the portrait ‘maybe (?) the best head I have ever painted (and which we rescued)’.1 The portrait was among the paintings the artist’s brother Karl von Motesiczky sent on from Austria when she and her mother had already left for the Netherlands. The sitter is not in fact a native of Spain but a local peasant girl from Mödling, a little town in the Wienerwald south-west of Vienna close to the village of Hinterbrühl where the Motesiczkys habitually spent their summers. She is wearing a Spanish head-dress which Motesiczky brought back from her trip to Spain in 1927. Apart from the alienating disguise and exoticizing title (employed for example also in Apache, 1926, no. 9), Motesiczky treats her model straightforwardly and unsentimentally. Large, dark eyes and marked black eyebrows stand out in a face of placid and calm immobility, in which one critic detected a ‘sensuous assurance’.2

sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Ursula Brentano to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 26 September 1969: ‘The “Spanish girl” from an Austrian village, which Sophie has is so heart-rending in feeling, understanding and you are a “super master” in colours, well you are just an artist a true true one worth so much, Pizchen, remember and realize this. You must paint. You must, the world needs you, and you can surely help us to think, reflect, and also you can aid in calming and easing people; all this I’ve felt at times through your pictures.’ Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Milli [Kann? ], 3 November 1988: ‘Etwa 40 Jahre habe ich, erst ein zwei Bilder dann schliesslich 5 meiner besten Bilder Soph zur Verfügung gestellt, wie eine Schwester, weil sie die Bilder lieb gehabt hat und sie gut behandelt hat. Schliesslich hat sie die Bilder gekauft für einen kleinen Preis auf anraten von Percy … Diese Bilder sind das Beste und zwar ein Viertel des Besten was ich in 60 Jahren Arbeit leisten konnte. Ich war eingeschrenkt durch Mutter und C. und konnte nicht mer leisten. Noch dazu sind die zwei wichtigsten Bilder von Mutter – das grosse Portrat und der kurze Weg darunter … die Spanierin (vielleicht (?) der beste Kopf den ich je gemalt habe (und die wir retteten))’

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notes 1 ‘vielleicht (?) der beste Kopf den ich je gemalt habe (und die wir retteten)’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Milli [Kann?], 3 November 1988: Motesiczky archive. 2 Berryman 1985. provenance Artist; Sophie Brentano (purchased at 1967 exhibition); Ursula Brentano (inherited). exhibitions The Hague 1939; London 1960, no. 2, dated 1926; Vienna 1966, no. 3, illus.; Linz 1966, no. 3, illus.; Munich 1967, no. 3, illus.; Bremen 1968, no. 3, illus.; London 1985, no. 10, illus. p. 23 (col.); Cambridge 1986, no. 10, illus. p. 23 (col.); Liverpool 2006, ex catalogue; Frankfurt am Main 2006, ex catalogue, shown as Spanisches Mädchen; Vienna 2007, ex catalogue, shown as Spanisches Mädchen; Passau 2007, ex catalogue; Southampton 2007, ex catalogue. bibliography Veth 1939, n.p.; Reifenberg 1966a, n.p.; d.w. 1968, n.p.; Berryman 1985, p. 628; f.th. 1985, n.p.; Schmidt 1994a, p. 6; Zimmermann 1994, illus. p. 131 (col.) (Spanisches Mädchen); Michel 2003, p. 44, illus. Abb. 51 (col.) (Spanisches Mädchen); López Calatayud 2005, p. 25; Black 2006, p. 57; Lloyd 2006, pp. 38, 41, illus. p. 41 (col.) (Spanisches Mädchen); Schlenker 2006d, p. 254 (Spanisches Mädchen); Vinzent 2006, p. 159; Lloyd 2007, pp. 67, 74, illus. fig. 15 (col.).


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Pagina 107

Dwarf Zwerg, Hinterbrühl 1928 Oil on canvas, 633 × 500 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

The sitter for this stern and magnificent halflength portrait is believed to have been Karl Mader or Moder, an inhabitant of Hinterbrühl, the village in the Wienerwald south-west of Vienna where the Motesiczky family regularly spent their summers. Locals remember his small stature, somewhat deformed hands and speech difficulties. Among the various tasks he carried out around the village were roadsweeping and looking after animals.1 The simple, stylized planar construction of the background is continued in the figure itself. While the depiction of the clothes is not very detailed, Motesiczky concentrates on the sitter’s hands and face. Seated on a chair with only the upper part of his body visible, thus merely suggesting the continuation of stocky legs, the dwarf has a commanding presence. His chubby hands are resting on a walking stick. The face, tilted slightly upwards, is dominated by his sceptical expression. A marked frown produces a wrinkle on his forehead, already enlarged by a receding hairline. Red cheeks and a light brown moustache surround a prominent upturned nose with flared nostrils. The circular white form intersected by a black line behind the dwarf might be the back of the chair or, as has been suggested, the sitter’s straw hat with a black ribbon, hung on the back of the chair. At once subdued and proudly untamed, Motesiczky succeeds in expressing a compassionate, subtle interest in the sitter. Critics have praised Motesiczky’s ‘sensitive gift for observation’2 and described this painting as ‘the artist’s most human portrait to that date’.3

notes

bibliography

1 Walter Gleckner to Ines Schlenker, 27 June 2007: Motesiczky archive. 2 ‘sensible Beobachtungsgabe’: Sterk 1966, p. 25. 3 Black 1994, p. 6.

Freundlich 1966, n.p.; Helfgott 1966, n.p., illus. n.p.; Muschik 1966, n.p.; Pack 1966, n.p. (Zwerg); Reifenberg 1966a, n.p. (Der Zwerg); Spiel 1966, n.p. (Zwerg); Sterk 1966, p. 25; Berryman 1985, p. 628; Feaver 1985, n.p.; Pyle 1988, n.p.; Black 1994, p. 6; Tabor 1995, n.p. (Zwerg); Black 1997, p. 992 (The Dwarf); Phillips 2001, p. 30; Michel 2003, p. 37, illus. Abb. 43 (col.); López Calatayud 2005, pp. 25, 30–32; Black 2006, p. 57; Sander 2006, pp. 122 f.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 70; Sternburg 2006, n.p.; Lloyd 2007, p. 67; Michel 2007, pp. 117 f.

exhibitions Vienna 1966, no. 4, illus., shown as Zwerg; Linz 1966, no. 4, illus., shown as Zwerg; Munich 1967, no. 4, illus., shown as Zwerg; Bremen 1968, no. 4, illus., shown as Zwerg; London 1985, no. 11, illus. p. 67; Cambridge 1986, no. 11, illus. p. 67; Dublin 1988, no. 3; Vienna 1994, no. 7, illus. (col.); Manchester 1994, no. 6; Vienna 1995, no. 47, p. 308, illus. p. 145 (col.); Vienna 1999b, no. 126, p. 138 (Porträt eines Zwerges), illus. p. 150 (col.); Liverpool 2006, no. 13, illus. p. 71 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 13, illus. p. 71 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 13, illus. p. 71 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 13, illus. p. 71 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 13, illus. p. 71 (col.).

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Still-life with Monkey on Garden Bench Stilleben mit Affe 1928 Oil on canvas, 362 × 490 mm Dated (bottom right): 1928 Private collection, the Netherlands

Painted at the family’s summer retreat in Hinterbrühl, this still-life employs an unusual prop, a stuffed toy monkey, sitting on a wooden garden bench next to a striped cushion on which pink and white roses are placed. The bench’s four individual slats, on which the metal armrest casts a marked shadow, dominate the simple composition. With the palms of one paw and the opposite foot turned towards the viewer, the little monkey seems to be trying to establish a connection. According to the painting’s current owners, relatives of the artist, the scene was painted in full daylight.

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Due to the dominating hues of brown it is, however, curiously dark, and only the three roses provide a summery splash of colour. provenance Artist; Louise Rupé (c. 1930); Karin and Jan Willem Salomonson (inherited). exhibitions Vienna 2007, no. 15, illus. p. 75 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 15, illus. p. 75 (col.). bibliography Schlenker 2006c, p. 74.


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Pagina 109

Portrait Karl von Motesiczky Porträt Karl von Motesiczky 1928 Oil on canvas, 484 × 323 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

The artist’s elder brother Karl von Motesiczky, born in 1904, studied law in Vienna (1924–8), philosophy in Heidelberg (1928–30) and theology in Marburg and Berlin (1930–33) before following the communist and psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich into exile in Oslo. During his time in Germany Karl von Motesiczky was active in the socialist students’ movement, giving speeches at gatherings and writing for leftwing journals. He also developed a lasting interest in Communism. In this portrait, which manages to convey both his seriousness as a scholar and his political affiliation, Karl von Motesiczky is engrossed in reading Das Kapital by Karl Marx (the title is incorrectly spelt with a ‘C’). Marie-Louise and Karl von Motesiczky enjoyed a close relationship full of warmth and admiration for each other throughout their lives. Over the years, the nature of their relationship changed, as an undated drawing of Karl von Motesiczky as St Christopher, holding a staff and carrying a child on his back, suggests (fig. 49); this was presumably painted after the artist learned of her brother’s ceaseless assistance for his Jewish friends and his subsequent death in Auschwitz in 1943. In the 1920s the artist characterized her brother as a politically interested intellectual with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, but the later drawing shows him as a saintly saviour of lives. exhibitions Vienna 2004b, illus. p. 30 (col.), shown as Karl Motesiczky; Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 14, illus. p. 73 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 14, illus. p. 73 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 14, illus. p. 73 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 14, illus. p. 73 (col.). bibliography Rothländer 2000, illus. p. 9; Rothländer 2004a, p. 90, illus. p. 91; Lloyd 2006, pp. 34 f.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 72; Wiesauer 2007, n.p.

Fig. 49 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Karl as St Christopher, undated, charcoal and pastel on paper, 280 × 425 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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Still-life with Cigarettes 1928 Oil on canvas, 425 Ă— 335 mm Signed (bottom right): 1928 Motesiczky Private collection, Amsterdam

This still-life seems to be arranged on the armrest of a brownish-red studded leather armchair, placed against a wall. Draped over the armrest are a white cloth with a red cloth on top, part of which reaches up the wall. A piece of thick board or wood provides a table for the objects: a white vase with a handle holding a compact bunch of pinkish-white and red chrysanthemums and dahlias and a small, precariously balanced pile of four cigarettes that jut out over the edge of the board. provenance Artist; Anna Leembruggen (purchased at 1939 exhibition); Mirjam Kann. exhibitions The Hague 1939, no. 12; Liverpool 2006, no. 31, illus. p. 107 (col.), dated 1938/39, not shown. bibliography A.d.B. 1939, n.p.

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Portrait of Young Man in Red Cap c. 1928 Oil on canvas, 502 Ă— 330 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This portrait of an unknown young man was probably painted in Paris. Although he apparently wears Western clothes, a brown jacket over a shirt, his head is adorned with a red cap reminiscent of a fez, the traditional felt headgear in the Islamic countries of northern Africa. Its golden tassle falls over his left ear. His black hair and dark brown eyes seem to underline his non-European origin. The uniform beige background gives no further clues as to his personal circumstances.

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Model, Vienna Modell in Wien 1929 Oil on canvas, 375 × 283 mm Signed (top left): 1929 Motesiczky Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

The unidentified sitter whom Motesiczky used in at least two portraits (see Model, Vienna, 1930, no. 32) was probably a professional model. Employing a limited range of colours – grey, black, light brown and beige – Motesiczky produced a severe study of a young woman’s head characterized by a round, flat face and short black hair, curling at the back of her neck. Her marked black eyebrows and dark eyes contrast sharply with her light complexion. She appears to be absent-minded and uninvolved in her present occupation. Noticeably, as in the other portrait of this model, the background is divided into two halves of differing shades of grey. In contrast to Model, Vienna, 1930, here, with the light coming in from the right, the lighter grey appears on the left.

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Still-life with Scales Stilleben mit Obst und Waage 1929 Oil on canvas, 444 × 313 mm Signed (bottom right): 1929 Motesiczky Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Motesiczky presents a close-up view of an arrangement of objects on a small table. The background and the front edge of the table in the foreground are a deep black colour, providing a natural frame for the setting. The exact centre of the still-life is taken up by a pair of kitchen scales with a large clock-like face, its one pointer indicating the weight of the napkins placed on the tray. The scales are standing on a white plate, surrounded by fruit (presumably peaches and apricots) glowing yellow, orange and red in the light that streams in from the right. The half-full bottle of red wine to the right of the plate has a matching wrapping around its neck, and the wine is reflected on the napkins behind the plate. With this still-life Motesiczky created a serene and balanced work. exhibitions London 1987, no. 49, illus.; Dublin 1988, no. 4; Vienna 2007, no. 16, illus. p. 77 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 16, illus. p. 77 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 16, illus. p. 77 (col.). bibliography Michel 2003, p. 37, illus. Abb. 42 (col.); López Calatayud 2005, pp. 8 f., 12, 15, 19, 23, 25 f., illus. n.p. (full and numerous details, col.); Lloyd 2007, p. 202; Melchart 2007, illus. n.p. (Stilleben).

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Henriette von Motesiczky – Portrait No. 1 Henriette von Motesiczky – Porträt Nr. 1 1929 Oil on canvas, 447 × 463 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

The first portrait of the artist’s mother in oil is an intimate study, showing a large, matronly, dark-haired figure in her late forties. Henriette von Motesiczky is, characteristically, reclining in bed, something that, according to many observers, she did frequently (fig. 50) – the pastel Siesta, 1933 (p. 530), shows her enjoying an afternoon nap. In 1938 for example, Herbert Schey reported to his cousin Marie-Louise: ‘Yesterday I visited your mother for ¾ hour, she was of course lying in bed.’1 At around the time of the portrait’s creation Henriette, not untypically, described how an emotional anxiety made her retreat to bed for a week: ‘I am now feeling a little better (i.e. my suffering was only spiritual). I could not bring myself to do anything for 8 days, I lay in bed from 2 in the afternoon until the following day and was then so tired and exhausted, like a dress, that lies in a suitcase for 8 days.’2 This habit of retreating to bed was started by Anna von Lieben, Henriette von Motesiczky’s mother, whose treatment the young Sigmund Freud had taken over in 1888 and recorded in Studies on Hysteria (where he refers to Anna von Lieben as ‘Cäcilie M.’). The portrait was probably painted in the Motesiczky villa in Hinterbrühl where the family habitually spent the summer. The sitter’s bare arms indeed suggest hot weather, while the angle of the light streaming in from the left indicates late morning or early afternoon. The portrait utilizes a subdued range of grey, beige and pink tones, focusing on Henriette von Motesiczky’s head which is supported by a strong right arm. In contrast to the flat metal uprights of the bedhead, the figure stands out as almost three-dimensional, emphasized by the sculptural fleshiness of her limbs and the stark shadows. Her rosy cheeks and general healthy glow contradict her sad expression and the soulful dark eyes.

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Fig. 50 Henriette von Motesiczky in bed, photograph, 1920s (Motesiczky archive)

notes 1 ‘Gestern war ich auf ¾ Stunden bei Deiner Mutter, sie lag natürlich im Bett.’: Herbert Schey to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 23 February 1938: Motesiczky archive. 2 ‘Mir geht es nun auch wieder schon etwas besser (das heißt mein Leiden war nur seelisch) Ich konnte mich durch 8 Tage zu nichts bringen, lag von 2 Uhr Nachmittags bis zum nechsten Tag im Bett und war dann so müde u. zerschlagen, wie ein Kleid, das eben 8 Tage im Koffer liegt.’: Henriette von Motesiczky to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 18 January [late 1920s]: Motesiczky archive. exhibitions Vienna 2004b, illus. p. 29 (col.), shown as Henriette v. Motesiczky; Liverpool 2006, no. 17, illus. p. 79 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 17, illus. p. 79 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 17, illus. p. 79 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 17, illus. p. 79 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 17, illus. p. 79 (col.). bibliography Phillips 2001, p. 33; Michel 2003, p. 69, illus. Abb. 101 (col.) (Erstes Bild der Mutter); Kneller 2006, n.p.; Lloyd 2006, pp. 40 f.; Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, exh. booklet 2006, n.p.; Sander 2006, pp. 122 f.; Schlenker 2006c, pp. 78, 88, 168; Schlenker 2006d, p. 255; illus. in Times Literary Supplement, 22 September 2006, p. 32 (col.); Lloyd 2007, p. 81; Wiesauer 2007, n.p.


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Pagina 116

The Balcony Akt auf dem Balkon 1929 Oil on canvas, 480 × 600 mm Signed (bottom left): 1929 Motesiczky Private collection, London

Together with an unidentified still-life, The Balcony was the first painting Motesiczky exhibited publicly, in 1933. Although the sunbathing girl on the pink chaise longue is in fact the artist herself (fig. 51), the painting bears a neutral title that does not indicate the model’s identity. The scene takes place in the Villa Todesco in Hinterbrühl (fig. 52), the village in the Wienerwald, south-west of Vienna, where the Motesiczky family regularly spent their summers. The artist’s room at the villa opened onto a balcony overlooking the garden, the hills and forests that belonged to the large estate. With the help of an enormous standing mirror that the artist placed on the balcony, the work was created in the open air. Unable to paint herself in the nude in a lying position, the artist put together the individual

body parts on the canvas after viewing them separately. The resulting body, with its elongated and twisted legs, echoed by the folds of the yellow scarf draped over the edge of the chaise longue, stiff breasts and somewhat awkward posture, has a slightly unreal, doll-like quality. Extremely bright sunlight, from which the artist is forced to shield her eyes, picks out the figure on the pink chaise longue and the balustrade with its pronounced heart-shaped woodwork. The fact that the artist is not alone but nevertheless safe from view is indicated by the white kite bobbing around in the sky behind the balcony. A similar flying object, this time a balloon, graces the sky in Max Beckmann’s Landschaft mit Luftballon, 1917 (fig. 53), a painting with which Motesiczky may have been familiar.

Fig. 51 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky lying on a chaise longue on the balcony of the Villa Todesco, photograph, late 1920s (Motesiczky archive)

Fig. 52 Villa Todesco, view from the garden, photograph, early 1900s (Motesickzy archive)

Fig. 53 Max Beckmann, Landschaft mit Luftballon, 1917, oil on canvas, 755 × 1005 mm (Museum Ludwig, Cologne)

provenance Artist; Ladislas Rice (purchased 1989). exhibitions Vienna 1933, no. 63, shown as Balkon; The Hague 1939; London 1985, no. 12, illus. p. 26 (col.); Vienna 1994, no. 8, illus. (col.); Manchester 1994, no. 7; Vienna 1999b, no. 129, p. 139 (Der Balkon), illus. p. 154 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2000; Liverpool 2006, no. 18, illus. p. 81 (col.). bibliography A.d.B. 1939, n.p.; Veth 1939, n.p.; Feaver 1985, n.p.; PlakolmForsthuber 1994, pp. 175–7, illus. p. 176 (col.) (Der Balkon); Neue Sachlichkeit, exh. cat. 1995, p. 139; Smithson 1999, n.p.; Vorderwülbecke 1999, p. 56 f.n., illus. p. 113; Michel 2003, pp. 49 (Akt am Balkon), 61, 63 f., illus. Abb. 91 (col.); Lloyd 2006, pp. 38, 40 f., 43; Schlenker 2006c, p. 80; Schlenker 2006d, p. 255; Lloyd 2007, pp. 74 f., illus. fig. 17 (col.).

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People on a Train Late 1920s Oil on canvas, 322 Ă— 210 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

For this scene of two people on a train, left unstretched by the artist and only recently put on a stretcher, Motesiczky chose a narrow view of the carriage’s interior. The foreground is occupied by a white-haired, elegantly dressed gentleman reading a newspaper. Behind him a lady in a white coat, a brown hat perching on top of her hair, glances out of the window.

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Pagina 119

Model, Vienna Modell in Wien 1930 Oil on canvas, 622 × 381 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Painted the year after Model, Vienna, 1929 (no. 27), Motesiczky here recognizably depicts the same unknown model characterized by a flat, round face, dark eyes and eyebrows, and a hairstyle with a side parting, smoothed back hair and curls at the neck. Even the colour scheme of grey and beige is similar to the earlier version. In the 1929 painting we saw only her head, but here we are presented with a more comprehensive view of the model. Seated with the upper part of her body bare, she attempts with one arm to cover her stomach protectively while the other, her hand resting on her shoulder, ineffectively tries to shield her breasts. The model appears to find the situation awkward, a feeling that the shy beginnings of a smile might want to overcome. As in the other portrait of this model, the background is divided into two halves of differing shades of grey. In contrast to Model, Vienna, 1929, here, with the light coming in from the left, the lighter grey appears on the right.

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Model, Vienna Modell in Wien 1930 Oil on canvas, 495 × 606 mm Signed (bottom right): Motesiczky 1930 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

According to the inscription on the back of the canvas, ‘1. Akt’, this is the first nude Motesiczky painted. While she had portrayed a semi-nude that year, Model, Vienna (no. 32), this certainly is the oldest surviving depiction of a complete nude other than herself (see The Balcony, 1929, no. 30). The model, probably a woman called Distler whom Motesiczky found at the Academy in Vienna, is reclining in a bed on her side, propped up on a pillow. Motesiczky presents a full frontal view of the elegantly curved, slim body, adorned with a coral necklace. Only her legs are covered from the knees down by a duvet. Although her round face, severe hairstyle and dark eyes are reminiscent of the unidentified model who posed for the two other portraits of Model, Vienna, 1929 (no. 27) and 1930 (no. 32), it is not possible to determine if the same model was actually used for all three paintings. The window in the background is surrounded by the large leaves of a lime tree, which the Motesiczkys had in their flat, among which the back view of an unknown man provides a mysterious presence. Motesiczky leaves unexplained the reason for his being in the room, as well as his relationship with the model, thus creating a certain tension that adds a secretive layer of meaning to the work. exhibitions The Hague 1939; Berlin 1986, illus. p. 144, shown as Akt; Oberhausen 1986, probably shown as Akt; Vienna 1986, shown as Akt; Liverpool 2006, ex catalogue; Frankfurt am Main 2006, ex catalogue. bibliography Veth 1939, n.p.; López Calatayud 2005, p. 25.

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Fig. 54 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky and friend in her studio in Paris with Model, Vienna on the floor behind the easel, photograph, c. 1930 (Motesiczky archive)


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Still-life with Photo Stilleben mit Photographie 1930 Oil on canvas, 817 × 490 mm Signed (bottom right): 1930 Motesiczky Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This still-life of seemingly haphazardly gathered and wittily arranged personal objects in precarious balance combines memories of carefree summers in the country and a certain nostalgia for a lost way of life. Working in the garden of the family’s estate in Hinterbrühl, Motesiczky gathered objects from inside the Villa Todesco, by now closed up, which were suitable for being painted in bright sunshine. From the ‘English corner’ of the drawing room she selected a stool with a floral chintz cover (as real flowers would have wilted in the sun). Propped against the wall on the brightly coloured cushion is a sepia photograph in a golden frame, crowning the arrangement. A graceful little wickerwork footrest sits underneath the stool, a tennis ball balanced on top of it. Distinct, dark shadows give shape and solidity to the fragile equilibrium of the objects. In the world economic crisis of the late 1920s the members of the Motesiczky family lost substantial parts of their immense fortune. They subsequently had to cut back dramatically and went to live in the smaller Swiss chalet on the estate. The villa, with its notoriously uneven floors caused by the underground stream on which it was built, had to be pulled down in the 1930s. The family’s apparent security was finally crushed in 1938 when the artist and her mother were forced to flee the country. The photograph is based loosely on a family photograph from the 1860s, showing relatives on her mother’s side who, sadly, cannot be identified from the photograph. Alongside two round vignettes of individual family members this group photograph was proudly displayed in the salon of the Villa Todesco, installed on an elaborate wooden panel (fig. 55). Motesiczky simplified the photograph by leaving out several ancestors in the painted version. Still-life with Photo had a special meaning for the artist’s mother Henriette von Motesiczky, who bought it from the exhibition at the Beaux Arts Gallery in January 1960 for £ 94.10.0. In an undated (and probably much later) poem about the painting – included in the book of 122

Henriette von Motesiczky’s poems and drawings that the artist created in memory of her mother for friends and relatives in the early 1980s – she had expressed her admiration for the painting and nostalgia for the lost world and the deception it held, captured by the image: Family Portrait The hot bright rays of sun The deep shadows of that time, You could paint them in a picture Now captured for eternity. And you have forgotten nothing in it, The picture of the people on the wall How they all sat there like that, Maybe that no one felt anything. The old thick garden stool Where tired feet used to rest, What the picture means to me, only you can judge It captures the high spirits of youth. Carefree living, laughter and some tears When the tennis ball flew past A scrap of colourful chintz could draw it together Into a world that perhaps betrayed us1 Motesiczky was pleased with this painting and, rather uncharacteristically, praised it: ‘every inch of canvas has the right amount of colour, thickness, transparency. There’s a great certainty. That little stool has something terribly delicate about it, and the shadows are very assured.’2

Fig. 55 Interior view of the salon at the Villa Todesco, Hinterbrühl, with a display of family photographs, photograph, undated (Motesiczky archive)

Lichtenstein was wounded. In the house the woman went off with him and my great-great-uncle said goodbye to the house with its big drawing room with its English chintz, and my great-great-grandfather got it. Around the time the picture was painted, there came a tremendous fashion in Austria for things Victorian. The seeds were already there in me. The Villa’s walls were covered in real green chintz. I loved all these things. The photograph is of my relations of the 1860s. Much later, my mother wrote a poem about the painting, with a line, “When that little tennis ball and a little bit of chintz could still reassemble a world which perhaps betrayed us.”’ notes

sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, undated manuscript: ‘In “Still Life with Photo” (1930), every inch of canvas has the right amount of colour, thickness, transparency. There’s a great certainty. That little stool has something terribly delicate about it, and the shadows are very assured. This was in the family summer house, Villa Todesco, south of Vienna. In the 1860s, there was an Englishwoman and her great love, my great-greatuncle. There was a hunting accident and the Prince

1 Familienbild Die heissen lichten Sonnenstrahlen Die tiefen Schatten jener Zeit, Du könntest auf ein Bild sie mahlen Nun eingefangen für die Ewigkeit. Und nichts hast Du darauf vergessen, Das Bild der Menschen an der Wand Wie sie so alle dort gesessen, Vielleicht das keiner was empfand. Den alten dicken Gartenschemel Wo müde Fusse einst geruht, Was mir das Bild ist, kannst nur Du ermessen Es liegt darin der Jugend Übermuth. Sorgloses Leben, Lachen und ein Weinen Wenn jener Tennisball vorüber flog


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Ein Stückchen bunten Gins konnt’s noch vereinen Zu einer Welt die uns vielleicht betrog (Motesiczky archive) 2 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, undated manuscript: Motesiczky archive. provenance Artist; Henriette von Motesiczky (purchased 1960); artist (inherited 1978). exhibitions The Hague 1939; London 1960, no. 3, shown as Still life with photograph, 1928; Vienna 1966, no. 5, illus.; Linz 1966, no. 5, illus.; Munich 1967, no. 5, illus.; Bremen 1968, no. 5, illus.; London 1985, no. 13, illus. p. 24 (col.); Cambridge 1986, no. 13, illus. p. 24 (col.); London 1994, no. 56, illus. p. 27; Vienna 1994, no. 9, illus. (col.); Manchester 1994, no. 8; Vienna 1995, no. 46, p. 308, illus. p. 143 (col.); Vienna 1999b, no. 128, p. 138, illus. p. 152 (col.); Vienna 2004b, illus. on cover (detail, col., mirror image), also exh. poster; Liverpool 2006, no. 21, illus. p. 87 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 21, illus. p. 87 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 21, illus. p. 87 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 21, illus. p. 87 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 21, illus. p. 87 (col.). bibliography Veth 1939, n.p.; Hodin 1966, illus. p. 47; Muschik 1966, n.p.; Pack 1966, n.p.; Reifenberg 1966a, n.p. (Stilleben mit Photo); Spiel 1966, n.p. (dated 1928); Winterbottom 1986, p. 11; Vann 1987, p. 16, illus. p. 1 (col.); Adler 1994, p. 18 (Stilleben mit Photo); Black 1994, p. 9; G.F. 1994, n.p.; Salzburger Nachrichten, 9 April 1994, illus.; Tabor 1995, n.p.; Michel 2003, pp. 34, 49, illus. Abb. 41 (col.); Lloyd 2004, pp. 205 f., illus. p. 204 (col., mirror image); illus. on cover of Die Gemeinde. Offizielles Organ der Israelitischen Kultusgemeinde Wien, no. 568, November 2004 (detail, col., mirror image); Behr 2006, p. 561; R. Gries 2006, n.p.; Held 2006, n.p.; Lloyd 2006, pp. 23–5, 28–31; Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, exh. booklet 2006, n.p., illus. n.p. (col.); Sander 2006, pp. 126 f.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 86; Lloyd 2007, pp. 1, 7, 10, 17, 80, illus. fig. 1 (col.).

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At the Dressmaker’s Bei der Schneiderin 1930 Oil on canvas, 1130 × 601 mm Signed (bottom left): 1930 Motesiczky The Syndics of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (PD.55–1993)

Writing from Paris in spring 1930, Motesiczky reports happily on her achievements: ‘By the way, I showed Becki [Max Beckmann] photos of my paintings and he was rather pleased – made progress he said – you know that I am in a good mood because of it!! Also, the dressmaker picture is now finished, thank God, and when I come to Berlin I can start afresh.’1 Painted two years after attending Max Beckmann’s master-class in Frankfurt, this fulllength self-portrait still reveals the influence of her teacher. Beckmann’s 1928 painting Garderobe (fig. 56) bears a particularly close resemblance in subject matter, style and composition. Yet, while Beckmann depicts a coquettish and provocative model, Motesiczky characterizes herself as more reserved and sceptical. Standing in front of a small dressing area, an alcove in the room that can be separated by a curtain, Motesiczky is trying on a new white dress. She tentatively raises her left arm. This seemingly unfinished movement appears to be caught by a flash photograph, an impression that is enhanced by the darkness of the heavy shadows she casts and the surprised expression on her face. The dressmaker, kneeling beside her, is putting the finishing touches to the skirt. A few cut-off pieces of fabric are scattered on the floor. In an awkward attempt at mirror-writing on the wall, letters spell out the word ‘Salon’ in the top right corner. Motesiczky gave a detailed account of the painting’s conception: I was secure in myself and in Beckmann’s style. Of course, when one is young, one has a lot of confidence that things will go well; one doesn’t know how difficult it is. It is so wonderful to have movement and stillness in a picture. This painting … has a static movement. As I stood with one arm held up, I didn’t think ‘how marvellous’, but ‘that will do’. I started in front of a mirror and undressed a bit and thought ‘the arm like that is very nice and now I make the little coral chain’. Beckmann once said he loved Slavonic faces with high cheek bones and eyes slanted upwards. 124

I looked into the mirror so long that at a certain angle, the eyes really seemed slanted upwards. Recently a friend, whose judgement I value, said: ‘This picture is a simple statement of youth.’ That made me very happy. I think that unconsciously I was presenting myself to the world. I didn’t take it as a case study of a visit to the dressmaker; it is much too final for that.2

Visits to the dressmaker had always been part of the artist’s life. Her annual expenditure on clothes was extremely high, reaching 3,530 Marks in the period from October 1929 to September 1930 out of a total 5,691 Marks she had at her disposal – only 22 Marks were spent on paint. While one might argue that such scenes were typically female subject matter, exploring themes of beauty and vanity, it seems inappropriate to limit Motesiczky’s version in such a way. The obligatory hand mirror, hung on a nail on the wall, is not being used to check the appearance of the new garment. The fact that it also does not show any reflection (Motesiczky used a similar device in Self-portrait with Comb, 1926, no. 13) hints at its relative unimportance and, on a practical level, relegates it to a status of mere accessory. In a less literal sense the mirror must be read as a medium of self-reflection and introspection – here, however, momentarily unused. In the memorial album for Henriette von Motesiczky, the artist contrasts this painting with the following poem of her mother’s, written in May 1970 and entitled ‘Dem Andenken von R.H.’ (‘In Memory of R.H.’). It commemorates the late seamstress, who probably worked for the dressmaker Kobermann based in the centre of Vienna, whom Motesiczky patronized: A bit of ash is still there from the hands that sewed this dress, stitch by stitch But then came the grim reaper who

Fig. 56 Max Beckmann, Garderobe, 1928, oil on canvas, 810 × 605 mm (private collection)

mows down all life. We would have the right to be sad Yet we laugh like a small child Because we are so far from the truth.3

The painting may also have inspired the writer Iris Murdoch (1919–99), who knew Motesiczky through their mutual friend Elias Canetti and later commissioned a portrait from her (Iris Murdoch, 1964, no. 193). According to Peter Conradi, Murdoch’s biographer, the profession of the character Nina, a dressmaker, in the novel Flight from the Enchanter, published in 1956, might have been suggested by this painting. While Nina is a half-rhyme for the author’s wife Veza, Elias Canetti himself can be detected in the character of the mysterious Mischa Fox.4 At the Dressmaker’s makes a brief but anonymous appearance in the novel The Next Big Thing by the English writer Anita Brookner,


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who must have come across it during the exhibition ‘Painting the Century. 101 Portrait Masterpieces 1900–2000’ at the National Portrait Gallery, London, in 2000. She describes it as ‘an arresting image … of a dressmaker pinning the skirt of an impassive client … (black hair, dark eyes, prominent crimson mouth, and bad-tempered expression)’.5 The poet Christine McNeill was recently inspired by the painting to write the following lines:

At a Dressmaker’s, 1938

(after marie-louise von motesiczky) The pins slide into the fabric like bees into flowers. I trust her knowledge of how it will look: how my youth will fit into its classic lines. Something in my belly melts at the thought of a ballroom floor. In the mirror I see chandelier lights through an open door. Last night he named all that was visible: the moons of Jupiter, Cassiopeia, the Plough. He offered me a cigarette. Berlin, Vienna, Budapest … Why have you raised your arm? the dressmaker asks. He talked about playing the saxophone. Described its sound leaping over buildings. I stared at my cigarette. How strange that at the point of nearing the end it glowed so fiercely. We stood in the dark: I wanted chiffon, silk – the thumbprint of fireworks on my swirling skirt. I drop my arm. Go over the scene in my head. Look into the mirror. See the bleached light of an oil-lamp on the hands of a nun. With each gunshot outside her finger points at the name of a saint in a book.

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In an adjacent bar people dance to midday jazz. The sound of the saxophone jumps over ruined buildings: Berlin, Vienna, Budapest. As each pin slides into the fabric a door inside me shuts. But the dressmaker says it will look so fabulous.6

The painting has a curious, still somewhat unclear provenance. According to a statement from the Beaux Arts Gallery, dated 10 February 1960, it was sold to Sophie Brentano, the artist’s cousin, for £ 210.0.0 on 7 January 1960. By the time of the exhibition in 1966 it was no longer listed as being in a private collection and may have been back in the artist’s possession. Having offered the painting to the Städel in Frankfurt, which declined it, Motesiczky lent it to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge after her solo exhibition there in 1986 and, happy with the display, offered it as a gift, together with the portrait of Philippe de Rothschild, painted in 1986 (no. 287). sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Klaus Gallwitz, Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt am Main, undated: ‘Nun möchte ich an Sie lieber Dr Gallwitz eine Frage stellen. Als Sie vor Jahren bei uns im Haus in London waren haben Sie ein frühes Bild von mir gesehen. “Bei der Schneiderin” Ich erinnere mich noch genau dass Sie das Bild ich möchte sagen beinahe jubelnd mit beiden Händen an die Wand hielten, denn wir waren im Wohnzimmer und es war keine Staffelei vorhanden. Es besteht für mich kein Zweifel dass es Ihnen gefallen hat. Waren Sie bereit dieses Bild in das Staedel aufzunehmen und an eine Stelle zu hängen an die es hingehört, ohne jede Kosten … In dem Bild “bei der Schneiderin” habe ich als ich es malte nicht an mich sondern nur gedacht: ein schönes Bild zu malen. Aber unbewusst und das ist mir jetzt erst klar geworden habe ich alles was ich mit 26 Jahren war, dem Beschauer dargeboten’

Michael Jaffé, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 18 July 1986: ‘You may like to know that Derek Hill came this morning; and he shares my great admiration for your latest masterpiece in portraiture. He liked a number of other things, including a tall landscape which we were unable to include in the hang for lack of space in our Gallery; and he liked the small Still Life with Strawberries 1982. For that I could pass on to him the price from the list which Michael Black has supplied. I should not be at all surprised if there were not other sales of those works which you are prepared to let go. Please keep us in touch with the Phillipe de Rothschild portrait. I think that of the many, many things which I admire in the exhibition, that portrait and the early picture of the dressmaker’s fitting are my favourites.’ Michael Jaffé, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 18 November 1988: ‘I was very pleased to get your letter of 4th November, with its very generous offer to lend At the Dressmaker or Still Life with Photo. I have discussed this offer with David Scrase, and we should be delighted to show here on loan from you At the Dressmaker, an early masterpiece of your painting which we both particularly admire. It would be a great pleasure to have it here at least during my remaining period as Director, which comes to an end at the end of September 1990.’ Michael Jaffé, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, to MarieLouise von Motesiczky, 19 January 1989: ‘You proposed that the Fitzwilliam should have one of the wonderful series of your mother, the still life with a photograph, and a landscape besides At the Dressmaker, which we hope may come to us soon to join Baron Philippe de Rothschild which is already on our walls. We look forward to displaying At the dressmaker … As to bringing At the dressmaker here soon, I am telling David Scrase to arrange collection at the first opportunity that may be convenient to you, now that I have your word that you do not require insurance here’ W.F. Northam, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 10 February 1989: ‘The Museum’s Syndics, when they met recently, were delighted to accept your most generous offer to let us have on loan your painting At the Dressmaker, which was greatly admired by all those present. The Syndics noted that the loan is for the remaining period of Professor Jaffe’s Directorship. We shall be both pleased and honoured to be able to show such a masterpiece.’


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Michael Jaffé, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, to MarieLouise von Motesiczky, 22 January 1990: ‘The Syndics at their meeting on 22 January joined me in expressing delight that the loan of your early masterpiece At the Dressmaker is to continue here. You are most generous in this decision. I am happier that it is not to leave when I leave at the end of September.’ David Scrase, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 10 July 1993: ‘I am utterly delighted at your generosity in giving us your two pictures; they look so well here and I was so worried that they might not have stayed – but now they will! And we shall always have a bit of each end of MarieLouise’s career – I can not thank you sufficiently.’ Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Simon Jervis, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 13 July 1993: ‘As you know Professor Jaffé persuaded me to lend to the Fitzwilliam Museum two of my paintings, At the dressmaker and the portrait Phillip de Rothschild after the exhibition of my works in Cambridge in 1985 arranged through the good services of Peter Black. I have been happy with the way they are displayed in the Fitzwilliam and have decided to offer them as a gift if the Syndicate will accept them. It would give me great pleasure to know that my work will remain publicly accessible and visited.’ Simon Jervis, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, to MarieLouise von Motesiczky, 23 July 1993: ‘The Syndics at their meeting here on 19th July were delighted to be offered your impressive paintings At the Dressmaker’s and Philippe de Rothschild as gifts to the Museum. They accepted most gratefully and have asked me to convey their thanks to you. I too am delighted by your generosity; it is wonderful that these paintings will now be part of our permanent collection.’ sources from the f itzwilliam museum, cambridge, collection david scrase

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notes

bibliography

1 ‘Im übrigen habe ich dem Becki Photos von meinen Sachen gezeigt u. er war ganz zufrieden – hab Fortschritte gemacht sagt er – Du weisst dass ich darüber guter Laune bin!! Auch das Schneiderinnenbild ist jetzt Gott sei Dank fertig u. wenn ich nach Berlin komm kann ich frisch anfangen.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Henriette von Motesiczky, 17 March 1930 (postmark): Motesiczky archive. 2 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, undated manuscript: Motesiczky archive. 3 Ein bischen Asche ist noch da von den Händen die dieses Kleid, Stich für Stich genäht Dann aber kam der Sensenmann, der all das Leben nieder meht. Wir hätten das Recht betrübt zu sein Doch lachen wir wie ein kleines Kind Weil wir so weit von der Waheit sind. (Motesiczky archive) 4 Conradi 2001, pp. 389 f. 5 Brookner 2003, pp. 108 f. I thank Yukiko Kitamura for this reference. 6 McNeill 2005, pp. 11 f.

Hart 1966, n.p.; Muschik 1966, n.p.; Pack 1966, n.p.; Reifenberg 1966a, n.p.; illus. in Süddeutsche Zeitung, 4 October 1967; Dr. S. 1968, n.p.; Berryman 1985, p. 628; Taylor 1985, n.p., illus. n.p.; Gaisbauer 1986, n.p.; Fallon 1987, n.p.; Vann 1987, p. 14, illus. p. 16 (col.); Fallon 1988, n.p.; Adler 1994, p. 18; Black 1994, illus. on cover; Fitzwilliam Museum, 1994, illus. p. 35; G.F. 1994, n.p.; Kruntorad 1994, n.p.; Packer 1994, n.p.; PlakolmForsthuber 1994, p. 166 (Beim Schneider); Schmidt 1994a, p. 6; Tabor 1995, n.p.; Anonymous [Jeremy Adler] 1996, n.p.; Fallon 1996, n.p.; Tate Gallery, 1996, p. 501 (At the Tailor); Black 1997, p. 992; Borzello 1998, p. 139, illus. p. 140 (col.); Smithson 1999, n.p.; Vorderwülbecke 1999, pp. 37, 54 f.n., illus. p. 84; Conradi 2001, p. 389; Phillips 2001, p. 30; Michel 2003, pp. 46 f., 49, 61, 65, 69, illus. Abb. 56 (col.); Lloyd 2004, p. 214 (Beim Kleidermacher); Vann 2004, p. 100; Kitamura 2006, pp. 13, 23; Kneller 2006, n.p.; Lloyd 2006, pp. 38 f.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 84; Schlenker 2006d, p. 255; Sternburg 2006, n.p., illus. n.p. (col.); Lloyd 2007, pp. 60, 71 f., 172, 211, 259 f.n., illus. fig. 16 (col.); Michel 2007, p. 118, illus. p. 117 (col.); Spiegler 2007, n.p., illus. n.p.; Weinzierl 2007, illus. n.p.

provenance Artist; Sophie Brentano (purchased at 1960 exhibition); artist (probably not returned after 1966–8 exhibitions); Fitzwilliam Museum (on loan since 1989, presented by the artist in 1993). exhibitions London 1960, no. 4, dated 1929; London 1964, no. 19, dated 1929; Vienna 1966, no. 6, illus.; Linz 1966, no. 6, illus.; Munich 1967, no. 6, illus.; Bremen 1968, no. 6, illus.; London 1985, no. 14, illus. p. 25 (col.); Cambridge 1986, no. 14, illus. p. 25 (col.); Vienna 1994, no. 10, illus. (col.); Manchester 1994, no. 9, illus. on cover; Vienna 1995, no. 49, p. 308, illus. p. 147 (col.); Vienna 1999b, no. 127, p. 138, illus. p. 151 (col.); London 2000, no. 1930, p. 116, illus. p. 117 (col.); Liverpool 2006, no. 20, illus. p. 85 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 20, illus. p. 85 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 20, illus. p. 85 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 20, illus. p. 85 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 20, illus. p. 85 (col.).

Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to David Scrase, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 11 July 1993: ‘This is just to tell that I would like to make a present to the Fitzwilliam with “The Dressmaker” and “Rothschild” and to thank you for your incurigement’ Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to David Scrase, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 24 July 1993: ‘But with out you and your nice words and knowing that you are happy that Rothschild and “At the dressmaker” will never leave the Fitzwilliam Museum … I would be: very unhappy!’

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Nude 1931 Oil on canvas, 862 × 459 mm Dated (bottom right): 1931 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Probably the largest nude Motesiczky painted, this is an unusually serious and slightly laboured work. It has the air of a set task in a life-class. Uneasy with being on display, the unknown, probably professional, model adopts a tense, stiffly upright posture in her chair. Apart from her stockings, the top parts of which are just visible, she is completely naked. Her dense brown hair, held back with a slide on one side, frames an anxious face in which only the bright red lips stand out. Her eyes are not engaging with the viewer but focusing on something outside the realm of the picture. Her right hand performs a curious gesture: resting on one leg, it is pointing towards the stomach in an awkward and probably uncomfortable movement.

Fig. 57 Paula Modersohn-Becker, Halbakt einer sitzenden Bäuerin, 1900, tempera on canvas, 817 × 537 mm (Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Land Niedersachsen, Landkreis Osterholz)

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It may have been paintings like this that induced Max Beckmann to compare Motesiczky’s work with that of the German artist Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876–1907). Motesiczky recollects how Beckmann, probably while she attended his master-class in Frankfurt in 1927/8, managed to boost her artistic selfconfidence and inspire her with a few pointed sentences: ‘“Paula Modersohn was the best woman painter in Germany – well, you have every chance of succeeding her.” A pause. “But

don’t get a swollen head, you aren’t there yet.”’1 Beckmann’s pupil subsequently took the suggestion of direction and encouragement on board. Modersohn-Becker’s Halbakt einer sitzenden Bäuerin, 1900 (fig. 57), is particularly striking in its stylistic links, its simplicity and grandeur to this nude by Motesiczky. note 1 Motesiczky 1984, p. 52.


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Model with Parasol Modell mit Sonnenschirm c. 1932 Oil on canvas, 650 Ă— 514 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This half-length portrait of a young woman reclining in a canvas deckchair captures an intimate, leisurely moment. Completely at ease, she gazes into the distance, basking in the sunshine. A folded pink shawl, placed beneath her head, acts as a cushion, providing more comfort. Her right hand, resting nonchalantly against her bosom, lightly holds a parasol that partially protects her from the warm sunshine. Motesiczky skilfully captures the play of light and shade on the face and bare arms of the model and on her sleeveless pale green summer dress. The sitter’s identity has not been discovered, nor was it possible to establish whether she was a friend or relative of the artist or a professional model, as the impersonal title seems to suggest.

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Tea-time Jause 1933 Oil on canvas, 472 × 718 mm Signed (bottom left): 1936 Motesiczky Private collection, Switzerland

In this close-up view of an ordinary domestic scene, a chubby-cheeked blonde little girl, probably Wilhelmine, the daughter of Hans Beschorner, the Motesiczkys’ Hinterbrühl chauffeur, is sitting at a table, expectantly eyeing and pointing at the tray in front of her. She is well dressed, wearing a pleated skirt and a frilly blouse underneath her double-breasted pink jacket. The tray, which appears to have a rather irregular shape and was said to have been the artist’s favourite, holds two napkins, a white teapot, a shallow dish, a bowl of peaches, plums and an apple, while a second large, yellow apple that seems not to fit in the bowl is placed next to it. Beside the girl, the second chair is empty, waiting for her companion to signal the beginning of the meal. When the painting was first exhibited in 1939 it was shown under the Dutch title Snoepstertje, referring to a girl who is fond of sweets. In some documents and within the family, the painting is sometimes referred to as Das Wunschkind, the planned or wished-for child. Motesiczky, herself childless, painted very few

portraits of children (see for example Child with a Candle, Birthday Cake and Dog, 1990, no. 310). She does, however, manage to portray this little girl with the utmost empathy and affection. In his introduction to the 1966 exhibition catalogue Benno Reifenberg praised her depiction of the girl as ‘worthy of a [Philipp Otto] Runge’.1 Motesiczky may have been familiar with works such as Frühstückstisch (blau) by Max Beckmann, painted in 1934 (fig. 58), which shows a laid table from a comparable viewpoint, albeit without its human admirer. The painting certainly expresses Motesiczky’s knowledge of Pierre Bonnard’s depictions of similar scenes. Curiously, the painting, which has always been dated 1933 when exhibited, bears the date 1936 in front of the signature. From the surviving documents (variously containing both dates) it is impossible to tell which was the true year of creation. Of the two, 1933 seems altogether more likely with the signature, as in other instances, probably added later and incorrectly.

Fig. 58 Max Beckmann, Frühstückstisch (blau), 1934, oil on canvas, 400 × 1105 mm (Galerie Jan Krugier & Cie, Geneva)

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sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Charlotte Bondy to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, [1985]: ‘Und warum ist “die Jause” nicht in der Ausstellung – hattest Du das nicht extra aus der Schweiz gekriegt? Und es ist SO good – grade auch weil es das einzige Kinderbild ist’ note 1 ‘wie es einem Runge Ehre gemacht hätte’: Reifenberg 1966a, n.p. provenance Artist; Ilse Leembruggen (before 1948); artist (gift after Ilse Leembruggen’s death in 1961); Sophie Brentano; Ursula Brentano (inherited). exhibitions The Hague 1939, shown as Snoepstertje; Vienna 1966, no. 7, illus.; Linz 1966, no. 7, illus.; Munich 1967, no. 7, illus.; Bremen 1968, no. 7, illus.; London 1985, no. 17, illus. p. 27 (col.), probably not shown; Cambridge 1986, no. 17, illus. p. 27 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 25, illus. p. 95 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 25, illus. p. 95 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 25, illus. p. 95 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 25, illus. p. 95 (col.). bibliography Anonymous [1939], n.p.; Gruyter 1939, n.p.; Veth 1939, n.p.; Reifenberg 1966a, n.p.; Michel 2003, p. 51, illus. Abb. 64 (col.); B. Gries 2006, illus. n.p. (detail); R. Gries 2006, n.p.; Huther 2006b, illus. n.p. (col.); Lloyd 2006, pp. 34 f.; Lloyd 2007, p. 39.


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Still-life with Peaked Cap Stilleben mit Schirmmütze 1934 Oil on canvas, 223 × 440 mm Richard Calvocoressi

Motesiczky presented this still-life as a gift to Richard Calvocoressi, its current owner, after her solo exhibition at the Goethe-Institut in London in 1985 which he had organized. She may have chosen this particular work for him because he had occasionally admired the painting and told the artist that it reminded him of Arthur Schnitzler. The three objects, arranged close together, are reminiscent of the Austro-Hungarian world of the Habsburg monarchy recreated in the works by the author and playwright. In the condensed compositional space, they take on an almost monumental appearance, filling the entire canvas. Cutting diagonally across the

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picture plane lies a long branch from a rose bush bearing white flowers in abundance. Behind it, partially hidden by the leaves, rest a blue peaked cap (of a soldier perhaps) and a single yellow glove. It is not known if, with the juxtaposition of these particular objects, the artist, who would have been familiar with Schnitzler’s works, attempted to allude to a particular storyline or a specific literary figure. They may refer to a more personal connection with the person who wore the cap and glove and brought flowers for a lady. provenance Artist; Richard Calvocoressi (gift after 1985 exhibition).


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Still-life with Fruit, Vegetables and Knife Stilleben mit Obst, Gemüse und Messer 1935 Oil on canvas, 290 × 290 mm Signed (bottom left): 1935 Motesiczky Helmut Mark, Vienna

In this still-life with its strikingly vivid colours Motesiczky adopts a close viewpoint. The objects, arranged almost symmetrically, thus appear monumental. A plate with a blue and white pattern holds half of a large lemon, two green peppers, a Mohnsemmel, a poppy-seed bun, and a black-handled knife. The strong sunlight coming in from the left casts marked shadows on the plate, while the small lemon and two red apples behind it remain in shadow. The provenance of Still-life with Fruit, Vegetables and Knife remains unclear. It surfaced only recently, when it was sold at auction from a private collection in the USA, in 2004. provenance Artist; private collection, USA; Helmut Mark (purchased 2004).

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Still-life with Garden Tools 1936 Oil on plywood, 418 × 534 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

By 1936, having lived and studied in Frankfurt, Paris and Berlin, Motesiczky was back in her native Austria, working quietly in her studio in Vienna in the winter and at the family’s estate in Hinterbrühl during the warmer part of the year. This still-life was probably painted in the late summer in Hinterbrühl, a place where the focus was on outdoor activities. Set in an ambiguous, almost abstract space, Motesiczky allows a view of a small number of objects that bear testament to her lifelong fondness for gardens: a pair of garden gloves, secateurs, a sprig with three large leaves and a bowl of fruit, among which are plums and red and green grapes, the light bouncing off each small sphere. In this composition, Motesiczky brings together the fruits of work in the garden and some of the tools necessary to produce them. bibliography López Calatayud 2005, p. 14.

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Self-portrait with Straw Hat Selbstporträt mit Strohhut 1937 Oil on canvas, 554 × 385 mm Signed (bottom right): Motesiczky (‘1937’ overpainted) Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

In Self-portrait with Straw Hat the artist portrays herself dramatically in close-up, setting up a confrontation with the viewer. Her head is seen from below, resulting in a gracefully elongated neck. Her large round eyes and slightly open mouth give her a surprised and questioning expression. She is not holding a brush or another tool of her trade, but an umbrella with a green handle. Inspiration for this unconventional self-portrait came from a painting by one of Motesiczky’s favourite artists: Edouard Manet’s Le Balcon of 1868 (fig. 59). Her teacher, Max Beckmann, who also admired this painting, was particularly interested in the fact that Manet deliberately composed it using only two colours, blue and green.1 According to Peter Black, Motesiczky explained that in Self-portrait with Straw Hat ‘the touches of colour, the surprising blue of the eyes, the green cravat and parasol handle, mirror the colour accents

of cravat, parasol and fan in Manet’s Le balcon painting’.2 The painting received widely varying responses, with critics remarking on Motesiczky’s success in ‘capturing her meditative nervousness in the clever lighting’3 and the striking ‘large brown eyes that forlornly and contemplatively gaze into the distance’.4 Others see ‘a capricious person who was fully aware of her delightful beauty’5 or wonder if this portrait ‘could be the satisfying result of an inspection of the self’.6 Whether one experiences Motesiczky as demure and delicate, or self-assured and defiant, this self-portrait is a testament to an honest introspection. Dating this self-portrait, which was painted in Hinterbrühl, is problematic. While earlier exhibitions settled for 1933, the most recent ones have dated it 1937. Records from the Motesiczky archive are not conclusive and the date ‘1937’ in front of the signature in the bottom right corner of the painting has been overpainted. The assured style of the painting and the mature look of the sitter suggest that the work was created in 1937. notes 1 Motesiczky 1984, p. 52. 2 Peter Black, draft catalogue entry, [1993]: Motesiczky archive. 3 Pyle 1988. 4 ‘großen braunen Augen, die verloren, sinnend in die Ferne blicken’: Aus der Meisterklasse Max Beckmanns, exh. cat. 2000, p. 58. 5 ‘eine kapriziöse Person, die sich ihrer reizenden Schönheit bewusst war’: Nicol 2000. 6 ‘könnte das befriedigende Ergebnis der Selbstbespiegelung sein’: Plakolm-Forsthuber 1994, p. 168. provenance Artist; Michael Croft (? – 1960s); artist; Miriam Rothschild (late 1960s – 1980?); artist.

Fig. 59 Edouard Manet, Le Balcon, 1868, oil on canvas, 1700 × 1245 mm (Musée d’Orsay, Paris)

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exhibitions The Hague 1939, no. 20 or no. 24; London 1941, no. 5 (?); London 1944b, no. 34, shown as Self-portrait with a Straw Hat; Amsterdam 1952; The Hague 1952; Vienna 1966, no. 8, illus., dated 1933; Linz 1966, no. 8, illus., dated 1933; Munich 1967, no. 8, illus., dated 1933; Bremen 1968, no. 8, illus., dated 1933; Frankfurt am Main 1980, no. 71, dated 1933; London 1985, no. 16, illus. p. 68, dated 1933; Cambridge 1986, no. 16, illus. p. 68, dated 1933; Dublin 1988, no. 5, dated 1933; Vienna 1994, no. 13, illus. (col.); Manchester 1994, no. 11; Frankfurt am Main 2000, p. 58 (dated 1933), illus. p. 59 (col.); Permanent collection, Museum des Expressiven Realismus, Schloß Kißlegg, Kißlegg, Germany, January 2001–February 2005; Liverpool 2006, no. 26, illus. on cover (detail) and p. 97 (both col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 26, illus. on cover (detail) and p. 97 (both col.); Vienna 2007, no. 26, illus. on cover (detail) and p. 97 (both col.), also exh. poster; Passau 2007, no. 26, illus. on cover (detail) and p. 97 (both col.); Southampton 2007, no. 26, illus. on cover (detail) and p. 97 (both col.). bibliography Anonymous [1939], n.p.; Brandenburg 1952, n.p.; Engelman 1952, n.p.; H.v.C. 1952, n.p.; Veth 1952, n.p.; Reifenberg 1966a, n.p. (dated 1933); Reifenberg 1966b, illus. p. 17; Albrecht 1968, illus. n.p.; Dr. S. 1968, n.p.; Pyle 1988, n.p.; Koch 1994, p. 100; Kruntorad 1994, n.p.; Packer 1994, n.p.; Plakolm-Forsthuber 1994, p. 168; Anonymous 1996b, illus. n.p.; Dollen 1997, p. 1595, illus. p. 1594 (col.); Anonymous 2000b, illus. n.p. (wrong caption); Crüwell 2000, n.p. (Selbstbildnis mit Strohhut); Dollen 2000, pp. 187, 235, 237, illus. p. 234 (col.); Nicol 2000, n.p.; Thomasius 2000, illus. n.p.; illus. in Dreieich-Spiegel, 16 December 2000, p. 3; Michel 2003, p. 51, illus. Abb. 62 (col.); Black 2006, illus. p. 57 (col., mirror image); C.H. 2006, illus. n.p. (col.); Crüwell 2006a, illus. n.p. (detail, col.); B. Gries 2006, n.p.; R. Gries 2006, n.p.; Huther 2006a, n.p.; Huther 2006b, n.p.; Kneller 2006, n.p.; Sander 2006, pp. 120 f.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 96; Weiner 2006, illus. n.p. (col.); Borchhardt-Birbaumer 2007, illus. n.p.; Franke 2007, illus. n.p. (detail); Lloyd 2007, p. 86; Melchart 2007, illus. n.p.; Wiesauer 2007, illus. n.p.


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Woman and Musician 1937 Oil on canvas, 611 Ă— 562 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Woman and Musician is an unusual painting for Motesiczky in terms of colour, motif and composition. It appears to depict a scene in a fashionable bar or club. In the background, an elegantly dressed musician with a red beard plays an instrument that resembles a cello, although it seems disproportionately small, and the foreground is dominated by a pensive young woman. She is wearing a fashionable, asymmetrical black-and-mauve evening gown, and a red hat sits coquettishly on the side of her dark hair. Mauve eyeshadow and red lipstick match her clothes. Perching on the edge of a chair, she is leaning on what appears to be the arm of a sofa. Head in hand, she stares down at the empty seat in front of her. exhibitions Amsterdam 1952, shown as CafĂŠ or Rendez-vous (?); The Hague 1952, shown as Rendez-vous. bibliography Brandenburg 1952, n.p.; Buys 1952, n.p.; Filarski 1952b, n.p.; H.v.C. 1952, n.p.; Veth 1952, n.p. (?); Michel 2003, p. 40, illus. Abb. 46 (col.) (Frau und Musiker).

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Hilda Hilda, meine Milchschwester c. 1937 Oil on canvas, 345 × 283 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Hilda (or Hilde) was the daughter of Marie Hauptmann, Motesiczky’s Bohemian wetnurse and lifelong loyal family friend to whom the artist paid a touching tribute in the posthumous painting Marie in Doorway, after 1954 (no. 134). While working at her first job in Vienna, the young Marie Hauptmann became pregnant by the son of the house. When her illegitimate daughter, Hilda, was born, probably in 1906, she was given away and brought up by relatives. Marie Hauptmann found a new position in the Motesiczky household. The term ‘Milchschwester’ in the German title refers to the fact that the babies Hilda and Marie-Louise shared Marie Hauptmann’s milk, like real sisters. Contact between Marie Hauptmann and Hilda was not severed and family tradition has it that, as children, Hilda would sometimes play with Marie-Louise. After the artist and her mother had left Austria in 1938, it seems that Hilda managed to help and protect the artist’s brother Karl on several occasions when he was forced to fight the National Socialist regime (for example in connection with the seizure of the property in Hinterbrühl). Sadly, Hilda’s fate is unknown. The family suspects that she died during the Second World War, perhaps in the bombing raid on Dresden in February 1945. This small and informal study of Hilda’s head shows a young and earnest, almost sad, smooth oval face. Her eyes are unfocused and she seems lost in thought. Unusually, the light streams in from the right so that the right half of Hilda’s face is cast in shadow. Her hair is arranged in a severe style, revealing her ears. The painting appears almost monochrome, brightened only by a colourful scarf around the sitter’s neck. Hilda has sometimes been dated 1927, yet, judging by the age of the sitter and the markedly independent style, it is more likely that the recent suggestion of c. 1937 is correct.

exhibitions Dublin 1988, no. 2, dated 1927; Vienna 1994, no. 14, illus. (col.); Manchester 1994, no. 12, shown as Hilda, Daughter of my Wetnurse, 1937; Liverpool 2006, no. 27, illus. p. 99 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 27, illus. p. 99 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 27, illus. p. 99 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 27, illus. p. 99 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 27, illus. p. 99 (col.). bibliography López Calatayud 2005, p. 30 (Portrait of Hilda); R. Gries 2006, n.p.; Sander 2006, pp. 122 f.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 98.

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Frau Ziegler Porträt Frau Ziegler

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Frau Zischka Porträt Frau Zischka

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Oil on canvas, 305 × 241 mm Dated (bottom right): 1938 Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna (LG 928)

Oil on canvas, 955 × 637 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This portrait, one of the smallest works by Motesiczky, depicts an elderly woman who is said to have been a Viennese dressmaker. It focuses entirely on the sitter’s head, which almost fills the canvas, leaving hardly any background visible. Her strong neck and large face, full of character, stand out from the dark and sombre colours, some wisps of grey curly hair, a black hat and a brown coat, that surround it. The date of the portrait has been variously given as 1936 or 1938 and cannot be clarified with any certainty. If the signature – not always a reliable source of information in Motesiczky’s case – is to be believed, 1938 is correct. Frau Ziegler was shown in Motesiczky’s exhibition at the Wiener Secession in 1966, her first solo exhibition in her native Austria. It was purchased by the Österreichische Galerie in Schloß Belvedere in January 1967 for 20,000 Schillings. The artist recollects that ‘the

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Belvedere bought the very smallest painting for such a tiny sum that I straight away lost it in a telephone box. The first money I had earned … at sixty.’1 note 1 ‘das Belvedere hat das allerkleinste Bild gekauft um so eine kleine Summe, daß ich sie sofort in einer Telefonzelle verloren hab’. Mein erstes verdientes Geld … mit sechzig.’: Gaisbauer/Janisch 1992, p. 173. provenance Artist; Österreichische Galerie Belvedere (purchased 1967). exhibitions Vienna 1966, no. 9, dated 1936; Linz 1966, no. 9, dated 1936; Munich 1967, no. 9, dated 1936; Bremen 1968, no. 9, dated 1936; London 1985, no. 18, illus. p. 67, dated 1936; Vienna 1994, no. 16, illus. (col.). bibliography b. 1966, n.p.; Gaisbauer 1986, n.p.; Gaisbauer/Janisch 1992, p. 173; Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts, 1997, p. 118, illus. p. 118; Vorderwülbecke 1999, pp. 25, 54, 56 f.n., illus. p. 64; Schlenker 2006b, pp. 202, 205; Schlenker 2006d, p. 259.

According to one of Motesiczky’s address books, Rosa Zischka last lived at Lichtensteinstraße 126 in Vienna. Frau Zischka, who is believed to have worked in a Viennese bank, probably befriended the Motesiczky family in the 1930s. Contact was resumed after the war when the artist’s mother, on holiday in Vienna, repeatedly reported back to her daughter that she had met Frau Zischka. Henriette von Motesiczky, although eager for conversation after her tranquil life in Amersham, did not seem to enjoy Frau Zischka’s company very much: on more than one occasion, she described her as ‘very boring’.1 In 1956 she compared the model, who seems to have temporarily lost weight, favourably with her portrait: ‘Frau Zischka was also here, she looks good and big again, as in your picture.’2 In the large portrait, painted the year the artist and her mother left Austria, Frau Zischka is shown seated in a red leather armchair in front of a wall separated from the window on the right by a cream-coloured curtain. She has a monumental presence, her robust, middleaged figure clad in a plain black dress, which seems too tight in places. Her hands are gently folded in her lap. Motesiczky seems to have been especially pleased with them. In 1985, she acknowledged the artistic influence of Dutch old masters that shaped their creation: ‘The hand on “Frau Zischka” would not have been possible without F. Hals, and so many other masters, small and very big like Ver Meer’.3 Together with the multicoloured shawl covering Frau Zischka’s hair, her sunlit face with a worldly-wise yet resigned smile contrasts dramatically with her solemn dress, which dominates the simple yet very expressive picture. Even Elias Canetti, having initially disliked the portrait, which hung in the hallway in the artist’s house, came to appreciate it when he saw it in different surroundings at Motesiczky’s exhibition in Munich in 1954.


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sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 17 September 1954: ‘Nun bin ich also in München, wo ich vorgestern ankam. Als Erstes ging ich in die Ausstellung, allerdings mit der Gretl, der ich nicht gut nein sagen konnte. Ich war sehr glücklich darüber, es sieht wunderschön aus. Die meisten Bilder kommen gut zur Geltung; das Einzige, das wirklich schlecht gehängt ist, ist die Georgette mit Bankert, das bemerkt man kaum – aber vielleicht war kein anderer Platz. Das sage ich nur, um einen Einwand zu machen, weil sonst mein Lob falsch klingen könnte. Die Räume finde ich ausgezeichnet. Kannst Du Dir vorstellen, wie mir zumute war, sie alle wieder vorzufinden, in einer neuen Nachbarschaft, so frisch und strahlend und Du selbst dreimal als Porträt an der Wand, ich wenigstens als Karikatur. Meine Überzeugungen über den höheren Wert mancher Bilder im Vergleich zu andern haben sich bestätigt. Aber manche Vorurteile habe ich doch verloren. Die Zischka finde ich jetzt viel schöner. Ich glaube, es war ihr Platz am Stiegenaufgang bei uns, der sie mir verleidet hat.’ Daniele Grassi, typescript, c. 1986, p. 4: ‘Wenn man “Frau Zischka” von 1938 mit dem “Arbeiter” von 1926 vergleicht, kann man den Weg ermessen, den Du zurückgelegt hast in der luftigen Kompaktheit der Volumen, der meisterhaften Brechung der Linie, der beinahe sinnlichen Saftigkeit des Lichtes.’ notes 1 ‘sehr fad’: Henriette von Motesiczky to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 22 January 1953: Motesiczky archive. 2 ‘Frau Zischka war auch da, sie schaut wieder gut u. dick aus, wie auf Deinem Bild.’: Henriette von Motesiczky to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 14 March 1956: Motesiczky archive. 3 ‘Die Hand auf “Frau Zischka” unmöglich ohne F. Hals, und so viele andere Meister, Kleinere und ganz grosse wie Ver Meer’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, notebook entry for 5 May 1985: Motesiczky archive. exhibitions The Hague 1939, no. 22; Munich 1954, no. 105, shown as Porträt Frau Z.; Vienna 1966, no. 11, illus.; Linz 1966, no. 11, illus.; Munich 1967, no. 11, illus.; Bremen 1968, no. 11, illus.; Frankfurt am Main 1980, no. 73; London 1985, no. 20, illus. p. 31 (col.); Cambridge 1986, no. 20, illus. p. 31 (col.); Vienna 1994, no. 15, illus. (col.); Manchester 1994, no. 15; Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 28, illus. p. 101 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 28, illus. p. 101 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 28, illus. p. 101 (col.).

bibliography A.d.B. 1939, n.p.; Anonymous [1939], n.p.; Gruyter 1939, n.p.; Veth 1939, n.p.; b. 1966, n.p.; Hart 1966, n.p.; Reifenberg 1966a, n.p.; Berryman 1985, p. 628; Calvocoressi 1985, p. 63; Black 1994, pp. 6 f., illus. p. 7; Schmidt 1994a, p. 6; Vorderwülbecke 1999, pp. 38 f., illus. p. 89; Phillips 2001, p. 30; Michel 2003, p. 30, illus. Abb. 28 (col.); Canetti 2005b, illus. p. 84 (detail); López Calatayud 2005, p. 32 (Frau Zischa), illus. n.p. (detail, col.); Wachinger 2005, illus. p. 92 (detail); Sander 2006, pp. 122 f.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 100; Schlenker 2006d, illus. p. 260; Lloyd 2007, illus. fig. 26 (detail).

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Self-portrait with Red Hat Selbstporträt mit rotem Hut 1938 Oil and charcoal on canvas, 507 × 355 mm Signed (top right): Motesiczky (‘1938’ overpainted) Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This self-portrait, ‘perhaps the best known of her works’,1 has been shown in many exhibitions and mentioned in numerous exhibition reviews. It appeared on the cover of the 1985 Goethe-Institut exhibition catalogue and was used on the accompanying poster. In 1996, most obituaries also used this image which has become something of a ‘trademark’ for its encapsulation of Motesiczky’s artistic style and the elegance and beauty of her persona. The picture was painted at a time of great political and personal turmoil, as Motesiczky recalls: ‘Hitler marched into Austria, and the next morning I went with mother to the family in Holland … Mother felt very lost in the new Dutch surroundings at Hilversum. I carried on painting, Self-portrait with Red Hat, and other things.’2 The artist, aged thirty-one, depicts herself wearing a striking, stylish red hat, a matching dress, with a contrasting lilac flower

brooch and a bracelet. The hat perches coquettishly on her blonde hair at an angle. Her slender left hand, which curiously has only four fingers, delicately touches its brim as if slightly correcting its position or self-consciously holding it in place. The gesture could almost be read as a farewell to the native country she was forced to leave. Her large, dark, questioning eyes and the small, slightly parted, bright-red lips give her face the air of intense and thoughtful self-observation. Yet attention is diverted from the artist’s face by the mask-like dark male profile, commemorating an unnamed ‘flame who was not to be recognized’,3 on the far right. The silhouette is mysteriously leaning towards the artist, who is shielded by the rim of her hat. Critics have picked up on the contrast between the ‘impressive elegance’4 of the ‘enchanting-sparkling creature’5 and the ‘pensive, questioning’6

aspects of her facial expression. Generally, however, this self-portrait seems to be understood as a courageous statement of self-affirmation and self-confidence, both as a young woman and a painter, ready to take on the world. sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 31 January 1952: ‘Dieser Brief wird Dich wahrscheinlich am Tag vor der Eröffnung erreichen, und er soll Dir Glück bringen. Alles wird gut gehen, ich verspreche es Dir. Vergiss nicht, immer rechtzeitig ein bisschen Wein zu trinken, aber nie zu viel. Für Leute wie Dich ist der Wein ein Segen. Ich weiss nicht, ob Du schon den Mut aufgebracht hast, den Kunstleuten zu sagen, dass das frühe Selbstbildnis aus Privatbesitz ist. Aber ich erinnere Dich daran, Tue es rechtzeitig, denn die Folgen einer Nachlässigkeit in dieser Sache wären sehr ernste

Fig. 60 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky and Veza Canetti in Motesiczky’s studio in Amersham with Self-portrait with Red Hat, photograph, early 1940s (Motesiczky archive)

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und ganz jenseits von meinem Willen und meiner Macht. Schreib mir bald mehr. Ich habe mir einige hundert Daumen angeschafft, um sie alle für Dich zu halten, ich bin mit Daumen förmlich behängt, ich trag einen Daumenrock – wenn das nichts nützt, dann hätte nichts genützt. Aber es wird nützen.’

Fig. 61 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky in front of Self-portrait with Red Hat in the exhibition ‘Hampstead in the Thirties. A Committed Decade’, Camden Arts Centre, London, photograph, 1974 (Motesiczky archive)

Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 17 August 1954: ‘heute war ich beim Direktor die Räume endgültig bestimmen … sagte mir sehr schöne Dinge über die Bilder – es sei eine starke Malerei u. echt u. käme vom Herzen – von Ihrem Selbstporträt war er hingerissen aber auch zum Glück von einigen anderen … Er hasse sonst das süsse Lacheln der Österreicher überhaupt die Wiener hasse er – aber dass, dass (auf das Selbstporträt) gefiele ihm. Ich sagte da sei für der Beckmann vielleicht ein gutes Gegengewicht gewesen.’ notes 1 Phillips 2001, p. 31. 2 Motesiczky 1985, p. 13. 3 ‘Schwarm, der nicht erkannt werden sollte’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky quoted in Plakolm-Forsthuber 1994, p. 169. 4 ‘eindrucksvollen Eleganz’: Adler 1994, p. 18. 5 ‘bezaubernd-spritzigen Geschöpf ’: Schmidt 1994a, p. 6. 6 ‘versonnenen, fragenden’: Zimmermann 1985. provenance Artist; Elias Canetti (1952? – early 1990s); artist. exhibitions The Hague 1939, no. 20 or no. 24; Amsterdam 1952; The Hague 1952, no. 7 (?); Munich 1954, no. 106; London 1960, no. 5, shown as Self-portrait with hat; Vienna 1966, no. 12, illus. (col.); Linz 1966, no. 12, illus. (col.); Munich 1967, no. 12, illus. (col.); Bremen 1968, no. 12, illus. (col.); London 1974, no. 87, shown as Self-Portrait with a Red Hat; Frankfurt am Main 1980, no. 72; London 1985, no. 22, illus. on cover and p. 33 (both col.), also exh. poster; Cambridge 1986, no. 22, illus. on cover and p. 33 (both col.); Vienna 1994, no. 18, illus. (col.); Manchester 1994, no. 13; London 1994, no. 55, illus. p. 27 (col.); Vienna 1999b, no. 130, p. 139 (Selbstbildnis mit rotem Hut), illus. p. 153 (col.); Liverpool 2006, no. 29, illus. p. 103 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 29, illus. p. 103 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 29, illus. p. 103 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 29, illus. p. 103 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 29, illus. p. 103 (col.). bibliography Anonymous [1939], n.p., illus. n.p.; illus. in Het Vaderland, 21 January 1939; illus. in Vánoční Čtení, literary supplement of Nového Československa, [December 1944]; Basoski 1952, n.p.; Buys 1952, n.p., illus. n.p.; H.v.C. 1952, n.p.; Veth 1952, n.p.; F.N. [Fritz Nemitz] [1954], n.p., illus. n.p.; Baldaß 1955, p. 219, illus. p. 218; Motesiczky 1964, illus. n.p. (Selbstbildnis); Freundlich 1966, n.p., illus. n.p.; Reifenberg 1966a, n.p.; M.B. 1967, n.p.; illus. in Münchner Merkur and Oberbayerisches Volksblatt (Rosenheim), 6 October 1967; Dr. S. 1968, n.p.; Helmolt 1980, n.p., illus. n.p.; Malcor [1980], n.p.; Berryman 1985, p. 628; f.th. 1985, n.p. (Selbstbildnis mit rotem Hut); Motesiczky 1985, p. 13; Schwab 1985, illus. p. 8; Zimmermann

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1985, n.p., illus. n.p.; Anonymous 1986, illus. n.p.; Gaisbauer 1986, illus. n.p.; Hampstead Artists 1946–1986, exh. cat. 1986, illus. p. 14; Fallon 1987, illus. n.p.; Adler 1994, p. 18; Anonymous 1994h, illus. n.p. (detail); Black 1994, p. 6; Gombrich 1994, illus. p. 135 (col.); Koch 1994, p. 99; Kruntorad 1994, n.p.; Packer 1994, illus. n.p. (col.); Plakolm-Forsthuber 1994, pp. 168 f., 177, illus. p. 169 (col.); Schmidt 1994a, p. 6; Neue Sachlichkeit, exh. cat. 1995, illus. p. 139; Tabor 1995, illus. n.p.; Anonymous [Jeremy Adler] 1996, n.p., illus. n.p.; Black 1996, illus. n.p.; Fallon 1996, n.p.; Fellner/Nagler 1996, p. 14; Schmidt 1996, illus. n.p.; Neuerwerbungen, exh. cat. 1999, p. 104; Smithson 1999, illus. n.p.; Phillips 2001, p. 31; Michel 2003, pp. 52, 58 f., illus. Abb. 68 (col.); Foster 2004, p. 143; Lloyd 2004, p. 216, illus. p. 219 (detail); Vann 2004, p. 100, illus. p. 100 (col.); Canetti 2005b, illus. p. 84; Canetti 2005d, illus. n.p. (col.); López Calatayud 2005, pp. 9, 12, 16, 19 f., 26–8, 32, illus. n.p. (full and numerous details, col.); Schlenker 2005, p. 134, illus. p. 135; Wachinger 2005, illus. p. 92 (detail); Anonymous 2006, illus. n.p. (detail); Behr 2006, p. 561, illus. p. 561 (col.); Breidecker 2006a, n.p., illus. n.p. (col.); Crüwell 2006b, illus. n.p. (col.); Davies 2006a, n.p., illus. n.p.; R. Gries 2006, n.p.; Klein 2006, illus. n.p. (detail); Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, exh. booklet 2006, n.p., illus. on cover and n.p. (both col.); RC 2006, illus. n.p.; Sander 2006, pp. 120 f.; Schlenker 2006b, pp. 194 f.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 102; Schlenker 2006d, p. 255, illus. p. 259; Lloyd 2007, pp. 98 f., 115, 122, 149, 174, illus. on cover (col.), fig. 20 (col.) and fig. 26 (detail).


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Still-life with Sheep Stilleben mit Schafen 1938 Oil in canvas, 400 × 805 mm Dated (bottom left): 1938 Tate, London (T04850)

This still-life was painted in the Hotel Pays-Bas in Amsterdam where the artist and her mother found refuge for a while after leaving Austria in March 1938. The anonymous atmosphere of the hotel room is made more familiar by the arrangement of a still-life on an ironing board that, according to the artist, had simply been ‘the most convenient surface available’.1 Carefully covered with a white tablecloth, it determines the unusual oblong shape of the painting. The group of objects, painted in a harmonious combination of yellow, blue and white, is depicted with a startling immediacy and seen from a strikingly close-up viewpoint. A bright grapefruit, dark blue grapes, placed in hollowed grapefruit halves, and yellow flowers are displayed next to two eighteenth-century enamelled Chinese cloisonné sheep. These decorative animals, family heirlooms and reminders of the Viennese home in the foreign country, were among the few precious items

the artist managed to take with her from Vienna. They stayed with her throughout her life. In the artist’s estimation, the painting probably took about three weeks to complete. Its creation was motivated by the wish ‘to paint something beautiful’ and the desire ‘to paint and to dream’ and presumably forget the immediate personal circumstances while working on the painting.2 sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Richard Morphet, Tate Gallery, London, to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, [1986]: ‘Your works in the Tate are causing much interest & enjoyment to visitors.’ Elinor Verdemato to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 23 March 1988: ‘Eigentlich möchte ich Dir heute nur gratulieren, denn von Peter hörte ich, daß Du 3 Bilder nun in der Tate hängen hast. Das ist doch einfach grossartig und so schön daß Du es erlebst!’

notes 1 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Sean Rainbird, 27 November 1987, quoted in Tate Gallery, 1996, p. 502. 2 Ibid. provenance Artist; Tate Gallery (purchased 1986). exhibitions The Hague 1939; London 1985, no. 21, illus. p. 30 (col.); Cambridge 1986, no. 21, illus. p. 30 (col.); London 1986c; Vienna 1994, no. 17, illus. (col.); Manchester 1994, no. 14; Liverpool 2006, no. 30, illus. p. 105 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 30, illus. p. 105 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 30, illus. p. 105 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 30, illus. p. 105 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 30, illus. p. 105 (col.). bibliography Veth 1939, n.p.; Tate Gallery, 1986, n.p.; Fallon 1987, n.p.; Vann 1987, p. 15; Platt [1994], illus. p. 40 (detail); Tate Gallery, 1996, pp. 502 f., illus. p. 502; Vorderwülbecke 1999, pp. 39, 54 f.n., 56 f.n., illus. p. 91; Phillips 2001, p. 31; Michel 2003, pp. 52, 55, illus. Abb. 67 (col.); Sander 2006, pp. 126 f.; Schlenker 2006b, pp. 194 f., 204 f.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 104; Schlenker 2006d, p. 260, illus. p. 261 (detail); Lloyd 2007, pp. 99, 207, 267 f.n.

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Figures Walking to Church 1930s Oil on canvas, 450 × 350 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

In this rare cityscape Motesiczky presents a view of a large building on a square. It is constructed from a pleasing mixture of red brick and cream stone, adorned with green shutters and a large green blind on the first floor. The grey slate roof is topped by a small tower. Trees obscure the view of the nearby houses. The scene is empty apart from two couples, one dressed in black, the other in white, walking across the open space in front of the building. It has been suggested that the building is a church, but this seems unlikely. Equally, it is not possible to establish in which town or even which country the building is located; Austria and the Netherlands have been mentioned. Some areas are left in a rather unfinished state, with the bare canvas showing through in places. This is particularly obvious around the figures, where the charcoal underdrawing also comes through, a technique the artist employed early in her career.

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The Travellers Die Reisenden 1940 Oil on canvas, 667 × 753 mm Signed (centre bottom): Motesiczky 1940 (‘1941’ overpainted, probably originally Motesicky with z inserted later) Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, on permanent loan to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh

The Travellers, painted in a rented flat in Adelaide Road, London, shortly after the artist and her mother had arrived in England in 1939, recalls Motesiczky’s experience of crossing the Channel. A wooden barge is drifting helplessly on a rough, stormy sea. No land is in sight and there are no sails or oars to manoeuvre the little vessel, which appears to have no specific destination. The boat contains a group of four inappropriately dressed, or naked, vulnerable passengers. On the left, a woman with long hair, who sits comfortably on a cushion, is holding a large, ornate mirror in which she inspects the reflection of her smiling face.1 Next to her, a nude woman, adorned only with some items of jewellery, is carrying an oblong brown object which has been variously interpreted as a missile, a giant cigar, a Torah scroll or an urn containing the ashes of her lover. The artist has explained that it is in fact a Wurst, a large Austrian sausage. On the right a young man is dangling his foot in the waves while behind him a third woman gazes fearfully at the dark sky. Critics have attempted to identify the four travellers as members of the Motesiczky household (her nanny, her mother, her brother or uncle and the artist herself ). While publicly the artist was rather reluctant to give a full and specific interpretation of the painting’s content, privately she admitted that those close to her served as models. However, as, ultimately, the passengers are not intended to represent individuals but types, the objects on the boat should be seen symbolically as items of great personal value that have been gathered prior to a sudden departure. The painting originates from the artist’s own experience of exile which led her, first to the Netherlands in 1938 immediately after the

Anschluß, and then to England the following year, but it is more than an account of her personal history. It attempts to express the universal emotions of the sudden departure for a forced journey into exile, coupled with the desperate cheerfulness that made the bitter seriousness of the situation bearable, experienced by so many of her fellow emigrants. In an undated document, Motesiczky describes the mood of uncertainty she is trying to capture: The summer before the Nazi takeover, we played tennis in the country and there were Nazi groups passing by – ‘Sieg Heil, Sieg Heil’. That put me into a fright like an animal trying to escape. My mother and I packed suitcases and left. In a painting of mine, ‘The Travellers’ (1940), of naked refugees in an open boat, I get the feeling of the hectic craziness of it all, like something out of Bosch’s picture ‘The Fools’ [fig. 62].2 In a depersonalization of the painting’s content, which is typical of Motesiczky and underlines the non-autobiographical nature of the work, the title does not reveal the full extent of its meaning. The painting has been exhibited under various titles that hint at the unreal quality of the image and at the fact of a forced voyage: The Dream Boat (1941), Refugees. A Dream (1944), Evacuatie (Evacuation; 1952) and Die Barke der Flüchtigen (1954). In undated private lists the artist sometimes referred to the painting as The Emigrants, but by 1960 it had acquired its present, neutral name which leaves the identity and circumstances of the people on the boat unclear, and lifts the work into the realm of an allegory.

Fig. 62 Hieronymus Bosch, Ship of Fools, after 1491, oil on panel, 580 × 320 mm (Musée du Louvre, Paris)

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sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 20 August 1946: ‘Herr u. Frau Seidler Perlman waren zum Nachtmahl da u. Dr Perlman hat mir optische Teuschungen aufgezeichnet so das mir ganz schlecht u. schwindlig wurde … Aber als er die Barke zu deuten begann wurde es schrecklich banal u. ich war ganz enttäuscht – lustig nur das er die Wurst für eine Torarolle hielt – ich wollte nur ich hatte ihn dabei gelassen! Aber ich war roh u. sagte nur ganz trocken, nein das ist eine Wurst aber die Wurst ist die Torarolle dieser Frau.’ Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 14 August 1947 (postmark): ‘Am wenigsten gefielen ihm [Max Beckmann] die Seidler und die Emmigrantenbarke. Aber Morning in the Garden u. das Mädchen am Feuer gefielen ihm sehr u. eigentlich auch fast alle übrigen Sachen.’ Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 27 June 1950 (postmark), postcard of St Nicholas of Bari rebuking the Tempest by Bicci di Lorenzo: ‘Hier ist ein frommes Urbild zu Deiner “Barke”, nur fasst Deine weniger Leute. Auch schmeissen die Leute ihre kostbaren Pakete über Bord und statt an Würsten halten sie sich an Gebeten fest. Das war auch eine fromme Malerei damals.’ Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 11 September 1954, postcard of The Wherry of St Peter by Taddeo Gaddi (Florence: The Spaniard’s Chapel): ‘Liebstes Muli, endlich eine Postkarte von Dir, wenn auch kein Brief. Dafür kriegst Du eine schöne Barke.’ Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Kurt Wettengl, Historisches Museum, Frankfurt am Main, 3 February 1990: ‘Das Bild “The Travellers” stellt die Stimmung dar, in der wir, meine Mutter und ich und viele andere Emigranten waren; man wußte nicht, wohin die Reise ging, man suchte um Visa nach Japan oder Amerika an, hatte Lieblingsgegenstände mit sich, an denen man festhielt. Zuweilen glich es einem Narrenschiff. Der Preis des Bildes ist 10 000 Pfund.’

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notes 1 As a prop, Motesiczky is said to have used either the large mirror in her room (Plakolm-Forsthuber 1994, pp. 193 f.) or an elaborate porcelain mirror brought from Vienna. 2 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, undated manuscript: Motesiczky archive. provenance Artist; Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust; lent to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (2008). exhibitions London 1941, no. 14, shown as The Dream Boat; London 1944b, no. 54, shown as Refugees. A Dream; Amsterdam 1952, shown as Evacuatie; The Hague 1952; Munich 1954, no. 128, shown as Die Barke der Fl chtigen; London 1960, no. 6, shown as Travellers, 1942; Vienna 1966, no. 13, illus.; Linz 1966, no. 13, illus.; Munich 1967, no. 13, illus.; Bremen 1968, no. 13, illus.; London 1974, no. 88; Frankfurt am Main 1980, no. 74; London 1985, no. 23, illus. p. 70; Cambridge 1986, no. 23, illus. p. 70; Vienna 1994, no. 19, illus. (col.); Manchester 1994, no. 16; Frankfurt am Main 2000, p. 60; Permanent collection, Museum des Expressiven Realismus, Schloß Kißlegg, Kißlegg, Germany, January 2001–February 2005; Liverpool 2006, no. 32, illus. p. 135 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 32, illus. p. 135 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 32, illus. p. 135 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 32, illus. p. 135 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 32, illus. p. 135 (col.). bibliography Brandenburg 1952, n.p.; Petzet 1954, n.p. (Barke der Fl chtigen); Baldaß 1955, p. 218 (Barke der Fl chtenden); Hodin 1961/2, illus. p. 23; Anonymous [Victor Matejka] 1966, p. 15; Freundlich 1966, n.p.; Hart 1966, n.p.; Reifenberg 1966a, n.p.; Spiel 1966, n.p., illus, n.p.; r-sch 1967, n.p.; d.w. 1968, n.p.; Dr. S. 1968, n.p.; J.Wdt. 1968, n.p.; Malcor [1980], n.p.; Calvocoressi 1985, p. 62; Taylor 1985, n.p.; Black 1994, p. 10; Cohen 1994, p. 94; Plakolm-Forsthuber 1994, pp. 166, 193 f., illus. p. 193 (col.); Schmidt 1994a, p. 7; Anonymous 1996b, n.p; Fallon 1996, n.p.; Dollen 1997, p. 1595, illus. p. 1595 (col.); Vorderwülbecke 1999, pp. 39–41, illus. p. 94; Dollen 2000, p. 236, illus. p. 67 (col.); Phillips 2001, p. 31; Michel 2003, p. 53, illus. Abb. 69 (col.); Dollen 2004, p. 133, illus. p. 135; Lloyd 2004, pp. 216 f.; Rothländer 2004a, p. 348, illus. p. 348 (Exodus); Behr 2006, pp. 561 f.; Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, exh. booklet 2006, n.p., illus. n.p. (col.); Marx 2006, n.p., illus. n.p. (col); Sander 2006, pp. 124 f.; Schlenker 2006b, pp. 196 f.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 134; Vinzent 2006, pp. 160 f., illus. on cover (detail) and after p. 387 (col.) (pl. 2); Lloyd 2007, p. 102, illus. fig. 22 (col.).


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Frau Seidler 1940 Oil on canvas, 1005 × 807 mm Signed (bottom left): MM 1942 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, on permanent loan to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh

Presumably, the sitter of this portrait is Mary or Marie Seidler, an opera singer who had emigrated to England from Vienna before the Second World War. Mary Seidler is believed to have been Motesiczky’s landlady, probably in 1939/40, when Motesiczky and her mother lived at 76 Adelaide Road, London. She was certainly a friend and a frequent visitor to the Motesiczky house, as several diary entries and letters suggest. According to Motesiczky, Frau Seidler was a woman ‘who had lost virtually everything’,1 and she produced an appropriately unglamorous portrait. By omission it speaks of her non-Jewish husband, and of the worldly goods and career the former opera singer, who apparently never performed in England, had left behind on the Continent. The portrait shows a woman with a somewhat resigned yet serene expression. Her large figure, dressed completely in black, fills most of the canvas. A white shawl is draped around her shoulders. While her right hand lightly touches a bright red necklace, her left hand lies in her lap. Frau Seidler is seated in front of a wall in an armchair covered in a green-brown floral pattern. The wallpaper, of matching colour, is adorned with a horizontal frieze of which only a small part is visible. The overall calming and reassuring aura of the sitter is mirrored in Motesiczky’s writings. In the early 1940s, presumably during the Blitz, she noted: ‘This morning when I heard Frau Seidler’s voice and she said “a wonderfully quiet night” I thought an angel is speaking to me.’2 A few years later, she recounted a dream in which Frau Seidler, whose voice could be heard from the neighbouring house, appeared as the saviour, come to offer her help.3

sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 14 August 1947 (postmark): ‘Am wenigsten gefielen ihm [Max Beckmann] die Seidler und die Emmigrantenbarke. Aber Morning in the Garden u. das Mädchen am Feuer gefielen ihm sehr u. eigentlich auch fast alle übrigen Sachen.’ notes 1 ‘denen wirklich alles genommen wurde’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, notebook entry for c. 1943: Motesiczky archive. 2 ‘Heute Früh als ich Frau Seidlers Stimme hörte u. sie sagte “a wonderfully quiet night” glaubte ich ein Engel spricht zu mir.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, [early 1940s]: Motesiczky archive. 3 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 30 August 1945: Motesiczky archive. provenance Artist; Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust; lent to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (2006). exhibitions Amsterdam 1952; The Hague 1952; Berlin 1986, shown as Mrs Seidler; Oberhausen 1986, shown as Mrs Seidler, c. 1940; London 1986b, shown as Mrs Seidler, c. 1940; Vienna 1986, shown as Mrs Seidler, c. 1940; Dublin 1988, no. 6. bibliography Engelman 1952, n.p.; H.v.C. 1952, n.p.; Dunne 1988, illus. n.p.; Lloyd 2004, illus. p. 219; López Calatayud 2005, illus. n.p. (detail, col.) (Frau Zischka); Canetti 2005b, illus. p. 84; Wachinger 2005, illus. p. 92 (detail); Sander 2006, pp. 122 f.; Schlenker 2006b, pp. 196 f., illus. pp. 197 (col.), 198 (detail); Lloyd 2007, pp. 103, 122 (Portrait of Frau Seidler), illus. fig. 26 (detail).

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Girl by the Fire Marie am Feuer 1941 Oil on canvas, 510 × 762 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Marie Hauptmann, a shoemaker’s daughter from Bohemia, spent most of her life working for and living with the Motesiczky family. She was a wet-nurse to Marie-Louise and subsequently became a ‘second mother’ to the artist (Motesiczky also made a portrait of Marie Hauptmann’s daughter, Hilda, c. 1937, no. 44). In 1939 Marie followed the Motesiczkys to England where she died in March 1954, aged sixty-nine. In this painting, somewhat misleadingly titled since the figure is obviously a grown woman, Marie Hauptmann is depicted tending a wildly smoking bonfire in the large garden which surrounded the Motesiczkys’ house in Amersham. Marie Hauptmann’s features are not defined clearly enough to be recognizable, but the solid figure, the working clothes and especially the brightly coloured headscarf, which the artist had enjoyed buying for her, identify her beyond doubt. The painting has a rough, sketchy, almost primitive and unfinished air which prompted one critic to compare Marie Hauptmann to ‘a Native American squaw’.1 Elias Canetti, who saw Marie Hauptmann as an integral part of the artist’s life and of his own, and admired her unwavering uprightness and sincerity, liked her portrayal in this painting. The painting as a whole was, he thought, not entirely successful but Marie Hauptmann was just as she should be. One day, he hoped, Motesiczky would paint another, bigger portrait of her.2 She could be seen as taking up his suggestion in the painting Marie in Doorway, made after Marie Hauptmann’s death (no. 134), which again places her in a garden setting (fig. 63). notes 1 Phillips 2001, p. 31. 2 Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, [1946]: Motesiczky archive. exhibitions London 1944b, no. 39, shown as Bon re; Vienna 1966, no. 14; Linz 1966, no. 14; Munich 1967, no. 14; Bremen 1968, no. 14; Liverpool 2006, no. 33, illus. p. 137 (col.). bibliography Hart 1966, n.p.; Phillips 2001, p. 31; Schlenker 2006c, p. 136.

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Fig. 63 Marie Hauptmann serving tea in the garden in Amersham, photograph, early 1940s (Motesiczky archive)


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Still-life with Gong Stilleben mit Gong 1941 Oil on canvas, 420 × 610 mm Signed (bottom left): Motesiczky (originally Motesicky with z inserted later) Private collection, London

Painted during the austerity of the war years in Amersham, this harmoniously coloured still-life utilizes everyday objects from the Motesiczkys’ Viennese household, brought over to England: a gong with a wooden handle, which used to be rung for dinner, with its two red drumsticks, and a bunch of nasturtiums, undoubtedly homegrown, arranged in an unusual, shallow Norwegian vase shaped like a duck. The objects’ surroundings are too vaguely sketched to be identifiable but it has been suggested that they represent a partially visible map. The juxtaposition of these two (at first sight unrelated) items surprised, yet convinced, a contemporary critic. He praised

the musical instrument ‘that has nothing to do’ in the picture, for ‘creating a complete compositional unity’.1 A 1966 photograph2 shows that the signature had originally read ‘Motesicky’, a simplification of the artist’s name that must have been difficult to remember, let alone pronounce. This little trick was probably employed in an effort to make her name more accessible to prospective buyers of her work. Signatures on other paintings, for example Countess with Plum, 1944 (no. 65), and Three Heads, 1944 (no. 69), also had the ‘z’ inserted at a later stage. It is unclear when exactly the artist overpainted the signature.

notes 1 ‘in dem das Instrument nichts verloren hat, aber vollkommene kompositorische Einheit schafft’: f.th. 1985. 2 Hodin 1966, p. 47. provenance Artist; Eva and Jeremy Adler (gift mid-1980s). exhibitions London 1944b, no. 46; Amsterdam 1952; The Hague 1952; Munich 1954, no. 110; London 1960, no. 12, shown as Still life with nasturtiums, 1945; London 1985, no. 24, illus. p. 30 (col.); Cambridge 1986, no. 24, illus. p. 30 (col.); London 1987, no. 50, shown as Still Life with Nasturtiums. bibliography H.v.C. 1952, n.p.; Hodin 1966, illus. p. 47; f.th. 1985, n.p.; Vinzent 2006, p. 159, illus. p. 382; Lloyd 2007, p. 202.

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Mrs Beazly c. 1941 Oil on canvas, 510 × 407 mm Signed (top left): mote ….. (overpainted) Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This is a portrait of an elderly woman called Mrs Beazly. Unfortunately, apart from her last name, nothing else is known about this sitter with a decidedly manly appearance who might have been the Motesiczkys’ cleaner in Amersham. A striking face on a strong, short neck emerges from the bright green blouse, characterized by wrinkles on her forehead and deep lines running from the nose to the sides of the thin-lipped mouth. Her short brown hair is cut in a jaunty, unfeminine style. As in After the Ball, 1949 (no. 87), Motesiczky introduces an oversized left hand which acts almost like a barrier between viewer and model. The signature in this portrait is particularly interesting. While Motesiczky experimented with simplifications of her rather complicated surname in some works (for example, she used the slightly more memorable ‘Motesicky’ in Countess with Plum, 1944, no. 65 – only to correct it later), here she signed with only part of her name and a few dots. Yet, apparently unsatisfied with this solution, she partially overpainted the signature at a later date.

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Self-portrait in Green Selbstporträt in Grün 1942 Oil on canvas, 406 × 304 mm Signed (bottom right): Motesiczky Mirli and Daniele Grassi, Belgium

In 1942, Motesiczky and her mother were living in the relative security of rural Amersham, having escaped the London Blitz. The artist’s long affair with the writer Elias Canetti was in its first, intense phase. This self-portrait, in which the artist seems to take a close, investigative look at herself in these new circumstances, is particularly striking for two reasons. First, her head fills the entire canvas. There are no distractions from the face, such as a hat with which the artist often covered her hair. Second, Motesiczky’s exciting and effusive use of the colour green, for her hair, her face and her clothes, creates a daring and unusual image, emphasized by the contrasting red highlights on the eyelids and the slightly open mouth. Several critics have remarked on the artist’s ‘enormous questioning eyes’,1 yet seem unable to decide whether they express sadness, amazement or alarm. The ultimate accolade for this self-portrait came from a critic in 1966, who praised it as one of Motesiczky’s ‘perfect paintings’.2 Self-portrait in Green was exhibited at the Czechoslovak Institute in autumn 1944. Oskar Kokoschka, a friend of the Motesiczky family from the Vienna days, approached the director of the Tate Gallery, John Rothenstein, enquiring if a painting from the exhibition might be accepted by the museum. Unfortunately, the offer was ultimately declined, despite the fact that John Rothenstein had included Self-portrait in Green on his list of works to be considered for acquisition.3

notes 1 ‘riesigen fragenden Augen’: Baldaß 1955, p. 219. 2 ‘vollkommene Bilder’: Tassié 1966. 3 John Rothenstein to Oskar Kokoschka, 16 October 1944: Motesiczky archive. provenance Artist; Nell Clegg (gift 1940s); artist (probably not returned after 1966 exhibitions); Gretl Rupé (purchased at 1967 exhibition); Mirli and Daniele Grassi (inherited 2000). exhibitions London 1944b, no. 38; Munich 1954, no. 115, shown as Selbstporträt; London 1960, no. 7, shown as Self-portrait, 1943; Vienna 1966, no. 17; Linz 1966, no. 17; Munich 1967, no. 17; Bremen 1968, no. 17; Vienna 1994, no. 21, illus. (col.); Liverpool

2006, no. 35, illus. p. 141 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 35, illus. p. 141 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 35, illus. p. 141 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 35, illus. p. 141 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 35, illus. p. 141 (col.). bibliography Yapou 1944, p. 319; Baldaß 1955, p. 219; Hodin 1960, illus. p. 7 (Self portrait, 1943); Reifenberg 1966a, n.p.; Tassié 1966, n.p.; Dr. S. 1968, n.p.; Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, exh. cat. 1985, illus. p. 58; Koch 1994, p. 100; Kruntorad 1994, n.p.; PlakolmForsthuber 1994, p. 168 (Selbstbildnis in Grün); Schmidt 1994a, p. 7; Neuerwerbungen, exh. cat. 1999, p. 104; Michel 2003, pp. 59, 70, illus. Abb. 83 (col.); Crüwell 2006b, n.p.; R. Gries 2006, n.p.; Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, exh. booklet 2006, n.p.; Vinzent 2006, p. 159, illus. p. 381; Lloyd 2007, p. 115.

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Still-life with Pansies Stilleben mit Stiefmütterchen 1942 Oil on canvas, dimensions unknown Signed (bottom right): Motesiczky. 42 Location unknown

It has not been possible to establish the current location of this still-life. According to an index card in the artist’s estate it was ‘bought by Eric Newton, Amersham, for his mother’. Eric Newton, whose review, ‘The Eye-Witness Painter’, of Motesiczky’s exhibition at the Czechoslovak Institute in 1944, where the painting was shown, was published in the Sunday Times on 8 October 1944, may have purchased the painting from the exhibition. A black-and-white photograph of the painting survives in the artist’s archive, but is, unfortunately, not easy to decipher. A small bouquet of pansies in a bulbous glass vase is placed on what appears to be writing material, perhaps an open writing case (a leather version belonging to the artist’s mother has survived in the Motesiczky archive). On the left, envelopes and perhaps a stamp can be made out, while on the right a long white quill covers what might be letter paper. provenance Artist; Eric Newton, Amersham (probably purchased in the 1940s). exhibitions London 1942, no. 94, shown as Pansies, included as Pansies, no. 38, in the exhibition after the London showing; London 1944b, no. 45.

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Still-life with Apples Stilleben mit Äpfeln 1942 Oil on canvas, 510 × 760 mm Signed (top right): marie louise m. Private collection, Switzerland

This still-life has all the charm of not being artificially assembled. Its simple and casual arrangement looks as natural as if the painting really depicted a table in the Motesiczky house that was used for all sorts of purposes. A selection of everyday objects are gathered on a small table, which is partly and crookedly covered by a white tablecloth. On an oval metal tray, with little feet and an intricately patterned rim, stand two inkpots, one holding a quill. Behind these writing accessories, two piles of books are arranged, closed ones underneath and open ones on top. Four yellow and red apples, two with leaves on their stalks, lie in a line that loosely marks the middle of the table. The painting’s overall harmonious and muted colour scheme of light browns is interrupted by highlights of primary colours in the fruit and the inkpots, as well as splashes of paint indicating a pattern on the tablecloth. It has been suggested that this writing desk is reminiscent of the one used by the artist’s brother, Karl von Motesiczky. He had remained in Austria when Marie-Louise and Henriette von Motesiczky left the country in 1938. Karl von Motesiczky, who was prone to suffer from colds, would always keep apples on his desk. Like After the Ball, 1949 (no. 87), Still-life with Apples is a tribute to her absent sibling whose life had not yet come to its abrupt end. Fig. 64 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, sketch, c. 1942, charcoal on paper, 215 × 345 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust

provenance

Ursula Brentano to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 17 September 1969: ‘Do you remember the still life of books and ink stands plus apples? I so love it, the colours are just magnificent. At the moment it is in the large room in the chalet’

exhibitions

Artist; Ilse Leembruggen (1948?); artist?; Sophie Brentano (1960s?); Ursula Brentano (inherited).

London 1944b, no. 47, shown as Still Life with Apples and Inkpot; Amsterdam 1952; The Hague 1952; Vienna 1966, no. 15; Linz 1966, no. 15; Munich 1967, no. 15; Bremen 1968, no. 15; London 1985, no. 26, illus. p. 34 (col.); Cambridge 1986, no. 26, illus. p. 34 (col.). bibliography H.v.C. 1952, n.p.; Black 1997, p. 992; Vinzent 2006, p. 159, illus. p. 381.

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Fire in July Mädchen am Feuer 1942 Oil on canvas, 560 × 726 mm Signed (bottom right): M Motesiczky Private collection, USA

With its apparently mysterious subject matter, Fire in July, one of Motesiczky’s ‘strange paintings’,1 has always puzzled critics. ‘What is the “Girl by the Fire” up to … before the black hole of the fireplace, is she being sucked in or out with the slightly flowing blueish veil dress, or does she invoke the red flickering embers?’2 A strangely ill-defined, long-legged creature sits on the floor next to a fireplace in which a fire burns vigorously. She is wearing a long, flowing, white dress. A discarded beige coat has fallen from her shoulders. Her bare arms, ending in ill-defined fingers, are stretched out towards the fire to catch some warmth. As the English title implies, the scene takes place on an unusually cold day in the middle of summer when it became necessary to light a fire. The shadowy profile does not closely define the girl’s face. Its distinctive feature is one large, dark eye, not quite correctly positioned in her face. Although the girl seated by the fire ‘is not entirely earthbound but might be a figment born of firelight’,3 the scene could be read without any magical or sinister overtones. In fact, the female figure probably depicts the

artist herself. It is helpful to compare Fire in July with Parting, 1957 (no. 149), which shows her wearing a similar dress and hairstyle, but with more defined features. Motesiczky may have been inspired by a series of photographs taken in the early 1940s during a visit of Veza and Elias Canetti to the Motesiczky family home in Chestnut Lane in Amersham. One photograph shows the artist sitting on the floor of the living room, the largest of the rooms downstairs, which doubled as her studio, legs stretched out in front of her in a way that is very similar to the pose of the girl in the painting (fig. 65). Motesiczky is, in fact, sitting only a few feet away from the distinctive large fireplace of the room. Several other photographs include this impressive construction with its pronounced brick arch, which is unmistakably re-created in the painting. According to Peter Black, Oskar Kokoschka, when shown this painting, expressed his admiration for it and advised the artist not to do any more work on it. The former owner of the painting recalled that it was signed years after its completion, on the insistence of her husband.

sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 14 August 1947 (postmark): ‘Am wenigsten gefielen ihm [Max Beckmann] die Seidler und die Emmigrantenbarke. Aber Morning in the Garden u. das Mädchen am Feuer gefielen ihm sehr u. eigentlich auch fast alle übrigen Sachen.’ Daniele Grassi, typescript, c. 1986, p. 4: ‘Daß Du kurz vor einer fast visionären Betrachtung und Behandlung des Gegenstandes stehst – wie im “Feuer im Juli” von 1942 – wird niemanden mehr wundern.’ notes 1 ‘seltsamen Bilder’: Dr. S. 1968. 2 ‘Was treibt das “Mädchen am Feuer” … vor dem schwarzen Kaminloch, wird es mit dem leicht wehenden bläulichen Schleiergewand hinein- oder hinausgesogen, oder beschwört es die rot züngelnde Glut?’: Reifenberg 1966a, n.p. 3 Anonymous 1985. provenance Artist; Georgette Lewinson (purchased at 1960 exhibition); David Lewinson (inherited 2008). exhibitions London 1944b, no. 55, shown as Figure in Front of a Fire; Munich 1954, no. 122; London 1960, no. 14, dated 1946; Vienna 1966, no. 16, illus.; Linz 1966, no. 16, illus.; Munich 1967, no. 16, illus.; Bremen 1968, no. 16, illus.; London 1985, no. 27, illus. p. 32 (col.); Cambridge 1986, no. 27, illus. p. 32 (col.). bibliography Reifenberg 1966a, n.p.; Dr. S. 1968, n.p.; Anonymous 1985, n.p.; Black 1997, p. 992; Lloyd 2007, p. 122.

Fig. 65 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky posing between her paintings in her studio in Amersham – Veza Canetti is in the background, photograph, early 1940s (Motesiczky archive)

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Old Woman, Amersham Alte Frau, Amersham 1942 Oil on canvas, 913 × 712 mm Signed (bottom right): Motesiczky, underneath, partly visible: 1942 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

The sitter for this portrait was a neighbour of the Motesiczkys in Amersham who, according to the artist, lived to be one hundred years old. Her name is unknown. Although toothless and staring sightlessly into the middle distance she still has an impressive and strong presence. She does, in fact, seem to have weathered all the adversities of her long life and to have conquered extreme old age. This idea would have appealed to the artist, who was familiar with Elias Canetti’s ardent wish to overcome death and who believed in his ability to make people immortal. In a reference to her longevity, the old woman is holding a sheet (not a baby, as a contemporary had suggested) that might be a shroud, a common symbol in Dutch paintings to suggest that the sitter will outlive those around her. The portrait contains one striking element: the shape behind the sitter’s head. Presumably introduced as a compositional element, it is, in fact, a hat. The artist, aware of many unfavourable comments about it, was never satisfied with it. She intended to improve it, but never managed to carry out the work. Old Woman, Amersham was exhibited at the Czechoslovak Institute, London, in autumn 1944. Oskar Kokoschka, a friend of the Motesiczky family from the Vienna days, approached the director of the Tate Gallery, John Rothenstein, enquiring if a painting from the exhibition might be accepted by the museum. Unfortunately the offer was ultimately declined, despite the fact that John Rothenstein had included Old Woman, Amersham on his list of works to be considered for acquisition.1

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sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, [1942]: ‘Ich weiss nicht wie mein Weiberl wird u. dass es “gefällt” macht mich nur misstrauisch (das der Oblatka findet es “Reneissanzelt” so wie das Stilleben “mittelalterlt” u. ich mache da irgend eine verlogene “Einheit” die es gar nicht mehr gibt hat mich wieder getröstet) Aber selbst wenn es akademisch würde so hab ich doch mit viel Andacht daran gemalt. Es war oft als sei ich schon in einer anderen Welt u. hatte Angst dass es solche Weiblein nicht mehr lange geben wird u. als musste ich sie noch schnell eimal verewigen genau so wie sie ist. Es war als ob ihr Gesicht “und trotzdem” sagte “Und trotzdem mein Mann vor 40 Jahren überfahren wurde u. trotzdem meine Lieblingstochter gestorben ist – sie war die Schönste – Lieblinge! – I am not for the feverite ones” So dachte ich u. dass Du mich in diese andere Welt geführt hast. Wäre ich gewöhnlich nur zufällig gerade einmal glücklich gewesen so hätte ich die Ärztin in Old Amersham verachtet – denn man veachtet das Unglück u. die Hoffnungslosigkeit der Menschen so leicht wenn es einem einmal gut geht. So aber hat sie mir leid getan. Ich habe ihre beiden Gesichter sehr gut gesehen. Sie hat nämlich 2 Gesichter – und ich dachte das sei auch durch Dich u. es sei sehr gut das es so ist – u. ich werde viel bessere Porträts malen als es sonst je möglich gewesen wäre … Nach dem der Oblatka (ein rührender, lieber braver Mensch übrigens) mich ein halbe Stunde sekiert hat, warum ich denn nicht mit Farben einfach so Tausend Experimente mache u.s.w. sagte er schliesslich warum ich mich selber am besten male u. warum ich nicht dies u. das – das war gerade nachdem ich ihm das Weiblein zeigte – u. das ist bestimmt als Malerei viel besser als das Selbstporträt. Da hab ich eine Wut bekommen u. gesagt “Vesa bitte ein anderes Thema” u. da hat Vesa mit ihrem süsslichsten Lächeln nichts besseres zu sagen gewusst als: “der Canetti hat gesagt sie ist eine grosse Malerin u. anscheinend kann man einer grossen Malerin nichts mehr sagen” … wenn sie wirklich was von mir halten würde hätte sie gesagt, das

ist nicht wahr, das Weiblein ist besser als die Selbstporträts. Und wenn meine Stärke für Selbstporträts auch mein wunder Punkt sind hätte sie es trotzdem sagen müssen. Sie ist falsch. Alles ist falsch … Wozu schreibt Wesa ein Buch wo was von malen vorkommt. No, ich brauch es ja nicht zu lesen wenn ich nicht will.’ Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, [c. 1940s]: ‘Ich hab doch geglaubt dass Sie den Tod überwinden können u. alle Menschen unsterblich machen (als ich das alte Weiblein malte – erinnern Sie sich?) Wie kann man da noch sagen dass ich je zu wenig gehalten habe von Ihnen.’ note 1 John Rothenstein to Oskar Kokoschka, 16 October 1944: Motesiczky archive. exhibitions London 1942, no. 90, shown as Portrait of a woman; London 1944b, no. 29, shown as Portrait of an Old Woman; Amsterdam 1952; The Hague 1952, no. 5; Munich 1954, no. 104, shown as Alte Frau; Munich 1967, no. 61 (ex catalogue), probably shown as Alte Frau in Amersham; London 1985, no. 25, illus. p. 71; Cambridge 1986, no. 25, illus. p. 71; Dublin 1988, no. 7; Vienna 1994, no. 20, illus. (col.), shown as Die alte Frau Amersham; Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 34, illus. p. 139 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 34, illus. p. 139 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 34, illus. p. 139 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 34, illus. p. 139 (col.). bibliography Basoski 1952, n.p.; H.v.C. 1952, n.p.; Penning 1952, n.p.; Veth 1952, n.p.; Black 1994, p. 7; Schmidt 1994a, illus. p. 5; Black 1997, p. 992; López Calatayud 2005, illus. n.p. (detail, col.); R. Gries 2006, n.p. (Old Woman); Schlenker 2006c, p. 138; Lloyd 2007, p. 128.


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Frau Saaler c. 1942 Oil on canvas, 505 Ă— 407 mm Signed (bottom right): M. Motesiczky Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This is the portrait of a red-haired, middleaged woman called Frau Saaler. Unfortunately, apart from the last name, nothing else is known about the sitter, although it is reasonable to assume that she might have been a fellow emigrant. Frau Saaler sits in an armchair with a curved back placed in the corner of the room. Motesiczky frequently used this device – see for example Portrait of a Russian Student, 1927 (no. 16). The sitter wears what appear to be her outdoor clothes, a fur coat adorned by a colourful brooch, and she is carefully made up with red lipstick, pencilled eyebrows, earrings and a necklace with large beads.

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Morning in the Garden Morgen im Garten 1943 Oil on canvas, 636 × 766 mm Signed (bottom right): Motesiczky 1943. Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Despite the apparently straightforward title, Motesiczky has created a mysterious scene of fateful secrecy, a fairy tale or allegory that is hard to decipher. In front of a backdrop of dense trees and vegetation a strange, spectral ball game is taking place. Two women, wearing what appear to be nightclothes, are playing with a large orange sphere. One is young, slender and seemingly more energetic while the other is elderly, heavier, slightly hunched, almost bald and waiting for her turn. Despite its large size the ball does not appear to be heavy, suspended as it is on the upper arm of the younger player. Between the two women, a dog is running at full speed, trying to participate in the game. Even the trees seem to join in the action, bending in different directions. The entrance to a tent can be glimpsed on the right and high in the sky the sun, pale in comparison to the glowing ball, is shining. The scene is based on the artist’s garden in Amersham and the players can be identified as the artist, her mother and their corgi, Philip. Yet despite these roots in observed reality, the painting retains a dreamlike, enigmatic quality that a critic praised as ‘expressionist Surrealism’.1 In the memorial book Motesiczky made for her mother this painting is juxtaposed with the following poem by Henriette von Motesiczky, written on 20 July 1955: Summer morning Morning with fog Morning with dew Air so warm Air so mild. Birds that hop In the high grass Worms that crawl Are having fun. People who sleep People who wake Some are dreaming, Some are thinking. Yet all know The day begins Yet nobody knows, What God devises.2

sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 14 August 1947 (postmark): ‘Am wenigsten gefielen ihm [Max Beckmann] die Seidler und die Emmigrantenbarke. Aber Morning in the Garden u. das Mädchen am Feuer gefielen ihm sehr u. eigentlich auch fast alle übrigen Sachen.’ Daniele Grassi, typescript, c. 1986, p. 8: ‘der wunderschönen Komposition von 1943 “Morgen im Garten”, worin die Darstellung von Dir, mit dem Ball spielend, von Deiner Mutter und dem Hund so dicht und irreal ist wie in den schönsten Träumen der Surrealisten’ notes 1 ‘expressionsistischen Surrealismus’: Helfgott 1966. 2 Sommermorgen Morgen mit Nebel Morgen mit Tau Luft so durchwärmt Luft so lau. Vöglein die hüpfen Im hohen Gras Würmchen die krichen

Macht ihnen Spass. Menschen die schlafen Menschen die wach Mancher der träumet, Mancher denkt nach. Alle doch wissen Der Tag beginnt Keiner doch weiss, Was ein Gott ihm ersinnt. (Motesiczky archive) exhibitions London 1944b, no. 40; Amsterdam 1952; The Hague 1952; Munich 1954, no. 108; London 1960, no. 13, shown as In the garden, 1945; Vienna 1966, no. 18, illus.; Linz 1966, no. 18, illus.; Munich 1967, no. 18, illus.; Bremen 1968, no. 18, illus.; Frankfurt am Main 1980, no. 75; London 1985, no. 28, illus. p. 72; Cambridge 1986, no. 28, illus. p. 72; Vienna 1994, no. 22, illus. (col.); Manchester 1994, no. 17; Liverpool 2006, no. 36, illus. p. 143 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 36, illus. p. 143 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 36, illus. p. 143 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 36, illus. p. 143 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 36, illus. p. 143 (col.). bibliography Gruyter 1952, n.p.; H.v.C. 1952, n.p.; Helfgott 1966, n.p.; Reifenberg 1966a, n.p.; r-sch 1967, n.p.; Dr. S. 1968, n.p.; Black 1994, p. 10; Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, exh. booklet 2006, n.p.; Sander 2006, pp. 128 f.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 142; Schlenker 2006d, p. 257, illus. p. 260; Lloyd 2007, p. 122.

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Still-life with Yellow Roses 1943 Oil on canvas, 420 × 616 mm Signed (bottom right): Motesicky 1943 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This still-life is dominated by a tightly packed bunch of roses in various shades of yellow and pink. In contrast to the almost animated floral arrangement the surroundings appear rather calm and solid. The bulbous grey vase is firmly placed in the middle of a table, jutting out at an unusual angle. The table is bare apart from a newspaper and a small black book. The wallpaper in the background has a faint green-

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orange pattern, while the position of the door on the left remains somewhat unresolved. As in several other works, mainly of the early 1940s, the artist chose a signature that is a simplification of her rather complicated surname. At some point in the early 1960s Motesiczky had offered this work to the Beaux Arts Gallery in whose archives a photograph has survived. It was, however, never sold.

Fig. 66 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, sketch, c. 1943, charcoal on paper, 215 × 345 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)


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Azaleas in Town Azaleen in der Stadt 1944 Oil on canvas, dimensions unknown Location unknown

It has not been possible to track down this painting. Only a black-and-white photograph survives, which makes it difficult to judge with any degree of certainty what is depicted besides a few prominent elements. The picture is dominated by a large arrangement of azaleas standing on a surface that juts diagonally into the picture plane from the lower right-hand corner. In the distance, across an empty space that might be a road, a garden or a river, a town occupies the background. Individual houses and a large dome can be identified, as well as a few other details such as a fence. sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Otto Kallir to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 14 October 1944 (© Estate of Otto Kallir. Reproduced courtesy of Galerie St Etienne, New York): ‘der Katalog Deiner Ausstellung, der gestern gekommen ist … Es ist ja schade, dass nur 2 Abbildungen darin enthalten sind, aber auch die zeigen, dass Du Dich ganz gewaltig verändert haben musst. Dein Selbstportrait ist sehr gut und ueberzeugend und auch die Landschaft sieht in der Reproduktion ausgezeichnet aus. Wenn ich nur mehr, wenigstens aus Photos, sehen koennte … Auch wuerden mich natuerlich Kritiken interessieren, nicht so sehr wegen der kuenstlerischen Bedeutung, sondern wegen des allgemeinen Eindruckes.’ Helen Lessore to Peter Black, 20 November 1992: ‘MarieLouise’s painting “Azalias in Town” – no. 8 in her 1960 catalogue – was sold to Lawrence Harvey, but I am afraid you may find it impossible to trace – though you can of course try. He was married to the actress Margaret Leighton, & I think she had some of his pictures after his death – or possibly after they parted – but others went to a man – a friend of his, whose name I do not know. And I & other people went to endless trouble many years ago, to try to trace one or two important things he had from me – I think that in such cases one simply has to say to oneself: After all – in the light of eternity – ! and stop worrying.’

provenance Artist; Lawrence Harvey (purchased at 1960 exhibition); heirs? exhibitions London 1944b, no. 49, illus.; London 1945, no. 9; Amsterdam 1952; The Hague 1952; Munich 1954, no. 109, shown as Azaleen und Stadt; London 1960, no. 8. bibliography Brandenburg 1952, n.p.; Buys 1952, n.p.; H.v.G. 1952, n.p.

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Pier Llandudno Landungssteg Llandudno 1944 Oil on canvas, 350 × 440 mm Private collection, the Netherlands

In July 1943, Motesiczky and Marie Hauptmann, the artist’s former wet-nurse, took a holiday in the coastal resort of Llandudno in north Wales. Motesiczky was at first overwhelmed by the town: ‘In what careful way will I explain the beauties of Llandudno to the people of Amersham without breaking their hearts with wanderlust.’1 ‘Besides I have the feeling that a fortune-teller, who could have overseen the whole of England, could not have found a better spot for Marie. It is the paradise of the petit bourgeois’.2 After the initial ‘invincible’ enthusiasm had worn off, Motesiczky became disillusioned with the cold weather, the lack of sun and especially the overcrowding in the town, complaining that ‘the place alternately reminds one of the plague of locusts and of a termites’ nest’.3 Yet, when not looking after or entertaining Marie Hauptmann, Motesiczky took the opportunity to explore the town and

the surrounding hills on foot and sometimes even to make a drawing. ‘I could see over the countryside and the bays. Proper mountains with their own character – reminiscent of nothing. Austere and still romantic. It is really beautiful.’4 This landscape was probably not painted in Llandudno but back at home after the holiday from the impressions gathered on her outings (fig. 67). The bright colours of the summer sunshine have been replaced by more muted tones. From a raised perspective above the town Motesiczky presents us with a grand view of the famous crescent North Shore and its majestic pier, taking in the foot of the Great Orme on the left. The expansive sweep of the bay is echoed by the exaggeratedly curved horizon where the Irish Sea meets a grey bank of clouds (similar to the composition of Beach Still-life of the same year, no. 68). The grand

Victorian pier, opened in 1878 and 376 m long, has also lost most of its straight lines; in fact, it has a 45-degree turn roughly a third of the way along its length. On the gentle arc two pairs of elegant kiosks and three larger octagonal kiosks stand out, with their characteristic white roofs. The scene is eerily empty, purged of buildings and of the many visitors Motesiczky encountered, as if her fantasy had come true: ‘At night when the promenade was finally empty and Marie already snoring I looked out of the window. I wondered how it would be if one sprinkled the whole promenade with insect-powder.’5 Empty of noisy tourists, Llandudno has been given back some of its famed splendour and dignity as the undisputed queen of the north Wales resorts. notes 1 ‘Auf welch schonungsvolle Weise werde ich den armen Amershamern die Schönheiten von Llandudno schildern, so dass ihnen nicht das Herz bricht vor Reisesehnsucht.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Veza Canetti, 13 July 1943: Motesiczky archive. 2 ‘Im übrigen habe ich das Gefühl dass ein Hellseher der ganz England hätte überblicken können keinen besseren Ort für Marie hätte finden können. Es ist das Paradies der Kleinbürger’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, [July 1943]: Motesiczky archive. 3 ‘Der Ort erinnert abwechselnd an die Heuschreckplage u. an einen Termitenbau’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, [ July 1943]: Motesiczky archive. 4 ‘Ich sah in’s Land hinein und in die Buchten. Richtige Berge mit einem eigenen Karakter – erinnert an garnichts. Herb u. doch romantisch. Es ist wirklich wunderschön.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, [July 1943]: Motesiczky archive. 5 ‘Nachts als die Promenade endlich leer war u. Marie schon schnarchte sah ich beim Fenster hinaus. Ich dachte mir wie es wäre wenn man die ganze Promenade mit Insektenpulver bestreuen würde.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, [July 1943]: Motesiczky archive. provenance Artist; Karin and Jan Willem Salomonson (purchased 1990). exhibitions London 1944b, no. 42, shown as Sea with Pier; Amsterdam 1952; The Hague 1952; London 1960, no. 9, shown as Pier at Llandudno; Vienna 1966, no. 22; Linz 1966, no. 22; Munich 1967, no. 22; Bremen 1968, no. 22.

Fig. 67 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, sketch, 1944, graphite and pastel on paper, 337 × 245 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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bibliography Filarski 1952a, n.p.


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Countess with Plum Gräfin mit Pflaume 1944 Oil on canvas, 605 × 527 mm Signed (bottom right): Motesiczky (‘1944’ overpainted, probably originally Motesicky with z inserted later) Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Constance Baroness de Worms was born in London in 1875, the daughter of Henry de Worms, Lord Pirbright, and Fanny von Todesco. She was a cousin of Henriette von Motesiczky, whose family referred to her as Conny. In 1895 she married Maximilian Graf von Löwenstein. After their divorce in 1912 she married Vollrath von Alvensleben. Their son, the artist Werner von Alvensleben, who called himself Michael Werner, kept in occasional touch with Motesiczky. They both showed in the exhibition ‘Kunst im Exil in Großbritannien’ in 1986. Constance de Worms died in London in 1963. Motesiczky depicts Constance de Worms, by now in her late sixties, as a solid, grey-haired lady in a salmon-coloured dress. An elegant green feather boa around her neck does not disguise her sizeable double chin. One massive forearm juts across the picture plane, and she holds a small plum delicately in her fingers, examining it carefully before eating it. When the painting was first shown at the Czechoslovak Institute in 1944, a critic admired Motesiczky’s ‘sense of colour … most delicate in the pale pink, yellow and light green of the Countess Eating Plums’.1 Later that year, in October 1944, Oskar Kokoschka approached John Rothenstein, then director of the Tate Gallery, enquiring if a painting from Motesiczky’s exhibition might be accepted by the Tate Gallery. Rothenstein listed Countess with Plum among the paintings he was considering.2 The offer, however, was eventually declined. Together with Alexander de Waal, 1981 (no. 272), Countess with Plum was submitted to the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy in London in the early 1980s (probably in 1981) and rejected. As in several other cases (see for example Still-life with Gong, 1941, no. 53, and Three Heads, 1944, no. 69), the signature had originally read ‘Motesicky’, presumably in an attempt to render the complicated name more legible. At an unknown date, the artist altered the signature, inserting the missing ‘z’.

sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 17 August 1954: ‘heute war ich beim Direktor die Räume endgültig bestimmen … sagte mir sehr schöne Dinge über die Bilder – es sei eine starke Malerei u. echt u. käme vom Herzen – von Ihrem Selbstporträt war er hingerissen aber auch zum Glück von einigen anderen z.B. den weissen Blumen Er hasse sonst das süsse Lacheln der Österreicher überhaupt die Wiener hasse er – aber dass, dass (auf das Selbstporträt) gefiele ihm. Ich sagte da sei für der Beckmann vielleicht ein gutes Gegengewicht gewesen … Ja – und mein “Werk” (Werk sagte er!) sei so einheitlich. Überhaupt er schien sehr zufrieden. Blöde Welt – wenn einer sagt “Ihr Werk ist einheitlich” freut man sich – wenn einer sagt “Sie haben keine Entwicklung” ist man traurig. Wegen der Einheitlichkeit zohg er die oberen Räume vor Wenn er das nur nicht getan hat weil er den Lewy unten haben will! Da hab ich zu wenig Erfahrung. Oben ist halt furchtbar viel Licht – mitunter Sonne, so dass man die Vorhänge vorziehen muss u. die Farbe der Wände nicht so gut – blau u. Marillenrosa. Obwohl er mir die Wahl liess war er so entschieden für oben dass schwer was zu machen war Nun davon wird’s letzten Ende auch nicht abhängen. An eine Wand stellte er die Conny u. die Finchleyroad u. sagte ganz begeistert – ist das nicht schön! u. es sah wirklich schön aus.’ Daniele Grassi, typescript, c. 1986, p. 6: ‘Wie vornehm und pflaumig ist die “Gräfin mit Pflaume” mit ihrer birnenförmigen Nase und Kinn auf dem breiten Doppelkinn!’ notes 1 Yapou 1944. 2 John Rothenstein to Oskar Kokoschka, 16 October 1944: Motesiczky archive. exhibitions London 1944b, no. 32, shown as Countess Eating Plums; Amsterdam 1952; The Hague 1952; Munich 1954, no. 121, shown as Dame mit Pflaume; Vienna 1966, no. 19; Linz 1966, no. 19; Munich 1967, no. 19; Bremen 1968, no. 19; London 1985, no. 29, illus. p. 72; London 1986b. bibliography Yapou 1944, p. 319 (Countess Eating Plums); Basoski 1952, n.p.; Brandenburg 1952, n.p.; Buys 1952, n.p.; Filarski 1952b, n.p.; H.v.C. 1952, n.p.; Black 1997, p. 992; Michel 2003, p. 82, illus. Abb. 126 (col.) (Pflaumenessende Gräfin); Vinzent 2006, p. 159, illus. after p. 387 (col.) (pl. 1); Lloyd 2007, p. 193.

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Bowl of Pansies, Ashtray and Cigarette 1944 Oil on canvas, 256 × 355 mm Dated (centre bottom): 1944 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This still-life, left unstretched by Motesiczky and only recently put on a stretcher, shows an arrangement of objects on a bare table in front of a grey wall. The simple composition is dominated by the centrally placed shallow bowl containing a selection of yellow, orange and lilac pansies. In the bottom left corner an ashtray holds a cigarette that seems to have been half-smoked. The strong shadows cast by the objects are evidence of a light source on the left outside the picture plane.

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Portrait of a Smiling Lady Lächelnde Dame 1944 Oil on canvas, 409 × 306 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This is a portrait of an unknown young lady, seated in a high-backed chair. She has shoulderlength, wavy, brown hair, held back at the temples with pink hair clips and tucked behind her ears. Under the thin, arched eyebrows her blue eyes appear rather close together. Her carefully made-up mouth is smiling shyly. A thick golden necklace adorns the decolleté of her patterned beige blouse. Bright light comes in from the left, throwing half her face into shadow and drawing attention to the curve of her right cheek. For the background Motesiczky employed a variation on a familiar device (see for example Model, Vienna, 1929, no. 27), dividing the space behind the sitter’s head into two distinct areas, blue on the left and reddish-brown on the right.

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Beach Still-life Stilleben am Strand 1944 Oil on canvas, 263 × 398 mm Dated (bottom right): 1943 (overpainted) Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Peter Black once remarked that Motesiczky’s paintings ‘express unspoken wishes’.1 Beach Still-life in particular suggests ‘the desire in wartime to escape to a warm beach’.2 In fact, Motesiczky had managed to escape. This small work was probably inspired by a holiday in the Welsh seaside resort of Llandudno in 1943. Although it is now believed to have been painted in 1944, Motesiczky initially dated it 1943, as the overpainted year in the bottom right corner shows. Motesiczky invited Marie Hauptmann, her former wet-nurse who accompanied the Motesiczky family to England, on this holiday to give her a wellearned rest. She took the first opportunity to be alone and escaped to the beach, recounting the moment happily in a letter to Elias Canetti: ‘And straight away I took out my pencils and

drew the sea. Not well of course but I was so happy’.3 In the still-life, the sun, setting behind the exaggeratedly curved line of a calm blue sea (not unlike Pier Llandudno, 1944, no. 64), paints the sky a warm orange. In the foreground, an array of seemingly enormously enlarged, overlifesize objects are spread out on the sand: an open book, half-read and upside down, an empty packet of Player’s Navy Cut Cigarettes Medium (the red letters ‘cigaret’ just visible beneath the picture of a sailor in a life belt above a calm sea – fig. 68), a broken ink pot and a thick pencil. These are all objects Motesiczky might have taken with her on her trip to the beach. The still-life, however, was probably painted from memory on the artist’s return from holiday in her studio in Amersham.

notes 1 Black 1997, p. 993. 2 Black 1994, p. 9. 3 ‘Und gleich hab ich meine Stifterln herausgeholt u. das Meer gezeichnet. Nicht gut natürlich aber ich war so glücklich’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, [ July 1943]: Motesiczky archive. exhibitions Munich 1954, no. 126, shown as Stilleben am Meer; London 1960, no. 11, shown as Still life on the beach; Vienna 1966, no. 21; Linz 1966, no. 21; Munich 1967, no. 21; Bremen 1968, no. 21; London 1985, no. 30, illus. p. 34 (col.); Cambridge 1986, no. 30, illus. p. 34 (col.); Dublin 1988, no. 8; Vienna 1994, no. 23, illus. (col.); Manchester 1994, no. 18. bibliography Black 1994, p. 9; Black 1997, p. 993; López Calatayud 2005, p. 26.

Fig. 68 A packet of Player’s Navy Cut cigarettes, found under the floorboards at 6 Chesterford Gardens in 2004

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Three Heads Drei Köpfe 1944 Oil on canvas, 417 × 615 mm Signed (bottom left): Motesiczky (probably originally Motesicky with z inserted later) Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Deciphering the spatial relationship of the three figures and the setting of this painting is difficult. The suggestion of green seats in front of and behind the central figure give a clue to the actual scene: three women are riding on a bus, probably the Green Line Bus which ran between London and Amersham. The artist’s self-portrait in the centre is noticeably more carefully worked than the two more sketchily painted heads of strangers sharing the bus ride (allegedly based on a charwoman or the artist’s aunt Ilse Leembruggen on the right, and the artist’s mother on the left). There is no interaction between the three figures, which adds to an overall air of despondency and anonymity. Like her fellow travellers, Motesiczky is wearing a headscarf, and presents herself to the viewer not as an artist but as a woman going about her domestic chores. Contemporaries remarked on the artist’s ‘eyes intently searching and tragically clouded’,1 yet were also enthralled by the small red dot in the artist’s hair, just above her right temple, that lightens up and lifts the image. Motesiczky often includes the mirrors that enabled her to paint self-portraits as an integral part of the picture (Self-portrait with Mirror, 1949, no. 85; Self-portrait with Pears, 1965, no. 202; Self-portrait in Mirror, Yellow Roses, c. 1976, no. 255) or as an accessory (Self-portrait with Comb, 1926, no. 13; Self-portrait with Mirror, c. 1985, no. 284). Here, instead of a mirror, it seems to be the front window of the bus that provided the reflection. As in several other cases (see for example Still-life with Gong, 1941, no. 53, and Countess with Plum, 1944, no. 65), the signature had probably originally read ‘Motesicky’, presumably in an attempt to render the complicated name more legible. At an unknown date the artist altered the signature, inserting the missing ‘z’.

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sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust

note

Otto Kallir to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 14 October 1944 (© Estate of Otto Kallir. Reproduced courtesy of Galerie St Etienne, New York): ‘der Katalog Deiner Ausstellung, der gestern gekommen ist … Es ist ja schade, dass nur 2 Abbildungen darin enthalten sind, aber auch die zeigen, dass Du Dich ganz gewaltig verändert haben musst. Dein Selbstportrait ist sehr gut und ueberzeugend und auch die Landschaft sieht in der Reproduktion ausgezeichnet aus. Wenn ich nur mehr, wenigstens aus Photos, sehen koennte … Auch wuerden mich natuerlich Kritiken interessieren, nicht so sehr wegen der kuenstlerischen Bedeutung, sondern wegen des allgemeinen Eindruckes.’

Artist; Elias Canetti (before 1954 exhibition); artist.

Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 20 August 1946: ‘Herr u. Frau Seidler Perlman waren zum Nachtmahl da u. Dr Perlman hat mir optische Teuschungen aufgezeichnet so das mir ganz schlecht u. schwindlig wurde … auch war er ganz versessen auf den roten Punkt auf dem Selbstporträt mit den 3 Köpfen “der das ganze so prächtig hebt – ach prächtig köstlich wirklich ganz famos”’ Daniele Grassi, typescript, c. 1986, p. 7: ‘In den “Drei Köpfen” von 1944 findet sich der Hinweis auf die gerettete Existenz in den drei vermummten Köpfen mit Deinem erschlafften, magmafarbigen Gesicht, das den Schmerz an die Oberfläche bringt wie eine Naturkatastrophe tiefe Erdschichten aufwühlt.’ Note in George Lewis’s handwriting, probably dictated by Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, [1990s]: ‘Just to say once more that the “Three Heads” has a place in my work equal in significance to some of the heads of my mother, and I would be glad if you could find a place for it, even an obscure one.’

1 Yapou 1944. provenance

exhibitions London 1944a, no. 124; London 1944b, no. 35, illus. (detail); Amsterdam 1952; The Hague 1952; Munich 1954, no. 107; London 1960, no. 10; Vienna 1966, no. 23, illus.; Linz 1966, no. 23, illus.; Munich 1967, no. 23, illus.; Bremen 1968, no. 23, illus.; London 1985, no. 31, illus. p. 35 (col.); Cambridge 1986, no. 31, illus. p. 35 (col.); London 1986b, shown as Three Heads, Self Portraits; Vienna 1994, no. 24, illus. (col.); Liverpool 2006, no. 37, illus. p. 145 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 37, illus. p. 145 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 37, illus. p. 145 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 37, illus. p. 145 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 37, illus. p. 145 (col.). bibliography Yapou 1944, p. 319; Hoffmann 1949, illus. p. 67; Anonymous 1952b, n.p.; Basoski 1952, n.p.; Filarski 1952b, n.p.; Penning 1952, n.p.; Prange 1952, n.p.; Veth 1952, n.p.; Reifenberg 1966a, n.p.; Black 1994, p. 6, illus. p. 12; Schmidt 1994a, p. 6; Michel 2003, p. 59, illus. Abb. 84 (col.); R. Gries 2006, n.p.; MarieLouise von Motesiczky, exh. booklet 2006, n.p.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 144; Lloyd 2007, p. 112.


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Snow Drift with Gate Schneelandschaft Early 1940s Oil on canvas, 410 × 512 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This sun-lit winter landscape is rare in Motesiczky’s oeuvre. She painted only one other snow-covered landscape, Kitzbühel, 1958 (no. 155). Beyond the hedge and the low green gate of the garden a sequence of further hedges and fields or gardens open up on the right. These are interspersed with the occasional large tree. On the left, a narrow path leads away into a densely wooded area. This so far undated painting was probably shown as Winter Landscape at the Czechoslovak Institute in 1944. Therefore, it presumably dates from the early 1940s and depicts a scene from the artist’s Amersham surroundings. A diary entry from the last year of the war testifies to Motesiczky’s interest in snow-covered landscapes, which she tried to capture on canvas.1 note 1 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 8 February 1945: Motesiczky archive. exhibitions London 1944b, no. 41 (?), probably shown as Winter Landscape; Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 38, illus. p. 147 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 38, illus. p. 147 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 38, illus. p. 147 (col.). bibliography Vinzent 2006, pp. 159 f.

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Still-life with Grapefruits and Candles Early 1940s Oil on canvas, dimensions unknown Location unknown

The only record of this painting in the artist’s estate is its appearance in several photographs of Motesiczky’s studio in Amersham in which she displayed a collection of paintings for her visitors, Veza and Elias Canetti (fig. 69). High up on the ceiling hangs Still-life with Grapefruits and Candles. The slightly blurred image allows the viewer to make out only the general compositional elements. In front of a dark background two grapefruits and a lemon are presented on a plate. To the left two candles are burning brightly while a piece of lightcoloured cloth is draped in the lower left corner. In 1946, Motesiczky gave this still-life to an acquaintance, presumably her cleaning lady, who had moved to an almshouse, to brighten up her shabby surroundings. She intended to exchange it for another work, but there is no evidence that she did. This painting should probably be considered lost. sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust

Fig. 69 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky amidst paintings in her studio in Amersham – Still-life with Grapefruits and Candles is suspended from the ceiling, photograph, early 1940s (Motesiczky archive)

Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 20 August 1946: ‘Ich war gestern bei der Bedienerin die in einer Armenhütte gezohgen ist … Bei der Bedienerin war ich weil ich ihr ein Bild gab damit sie in ihrer armseligen Behausung was aufzuhängen hat – das heisst sie bat mich darum u. nun wollte ich sehen wie es sich dort macht. Es sah recht unheimlich aus (das Stilleben mit den beiden Grapfrüchten u. den beiden Kerzen) in der braunen Blechhütte, besonders da in dem Bett – so ziemlich das einzige Möbelstück, das Alte Mutter von Mrs Hilda lag die sich einbildet Krebs zu haben … Das Bild sah natürlich wie ein Sterbebild aus u. ich muss so bald als möglich etwas heiteres hinhängen.’ provenance Artist; gift to unidentified acquaintance (1946). bibliography Lloyd 2004, illus. p. 219; Schlenker 2006b, illus. p. 198.

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Irises and Peonies Pfingstrosen 1945 Oil on canvas, 571 × 350 mm Private collection, London

Exceptionally, the progress of this still-life is recorded in Motesiczky’s diaries. In June 1945, she faithfully chronicled a period of its creation, noting that after working on it for three days in a row, she is happy with the composition: ‘Difficult but somehow beautiful.’1 Her joy is spoilt when Elias Canetti annoys her by altering his plans for the day. A few days later she is disillusioned with the painting, finding it ‘stiff, dead, ridiculous’.2 Canetti, however, manages to revive her spirits by presenting her with a red peony. The following day she attempts to salvage the composition and then spends two more days working on it.3 There is no entry proclaiming the completion of the still-life so it is unclear whether Motesiczky considered it finished at that point or if she continued to work on it. At first sight it might be difficult to decipher the complicated spatial arrangement of this composition, which contains two vases with flowers that gave the work its title. The picture plane is divided by a dramatically foreshortened open window and a patterned curtain billowing in the incoming breeze. Outside, the red and yellow bricks of the adjoining wall give a clue to the window’s position. A tall, slender glass vase, placed on the green window-sill in the foreground, is packed with white and lilac irises. In the background, behind the open window, a second vase holds a bunch of pink peonies. notes 1 ‘Schwer aber irgendwie schön.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 5 June 1945: Motesiczky archive. 2 ‘steif, tot, lächerlich’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 10 June 1945: Motesiczky archive. 3 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entries for 11 and 14 June 1945: Motesiczky archive. provenance Artist; Engel Lund; Andrea Rauter.

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Cyclamen at the Window 1945 Oil on canvas, 352 × 685 mm Private collection

Motesiczky rarely used horizontal canvases. Here she creates a composition that, at first glance, is not easy to decipher. The mere glimpse of curtains on both sides, together with a wooden slat that marks the centre partition of a window frame and obscures some potted flowers, indicates the location of the composition. Squeezed into the narrow space between the two parts of a double window are several pots of flowers: a large white cyclamen flanked by two pink primulas. A miniature wooden chair with a wicker seat, which has survived in the artist’s estate, appears dwarfed by the surrounding plants. The world beyond the window is pitch black with only a few stars shining brightly.

Although this still-life has been dated 1954 (at the 1960 exhibition) or c. 1970 (in the artist’s own files), it almost certainly was painted as early as 1945. Various entries in Motesiczky’s diary of that year record her difficulties and doubts while creating this work.1 note 1 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entries for 20, 21, 22, 26 and 28 February 1945: Motesiczky archive. provenance Artist; Fee Engel (gift late 1950s); Christoph Matschnig (2008); private collection (2008). exhibition London 1960, no. 29, shown as Still life, 1954.

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Dorothy 1945 Oil on canvas, 706 × 503 mm Signed (bottom right): Motesiczky Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Apart from her first name, Dorothy, and nickname, Dary, little is known about the sitter for this portrait. She may have been a maid in the Motesiczky household in Amersham and was probably a friend of Mary Duras, the Czech sculptor who spent the war years in Amersham where she became friendly with Motesiczky and Elias Canetti. In 1944 Motesiczky and Duras exhibited together at the Czechoslovak Institute in London. Progress on this portrait is documented in detailed notes in Motesiczky’s diary. The artist, who only occasionally wrote entries (if she started a diary at the beginning of the year the entries tend to peter out after the first few weeks), seems to have minutely recorded the hours spent working on the painting, the ups and downs, frustrations and delights. Some entries (for example, 14 February 1945) do not refer to this painting, but probably to related drawings. Motesiczky also recorded the criticism of those trusted friends to whom she showed the portrait. While she is furious about Oskar Kokoschka’s harsh rejection, she calmly states Elias Canetti’s presumed dislike. Yet, contrary to the artist’s impression, Canetti expressed his appreciation of the portrait in a letter to the artist: ‘thought a lot about Dorothy portrait. Even in recollection it is excellent’.1 27 January 1945: ‘11–1 painted Dorothy’ 29 January 1945: ‘Morning painted Dorothy 11–1’ 31 January 1945: ‘ 11–1 painted Dorothy’ 2 February 1945: ‘Desperately worked on Dor. for 5 hours. Awful light’ 3 February 1945: ‘Morning painted Dor. A little better. What I paint in 8 days I should do in 1 day!’ 5 February 1945: ‘Morning painted Dor. Afternoon continued painting, driving me mad’ 7 February 1945: ‘Such a black day. Painted painted Dor. – until 6.’

10 February 1945: ‘Painted Doroth. (nose!) after lunch continued to paint like possessed before Julia [came]!’ 13 February 1945: ‘Finished head Dor. after a fashion.’ 14 February 1945: ‘Drew Dor. with calla’ 15 February 1945: ‘Morning drew Dor. / desperate about light! (studio!)’ 1 March 1945: ‘Morning hastily drew Dorothy’ 3 March 1945: ‘Mary [Duras] likes painting Doroth!! strange.’ 2 June 1945: ‘Dary finds her painting “most attractive”. A moral success’ 11 June 1945: ‘Afternoon painted Dary … C. [Elias Canetti] sees painting Dary (I know he doesn’t like it. He is right, is nevertheless not completely bad)’ 13 June 1945: ‘Painted Dary’ 14 June 1945: ‘Painted Dary and peonies’ 17 June 1945: ‘O.K. [Oskar Kokoschka] deals me a terrible blow with Dary picture. The picture is of no consequence to me. But the word “hopeless” hurts very much.’ 20 June 1945: ‘Finished Dary … Then the whole Dary family admired portrait.’2

notes

The portrait is a half-length depiction of Dorothy. She is framed by what might be a door-frame on the right and the carved backrest of a sofa at the bottom, as if caught in the moment when she passes an open door. She is wearing a sleeveless yellow dress and holding what seems to be a fan or, possibly, a feather duster. Her hair is tied back and decorated with a green ribbon. Her wide open, staring, light blue eyes sit uncomfortably in a calm and impassive face. Until now the portrait has been incorrectly dated 1944. As the above diary entries show, it was actually created in 1945. The signature was probably added at an unknown date after the work’s completion. In some early photographs the portrait appears without it.

Buys 1952, n.p. (?); Veth 1952, n.p.; Hodin 1961/2, illus. p. 22 (Portrait of a Girl, 1948).

1 ‘ans Dorothy-Porträt habe ich viel gedacht. Es ist auch in der Erinnerung ausgezeichnet’: Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, [1945]: Motesiczky archive. 2 ‘11–1 gemalt Dorothy’; ‘Vormittag Dorothy gemalt 11–1’; ‘11–1 Dorothy gemalt’; ‘5 Stunden verzweifelt an Dor. gearbeitet. Grauenhaftes Licht’; ‘Vormitt. Dor. gemalt. Etwas besser. Was ich in 8 Tagen male sollt ich in 1 Tag machen!’; ‘Vorm. Dor. gemalt. Nachm. weiter gemalt zum verrücktwerden’; ‘So ein schwarzer Tag. Dor. gemalt gemalt – bis 6.’; ‘Doroth. gemalt (Nase!) nach dem Essen wie verfolgt weiter pinseln müssen vor Julia!’; ‘Dor. recht u. schlecht Kopf beendet.’; ‘Dor. gezeichnet mit Calla’; ‘Vorm. Dor. gez. / verzweifelt über Licht! (Atelier!)’; ‘Vorm. Dorothy gez. flüchtig’; ‘Mary findet Doroth Bild gut!! sonderbar.’; ‘Die Dary findet ihr Bild “most atractiv”. Ein moralischer Erfolg’; ‘Nachmittag Dary gemalt … C. sieht Dary Bild (ich weiss er mag es nicht Er hat recht. Trotzdem nicht ganz schlecht)’; ‘Dary gem’; ‘Dary u. Pfingstrosen gem.’; ‘O.K. versetzt mir einen furchtbaren Stoss mit Dary Bild. Mir liegt nichts an dem Bild. Aber das Wort “hoffnungslos” tut so weh.’; ‘Die Dary beendet … Dann ganze Dary familie Porträt bewundert.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entries for 27, 29 and 31 January, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 13, 14 and 15 February, 1 and 3 March, 2, 11, 13, 14, 17 and 20 June 1945: Motesiczky archive. exhibitions Amsterdam 1952, no. 13; The Hague 1952; Munich 1954, no. 114, shown as Porträt Dorothy; London 1960, no. 17, shown as Portrait of a girl, 1948; Vienna 1966, no. 20, dated 1944; Linz 1966, no. 20, dated 1944; Munich 1967, no. 20, dated 1944; Bremen 1968, no. 20, dated 1944. bibliography

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The Gardener Gärtner, Amersham 1945 Oil on canvas, 850 × 596 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This unknown young man was a gardener in Amersham, who probably worked for the Motesiczky family, in their large garden. He is shown outdoors, dressed in his working gear, a brown shirt with its sleeves rolled up and blue dungarees. Strands of blonde hair are tucked behind one ear. Although Motesiczky depicted the gardener only in a half-length portrait, his long, thin face and elongated fingers suggest that he is probably a tall person. The fingers of his left hand are delicately woven around the long yellow handle of a gardening tool. Between the index finger and thumb of his right hand he appears to hold a tiny object he is investigating or about to show the viewer, seemingly pleased with his find and vaguely smiling to himself. Unusually, this portrait has been painted on a black ground with a tree and the sky apparently hastily sketched in. Despite the obviously warm weather, there is a feeling of a storm brewing and worse weather to come.

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Indian Mother with Child Indische Mutter mit Kind 1945 Oil on canvas, 612 × 512 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This is a double portrait of an unknown young Indian mother, cradling an infant in her arms. Her red sari is matched by red highlights in her face: a bindi on the forehead, bright red lipstick and a sparkle in her eye (Motesiczky used the colour red in a similar way in Three Heads, 1944, no. 69). What at first appears as a strangely coloured, bared breast might in fact be a green pear offered to the child. In 1954 this painting was exhibited as Indische Madonna (Indian Madonna), an apt title, since the intimate pair are reminiscent of the Madonna and Child. exhibition Munich 1954, no. 131 (?), shown as Indische Madonna. bibliography Michel 2003, p. 79, illus. Abb. 124 (col.).

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Model with Bird Cage Modell mit Vogelkäfig 1945 Oil on canvas, 760 × 509 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This is a portrait of an unknown model. It shows a female figure, dressed in a voluminous beige cloak over a colourfully patterned blouse, which fills more than half of the canvas. Her long, narrow face is surrounded by shoulder-length light brown hair held back with a pink slide. The model’s bare forearms project diagonally from the lower corners, meeting at her breast where her hands touch. The surroundings are empty but for two bird cages in the background, a large green one and a smaller black one. Their connection to the model is unclear.

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Study of Canetti Reading c. 1945 Oil on board, 608 × 532 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Study of Canetti Reading is the first of several portraits Motesiczky made of the author of Die Blendung, who had emigrated to England with his wife Veza in 1939. During the war Elias Canetti settled in Amersham where he began a friendship with the artist which lasted until his death in 1994. The half-length portrait depicts a youthful man around the time of his fortieth birthday (fig. 71), seated in a green armchair. While the lower half of the picture is left almost bare, with the outline of his clothes only sketched in, the head is the part on which the artist has worked most. It shows Canetti’s characteristic full, dark wavy hair; his moustache is only hinted at. Canetti is wearing round glasses and, frowning slightly, he seems to be intently reading the book he is holding in his hands. This so far undated portrait was probably painted towards the end of the war as an entry in the artist’s diary suggests. On 29 January 1945 she writes: ‘Have smeared wildly on C.’s head before dinner.’1 The choice of words suggests that she was not totally satisfied with the result of her efforts. She never completed the portrait. note 1 ‘Vor Nachtmahl wild C.’s Kopf herumgeschmiert.’: MarieLouise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 29 January 1945: Motesiczky archive. bibliography Wachinger 2005, illus. p. 94.

Fig. 71 Elias Canetti, photograph, 1947 (Motesiczky archive) Fig. 70 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, undated sketch, graphite on paper, 355 × 228 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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Cyclist Mid-1940s Oil on canvas, 203 × 305 mm Private collection

Cyclist shows a woman on a bicycle as she moves down Chestnut Lane, the street where the Motesiczkys lived on the outskirts of Amersham. In front of the dark mass of a forest, the cyclist rushes along an empty road. As if in accordance with the movement depicted, the paint is applied in a rather sketchy manner. The current owner dated Cyclist ‘c. 1947’. An entry in Motesiczky’s diary for 1945 which curtly states ‘Drew “bicycle tour”’1 testifies to her interest in the motif and suggests that the painting was probably created just after the war.

note 1 ‘“Radtur” gezeich.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 19 July 1945: Motesiczky archive. provenance Artist; Peter Black (gift 1986).

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Portrait with Turban Porträt mit Turban 1946 Oil on canvas, 511 × 409 mm Signed (top right): M.L.M. Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

In the 1960s critics praised this portrait of the artist’s mother, Henriette von Motesiczky, as ‘a truly great painting’,1 and one of the ‘strongest portraits that could be seen in Austria in the recent past’.2 A decade earlier, it had been admired for being ‘the most original and the most successful’ of Motesiczky’s portraits of elderly women to date ‘in terms of painterly and psychological penetration’ of the sitter.3 This simple and unaffected yet intimate half-length portrait shows Henriette von Motesiczky, in her mid-sixties, clad in a brown coat and wearing a yellow and red striped turban. The artist’s mother had started losing her hair early and used various means of disguising this misfortune: a wig, a turban or a scarf, all of which are documented in various portraits. Only in her extreme old age did she cease to bother hiding her baldness when

sitting for a portrait (Mother with Baton, 1977, no. 257). Here, the sitter’s characteristic features, her large dark eyes and a slightly bulbous nose, are enhanced by glowing rosy cheeks. She is accompanied by her dog, a corgi named Philip (who also appears in Morning in the Garden, 1943, no. 61, and Dog with Flowers, 1954, no. 130), whom she holds gently but firmly with three huge fingers (fig. 72). The provenance of this painting is difficult to establish. It was sold to an unnamed buyer at the Beaux Arts Gallery exhibition on 7 January 1960 as ‘Head, 1947’ for £ 78.15.0.4 An undated list of paintings in the artist’s estate mentions the actor David de Keyser as the owner of the portrait. At some point before 1985 the portrait must have been given back to the artist. In the early 1960s, around the time he might have purchased the painting, David de Keyser was a friend of Elias Canetti. Having expressed the wish to meet ‘the original of his painting, the mother’,5 Canetti promised to invite de Keyser in the near future to meet her. Curiously, during recent interviews, David de Keyser could not remember possessing the painting or the circumstances of how he acquired, nor why it was returned to the artist. He does, however, recall seeing it in Elias Canetti’s flat and suggests that somehow the provenance was made up. notes 1 ‘Ein wahrhaft grossartiges Gemälde’: Reifenberg 1966a, n.p. 2 ‘stärksten Bildnissen, die man in der letzten Zeit in Österreich sehen konnte’: Hart 1966. 3 ‘das originellste und an malerischer und psychologischer Durchdringung das gelungenste’: Baldaß 1955, p. 219. 4 Beaux Arts Gallery statement, dated 10 January 1960: Motesiczky archive. 5 ‘das Original seines Bildes, die Mutter’: Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, [early 1960s]: Motesiczky archive. provenance Artist; David de Keyser (perhaps purchased at 1960 exhibition); artist (given back before 1985 exhibition).

Fig. 72 Henriette von Motesiczky with her corgi Philip, photograph, 1940s (Motesiczky archive)

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exhibitions Amsterdam 1952; The Hague 1952; Munich 1954, no. 123 (?), probably shown as Porträt H.v.M.; London 1960, no. 15 (?), shown as Head, 1947; Vienna 1966, no. 24, illus.; Linz 1966, no. 24, illus.; Munich 1967, no. 24, illus.; Bremen 1968, no. 24, illus.; London 1985, no. 32, illus. p. 74; Cambridge 1986, no. 32, illus. p. 74; Dublin 1988, no. 9; Vienna 1994, no. 25, illus. (col.); Manchester 1994, no. 19. bibliography Brandenburg 1952, n.p.; Gruyter 1952, n.p.; Baldaß 1955, p. 219 (H.v.M.); Hart 1966, n.p.; Reifenberg 1966a, n.p. (Frau im Turban); Reifenberg 1966b, illus. p. 16; Dr. S. 1968, n.p.; Black 1994, pp. 8 f.; Koch 1994, p. 100; Kruntorad 1994, n.p.; Tate Gallery, 1996, p. 504; Michel 2003, p. 70, illus. Abb. 102 (col.); López Calatayud 2005, p. 15; Lloyd 2007, p. 132.


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In the Garden Familienbild 1948 Oil and charcoal on canvas, 867 × 1120 mm Signed (bottom right): Motesiczky Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

The well-known journalist and Motesiczky family friend Benno Reifenberg remarked about this painting: ‘to unravel the inner tension would require a novel’.1 On the surface we are presented with a domestic scene in a garden that shows the meeting of three people, the artist on the right, her aunt Ilse Leembruggen (also depicted in the drawing Portrait Frau L., 1934, p. 532) in the centre and the author Elias Canetti on the left. Motesiczky, wielding strangely curved garden shears, sees to the plants, while aunt Ilse, an amateur artist (see the drawing Aunts, Sketching, 1934, p. 533), devotes her attention to the drawing pad in front of her. Canetti, standing on the other side of the garden fence, seems to have dropped by. Yet, as Canetti’s brooding, sinister expression indicates, there is an undercurrent of some momentous, hidden events, a ‘feeling of muted Chekhovian drama … between the three members’,2 as an anonymous critic put it in 1960. The undisclosed psychological drama that seems to take place is expressed by the silent communication with gestures and glances behind the aunt’s back. In view of Motesiczky’s statement ‘Everything figurative, apart from the portrait, is a story for me’,3 it seems appropriate to investigate the nature of the artist’s relationship with the sitters at the time of the creation of the painting. Ilse Leembruggen (1873–1961), who had married the Dutch entrepreneur Willem Leembruggen in 1895 and settled in the Netherlands, had always been a staunch supporter – financially or otherwise – of the Motesiczky women. Shortly after the war, in August 1946, she visited her sister and niece in Amersham. Motesiczky had mixed feelings about her aunt’s stay. On the one hand she felt irritated by her demands and indefatigable need for constant entertainment. Motesiczky took her on trips into town, to the theatre and to museums. These kept her from working and she commented tiredly: ‘it would be rather better taking out children than old women; both need a toilet when there is none, want to eat things you cannot get and in the 186

sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Gustav Delbanco, Roland, Browse and Delbanco, London, to Elias Canetti, [1953]: ‘Lieber Herr Canetti, Ich habe heute abend die Bilder noch nach 14 Compayne Gdns. zurückgebracht. Es war nicht möglich, Sie telephonisch zu erreichen … Die Nachricht ist insoferne nicht so gut, als beide Partner die Bilder nicht so gut finden wie ich, und da 2 Stimmen gegen eine stehen, wird es leider nicht zu einer ‘one man’ show bei uns kommen. Wir würden aber gerne 2 oder 3 Bilder im Sommer zeigen; darüber aber braucht man ja jetzt nicht zu sprechen. Übrigens war das Bild, welches Roland u. Browse – unabhängig voneinander – am besten gefiel das große Bild zu dritt, in dem Sie mit auftreten.’ Fig. 73 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky (left), Henriette von Motesiczky (centre) and Ilse Leembruggen (right) in fancy dress, Hinterbrühl, photograph, 1920s (Motesiczky archive)

street they have to have their hands held.’4 On the other hand Motesiczky admitted: ‘Somehow I am relieved all the same that my aunt is here. A third person in the house takes away some pressure’.5 The following year, when Motesiczky stayed with her aunt in the Netherlands, the first signs of the onset of Alzheimer’s had become apparent in Tante Ilse’s failing memory: ‘There is no peace because Tante Ilse flutters around me like a mad pelican also this very second – makes plans, forgets them again, searches, finds, loses everything all the time.’6 Canetti had similarly mixed feelings. Although he would often make fun of Tante Ilse, he was apparently quite fond of her. The painting seems to be a testament to these ambiguous, hidden emotions that could not be expressed. Furthermore, as the German title Familienbild (family portrait) implies, Canetti, whom Motesiczky had befriended in 1939, was by 1948 seen as part of the Motesiczky family. Yet, his frowning looks, detached stance, and disapproving attitude suggest that he did not feel comfortable at being thus appropriated.

Jan Willem Salomonson to Jill Lloyd, 2 February 2001: ‘Then there is the matter of the “Familienbild” in the garden of 1948 … I believe you are right in thinking that there is a connection with a visit of Ilse to Henriette and her daughter that had taken place shortly before. As far as we know this was the last and only visit of Ilse to her sister in England. After that the gradually increasing loss of memory made travelling impossible for her. Even at the time of this last visit she must already have been somewhat helpless. As you remark, it is obvious that the garden scene, as ‘staged’ by Marie Louise in her painting, is largely imaginary and never took place in this form. The picture and the grotesquely dramatic tension between the protagonists suggested by it, seems to ironize Marie Louise’s “mixed” and even somewhat aggressive feelings toward her visiting aunt. The latter, at the time, happened to be in the possession, not only of some of the dearest of her early works (Selfportrait 1924, View from the window 1925, Jause 1933; to mention just a few) but she had also been able, in the years preceeding the war, and even during the war, to acquire several important works by Beckmann. Marie Louise somehow felt that she herself was, or would have been, the more rightful owner of these treasures and would have liked to “pinch” them from her. This seems to have tempted her into visualizing her feelings in the scene represented in the picture.’


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notes

exhibitions

1 ‘die innere Spannung aufzulösen, würde einen Roman verlangen’: Reifenberg 1966a, n.p. 2 Anonymous [Eric Newton] 1960, n.p. 3 ‘Alles Figürliche, abgesehen vom Porträt, ist für mich eine Geschichte’: quoted in Hodin 1966, p. 48. 4 ‘es wäre doch besser Kinder als alte Weiber auszuführen, beide wollen auf ’s W.C. wo’s keines giebt, wollen Dinge essen die man nicht bekommt u. auf der Strasse müssen sie bei der Hand gehalten werden.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 23 August 1946: Motesiczky archive. 5 ‘Irgendwie bin ich doch froh dass meine Tante da ist. Ein dritter Mensch im Haus nimmt irgend einen Druck weg’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 28 August 1946: Motesiczky archive. 6 ‘Es fehlt auch an Ruhe denn Tante Ilse umflattert mich wie ein verrückter Pelikan auch in der Sekunde – macht Pläne vergisst sie wieder, sucht, findet verlegt ununterbrochen alles.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 16 August 1947 (postmark): Motesiczky archive.

Munich 1954, no. 111; London 1960, no. 18, shown as Family in the garden, 1949; Vienna 1966, no. 25, illus.; Linz 1966, no. 25, illus.; Munich 1967, no. 25, illus.; Bremen 1968, no. 25, illus.; London 1985, no. 33, illus. p. 36 (col.); Cambridge 1986, no. 33, illus. p. 36 (col.); Vienna 1994, no. 27, illus. (col.); Manchester 1994, no. 20; Vienna 2004b, illus. p. 221 (col.), shown as Im Garten; Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 39, illus. p. 149 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 39, illus. p. 149 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 39, illus. p. 149 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 39, illus. p. 149 (col.). bibliography Petzet 1954, n.p.; Baldaß 1955, p. 219, illus. p. 219 (Family Portrait); Anonymous [Eric Newton] 1960, n.p. (Family in the Garden); Freundlich 1966, n.p.; Reifenberg 1966a, n.p.; Fallon 1985, n.p.; J.E. 1985, illus. n.p.; Adler 1994, p. 17 (Im Garten); Anonymous 1994e, illus. n.p. (detail); Anonymous 1994g, illus. n.p. (detail); Schmidt 1994a, p. 7 (Im Garten); Vorderwülbecke 1999, p. 45, illus. p. 102; Schlenker 2003, p. 111; Lloyd 2004, pp. 221 f., illus. p. 221 (col.); Schlenker 2005, p. 136, illus. p. 138; Wachinger 2005, illus. p. 94; R. Gries 2006, n.p.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 148; Lloyd 2007, pp. 137 f., illus. fig. 27 (col.).

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Still-life with Clematis Stilleben mit Clematis 1948 Oil on canvas, 495 × 615 mm Signed (bottom right): Motesi Private collection, Sweden

This still-life was executed in the year Motesiczky left Amersham and moved into a flat in Compayne Gardens in London. It shows a square wooden table on which stands a collection of objects. Only a vase with clematis in various colours, placed on what might be a folded newspaper, can be easily identified. Next to it is a silver plate on which unidentifiable items are arranged. On the right, an object that resembles a picture frame displays a little figure on a yellow background. Unusually, the painting is signed ‘Motesi’, a simplified version of the artist’s complicated last name. This might have been part of a strategy to render Motesiczky’s work more easily marketable in England. It is said to have been suggested by her friend and flatmate Julia Altschulova, perhaps in advance of the exhibition of this work at the London gallery Roland, Browse and Delbanco where it was recorded as Still-life with Flowers by ‘Mortesi’ and subsequently purchased by Julia Altschulova. sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Peter Black to Julia Altschulova, 1 September 1997: ‘I am writing concerning Marie-Louise von Motesiczky. I organised the Vienna/Manchester exhibitions and am now making a complete catalogue of Marie-Louise’s paintings. You may remember that we met at the Memorial at the Tate Gallery late last year. You told me about your painting, a still life painted in about 1939, and signed “Motesi”. I realize that I have no details of this painting, and have never seen it reproduced. Would it be possible for me to come briefly to measure and photograph it?’ Julia Altschulova to Peter Black, 6 February 1998: ‘Thank you for your note concerning Marie-Louise’s picture. At the moment I am not interested in selling it. Thank you very much for your interest.’ provenance Artist; Julia Altschulova (purchased at Roland, Browse and Delbanco in 1950); Swedish relatives (inherited 2004).

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Woman with Blue Parrot Frau mit blauem Papagei 1948 Oil on canvas, 614 × 513 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Sometimes wrongly identified as Henriette von Motesiczky, this half-length portrait shows an elderly woman whose first name was also Henriette. She may have worked as a caretaker to a Mr Albert, an emigrant from Vienna, in Amersham. A series of passages in Motesiczky’s letters to Elias Canetti chart the progress of this portrait for which the sitter was apparently difficult to pin down: ‘Henriette, whom I finally wanted to make sit for me, again has a cold – hopefully she does not fear that she has to buy the painting.’1 On 23 April 1948, Motesiczky writes energetically and hopefully to Canetti: ‘The day before yesterday Henriette was here for the first sitting – come what may, I will paint a portrait and will stand by it and tell her it is good no matter how it turns out. Unfortunately the next sitting is only on Monday. But for many reasons I terribly hope to paint portraits.’2 By mid-May work was going rather well – ‘Henriette sits for me in London (it does not go too badly)’3 – and the following week the artist’s enthusiasm is palpable: ‘Henriette is fine for me. She sits badly but she talks so much amusing nonsense and I paint and it is like old times with models in Vienna.’4 By the end of the month Motesiczky reported that although the sittings, which took place once a week for an hour, were going well they were not frequent enough: ‘I paint from memory, but often spoil more than I improve because I don’t know her that well. In similar cases I have to get used to making more thorough drawings’.5 When the portrait was finally finished it showed the sitter comfortably seated in a chair, wearing a salmon-coloured top and scarf. Her grey hair is swept up in a bun. Two prominent front teeth stand out in her slightly open mouth. She is holding what appears to be a black and white teacup in her left hand, seemingly offering it to the yellow-breasted, large blue parrot which perches on a branch next to her at head height. The woman watches her feathered companion fondly, exuding familiarity between the sitter and her pet, although it has been said that the animal was just an invention.

notes 1 ‘Henriette die ich nun endlich zum sitzen kriegen wollte ist wieder erkältet – hoffentlich hat sie nicht Angst dass sie das Bild kaufen muss.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, [April 1948]: Motesiczky archive. 2 ‘Vorgestern kam Henriette zur ersten Sitzung – ich werde auf Teufel komm heraus ein Porträt malen u. wie immer ich es finde dazu stehen u. ihr sagen dass es gut ist. Leider hab ich erst Montag wieder die nächste Sitzung. Aber ich wünsch es mir aus vielen Gründen schrecklich Porträts zu malen.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 23 April 1948: Motesiczky archive. 3 ‘In London sitzt mir Henriette (es geht nicht allzu schlecht)’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 13 May 1948: Motesiczky archive. 4 ‘Henriette ist fein für mich. Sie sitzt elend aber sie redet so viel lustiges Zeug u. ich male u. es ist so wie in alten Zeiten mit Modellen in Wien.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 21 May 1948: Motesiczky archive. 5 ‘Ich male auswendig verderbe aber oft mehr als ich gut mache weil ich sie nicht so gut kenne. Ich muss mich gewöhnen für solche Fälle gründlichere Zeichnungen zu machen’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 28 May 1948: Motesiczky archive.

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Self-portrait with Mirror

c. 1948

1949

Oil and charcoal on canvas, 507 × 761 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Oil on canvas, 611 × 922 mm Signed (top right): Motesiczky 49 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

In this relatively large-scale still-life, Motesiczky brings together immensely enlarged objects which she presents very close to the picture plane, lending them an almost monumental quality. In the centre of the composition two oval objects are juxtaposed: a green-white plate holding a pink rose, still complete with its stem and several leaves, and an off-white bulbous flask decorated with an orange bird. A leather ribbon, threaded through holes at the neck of the flask, forms a delicate handle. The central arrangement is framed by two groups of tall brushes in glass containers, one so close to the viewer that only the tops are visible. Several more lush pink roses are scattered around the composition with two long-stemmed blue flowers, possibly cyclamen, among them adding an unexpected, colourful highlight.

This painting is part of a series of self-portraits (see for example Self-portrait in Mirror Looking Left, 1940s, no. 91, and Self-portrait with Pears, 1965, no. 202) in which Motesiczky depicts herself only as a reflection in a mirror. She thus presents the viewer with the image she sees when actually producing the work; the mirror would usually be omitted. The artist, in her early forties and wearing a salmon-coloured, tight-fitting sweater, is seated at her dressing table. As if in an echo of At the Dressmaker’s, 1930 (no. 35), both her arms are lifted high above her head, hands clasped behind the head. They further frame and emphasize the head, leaving only a partial shadow on the wall to the left of the mirror. Motesiczky is calmly and carefully examining her own image, which leaves her with an impassive and sober, almost disappointed expression on her face. To the left of the mirror has been placed a vase of purple irises. Two stems have wilted and bend in front of the mirror, providing an adornment for the artist’s clothes that resembles a brooch. On the right, perhaps in reference to the shadowy, mysterious figure in Self-portrait with Red Hat, 1938 (no. 47), stands a veiled head on a pedestal – possibly a sculpture or a dummy for Motesiczky’s hats. Draped in yellow cloth, its unseeing eyes seem to observe the artist’s self-evaluation. The symmetrical arrangement of the composition, a device often used by the artist in her still-lifes, is counterbalanced by the fact that the mirror image sits slightly off the central axis. bibliography Lloyd 2007, pp. 139 f.

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Cat with Flowers Katze mit Blumen 1949 Oil on canvas, 676 × 434 mm Signed (top right): Motesiczky Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This playful and humorous ‘companion piece’ to Dog with Flowers, 1965 (no. 201), cleverly plays with and mixes the concepts of still-life and portraiture. The black cat, called Susi, belonged to Marie Hauptmann, the artist’s former wetnurse, and was an inhabitant of the Motesiczky home in Amersham. She is standing on her hind legs, her body tensely stretched and balancing with her tail. She is reaching up to a bunch of red, orange and yellow flowers, possibly nasturtiums, on a delicate threelegged table. Here Motesiczky clearly captures a fleeting instant – the cat could not have held the pose for long. It might be argued that initially the artist had intended to paint a still-life of flowers, handily arranged next to her easel; a section of the easel stand can be seen on the right. When the cat wandered in, Motesiczky shifted the focus and decided to include a living creature. The strong shadows cast by the cat and the objects give an interesting depth to the space they occupy. exhibitions Amsterdam 1952; The Hague 1952; Munich 1954, no. 132; Munich 1967, no. 62 (ex catalogue); Vienna 1994, no. 28, illus. (col.). bibliography Brandenburg 1952, n.p.

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After the Ball Nach dem Ball 1949 Oil on canvas, 763 × 509 mm Signed (top left): motesiczky Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Like Apples from Hinterbrühl, 1955 (no. 137), After the Ball commemorates the artist’s elder brother, Karl von Motesiczky, who was born in 1904. When Marie-Louise and Henriette von Motesiczky left Austria in 1938, Karl stayed behind and subsequently became active in the resistance, helping many of his Jewish friends. He was caught in 1942 and sent to Auschwitz where he died the following year. Both Marie-Louise and Karl von Motesiczky were fond of masked balls. Photographs in the artist’s estate show the teenage Karl with a female companion, dressed as the moon and the sun (fig. 74). Other photographs depict Marie-Louise, Max and Quappi Beckmann in fancy dress, fooling around on the garden steps of the Kaulbach Villa in Munich (fig. 75). In this moving recollection, Karl von Motesiczky is depicted with his Norwegian girlfriend, probably a woman aged around thirty called Aagot, after a fancy-dress ball in Vienna. Both are exhausted from the evening’s entertainment. He is wearing a crown and

Fig. 74 Karl von Motesiczky and friend in fancy dress, photograph, early 1920s (Motesiczky archive)

carrying a lyre, perhaps alluding to the biblical King David, and she has a feather boa draped around her hair. Hesitantly and tenderly, his huge hands, reminiscent of those painted by Beckmann, are holding her, while at the same time creating a barrier protecting the couple’s privacy. Interestingly, the preliminary drawings for the painting omit the lyre which, together with the contemporary appearance of the clothing, gives the whole scene a more modern appearance (figs 76 and 77). The painting, by contrast, places the figures in a distant, almost mythical past. The artist herself made the following remarks about her brother and the painting: I must say a few words about my brother. He was two years older than me and had a wonderful intellect. But his short life was very difficult because he was a dreamer. He was so gifted musically. He burdened himself in all humility with law, then theology, then it was philosophy. And then with politics. It was also like in the Buddha story – it would have been better if he’d had to earn a living. He was not a political person, but he was leftwing as every decent person was then. Then he got in the hands of the famous analyst William [Wilhelm] Reich, who in Norway exploited my brother to the utmost. There was a Norwegian girl my brother fell in love with. He took that girl to a fancy dress ball, which in Vienna was a great thing and he wore a crown. He came back late at night and she was tired and he still had the golden crown and all was happy. But imagine – a few days later he discovered he could not love the girl – he found her too good, too meek and mild. And that is the picture ‘After the Ball’ (1949) – when they came back from the Fancy Dress, he perhaps uncertain whether to kiss her or not, and she tired.1

Fig. 75 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky (left), Max Beckmann (centre) and Mathilde von Kaulbach (right) in fancy dress at the Kaulbach Villa in Munich, photograph, c. 1925 (Motesiczky archive)

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Fig. 76 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, study for After the Ball, c. 1949, black chalk on paper, 320 × 240 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

Fig. 77 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, study for After the Ball, c. 1949, black chalk on paper, 240 × 320 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust

note

bibliography

1 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, undated typescript: Motesiczky archive.

Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Kurt Wettengl, Historisches Museum, Frankfurt am Main, 3 February 1990: ‘“After the Ball” stellt meinen Bruder dar. Ich habe das Bild gemalt, nachdem ich die Nachricht von seinem Tod in Auschwitz, kurz nach Ende des Krieges erhielt. Ich würde mich aus begreiflichen Gründen vorläufig lieber nicht entschliessen, das Bild zu verkaufen.’

exhibitions

Basoski 1952, n.p.; Brandenburg 1952, n.p.; Reifenberg 1966a, n.p.; Dr. S. 1968, n.p.; Calvocoressi 1985, p. 60; Winterbottom 1986, p. 11; Vann 1987, pp. 14–16, illus. p. 17 (col.); Anonymous [Jeremy Adler] 1996, n.p.; Black 1996, n.p.; Neuerwerbungen, exh. cat. 1999, p. 104; Smithson 1999, n.p.; Weiner 1999, n.p.; Foster 2004, p. 143; López Calatayud 2005, p. 26; Crüwell 2006d, n.p.; Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, exh. booklet 2006, n.p., illus. n.p. (col.); Schlenker 2006b, pp. 200 f.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 150; Lloyd 2007, p. 132.

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Amsterdam 1952; The Hague 1952; Munich 1954, no. 127, shown as Nach dem Maskenfest; London 1960, no. 16, shown as Boy and girl, 1948; Vienna 1966, no. 26, illus.; Linz 1966, no. 26, illus.; Munich 1967, no. 26, illus.; Bremen 1968, no. 26, illus.; Frankfurt am Main 1980, no. 76; London 1985, no. 34, illus. p. 75; Cambridge 1986, no. 34, illus. p. 75; Manchester 1994, no. 21; Liverpool 2006, no. 41, illus. p. 151 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 41, illus. p. 151 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 41, illus. p. 151 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 41, illus. p. 151 (col.).


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Woman in Green Leaning on a Chair 1940s Oil on canvas, 635 × 760 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This portrait is of an unknown middle-aged, elegantly dressed woman in green, seated astride a chair with a back also covered in green, albeit slightly lighter. Her bare forearms are hugging the chair, while her chin rests lightly on her left arm. The sitter is placed in front of a blank grey wall, with the suggestion of a curtain on the left. This indicates the existence of a window just beyond the picture plane. This spatial arrangement is further clarified by the strong shadow over half her face while the other half glows in the full light streaming in through the window. Her short brown hair shows a green tinge as if reflecting the colour of her clothes. She wears a faint smile, and her large dark eyes under short black eyebrows gaze straight ahead. The portrait may have been left unfinished as suggested by two bare strips of canvas on the left and right, the partially incomplete hands and fingers and the mere suggestion of a piece of cloth over the left forearm.

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Head of a Man 1940s Oil on canvas, 610 × 510 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This half-length portrait of an unknown young man, his right hand supporting his head, is executed in a rough and sketchy manner and appears unfinished. Dressed in a blue suit jacket, white shirt and red tie, he is seated in a high-backed chair. He is facing the viewer, his slightly squinting gaze staring fixedly ahead. The ill-defined background seems, at least in parts, reworked.

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Bowl of Fruit with Candelabra 1940s Oil on canvas, 610 × 509 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

In this composition, the white tablecloth produces a stark contrast to the solid black mass of the background, virtually dividing the picture plane into two distinct halves. A brown bowl filled with green pears stands on a folded piece of newspaper on which writing is indicated but not legible. A bouquet of red and pink flowers rises behind the fruit, its vase obscured by the bowl. The flowers themselves cover the lower part of a three-branched candelabra holding three brightly burning candles. Motesiczky indicates the light they are emitting by bold sweeps of broad white brushstrokes around the flame. A preparatory sketch for this carefully built-up, layered still-life shows a composition that is very similar to the final painting (fig. 78). The divided background, the fruit, flowers and candles are all on the drawing. Eventually, only the few scattered leaves on the table will be replaced by the newspaper.

Fig. 78 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, sketch, 1940s, graphite and pastel on paper, 227 × 173 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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Self-portrait in Mirror Looking Left 1940s Oil on canvas, 609 × 506 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

As in several other self-portraits (see Selfportrait with Mirror, 1949, no. 85, and Self-portrait with Pears, 1965, no. 202), Motesiczky here incorporates the mirror, a means of self-examination, as an integral part of the composition. The large mirror with its rounded edges, in which Motesiczky’s head and shoulders appear, fills almost the entire canvas. Yet, curiously, Motesiczky is not looking into the mirror as might be expected in a selfportrait if the mirror is used to study one’s features, but facing left and seen in full profile. Her dark blonde hair is held back by a pointed little hat, perched on the back of her head and decorated with an orange ribbon. By changing her dark brown eyes into strangely prominent yellow ones, she alters and disguises her otherwise easily recognizable face. The sombre, dark colours of the painting contribute to the slightly mysterious atmosphere of the scene, as does the bunch of yellow and pink flowers and leaves. Presumably placed on the table in front of the mirror, most of the flowers are reflected in the mirror, with only one large yellow flower directly visible in the foreground. Motesiczky left this painting undated. No clues have been found in the artist’s estate that might suggest the year of creation. Owing to the stylistic similarities to other works of the period and the age the artist appears to be in the painting, it should be dated to the 1940s. bibliography Michel 2003, p. 60, illus. Abb. 85 (col.) (Selbstporträt im Spiegel mit Blumen).

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Head of a Girl 1940s Oil on canvas, 459 Ă— 357 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This painting, left unstretched by Motesiczky and only recently put on a stretcher, shows the close-up portrait of an unknown young woman with long dark hair which seems neatly arranged and decorated. The details of her face, one half thrown into shadow and the other glowing in the light, are carefully recorded while the surroundings are left vague.

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Self-portrait with Green Headscarf 1940s Oil and charcoal on canvas, 610 × 413 mm Private collection

This unfinished self-portrait was left unstretched by Motesiczky and only recently put on a stretcher. It may have been painted around the same time as Three Heads, 1944 (no. 69), when Motesiczky seems to have been experimenting with scarves. It shows the artist, probably around her fortieth birthday, wearing a light green headscarf. The soft cloth emphasizes the artist’s oval face, with her large brown eyes and characteristically slightly open mouth. While Motesiczky’s features are recorded in detail, her clothes and her surroundings are only hinted at and remain undefined. provenance Artist; private collection (2009).

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Head of a Smiling Woman 1940s Oil on canvas (not attached to stretcher), 500 × 350 mm (painted area) Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This unstretched canvas shows the unfinished portrait of an unknown young woman. Her brown hair appears to be held back by a hairnet and her face is dominated by a smile and rosy cheeks. Her clothes are only loosely defined and the background reveals nothing of the sitter’s surroundings.

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Still-life with Flowers and Pipe 1940s Oil on canvas, 488 × 404 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This still-life was left unstretched by the artist and only recently put on a stretcher. In the background a window with partially drawn yellow curtains and an oval mirror can be made out, while the foreground is occupied by a bouquet of white, yellow and pink flowers tightly arranged in a bulbous blue vase on a table. Next to it stand what appear to be a glass and a box containing an egg. As if added as an afterthought, a hastily sketched small black pipe lies in front of the vase. It was presumably discarded by the artist’s mother, Henriette von Motesiczky, who used to smoke (she is depicted smoking her pipe in Reclining Woman with Pipe, 1954, no. 129, and Henriette von Motesiczky, 1959, no. 160). A pencil inscription on the back of the canvas, in Motesiczky’s handwriting and in her Viennese dialect, reads: ‘Talent is etwas was ma kann ohne das man’s g’lernt hat’ (Talent is what you can do without having learnt it).

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Edge of a Wood 1940s Oil on canvas (not attached to stretcher), 282 × 480 mm (painted area) Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Motesiczky, who repeatedly painted her garden, hardly ever depicted ‘untamed’ nature in her paintings. This unstretched canvas is a rare example of her attempt to paint a forest. Seen from the very edge of the wood, we are presented with a bank of tall tree trunks, trees, bushes and colourful flowers. Only a few plants stand out individually and the rest are lost in a mass of dark vegetation.

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Family Portrait in the Garden 1940s Oil on canvas (not attached to stretcher), 500 × 700 mm (painted area) Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This unstretched canvas shows a figural scene that has so far proved impossible to decipher. As if in an attempt to capture a dream, Motesiczky here brings together several seemingly disparate elements. A young naked woman kneels in a green bath in front of a bush with red blossoms, behind which a blonde head appears. A mysterious figure clad in black from head to toe walks around the bush and approaches the bath. A soldier in uniform sits in a low deckchair reading a newspaper, while a blonde young woman in a white dress kneels in front of him, inspecting her face in an oval hand mirror which shows no reflection. The figures cannot be identified, but they might be family members or friends. The woman with the mirror is reminiscent of a passenger in The Travellers, 1940 (no. 50). Motesiczky made numerous drawings of nudes in baths and some of them are clearly self-portraits (fig. 79). The bathers are usually surrounded by various figures, often wearing exotic costumes or long dresses. It is unclear whether the atmosphere of unreality this painting creates is the result of an attempt at a political allegory in response to those being produced by Motesiczky’s friend and fellow artist Oskar Kokoschka at the time.

Fig. 79 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Woman in a Tub, 1940s, black chalk and graphite on paper, 210 × 300 mm (private collection)

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Deckchair in the Garden 1940s Oil on canvas (not attached to stretcher), 606 × 413 mm (painted area) Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This unstretched canvas shows a view of a deserted garden, presumably from the open window of the artist’s ground-floor studio in Amersham. An empty deckchair stands among white and purple irises, and, beyond the dense hedge, tall trees can be made out. The overcast grey and yellow sky suggests an approaching sunset. While the open window frames the view on the right, a small red bird in flight on the left neatly balances the composition.

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Henriette von Motesiczky and Friend Talking 1940s Oil on canvas (not attached to stretcher), 590 × 800 mm (painted area) Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This unstretched canvas shows Henriette von Motesiczky, the artist’s mother, on the left, with a friend whose identity remains unknown. The women are seated at a table in front of a window through which a few branches can be seen set off against a dark sky. They sit close together, gesturing animatedly, seemingly absorbed in their conversation.

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Mixed Flowers in a Vase with Cutlery 1940s Oil on canvas, 359 × 460 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Positioned near the edge of a table stands a sturdy vase, containing a tightly packed bunch of mixed flowers in shades of pink, red and yellow. Several pieces of cutlery, a fork, two spoons and a knife, are randomly scattered around the flowers. Motesiczky introduced several devices that invest this still-life with a sense of movement and force. The edge of the table, jutting across the picture plane, the blade of the knife, cut off by the edge of the canvas, the angle of the spoon, half-hidden behind the flowers, and the prongs of the fork, which are not quite parallel, all contribute to the illusion of activity.

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Portrait of Woman in Red 1950 Oil on canvas, 533 × 383 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This bust-length portrait shows an unknown young woman. Seated in a high-backed chair, she is wearing a red summer dress. Her elongated neck supports an oval face in which the red lips, corresponding with the dress, stand out. Her brown hair is cut short in a boyish fashion. The fingers of her left hand are nonchalantly, almost accidentally, included in the picture, the elbow possibly resting on the arm of the chair. She is dreamily focusing on something over the artist’s left shoulder. Parts of the chair, hand and shoulders suggest that the portrait may not be entirely finished. bibliography López Calatayud 2005, illus. n.p. (two details, col.).

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Still-life with Watercolour Box 1950 Oil on canvas, 305 × 409 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

In this fresh and light composition a handful of objects fill almost the entire canvas. In front of the artist’s watercolour box, which lies open displaying an array of colours, lie what seem to be a fan and a goose feather. The small apple, propped up by the feather, is simply characterized by black outlines and one major brushstroke of pale yellow against the green background. In the lower left section of the picture, the canvas has been left bare.

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Pagina 210

Conversation in the Library Gespräch in der Bibliothek 1950 Oil on canvas, 761 × 634 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Conversation in the Library is a homage to a lost world.1 Jeremy Adler said of the painting: ‘There is no truer record of genius in exile.’2 The two geniuses and fellow emigrants, the old friends Franz Baermann Steiner (1909–52), anthropologist and poet, and the writer and 1981 Nobel Laureate Elias Canetti (1905–94), who had met in Vienna in 1937, are involved in a heated discussion. It takes place in a room full of books, presumably the artist’s studio in the Motesiczky house in Amersham where a sizeable portion of Canetti’s vast library was kept. Adler describes the painting: ‘Canetti, mighty and straddle-legged, with his left hand in the pocket and the right behind the bowed head, hair tousled, looks at the floor in front of him; Steiner, slight, stands to his right like a fencer taking his guard, the oversized, almost bald head in profile, the right eye sharply looking into the distance, the red mouth like an arrow pointing inwards, the right arm bent, the hand stretched out, open, demonstrating. Thus, entangled in a battle of words, the two appear like mutually intertwined opposites, and follow, each for himself, a common goal.’3 When Canetti and Steiner met again in England, their friendship soon became close. It was based on an intensive and regular intellectual exchange marked by a mutual respect for each other’s wide-ranging scholarship. In a letter to Motesiczky of the late 1940s, Canetti praises Steiner as the only scientifically trained human being able to foresee the far-reaching consequences of Canetti’s thoughts.4 It would have been appropriate for Motesiczky to situate Canetti and Steiner, as she knew them, in a room full of books. She associated Canetti’s scholarship with books and the intensive study of them. She might even have seen the books as a kind of rival for Canetti’s attention, a battle she had resigned herself to losing since reading and especially writing always took precedence over Motesiczky. Books also played a recurring part in the poems Steiner gave to Motesiczky. They can characterize a room or a mood, and can also become a consolation in 210

solitude. Motesiczky was certainly aware of the common passion for book hunting that kept Canetti and Steiner in constant competition. Most importantly, the books stand for the immense knowledge amassed by Canetti and Steiner, of which even the enforced emigration could not rob them. This allusion to their intellectual force stands in striking contrast to the physical characterization of the two figures. While an anonymous critic once thought of Canetti and Steiner as a ‘gnomic couple’5 and Canetti referred to this depiction of himself as a ‘caricature’,6 it would be wrong to take the figures for cartoons. They should instead be seen as representations of the essence of each personality, albeit in a simplified and slightly naïve style. Conversation in the Library is a prime example of the artist’s gift for precisely characterizing a person in an image and her honesty in depicting what she sees. Canetti, though not a physical giant, was an impressive figure. John Bayley described him in the following words: ‘Squat, almost dwarfish, with a massive head and thick black hair, he looked like a giant cut short at the waist, what the Germans call a Sitzriese.’7 Canetti himself was fascinated by Steiner’s qualities as an interlocutor rather than his physical appearance. Steiner himself was said to be well aware of his physical shortcomings. He explained his plans to do fieldwork among the pygmies as follows: ‘All my life I have been a little man, I want to know what it feels like, just for once, to be a big man.’8 It is exactly this discrepancy between physical disadvantage and intellectual greatness that Motesiczky is able to capture. There is, however, a further dimension to the painting. Although not physically included in the painting, Motesiczky is nevertheless obliquely present as the invisible third party. In a preliminary sketch for the painting she reveals her partially hidden figure behind the prominent Canetti (fig. 80). Modestly keeping in the background, she is but an observer of the scene which does not yet include Steiner. By omitting herself


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Fig. 80 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, study for Conversation in the Library, c. 1950, pen and ink on paper, 287 × 210 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

Fig. 81 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, study for Conversation in the Library, c. 1950, ballpoint pen on paper, 227 × 177 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

from another drawing (fig. 81) and from the final painting she manages to distance herself from the sitters and to gain a detached perspective.

Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, [1960]: ‘Und wissen Sie was Lessore für den Katalog in Druck gegeben hat – ohne mich zu fragen – Sie und den Steiner. Was sagen Sie dazu? Heisst “The Study” Ich kann nix dafür.’

sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust

Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 26 April 1966: ‘Eben kam Dein Brief und ich schreibe Dir gleich, um Dir ein wenig Mut zuzusprechen und auch um Dir zu erzählen, dass zugleich mit Deinem ein anderer Brief aus Wien kam, der zwar mich betrifft, sich aber nur besonders günstig auf die Ausstellung auswirken kann. Ein Direktor des österreichischen Rundfunks teilte mir offiziell mit, dass ich für dieses Jahr zwar nicht den Stadtpreis, dafür aber den Dichterpreis der Stadt Wien zuerkannt bekommen habe. Ich soll am 16. Mai im Rathaus anwesend sein, um ihn entgegenzunehmen und dafür zu danken. Das ist nun materiell bestimmt nicht so günstig wie der Stadtpreis gewesen wäre (ich weiss nicht einmal, ob Geld damit überhaupt verbunden ist, das steht im Brief nicht drin) aber dafür geschieht es jetzt, während Deiner Ausstellung, was die Journalisten bestimmt interessieren wird. Es trifft sich geradezu wunderbar, dass ich in Wien sein werde. Der

Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 17 September 1954: ‘Nun bin ich also in München, wo ich vorgestern ankam. Als Erstes ging ich in die Ausstellung … Ich war sehr glücklich darüber, es sieht wunderschön aus. Die meisten Bilder kommen gut zur Geltung; das Einzige, das wirklich schlecht gehängt ist, ist die Georgette mit Bankert, das bemerkt man kaum – aber vielleicht war kein anderer Platz. Das sage ich nur, um einen Einwand zu machen, weil sonst mein Lob falsch klingen könnte. Die Räume finde ich ausgezeichnet. Kannst Du Dir vorstellen, wie mir zumute war, sie alle wieder vorzufinden, in einer neuen Nachbarschaft, so frisch und strahlend und Du selbst dreimal als Porträt an der Wand, ich wenigstens als Karikatur.’

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Rundfunk wird ein ganzes Programm über mich machen und ich werde unzählige Leute kennen lernen, die ich alle in Deine Ausstellung schicken oder bringen kann. Ich bin sehr froh, dass Du den Presse-Empfang in der Sezession haben wirst. Du darfst dabei nicht sparen, es soll sehr schön sein, das haben die Leute gern (aber nicht übertrieben üppig). Die Aufwartung soll so sein, dass Du nicht daran zu denken hast, alles soll von selber laufen. Dein Kopf soll für die Gespräche frei bleiben. Du musst mir jetzt schon heilig versprechen, ganz wenig oder nichts zu trinken, und zwar aus folgenden Gründen: wenn man getrunken hat, sagt man frei heraus, was man denkt. Die Journalisten werden Dich allerhand fragen, Du darfst aber nie einen Hieb gegen die Abstrakten oder die Wiener Surrealisten riskieren, dazu ist Deine Stellung nicht stark genug. Du musst sagen, dass es Dir um andere Sachen zu tun war, Dich auf Beckmann berufen, einfach so natürlich reden, wie Du es kannst, ohne andere Richtungen anzugreifen. Wenn es sich ergibt, kannst Du auf Deine feine Art das Steiner-Bild zeigen und sagen, dass ich der andere bin, auch das Porträt kannst Du ruhig zeigen, alle werden wissen, dass ich bald komme. Du sollst zum Beispiel sagen, welche Bilder mir “offiziell” gehören. Vergiss nicht, dass “Mutter mit Strohhalm” “Canettis Lieblingsbild” von Dir ist. (Im Katalog gehört es mir). Sag, dass ich bald komme, weil ich die Ausstellung sehen will. Glaub mir, es ist viel besser, dass ich nicht bei der Eröffnung dabei bin, jetzt noch mehr, weil sich zuviel Aufmerksamkeit mir zugewandt hätte. Wenn ich komme, so um den 9. herum, wird die Sache einen neuen Impetus bekommen, und erst recht in der letzten Woche nach der Preis-Verleihung im Rathaus. Ich halte es jetzt für sehr wahrscheinlich, dass die Stadt ein Porträt von mir bei Dir bestellt (wenn sie nicht das Vorhandene gleich kauft).’

notes

Daniele Grassi, typescript, c. 1986, p. 5: ‘Der zerzauste und noch nicht berühmte Schriftsteller, der gegen den Hintergrund eines Bücherschrankes mit seinen eigenen Gedanken ringt, dabei mehr an sich selbst als an die anderen denkend, auf plumpen Bauernbeinen fest am Boden verankert, unberührt vom Gestikulieren und scharfen Profil seines schmächtigen, auf schwächlichen Beinen stehenden Gegenspielers und damit eine an sich schon komplizierte Situation noch erschwert – das ist Canetti, wie alle ihn post factum kennenlernen werden.’

Baldaß 1955, p. 219 (Diskussion); Helmolt 1980, n.p.; Anonymous 1985, n.p.; Serke 1987, illus. p. 310 (detail); Adler 1994, p. 17; Cohen 1994, p. 94, illus. p. 93 (col.); Adler 1995, p. 228; Cohen 1996a, n.p.; Fallon 1996, n.p.; Ritter 1998, illus. n.p.; Adler/Fardon 1999, illus. vol. 1, fig. 14; Vorderwülbecke 1999, pp. 44 f., illus. p. 101; Kämmerlings 2000, illus. n.p.; Conradi 2001, illus. after p. 418; Larsson 2002, illus. p. 162 (col.); Michel 2003, p. 54, illus. Abb. 72 (col.); Schlenker 2003, pp. 116–18, 121, illus. p. 119 (col.); Canetti 2005b, illus. p. 94; Canetti 2005d, illus. n.p. (detail, col.); López Calatayud 2005, p. 26; Wachinger 2005, illus. p. 94; Sander 2006, pp. 122 f.; Schlenker 2006b, pp. 200 f., 204, 207; Schlenker 2006c, p. 154; Schlenker 2006d, pp. 257, 261; Lloyd 2007, pp. 141–3, 222, illus. fig. 28 (col.).

1 For a more detailed discussion of this painting and its context see Schlenker 2003. 2 Quoted in Cohen 1994, p. 94. 3 ‘Canetti, mächtig und breitbeinig, mit der linken Hand in der Tasche und der rechten hinter dem gesenkten Kopf, blickt mit zerrauftem Haar vor sich auf den Boden; Steiner, schmächtig, steht rechts vor ihm wie ein Fechter in Positur, der übergroße, fast kahle Kopf in Profil, das rechte Auge scharf in die Ferne blickend, der rote Mund wie ein nach innen gerichteter Pfeil, der rechte Arm gebogen, die Hand ausgestreckt, offen, zeigend. So wirken die zwei, verstrickt im Wortgefecht, wie ineinander verschränkte Gegensätze, und verfolgen jeder für sich ein gemeinsames Ziel.’: Adler 1995, p. 228. 4 Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, [May 1948]: Motesiczky archive. 5 Anonymous 1985. 6 Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 17 September 1954: Motesiczky archive. 7 Bayley 1998, p. 118. 8 Adler/Fardon 1999, vol. 1, p. 88. The comment was presumably made around 1950. provenance Artist; Elias Canetti (probably purchased at 1960 exhibition, perhaps already in his possession in 1954); artist (given back before 1988). exhibitions Munich 1954, no. 133, shown as Diskussion; London 1960, no. 19, illus., shown as The study, 1949; Vienna 1966, no. 27; Linz 1966, no. 27; Munich 1967, no. 27; Bremen 1968, no. 27; Frankfurt am Main 1980, no. 77, illus., shown as In der Bibliothek; London 1985, no. 35, illus. p. 37 (col.); Berlin 1992, no. 20:7/204, illus. p. 664, dated 1948/1960; Vienna 1994, no. 31, illus. (col.); Marbach 1998, section 5 exhibit 18, p. 40, illus. p. 41 (col.), dated ‘begun 1948’; Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 43, illus. p. 155 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 43, illus. p. 155 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 43, illus. p. 155 (col.). bibliography

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Still-life, Yellow Roses in White Bowl c. 1950 Oil on canvas, 354 × 459 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This symmetrical composition shows a wide, white bowl with two handles, placed on top of what looks like a bedside table. The keyhole of the top drawer is just visible under its elegantly curved front. Large, full roses fill the low bowl. Most are yellow with some pink specimens scattered among them. The bulk of them are past their prime, their heads hanging and their petals starting to drop. The calm serenity and simplicity of this composition produces an effect that is almost monumental.

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Fountain in the Park Springbrunnen im Park 1951 Oil on canvas, 605 × 808 mm Signed (bottom right): Motesiczky Private collection, The Hague

Motesiczky had a special fondness for London’s Regent’s Park, which was not far from her home in Hampstead and where she often went for walks. Several paintings were inspired by her visits to the park (Regent’s Park, 1951, no. 108; Regent’s Canal with Car, 1952, no. 111; and Regent’s Canal with Aviary, 1986, no. 286). In this painting she depicted the Triton Fountain in Queen Mary’s Garden on the site of the Royal Botanic Society conservatory demolished in 1932, which had been donated in memory of the painter Sigismund Goetze (1866–1939) in 1950. The sculptor of the fountain, William McMillan RA (1887–1977), had created a playful sculpture of a coiling triton and dryads (see fig. 82). The sculpted figures are busily spouting water in all directions, watched by a woman in a yellow dress who sits on one of the surrounding benches among the garden’s floral display. In the foreground a pram and a sailing boat indicate the presence of children. The fact that they have momentarily wandered off does not diminish the joyful and relaxed atmosphere of the painting.

Fig. 82 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, study for Fountain in the Park, 1951, charcoal, pastel and black chalk on paper, 180 × 240 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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Although Fountain in the Park has so far been dated 1951, the following handwritten dedication by the author in Elias Canetti’s Komödie der Eitelkeit, published in Munich in 1950, suggests that the painting was in the process of being painted the year before: ‘Muli, für ihre Geduld und für den schönsten Springbrunnen Elias Canetti 25. Juli 1950’.1

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note

exhibitions

1 ‘Muli, for her patience and for the most beautiful fountain Elias Canetti 25 July 1950’. Motesiczky archive.

Amsterdam 1952; The Hague 1952; Munich 1954, no. 135, shown as Springbrunnen.

provenance

bibliography

Artist; Kees Leembruggen (probably purchased at exhibition in The Hague 1952); Philip Leembruggen (inherited).

Brandenburg 1952, n.p.; Filarski 1952a, n.p.; Filarski 1952b, n.p.; H.v.C. 1952, n.p.; Lloyd 2007, p. 147.

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Indian Couple Indisches Paar 1951 Oil and collage on canvas, 459 × 613 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This double portrait of an unknown Sikh couple, whom Motesiczky is said to have met on Finchley Road, depicts two very different individuals. It also implicitly tells a story. On the left, the face of a bearded man wearing a turban is seen in profile. Dressed in an elegant suit and tie, he is confidently smiling or even ‘leering’, as has been suggested by the art historian Ludwig Baldass,1 at the woman by his side, who is wearing a red bindi on her forehead. She faces the viewer yet seems subdued and shy despite her beautiful rich dress. Her eyes are downcast and with her right hand she reaches up to support her cheek. Since the couple who stand close together display a strange unfamiliarity they might in fact be a bride and groom who have just met at their wedding. As yet they are unsure of one another and only just starting tentatively to approach their new life together.

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note 1 ‘lüsternen’: Baldaß 1955, p. 218. exhibition Munich 1954, no. 129. bibliography Baldaß 1955, p. 218; Lloyd 2007, p. 147.

Lo and Lilly 1951 Oil on canvas, 712 × 920 mm Signed (bottom right): Motesiczky Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

A couple, seated at the corner of a table, appear to be about to enjoy a meal together. The woman, seen in profile, is talking and gesturing animatedly. The man, of oriental origin and facing the viewer, is listening attentively, resting his chin on his folded hands. The setting of the scene is unclear but can be interpreted as a restaurant. This is suggested by the background with its ornamental mirror and wall-mounted lamp while on the table a glass holds folded yellow paper napkins and a wine glass with a red cocktail stick. The couple are wearing rather formal attire: he sports a light brown suit and she is dressed in a colourfully patterned elegant jacket and a few bright items of jewellery. The scene could, however, be taking place in a dining room in a private house. Motesiczky had a Chinese neighbour, a doctor called Lo, who invited her round for dinner on several occasions. 216

exhibitions Munich 1954, no. 112, shown as Tscheng und Lilli; London 1960, no. 20, shown as Couple in a restaurant, 1952; Munich 1967, no. 64 (ex catalogue). bibliography Petzet 1954, n.p. (Tscheng und Lilli); Baldaß 1955, pp. 218 f.


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Regent’s Park 1951 Oil on canvas, 508 × 763 mm Signed (bottom right): marie louise m. (overpainted underneath: ‘Motesiczky’) Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This park scene combines two characteristic features of London’s Regent’s Park, the magnificent gardens and the gracious surrounding buildings. On a cold spring day two elegantly dressed ladies, wearing tailored coats or suits with matching little hats, are out for a walk. They pass by a bed of tulips in a multitude of different colours. This splendid display is surrounded by bushes in various stages of bloom. Yet, the bare branches of a large tree on the left indicate that spring is only just starting. The backdrop for this setting is provided by a grand house, probably modelled on buildings

in Cumberland Terrace. Designed by John Nash and completed in 1827, Cumberland Terrace has been described as the most splendid of the Regent’s Park terraces. Situated on the eastern side of the park, its columns, prominent wings and brightly coloured portico overlook an extensive area of carefully tended lawn. Flowerbeds, however, can be found only in the southern part of the park. In condensing the architectural features of Cumberland Terrace and relocating the flowerbeds, Motesiczky has produced an idealized view of her favourite park.

exhibitions Amsterdam 1952; The Hague 1952. bibliography Brandenburg 1952, n.p.; Filarski 1952a, n.p.; Lloyd 2007, p. 147.

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Two Women and a Shadow Zwei Frauen und ein Schatten 1951 Oil on canvas, 758 × 1016 mm Signed (bottom right): Motesiczky Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

The painter Oskar Kokoschka (1886–1980) had been a friend of Henriette von Motesiczky in Vienna. According to the composer Gian Carlo Menotti, who had stayed with the Motesiczkys in 1933/4, Kokoschka had painted a portrait of Henriette von Motesiczky in the nude that hung in her bedroom in the Brahmsplatz flat (unfortunately this has not yet been located). The Motesiczkys and Kokoschka, in the company of his future wife Olda, met again in England in early 1939. When Kokoschka moved to Polperro in Cornwall in the summer of 1939, letters were exchanged and visits finally resumed in the early 1940s, when the Motesiczkys were living in Amersham. Kokoschka made a drawing of Motesiczky wearing a straw hat (a signed copy of which he presented to the artist’s mother – figs 31 and 83) and took a keen interest in her painting, trying to direct her along the right artistic path, alternating praise with criticism. On 8 May 1945, Motesiczky noted in her diary: ‘It is peace … Kokoschkas appear. O.K. is awful with my painting of mother.’1 The following day, she seems to have forgotten her grudge and records her admiration for Olda Kokoschka’s appearance: ‘Olda is beautiful to look at.’2 On the death of Motesiczky, Olda Kokoschka remarked warmly that the artist was a person ‘whom I have known and liked very much ever since our coming to London end of 1938. She was a very special person with a very individual way of looking at life.’3 With Two Women and a Shadow, Motesiczky has created a work of art that might have inspired Iris Murdoch’s description of the remodelled interior of a formerly musty and old-fashioned house in the novel The Book and the Brotherhood from 1987: ‘The drawing room … was now painted a glowing aquamarine adorned with a huge scarlet abstract by de Kooning over the fireplace and two colourful conversation pieces by Kokoschka and Motesiczky.’4 This modern conversation piece is a triple portrait of Oskar Kokoschka, his wife Olda and 218

Motesiczky in social circumstances that might be a cocktail party (the painting has been exhibited under this title). The two women, seated upon a large orange sofa next to each other, are wearing light summer dresses. Olda Kokoschka is delicately holding a small glass, her elegantly elongated neck towering over Motesiczky who appears somewhat shrunken and dejected. This is emphasized by her downcast and hooded eyes that stare at the untouched cup on a tray in front of her and the handkerchief she is clutching in her hand. As if intending to confide some sad news to her friend, Motesiczky nevertheless sits in silence with Olda Kokoschka expectantly observing her. It could be argued that it is the silhouetted dark profile, visible between the women, that prevents Motesiczky from talking. It is unmistakable as Oskar Kokoschka’s distinctive profile. He sits in close proximity with his back to the women. Although not openly participating in the intended conversation, he is visibly disturbing it and the women do not feel free to talk with him listening. Two Women and a Shadow subtly depicts a lifelong friendship that was not without its difficulties.

Fig. 83 Oskar Kokoschka, copy of his 1940 watercolour Marie-Louise, dedicated to Henriette von Motesiczky (Motesiczky archive)

notes 1 ‘Es ist Frieden … Kokoschkas erscheinen. O.K. ist scheusslich mit meinem Bild v. Mutter.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 8 May 1945: Motesiczky archive. 2 ‘Olda ist hübsch zum ansehen.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 9 May 1945: Motesiczky archive. 3 Olda Kokoschka to the family of Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 30 June 1996: Motesiczky archive. 4 Murdoch 1988, pp. 536 f. exhibitions Amsterdam 1952, shown as Cocktail Party; The Hague 1952, shown as Cocktail Party; Munich 1954, no. 113; Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 45, illus. p. 159 (col.). bibliography Anonymous 1952a, n.p., illus. n.p.; Anonymous 1952b, n.p.; Brandenburg 1952, n.p., illus. n.p.; Buys 1952, n.p.; Filarski 1952a, n.p.; Filarski 1952b, n.p., illus. n.p.; Michel 2003, p. 54, illus. Abb. 70 (col.); R. Gries 2006, n.p.; Huther 2006a, n.p.; Huther 2006b, n.p.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 158; Stadler 2006, n.p.; Calvocoressi 2007, illus. p. 24 (detail, col.); Lloyd 2007, p. 110, illus. fig. 24 (col.).

Fig. 84 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, study for Two Women and a Shadow, 1951, graphite on tracing paper, 830 × 1095 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)


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Finchley Road at Night Finchley Road bei Nacht 1952 Oil on canvas, 710 × 910 mm Signed (bottom right): Motesiczky 1952 Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, Amsterdam (A 3348)

Having spent the war years in Amersham with her mother, Motesiczky moved back to London at the end of the war. In 1948 she found a flat in 14 Compayne Gardens, West Hampstead, which she shared with a friend. From 1951 to 1957 Elias Canetti also had a room there, where he often worked. Finchley Road, one of the main arteries leading out of London to the north, divides West Hampstead from Hampstead, where the artist purchased a house in 1960, and this part of north London was a constant presence in her Wahlheimat (adopted country). In this nocturnal cityscape Motesiczky seems to explore ‘the transformation of mood in a familiar scene brought about by night, with its exciting effects of light and colour’.1 Dimly illuminated by a street lamp on the far side of the road (a second in the foreground seems to be broken) two unreal, toy-like cars are driving along the uneven street, their interiors lit up. A pair of large Regency villas behind a bank of trees form the backdrop to this atmospheric scene. As if acknowledging

her arrival in the metropolis from the quiet rural idyll of Amersham, Motesiczky, who did not get her driving licence until 1955, depicts a simplified and harmonious view of the busy, modern urban life she has chosen to share. Finchley Road at Night bears a strong resemblance to Max Beckmann’s Nachtstrasse, 1928 (fig. 85), which Motesiczky probably saw while she was attending his master-class in Frankfurt. The art critic Henri Wiessing negotiated the acquisition of the painting from Motesiczky’s solo exhibition at the Kunstzaal Van Lier in Amsterdam in 1952 by the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (albeit for a very small sum of money – 25 Guilders). When, two years later, Motesiczky visited Arthur Rümann, the director of the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus in Munich, to hang her exhibition there, he particularly admired it, as Motesiczky noted: ‘On one wall he placed Conny [Countess with Plum, no. 65] and Finchley Road and said totally enthusiastically – isn’t it beautiful! and it really looked beautiful.’2

Fig. 85 Max Beckmann, Nachtstrasse, 1928, oil on canvas, 460 × 800 mm (private collection)

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sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Henri Wiessing to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 21 March 1952: ‘Sandberg … hatte ohne mich auch wohl gekauft, hätte er Geld gehabt wie ein Amerikanischer Museumdirektor Geld hat! Nun, daß er keines gehabt hat war ein bischen liebendes Manövrieren nötig. Warum ich – sei es ein zehntel Deines wonnevollen, schönen, rührenden Lächelns mag verdient haben, als Du – auf der Treppe des Bahnhofes – die Bericht von mir gehört hast, war nicht dieses Manövrieren, das war der impetus, der Sprung meines Herzens, auf einmal, als wie durch ein Dolch mein Herz fühlte, wie unbefriedigt Du sein müßtest ohne Verkauf. Mein Fechterherz war plötzlich wach und sagte: Wo eine Möglichkeit?, und dann natürlich etwas viel besseres als das was das schwerennötige Publikum Dir nicht gegeben hat. Meine Liebe wurde auf einmal aggressive. Das war es. Wie ich Dir auf einer Karte aus ‘m Haag geschrieben habe hat Sandberg das “Stadgezicht met auto’s” angewiesen, zusammen mit Jaffé. Als wir zurückfuhren nach Amsterdam, sagte er: “Und jetzt unsere Zahlung. Wiessing, Du hast gesprochen von einer Rumpsumme, hundert Gulden z. B., aber Du hast gesagt, daß Frau M. es uns überlassen möchte, da sie ja weiß wie uns das Geld fehlt. Wir sind jetzt wirklich ganz ohne. Ich habe hier 25 Gulden, es ist nichts, ein symbolische


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Abzahlung; Glaubst Du …?” “Wirst Du, Sandberg, ein anderes Mal, sie viel besser zahlen …?” fragte ich, und nahm das Geld … Er [Lier] konnte nicht dafür sorgen, daß der Kauf in der Holl. Presse bekannt gemacht wird, das muß jetzt die Bovens (Plaats) thun. Ich werde sie heute schreiben in diesem Sinne – Sie soll den De Gruyter anrufen.’

oder kommt noch?! Auch die Kritiken sind wichtig u. erfreulich daß viel (Du hast ganz recht, egal ob dumm) wenn nur viele geschrieben haben. Vielleicht wird man in London jetzt etwas “freundlicher” sein! … Max hätte sich sehr gefreut über Deinen Erfolg das weiß ich, denn er glaubte an Dich und Deine Arbeit und es hätte ihm innerlich wohlgetan.’

Quappi Beckmann to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 29 April 1952: ‘Du weißt gar nicht wie sehr ich mich über Deinen Erfolg gefreut habe und noch freue! Schön ist das, weil ich weiß daß Du’s wirklich verdienst, und es ist wirklich ein Erfolg, daß das Stedelijk Museum gekauft hat, viel mehr als wenn ein Privatmann gekauft hätte (was trotzdem hoffentlich auch bald geschieht u. nach dem Museumsankauf die logische Folge wäre!) Auch daß der Haag kaufen wollte, ich hoffe es ist was geworden

notes 1 Black 1994, p. 9. 2 ‘An eine Wand stellte er die Conny u. die Finchleyroad u. sagte ganz begeistert – ist das nicht schön! u. es sah wirklich schön aus.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 17 August 1954: Motesiczky archive. provenance

exhibitions Amsterdam 1952; The Hague 1952; Munich 1954, no. 136; Vienna 1966, no. 28, illus.; Linz 1966, no. 28, illus.; Munich 1967, no. 28, illus.; Bremen 1968, no. 28, illus.; London 1985, no. 36, illus. p. 76; Vienna 1994, no. 29, illus. (col.), dated 1950. bibliography Braat 1952, p. 1; Brandenburg 1952, n.p.; Filarski 1952a, n.p.; Filarski 1952b, n.p.; H.v.C. 1952, n.p.; H.v.G. 1952, n.p.; Penning 1952, n.p.; Vogel 1966a, n.p.; Vogel 1966b, n.p.; Adler 1994, p. 17; Black 1994, p. 9; Cohen 1994, p. 94 (dated 1950); Black 1997, p. 993 (dated 1950); Vorderwülbecke 1999, p. 54 f.n., illus. p. 110; Michel 2003, p. 54, illus. Abb. 71 (col.); Black 2006, p. 57 (Finchley Road by Night); Schlenker 2006b, pp. 200 f., illus. p. 201 (col.); Schlenker 2006d, p. 257; Lloyd 2007, pp. 147, 149.

Artist; Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art (purchased at exhibition in Amsterdam 1952).

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Regent’s Canal with Car Regent’s Park mit Auto 1952 Oil on canvas, 761 × 508 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, on permanent loan to the Austrian Cultural Forum, London

This is the first of two views of Regent’s Canal (see Regent’s Canal with Aviary, 1986, no. 286), looking east towards London Zoo from Macclesfield Bridge on the northern border of Regent’s Park. It is spring and the trees display an abundance of pink and white blossom which is, in places, reflected in the water. New green leaves cover both sides of the embankment. The canal, designed by John Nash to link the London docks with the inland port of Paddington, had lost its crucial role as a transport route with the advent of the railway. By the 1950s, it was mainly cruise-boats and other leisure craft that used the canal, although, in this painting, the emphasis is on yet another form of transport, the car, and no boat disturbs the water of the canal. Perhaps inspired by photographs of this view that are spoiled by the accidental appearance of a car (fig. 86), Motesiczky has created a witty scene that captures the sense of speed. Only the back half of a pale yellow car, possibly a Volkswagen Beetle, that has just driven across the bridge is captured on canvas, and the front part of the car has already disappeared from view. The contrast between the empty, placid canal and the busy road is accentuated by the multitude of tiny red ‘speed’ lines on the lower part of the car. The turban-clad figure in the car seems quite used to rapid progress and calmly sits back. Motesiczky adopts an elevated viewpoint

in this painting which allows the depiction of the bridge’s intricate metalwork without obscuring the view. The incorporation of a slightly embellished Primrose Hill Bridge in the distance is imaginary since it would not be visible from here. Similarly, the position of the lamp has been altered as it would not have stood in the middle of the road. provenance Artist; Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust; lent to the Austrian Cultural Forum (2008). exhibition Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 46, illus. p. 161 (col.).

Fig. 86 View of Regent’s Canal from Macclesfield Bridge, photograph, c. 1952 (Motesiczky archive)

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bibliography Schlenker 2006c, p. 160; Lloyd 2007, p. 147.


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Still-life with Paintboxes and Nasturtiums Stilleben mit Malkästen und Kapuzinerkresse 1952 Oil on canvas, 508 × 608 mm Signed (bottom right): m. motesiczki 1952. Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

From an elevated viewpoint, the artist presents three objects on top of a low, small table: two open paintboxes and a bowl containing a bunch of nasturtiums. The bright orange and yellow flowers almost glow among the subdued colours of their surroundings. Even the paintboxes with their squiggles of paint appear drab and dark in comparison. Curiously, the artist did not sign with the correct form of her name but with the slightly altered version of ‘Motesiczki’. She had repeatedly attempted to simplify her rather complicated last name – in Countess with Plum, 1944 (no. 65), for example, she initially signed with ‘Motesicky’, only to insert the missing ‘z’ later. The changed spelling used here, however, does not render the name more legible. The artist might simply have been playing around or may have been driven by the fact that a ‘y’ would not have fitted in the limited space. exhibitions Frankfurt am Main 2006, ex catalogue; Vienna 2007, ex catalogue, shown as Stilleben mit Malkasten und Brunnenkresse; Passau 2007, ex catalogue; Southampton 2007, ex catalogue.

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Portrait of a Young Girl in a Blue Dress Porträt eines jungen Mädchens im blauen Kleid 1952 Oil on board, 459 × 372 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

It has not been possible to establish the identity of this young girl. The portrait was probably painted when Motesiczky was on holiday in the south of France since the back of the board bears a stamp from an art supplier in Toulon. In this half-length portrait Motesiczky treats the sitter’s clothes summarily, only vaguely describing them as a light blue dress with a round collar. The girl is seated on a chair. Its edge protrudes slightly from behind her left shoulder, while in the background, equally difficult to read, there might be an open door. The focus of the painting is the girl’s face. Her black hair is parted at the side and smoothed back behind the ears, lending emphasis to the sharply defined thin black eyebrows and dark eyes which are set close together and gaze into the middle distance, as if lost in thought. The play of shadow on the face and the neck is carefully recorded although it is absent elsewhere in the painting.

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Still-life with Narcissi Stilleben mit Narzissen 1952 Oil on canvas, 715 × 513 mm Signed (bottom right): Motesiczky Mirli and Daniele Grassi, Belgium

With Still-life with Narcissi Motesiczky presents a composition that seems to conceal a story. A blank wooden table pushed up against a grey wall is laid with a silver plate, its shiny smooth surface reflecting the image of a lilac-blue jug holding a bunch of short-stemmed white narcissi and tall pink gladioli. Four liqueur glasses are lined up at the edge of the table; only one is filled with a small amount of the orange liquid from the bottle standing nearby. The wall is adorned by a framed portrait, its upper half cut off, revealing only a decisive chin. Next to it, the shadow of a head hovers. In Still-life with Narcissi Motesiczky uses a device she often employed in still-lifes: the composition is almost symmetrical, the central, vertical axis of reflection shifted slightly to the right while the shadow and the bottle on the left have no counterpart on the right. Motesiczky succeeds in creating a festive atmosphere, yet, by not disclosing the identity

of the guests – who may not have arrived or may have already departed – and obscuring the surroundings in which the celebration takes place, she shrouds the occasion in mystery. The ominous shadow and half-visible portrait contribute to a sense of unease. By cutting off the upper part of the face the sitter’s eyes cannot be seen leaving him/her both unidentified and a potential spy on the scene. The portrait, which had been in Motesiczky’s family for generations, in fact shows Charles II of Spain and was painted by the studio of Juan Carreño de Miranda (fig. 87).

provenance Artist; Louise Rupé (purchased before 1966 exhibition); Mirli and Daniele Grassi. exhibitions Munich 1954, no. 134, shown as Stilleben mit Blumen; London 1960, no. 21; Vienna 1966, no. 29; Linz 1966, no. 29; Munich 1967, no. 29; Bremen 1968, no. 29. bibliography Baldaß 1955, illus. p. 219 (Blumen im Krug, Flowers in a Mug).

Fig. 87 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky at the dining table – the portrait of Charles II by the studio of Juan Carreño de Miranda hangs on the wall behind her, photograph, 1944 (Motesiczky archive)

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Frau Litwin 1952 Oil on canvas, 454 × 364 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Unsubstantiated Motesiczky family tradition has it that the sitter was introduced to the artist by a friend, possibly Elias Canetti. It seems more certain to say that Frau Litwin was a friend of the artist’s mother. Being of a similar age, the two elderly women occasionally visited each other.1 Rachel Rebecca Litvin was born in 1890 into a family of Baltic Jews who fled the Tsarist pogroms in 1900. By the 1920s she had become a celebrated actress, appearing regularly at the Old Vic in London and habitually calling herself by her stage name Ray Litvin (Motesiczky always used the German spelling Litwin). In 1926, she was stricken with neartotal deafness which blighted her career and made her vulnerable to depression. Her daughter Natasha, born in 1919, made a name for herself as a concert pianist and married the well-known poet Stephen Spender (1909–95) in 1941. Frau Litwin died of cancer in 1977.2 In the portrait, Motesiczky focuses on the sitter’s head, which is covered by a long scarf decorated with a light-blue pattern. Her clothes are not clearly defined, and only a pink necklace is clearly discernible. Light flows in from the right, producing two distinct halves in the beautifully modelled face, one brightly lit, the other in shade. The fingers of a well-manicured hand hold a cigarette. As if lost in thought, Frau Litwin gazes into the distance. The highlight provided by the bright red spot on the sitter’s forehead, just above her right eye – a favourite device of Motesiczky’s – had already been used in the artist’s self-portrait in Three Heads, 1944 (no. 69), and figured later, in a slightly different context, in Baron Schey at the Races, 1989 (no. 298), as an enigmatic background illumination. Natasha Spender was generally sceptical about the identity of the sitter: ‘On the whole I don’t think it is a portrait of my mother, tho’ I can’t rule it out. There is a superficial resemblance – the head covering suggests, possibly, that she posed in one of her Dickens character-

monologue costumes. BUT : … She was a non smoker – if that is a cigarette.’3 A preliminary sketch for the portrait shows Frau Litwin holding an unspecified round object (fig. 89). The cigarette might in fact have been an invented accessory akin to a theatre prop added by Motesiczky (similar to the trombone in Portrait Maureen, 1977/8, no. 258) and does not necessarily indicate that the sitter was a smoker. Towards the end of her letter Natasha Spender concedes: ‘Certainly the intensity is very characteristic of my mother – and the upper part of the face is a good likeness – the lips not at all like – but one can’t expect portraits to be unmistakable!’4 Until recently the portrait had been dated 1953. With the establishment of its provenance it became clear that it must have been painted by 1952. sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Nell Clegg to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 10 July 1952: ‘Yesterday afternoon I burgled your flat and took the old actress home. She is now installed in the place of honour, with no other pictures anywhere near to

Nell Clegg to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 5 August 1952: ‘The amount I put down in the enclosed I.O.U. is based on the prices you once casually mentioned to me as “customary”, but is of course subject to correction … The pleasure the old lady gives me can, needless to say, not be expressed at all in terms of money.’ Louise Leembruggen to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 3 November 1952: ‘Ich liege … am grossen Sopha im Wohnzimmer und habe die Aussicht auf Sonne oder Regen … draussen und Dein schönes Bild drinnen. Spricht Nell noch darüber oder hat sie sich vorläufig damit abgefunden, dass es bei mir bleibt? Hoffentlich geht es ihr weiter gut.’ notes 1 Henriette von Motesiczky to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 27 April and 30 June 1956: Motesiczky archive. 2 Sutherland 2004, pp. 271 f., 491. 3 Natasha Spender to Peter Black, 12 January 1992: Motesiczky archive. 4 Ibid. provenance Artist; Nell Clegg (1952); Louise Leembruggen (1952); artist (possibly 1960). exhibitions London 1960, no. 23, shown as Portrait, 1953; Vienna 1994, no. 32, illus. (col.), shown as Porträt Frau Litvin, c. 1953; Manchester 1994, no. 22, shown as Mrs. Litvin, 1953; Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 47, illus. p. 163 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 47, illus. p. 163 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 47, illus. p. 163 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 47, illus. p. 163 (col.). bibliography Crüwell 2006b, n.p.; R. Gries 2006, n.p.; Kneller 2006, n.p.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 162; Lloyd 2007, pp. 154 f.

Fig. 88 Frau Litwin over the fireplace in the Cleggs’ living room, photograph, 1952 (Collection Peter and Diana Clegg)

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distract the attention … I keep on looking and looking; it has made a “direct hit” on me, and as you know that happens very rarely – you share this honour with no lesser person than Rembrandt! it conveys something of the greatness, the sadness, the beauty, the joy and the cruelty and the miracle of this strange business of living, all at once … Fortunately, Arthur’s first reaction was also at once positive – a great relief; so it looks as if she is going to stay as long as you let her.’


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Fig. 89 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, sketch, c. 1952, charcoal on paper, 357 Ă— 253 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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View from the Window in Compayne Gardens I Dächer in Compayne Gardens 1952 Oil on canvas, 736 × 1119 mm Signed (bottom right): Motesiczky Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Motesiczky painted two views from her sitting room on the second floor of 14 Compayne Gardens, West Hampstead (see View from the Window in Compayne Gardens II, 1952, no. 117, and fig. 90). She lived there from 1948 to 1960, sharing the flat first with Georgette Lewinson and then, from 1950, with Julia Altschulova. From 1951 to 1957 Elias Canetti also had a room in the flat, where he often worked. Motesiczky presents the view through a large bay window towards the houses on the other side of the road. Only the top floors and black slate roofs of the red brick houses, the

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occasional antenna and several elaborate rows of chimney pots can be seen. The orange glow of the sky and the lit windows suggest that it might be early evening. On a chest of drawers in the bay window a stuffed pheasant and a vase with a large bunch of drooping white tulips are displayed. While the view from the window clearly determines the location of the flat within the house and the house within Compayne Gardens, the orderly interior provides no clue to the profession of the room’s occupant.

Fig. 90 Front room of Motesiczky’s flat in Compayne Gardens, photograph, 1950s (Motesiczky archive)


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View from the Window in Compayne Gardens II 1952 Oil on canvas, 508 × 761 mm Private collection, USA

This view from the artist’s window in Compayne Gardens, West Hampstead, where she lived from 1948 to 1960, is a companion piece to View from the Window in Compayne Gardens I, 1952 (no. 116). From the sitting room on the second floor a much less well-defined view of the outside world is presented here. Only the misty, blurred silhouettes of the roofs and houses opposite can be made out against a leaden sky. Inside, on a chest of drawers under the window, a bouquet of large red and white roses takes pride of place, framed by

heavy yellow curtains. The net curtains are drawn aside, creating the impression of gentle movement, to give an unobstructed view of the exterior. In the early 1990s, Motesiczky gave this painting to her friend and former flatmate in Compayne Gardens, Georgette Lewinson, of whom she had also made a portrait, Mother and Child, c. 1954 (no. 133). provenance Artist; Georgette Lewinson (gift early 1990s); David Lewinson (inherited 2008).

Fig. 91 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, study for View from the Window in Compayne Gardens II, 1952, charcoal and watercolour on paper, 253 × 366 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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Lobster Hummer

Before 1953

1953

Oil on canvas (?), dimensions unknown Location unknown

Oil on canvas, 403 × 605 mm Signed (bottom right): m. motesiczky Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

no image

In 1953, Motesiczky gave a still-life with a yellow fan and cherries to her Dutch friends Henri Wiessing and Suzanne van Thijn (whose portrait she painted in the 1960s, no. 233). The current location of the painting is unknown. No illustration has survived in the Motesiczky archive. sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 20 October 1953: ‘Heute hab ich Henry u. Josslin [Jocelyn Kingsley] Bilder gezeigt – grosse Begeisterung u. die neuen Sachen gefielen ihnen so gut – gar keine Verlegenheit … Henry hat mir ein Bild abgebettelt. Nur für ein Jahr nur für eine Zeit u. er würde schriftlich mir geben dass ich es nach seinem Tode wiederbekomme. Was konnte ich da anders tun als es ihm schenken? Es ist das Stilleben mit dem gelben Fächer u. den Kirschen. Er war ganz toll damit u. diese Josslin auch. Ich weiss dass es ein Bild ist an dem Ihnen nicht so viel liegt u. deshalb macht es doch nichts? Dann sagte er wo er es hinhängen würde – da u. da hin, und plötzlich sagte Suzanne: also kommt es in die Kerkstraat? Das ist der Ort wo er mit seiner Frau wohnt Da gab’s nun eine furchtbare Szene Tränen bei Suzanne, Wut bei Henry u. ich rief dazwischen: das ist doch wunderbar! ein wirklicher Streit wegen eines Bildes von mir! Aber das half alles nichts!’ Suzanne van Thijn to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 22 July 1954: ‘I wished you could come and see us and stay with me. I am sure you’ll love it and the tapistry and your painting are on the wall.’ provenance Artist; Henri Wiessing, Amsterdam (gift 1953).

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The creation of Lobster was, unusually, recorded in Motesiczky’s diaries. In 1953 she made the following notes: 18 March: ‘finally found barrel for lobster before supper’; 19 March: ‘Worked / lobster’; 21 March: ‘Worked lobster’; 29 March: ‘then still lobster’. On 31 March, she felt ready to present the painting: ‘Painted lobster … shown lobster to mother, doesn’t like it. Dissatisfied myself.’ After the unsuccessful experience she noted the following day: ‘Unhappily painted lobster’ and then, on 2 April, finally seems to come slowly to terms with it: ‘worked, all of a sudden reassured although painting is not really good’. A triumphant entry marks the painting’s completion on 13 April: ‘Finally lobster finished, a weight lifted from my heart’. To celebrate – and possibly as a little revenge for all the trouble it had caused – Motesiczky went out to eat half a lobster the next day.1 Motesiczky depicted a large, bright red lobster with massive claws, laid out on a silver tray. The simple arrangement is decorated with a sprinkle of leaves or herbs. In places, the tray acts like a mirror and reflects the lobster’s body in subtle reds and blues. In September that year, Motesiczky learned that the Cork Street gallery Roland, Browse and Delbanco was putting on an exhibition of fish paintings the following month. Motesiczky, who considered a lobster not to be a fish and found the composition wanting, was reluctant to submit the painting. Encouraged by her friend, the artist Milein Cosman, she eventually did so and the painting was accepted. Yet, fearing the gallery owners might change their minds, Motesiczky started work on another still-life straight away, this time of undisputable fish. Still-life with Fishes (no. 122) was also accepted for the exhibition. In the end, perhaps due to differing opinions among the gallery owners, only Lobster was listed in the exhibition catalogue. Apart from its first public appearance when it was misdated as 1952, this still-life has always been incorrectly dated as 1954.


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sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Ludwig Baldass to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 4 April 1953: ‘Ist der Hummer schon für Wien gemalt worden? Wie steht es mit dieser Ausstellung, was hören Sie davon?’ Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 28 September 1953: ‘habe zu malen begonnen … Delbankos machen eine Fischausstellung am 14. Oktober – sie [Milein Cosman] hat dort meinen Lobster propagiert. Ich sagte ein Lobster sei doch kein Fisch – sie ist aber anderer Ansicht – jedenfalls habe ich soffort ein Fischstilleben begonnen fals sie den Lobster nicht wollen. Wahrscheinlich werden sie zuletzt beides nicht wollen aber das ist ja egal.’ Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 1 October 1953: ‘Also denken Sie die Browse bei Delbanko hat den Lobster genommen. Sie sah ihn einen Augenblick gierig an u. sagte dann – sie wolle ihn. Sonst hat sie sich weiter kein Lob entlocken lassen – nur dass er schön gerahmt sein soll. Es würde ein sehr schöne Ausstellung sein – Fische vom 17. Jahrhundert bis heute.’ Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Milein Cosman, [early October 1953]: ‘Du bist eine Mortsperson! Die “Brause” hat den Lobster genommen! Habe inzwischen im Radio gehört dass die frühesten Fische Schalen hatten – wissenschaftlich ist die Sache also in Ordnung – obwohl die Komposition zu wünschen übrig lässt – unter uns.’

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Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 7 October 1953: ‘Hier gehts inzwischen gut weiter … die Fische sind fertig u. ich nehme sie morgen in die Stadt ob die Delbancos sie auch nehmen weiss ich nicht – aber ich weiss dass sie besser sind als der Lobster – also darf ich mich durch eine Ablehnung nicht aus der Fassung bringen lassen. Und ich bin mitten im nächsten Bild.’ Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 13 October [1953]: ‘Über den Hummer und die Fische habe ich mich schrecklich gefreut. Wenn Du nur so gut weiter machst.’ Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 16 October 1953: ‘Die Fische haben die Delbancos genommen. Sie gefallen ihnen jetzt besser wie der Lobster u. sie lassen es sich offen ob sie beides hangen aber jedenfalls hängen sie die Fische.’ Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 20 October 1953: ‘Samstag war ich mit Milein bei R.B. Delbanco … Er gratulierte mir zu dem wunderbaren Bild dass er gesehen hatte – er meinte aber den Lobster, nicht die Fische – das ist gut wegen der R.B.D.’s denn da werden sie vielleicht beide Bilder hängen. Piolein ich bekomme auch Karten die ich versenden kann, habe darum gebeten u. die waren sehr erfreut. Es kommt nämlich auch ein Katalog bei der Ausstellung (denn sie fragten mich um mein Geburtsjahr) Ich hab so ein Gefühl als könnte was verkauft werden. Könnten Sie mir Adressen senden bitte, und vorschreiben was ich auf die Karten schreiben darf. Wir könnten doch vielleicht 40–50 £ verdienen mit den Bildern – warum denn nicht – u. so was kann ich schon wieder malen.’

note 1 ‘vor Supper endlich Trommel für Lobster gefunden’; ‘Gearbeitet / Lobster’; ‘Gearbeitet Lobst.’; ‘dann immer noch Lobster’; ‘Lobst. Gemalt … Mutter Lobst gezeigt nicht gefallen. Selbst unzufrieden.’; ‘Unglückl. an Lobst gemalt’; ‘gearbeitet, plötzlich beruhigt obwohl Bild nicht wirklich gut’; ‘Endlich Lobster fertig mir ist ein Stein vom Herzen’; ‘Habe einen halben Lobster in der City gegessen.’: MarieLouise von Motesiczky, diary entries for 18, 19, 21, 29 and 31 March, 1, 2, 13 and 14 April 1953: Motesiczky archive. exhibitions London 1953, no. 42, dated 1952; Munich 1954, no. 118; London 1960, no. 28, dated 1954; Vienna 1966, no. 34, dated 1954; Linz 1966, no. 34, dated 1954; Munich 1967, no. 34, dated 1954; Bremen 1968, no. 34, dated 1954; London 1985, no. 39, illus. p. 38 (col.), dated 1954. bibliography Michel 2003, p. 55, illus. Abb. 76 (col.) (dated 1954); Schlenker 2006b, pp. 200 f., illus. p. 202 (col.); Lloyd 2007, p. 148.


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Feathers and Arrows Federn und Pfeile 1953 Oil on canvas, 395 × 477 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

A contemporary critic praised this little composition as being ‘perfect in colour and form’.1 Motesiczky created an imaginative still-life using unusual objects. Laid out on a table in front of the window, through which the greyish sky outside can be glimpsed, is a Red Indian head-dress with brightly coloured feathers. Next to it lies a roughly hewn piece of wood on which two green apples are placed. Propped up against the window is a bow, its arrows scattered around and across the wooden board. The year 1953 was one of extended travels for Motesiczky. During the summer, she went on holiday to the Tyrolean village of Judenstein with Elias Canetti and also visited Zürich, Lucerne, Padua, Verona and Venice, as well as the Attersee and Vienna. In December she spent the feast of St Nicholas with her relatives in The Hague and at the end of the month set off to the United States. This still-life, with its manifold playful associations, may record experiences linked to her travels. The Swiss myth of the archer William Tell might explain the apples, bow and arrows, and the Red Indian head-dress evokes North American history and legends. note 1 ‘vollendet in Farbgebung und Form’: Spiel 1966. exhibitions Munich 1954, no. 125; Vienna 1966, no. 32, illus.; Linz 1966, no. 32, illus.; Munich 1967, no. 32, illus.; Bremen 1968, no. 32, illus.; London 1985, no. 37, illus. p. 38 (col.). bibliography Freundlich 1966, n.p.; Reifenberg 1966a, n.p. (Pfeile und Federn); Spiel 1966, n.p.

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Village in Tyrol Dorffest in Tirol 1953 Oil on canvas, 713 × 970 mm Signed (top right): Motesiczky Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

In the summer of 1952, Motesiczky took a holiday in the Austrian alpine village of Judenstein in Tyrol, near Innsbruck. The following summer, having enjoyed her stay immensely, she again visited Judenstein, this time with Elias Canetti. It was to be their only summer holiday together. The first visit probably inspired this painting. Staying alone in a farmhouse, she dreamed of sharing her joy with Canetti the following summer. In order to make the idea of holidaying together in Judenstein palatable to him she praised the village as ‘indescribably beautiful … it is very very wonderful here!’ and asked herself: ‘Will I be able to paint it some time?’1 Motesiczky was especially impressed by the village festival which she described to Canetti in full detail: ‘Yesterday, Sunday, there was a big festival here in Judenstein … fancy-dress pageant led by Andreas Hofer on horseback, crazily decorated oxen, a wedding couple in a carriage, young and old, huntsmen and two wooden canons which fired formidably. A dance floor in the forest – one cheery band and one dance band – but the people were happy and loved to dance – you have to give them that.’2 Back home in London and working from numerous sketches, Motesiczky realized her wish to paint a Judenstein motif, choosing as her subject the village festival, and one of the ‘crazily decorated oxen’, adorned with an elaborate head-dress of leaves and flowers. A cowgirl, accompanied by a little girl in red dress and cap, leads the ox. She brandishes a stick and wears a head-dress made from branches. The ox is flanked by two huntsmen in local costume, carrying their guns. The little group seems to be positioned in front of a house, its large dark entrance discernible on the left. The painting must have been completed by April 1953. Motesiczky showed it to Roland, Browse and Delbanco, a gallery in Cork Street, at which she exhibited other pictures (Lobster, 1953, no. 119, and Still-life with Fishes, 1953, no. 122) later that year. She recorded the favourable 234

reception in her diary: ‘Barren [Lillian Browse] liked my cow picture’.3 In June she triumphantly noted: ‘Cow picture in exhibition’.4 Unfortunately, there are no records of the exhibition at Roland, Browse and Delbanco. Elias Canetti appreciated the work’s painterly quality and, on seeing it again in new surroundings in Motesiczky’s exhibition in Munich in 1954, was thrilled to detect a hitherto unrecognized wildness in the composition.5 sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 17 September 1954: ‘Nun bin ich also in München, wo ich vorgestern ankam. Als Erstes ging ich in die Ausstellung, allerdings mit der Gretl, der ich nicht gut nein sagen konnte. Ich war sehr glücklich darüber, es sieht wunderschön aus. Die meisten Bilder kommen gut zur Geltung; das Einzige, das wirklich schlecht gehängt ist, ist die Georgette mit Bankert, das bemerkt man kaum – aber vielleicht war kein anderer Platz. Das sage ich nur, um einen Einwand zu machen, weil sonst mein Lob falsch klingen könnte. Die Räume finde ich ausgezeichnet. Kannst Du Dir vorstellen, wie mir zumute war, sie alle wieder vorzufinden, in einer neuen Nachbarschaft, so frisch und strahlend und Du selbst dreimal als Porträt an der Wand, ich wenigstens als Karikatur. Meine Überzeugungen über den höheren Wert mancher Bilder im Vergleich zu andern haben sich bestätigt. Aber manche Vorurteile habe ich doch verloren. Die Zischka finde ich jetzt viel schöner. Ich glaube, es war ihr Platz am Stiegenaufgang bei uns, der sie mir verleidet hat. Das Kuhbild ist mir womöglich noch gewachsen, es hat etwas Wildes, abgesehen von seiner malerischen Qualität.’ notes 1 ‘unbeschreiblich schön … es ist ganz ganz wunderbar hier! Obs auch einmal zum malen ist?’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 12 August 1952: Motesiczky archive. 2 ‘Gestern Sonntag gab’s hier in Judenstein ein grosses Fest … Kostumierter Zuhg mit Andreas Hofer hoch zu Ross an der Spitze, verrückt geschmückte Ochsen ein Hochzeitspaar in einer Kutsche jung u. alt Schützen u. zwei Holzkanonen die fürchterlich schossen. Ein Tanzboden im Wald – ein “Stimmungskapelle” u. eine Tanzkapelle – aber lustig waren die Leute u. gern getanzt haben sie – das muss man ihnen lassen.’: ibid. 3 ‘Barren gefiel mein Kuhbild’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 28 April 1953: Motesiczky archive.

4 ‘Kuhbild in Ausstellung’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 29 June 1953: Motesiczky archive. 5 Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 17 September 1954: Motesiczky archive. exhibitions Munich 1954, no. 116; London 1960, no. 24, shown as Village festival; Vienna 1966, no. 31; Linz 1966, no. 31; Munich 1967, no. 31; Bremen 1968, no. 31. bibliography Vorderwülbecke 1999, p. 42, illus. p. 96.


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Still-life with Fishes Stilleben mit Fischen 1953 Oil on canvas, 436 × 538 mm Signed (bottom left): m. motesiczky Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

In autumn 1953, Roland, Browse and Delbanco, a gallery in London’s Cork Street, put together an exhibition of fish paintings from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. Ludwig Baldass, the Viennese art historian and old family friend, was thrilled with the concept and praised the gallery owners’ ingenuity for mixing contemporary and old master paintings to boost sales of this often unpopular subject-matter for still-lifes. First, Motesiczky submitted Lobster, 1953 (no. 119) – not a fish, according to her – which was accepted. In order to make sure that at least one of her paintings would be shown in the exhibition she immediately started this still-life of ‘real’ fish. On 1 October, only a few days after embarking on the painting, Motesiczky could proudly report its near completion: ‘The best is that I have done a much better still-life with 4 fishes

Fig. 92 Max Beckmann, Fischstilleben mit Netz, 1941, oil on canvas, 770 × 510 mm (private collection)

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– it is almost finished – I will simply also submit it and then they can see what they do – maybe they hang both?! 4 fishes – 3 complete with head and tail and a golden bloater without a head. It is better composed and has more ideas than the lobster – and not sloppily painted – real painting although I did it in one go – in 2 days almost the whole picture. Well, the fishes then stank so much that I had to throw them away. Hopefully I am not wrong because just now I am having such a good time. With that I mean that the painting is good – that the fishes stank can’t be disputed – the whole house smelled of them.’1 This speedily executed and uniquely purpose-made study of fishes expresses Motesiczky’s enthusiasm for her task. Laid out on the table in a tactile heap are the entangled bodies of the three whole fishes. Two lie head to tail while another seems to push through between them in a strangely animated scene. The gleaming body of the headless bloater rests in a transparent dish behind them. Motesiczky beautifully captures the iridescence of the fish-scales, oscillating in a rainbow of colours. Fischstilleben mit Netz by Max Beckmann (fig. 92), painted in Amsterdam in 1941, is a comparable study of an arrangement of fish. Motesiczky was probably familiar with this painting since her aunt Ilse Leembruggen had purchased it from the artist in 1941 or 1942 after having been asked by Motesiczky to help the Beckmann family who found themselves in a dire financial situation in exile. On 8 October, the artist, convinced and proud that it was better than Lobster, showed the finished work to the gallery owners. It was accepted. Yet in the end, the exhibition catalogue does not mention Still-life with Fishes. It was probably kept at the gallery for a while – although it is said to have been shown only reluctantly – and then returned to the artist, unsold.

sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 28 September 1953: ‘habe zu malen begonnen … Delbankos machen eine Fischausstellung am 14. Oktober – sie [Milein Cosman] hat dort meinen Lobster propagiert. Ich sagte ein Lobster sei doch kein Fisch – sie ist aber anderer Ansicht – jedenfalls habe ich soffort ein Fischstilleben begonnen fals sie den Lobster nicht wollen. Wahrscheinlich werden sie zuletzt beides nicht wollen aber das ist ja egal … Um auf die Fische zurückzukommen habe ich zwei Sachen angefangen ein Stilleben u. “des Tauchers Traum” das zweite ist aber wohl zu ehrgeizig’ Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Milein Cosman, [early October 1953]: ‘Hab inzwischen ein Fischstilleben gemalt welches mir besser gefällt – 4 Fische – 3 komplette mit Kopf u. Schwanz u. ein Bückling ohne Kopf. Wer weiss – vielleicht nehmen sie das auch? Ich kann es leicht fertig machen bis zum 14.’ Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 6 October 1953: ‘Gestern fuhr ich in aller Früh … nach London … um … mein Bild zum ramen zu geben (endlich ein ausgezeichneter Rahmenmacher gefunden) … Aber mit der Fischausstellung war sie [Milein Cosman] reitzend u. ich hoffe hoffe dass ich am Ende nun wirklich 2 Bilder drin haben werde. Freitag fahre ich mit dem “Neuen” in die Stadt u. dann wird man sehen.’ Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 7 October 1953: ‘Hier gehts inzwischen gut weiter … die Fische sind fertig u. ich nehme sie morgen in die Stadt ob die Delbancos sie auch nehmen weiss ich nicht – aber ich weiss dass sie besser sind als der Lobster – also darf ich mich durch eine Ablehnung nicht aus der Fassung bringen lassen. Und ich bin mitten im nächsten Bild.’ Erna Wohl to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 10 October 1953: ‘Wie ich mich mit Ihnen freue, daß das Fischbild so rasch und gut gelungen ist’ Milein Cosman to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 12 October 1953: ‘Über den durchschlagenden Erfolg der “neuen Fische” hab ich mich sehr gefreut.’


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Ludwig Baldass to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 24 October 1953: ‘Vor allem aber gratuliere ich Ihnen zur Aufnahme Ihrer Produktion und zu Ihrem neuen Meisterwerk. Die Idee del Bancos hat mich sehr unterhalten. Sie wissen wohl, daß im Kunsthandel ein altes Stillleben mit Fischen immer schwerer und schlechter zu verkaufen ist und einen geringeren Preis bringt als eines mit andern Lebensmitteln, von Blumen gar nicht zu reden. Um dem abzuhelfen ist ihm wohl die Idee der Ausstellung gekommen, und so werden jetzt Ihre Fische einem Besitzer eines Fischstückes von Chardin oder von Beyeren dazu verhelfen, sein Bild anzubringen.’ Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, [1953]: ‘falls Sie in die Galerie Delbanco gehen so bestehen Sie bitte darauf dass man Ihnen die Fische zeigt. Liss war dort u. Roland wollte ihr dass Bild nicht zeigen.’

– in 2 Tagen beinahe das ganze Bild. Allerdings haben die Fische dann schon so gestunken dass ich sie wegwerfen musste. Hoffentlich irre ich mich nicht weil ich eben jetzt eine so gute Zeit habe. Ich meine damit dass das Bild gut ist – darüber dass die Fische gestunken haben war kein Irrtum – das ganze Haus hat danach gerochen.’: MarieLouise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 1 October 1953: Motesiczky archive. provenance Artist; Michael Croft (purchased at 1960 exhibition); artist (probably not returned after 1966–8 exhibitions). exhibitions Munich 1954, no. 117; London 1960, no. 25, shown as Fish; Vienna 1966, no. 30, illus.; Linz 1966, no. 30, illus.; Munich 1967, no. 30, illus.; Bremen 1968, no. 30, illus.; Liverpool 2006, no. 48, illus. p. 165 (col.). bibliography Dr. S. 1968, n.p.; López Calatayud 2005, p. 15.

note 1 ‘Das Beste aber ist, ich habe ein viel schöneres Stilleben mit 4 Fischen gemalt – es ist beinahe fertig – ich werde es einfach dazu einsenden u. die können dann sehen was sie machen – vielleicht hängen sie beide?! 4 Fische – 3 komplette mit Kopf u. Schwanz u. ein goldener Bückling ohne Kopf. Es ist besser komponiert u. hat auch mehr Einfall als der Lobster – u. gar nicht schlampig gemalt – richtige Malerei obwohl ich es in einem Zuhg gemalt habe

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Orchid and Figure 1953 Oil on canvas, 354 × 456 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

At first glance, the spatial relationship in this composition is difficult to decipher. The foreground is dominated by a spherical glass vase containing an arrangement of orchids. Motesiczky minutely records the flowers’ exotic shapes, the explosion of colours and the reflection of the leaves in the curves of the vase. The rest of the composition cannot be discerned with any certainty. While the figure may be a small figurine of a reclining woman close to the vase, another explanation is more likely: across the empty space of a room the attention is drawn to a sofa in the background, placed in front of a window. The ghostly woman resting on the sofa resembles Henriette von Motesiczky. The artist has depicted her mother in this, her habitual pose, in several works, for example Henriette von Motesiczky – Portrait No. 1, 1929 (no. 29), Siesta, 1933 (p. 530), or Reclining Woman with Pipe, 1954 (no. 129). The robust compactness of the figure further underlines this theory as does an undated drawing (fig. 93) combining a self-portrait of the artist with the head of her sleeping mother in the background in a very similar spatial arrangement. Thus, Motesiczky has managed to combine two of her favourite and most frequent yet normally separate subjects, flowers and her mother, in one painting.

Fig. 93 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Self-portrait with Henriette, undated, charcoal on paper, 152 × 227 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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Still-life with Globe Stilleben mit Globus 1953 Oil on canvas, 583 Ă— 587 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

The diverse collection of objects gathered in this still-life are displayed on a table in front of a window. Through the half-drawn curtains a grey sky and the ghostly shadows of the bare branches of a tree are visible. Inside, a globe takes pride of place presenting a continent that may be Africa. Next to it lies an oval medallion

showing a young black girl. A harp (also used in The Hour, 1967, no. 211) appears to rest against the table. Some painting utensils, a jar with brushes and a quill, are shown on the right. Motesiczky took great care in depicting the shadow of each object, cast by an artiďŹ cial light source in the room.

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Two Cyclamen in a Vase Zwei Cyclamen in Vase 1953 (1967?) Oil on canvas, 356 × 256 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This small still-life is dominated by the conical grey vase displaying two pink cyclamen, whose leaves create a ruff around the top of the vessel. The position of the table, on which the vase stands, is unclear. It seems to be placed in front of a window, looking out into a pitchdark night sky in which only a few stars shine brightly. The other items on the table are equally difficult to read. A grey bowl appears on the right and an untidy collection of leaves edge into the picture plane from the bottom. The only other item that can be identified is a black ‘53’ on a white ground to the left of the vase, which may be the front page of a diary or a sheet from a calendar. The painting has also been dated 1967. While the earlier date might have been deduced from the number in the painting, it has been impossible to establish which date is correct.

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Wenki 1954 Oil on canvas, 450 × 550 mm Signed (bottom left): M. Motesiczky 1954 Private collection

While visiting her cousin Elinor Verdemato in Estoril, Portugal, in autumn 1954, Motesiczky painted this portrait of the family’s sleeping dachshund Wenki. It was named after a dog of the same breed that belonged to Henriette von Motesiczky, the artist’s mother, which, in turn, had been named after one of her doctors, Dr Wenkebach. Wenki was actually posing on an outdoor terrace, yet in his portrait Motesiczky places the curled-up dog, head resting on a front paw, tail neatly tucked in, lying on a beach. The sand stretches into the far distance where it finally

meets the sea behind which the sun is setting. This spectacle is half hidden by several stems of blue flowers under which the dog is enjoying his nap. Another stem with one large blue flower appears from under his tail. A pair of green slippers, decorated with red crosses and possibly belonging to his owner, stand at either side of a floppy black ear. Their colour matches that of the dog’s collar and firmly indicate Wenki’s familial association. provenance Artist; Elinor Verdemato (gift 1954).

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Cascais 1954 Oil on canvas, 306 × 609 mm Signed (bottom right): Motesiczky Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

When, in autumn 1954, Motesiczky visited her cousin Elinor Verdemato in Estoril, Portugal, she discovered the charms of the coastal resort of Cascais and enthusiastically wrote to Elias Canetti: ‘Casch Caisch, the next town along (where you register and the mayor’s office and the police are), is enchanting – real people, houses, fishermen, restaurants etc. It’s very close and I was very happy about it’.1 Motesiczky seems not to have been able to resist the town’s attraction. A few weeks later she reported another visit: ‘yesterday evening I was in Cascais, there the fishes are unloaded at night and auctioned at midnight – in long chains the fishermen carry them ashore and the children jump around and help or steal fishes and the whole beach looks like a silver carpet – you can imagine how beautiful that looks at night down by the sea – and above all it was warm and calm.’2 Motesiczky presents a view of the extensive bay, part of the Lisbon coastline, surrounding Cascais and Estoril, including a mountain range in the background beyond the town. She focuses

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on the sweep of the Pescadores Beach, where the fishermen deliver their catch to be sold at the nearby market. On the left, the buildings of the harbour include the impressive Nautic Club. It is a clear day, and the water washes calmly onto the beach. Several boats are in the water and a few are drawn up on the beach. Of some, only the masts are visible. Otherwise, the beach and the rest of the town seem deserted. Some pentimenti can be made out at the entrance to the beach where originally two lamp posts marked the spot. They are still faintly visible, despite Motesiczky’s efforts at disguising them. The harbour road takes the eye all the way round to the Town Fort on top of the hill on the right. Strategically placed at the corner of Cascais bay, it had been erected there to protect Lisbon from invading ships. A preparatory drawing for the painting shows exactly this view of the bay (fig. 94). However, while the painting is devoid of human presence, the drawing includes a lone cyclist on the harbour road, balancing a large basket on his head.

Fig. 94 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, study for Cascais, c. 1954, charcoal and pastel on paper, 204 × 266 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

There is a chance that the painting was not created in 1954 but in 1960, as several lists in the artist’s estate indicate. Neither date can be firmly substantiated. In the summer of 1958 Motesiczky again visited Estoril in the company of her friend, the architect Godfrey Samuel (of whom she did a portrait in 1976/7). In 1960 Elinor Verdemato told Motesiczky of the many changes in Cascais: ‘They build like


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Koala 1954 Oil on canvas, 390 × 390 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Fig. 95 Seafront, Cascais, photograph, 1994 (Motesiczky archive)

This close-up portrait of a koala bear is unique among Motesiczky’s work which, despite numerous paintings of dogs and several other domestic animals, includes no other wild creatures. The koala appears to be sitting in the branches of a tree. His bulky, plump figure fills the entire canvas yet demands even more space with his dynamic movements. While his head turns right, his legs are facing the other way. One arm, flung out, seems to hold a yellow-orange piece of fruit while his foot rests on another. exhibition Munich 1954, no. 130.

crazy in Estoril and Cascais. In Cascais numerous modern apartment blocks spring up and in the square where we always used to sit in the café they are erecting a new hotel! Sadly everything is slowly being spoilt!’3 The large number of photographs of Cascais, especially the harbour and the beach, in the artist’s estate were probably taken on a later visit for they seem to include a number of very modern buildings (fig. 95). notes 1 ‘Casch Caisch der nächste Ort hier (wo man sich anmeldet u. Bürgermeisteramt u. Polizei ist) ist reitzend – echte Menschen, Häuser Fischer, Lokale u.s.w. Das ist ganz nah u. ich war ganz glücklich darüber’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 14 September 1954: Motesiczky archive. 2 ‘gestern abend war ich in Cascais da werden die Fische Nachts aus den Booten geladen u. um Mitternacht versteigert – in langen Ketten tragen die Fischer sie an Land u. die Kinder hüpfen herum u. helfen oder stibitzen Fische u. der ganze Strand sieht aus wie ein Silberner Teppich – Sie können Sich denken wie schön das aussieht in der Nacht am Meer – u. dabei war’s warm u. windstill.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 7 October 1954: Motesiczky archive. 3 ‘In Estoril u. Cascais wird wie wild gebaut. In Cascais entstehen lauter moderne Apartement Hauser und auf dem Platz wo wir immer im Café sassen kommt ein neues Hotel hin! Leider wird alles langsam verpatzt!’: Elinor Verdemato to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 17 April 1960: Motesiczky archive. exhibitions Vienna 1966, no. 43, dated 1960; Linz 1966, no. 43, dated 1960; Munich 1967, no. 43, dated 1960; Bremen 1968, no. 43, dated 1960.

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Reclining Woman with Pipe Liegende mit Pfeife 1954 Oil on canvas, 713 × 1017 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Reclining Woman with Pipe is a marvellously vital portrait of the artist’s mother, Henriette von Motesiczky, then in her early seventies. She is portrayed luxuriating in bed, a pose the artist often chose to depict (see for example Henriette von Motesiczky – Portrait No. 1, 1929, no. 29; Siesta, 1933, p. 530; The Old Song, 1959, no. 158; and From Night into Day, 1975, no. 251). Here, dressed in a summery red nightgown, she is leaning against a yellow pillow and covered with blankets. She appears wide awake, propping herself up on her left arm, while she holds a pipe in her right hand. Motesiczky later commemorated this masculine habit, in which her mother indulged for many decades, in Thistle, 1979 (no. 261). Henriette von Motesiczky’s characteristic bulky shape, her bulbous nose and dark eyes are all present. Her thinning grey hair is probably covered by a wig. Unusually, the artist does not include one of her mother’s pet dogs in this portrait. Peter Black said of this regal and calm portrait: ‘Here her mother’s confidence and grandeur would befit a noble woman receiving friends in her bed in the France of Louis XV.’1 note 1 Peter Black, draft catalogue entry, [1993]: Motesiczky archive. exhibitions London 1960, no. 30, shown as Portrait study; Vienna 1966, no. 33; Linz 1966, no. 33; Munich 1967, no. 33; Bremen 1968, no. 33; London 1985, no. 38, illus. p. 76; London 1986a, no. 131; Cambridge 1986, no. 38, illus. p. 76; Dublin 1988, no. 10; Vienna 1994, no. 33, illus. (col.); Manchester 1994, no. 23; Liverpool 2006, no. 50, illus. p. 169 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 50, illus. p. 169 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 50, illus. p. 169 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 50, illus. p. 169 (col.). bibliography Anonymous 1994e, illus. n.p. (detail, mirror image); Cohen 1994, p. 94; Gombrich 1994, illus. p. 135 (col.); K.S. [Kristian Sotriffer] 1994, illus. n.p.; Koch 1994, p. 100; Kruntorad 1994, n.p.; Tate Gallery, 1996, p. 504; Vorderwülbecke 1999, pp. 34, 53 f.n., illus. p. 79; Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, exh. booklet 2006, illus. n.p. (col.); Schlenker 2006c, p. 168; Schlenker 2006d, p. 257; Lloyd 2007, pp. 165 (Reclining Woman with a Pipe), 202.

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Fig. 96 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Head of Henriette, 1954, charcoal on paper, 382 × 561 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)


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Dog with Flowers or Portrait ‘Franzi’ Windspiel mit Blumen or Porträt ‘Franzi’ 1954 Oil on canvas, 740 × 610 mm Private collection, the Netherlands

In August 1953 Henriette von Motesiczky, the artist’s mother, bought a new dog, a six-month-old Italian greyhound puppy. It was called Franzi (fig. 97), after Franziska von Wertheimstein, a favourite Viennese aunt. After initial worries that Henriette von Motesiczky would be too old for a young dog, Franzi turned out to be a ‘fountain of youth’ for the artist’s mother who in addition was relieved that her other dog, an old corgi named Philip (fig. 72), eventually got on with the new arrival (fig. 99). Motesiczky, who, at the time, was living in West Hampstead in London, was interested in painting the new dog from the start, asking her mother: ‘What colour is she – is she paintable? … can she move you or is she only beautiful … I am already very curious!!’1 When she finally saw the dog, Motesiczky was smitten by her: ‘“Franzi” … by the way a very beautiful dog and very stimulating, I want to paint her, sculpt her, draw her – one cannot look away, she is so strangely thin, the colour of rose wood and she can fold everything up like a pocket-knife.’2 In October 1953 Motesiczky wrote the following description of the two dogs which only a few months later she managed to capture perfectly in her double portrait: ‘that makes me think of our dogs … they are enchanting now! They look like a circus act, one so fat and the other so thin! Philip has become a touching “old man”. Strange, how a young creature can change an old one so completely. I see him with very different eyes now and would like to paint him. Even his brown-whitish-greenish colour (the colour of old dogs) has something moving. Franzi is my favourite and when I play with her he creeps into a corner and throws glances that cut right through you … When Franzi lightly and elegantly jumps on the beds – something he hasn’t been able to do for a long time, he is simply desperate … I get on extremely well with Franzi – she has some of my own peculiarities (maybe not exactly the best) but I often have the feeling that she is my little enchanted sister.’3 246

The painting clearly shows the artist’s admiration for and empathy with Franzi, the distinct characters of the dogs and their different status in the Motesiczky household. At first glance this painting is a cross between a still-life and a portrait, yet the bunch of pink and orange gladioli is only the appropriately colourful backdrop for the star of the picture, Franzi. Even the title, by mentioning only one dog, omits a reference to the second living creature in the painting. Franzi is enthroned in an elevated position in the centre of the composition. Young, upright, alert and agile, her four legs are artfully folded under her slender body. Her head is elegantly turned to one side while her red collar, caught by the light, is transformed into a necklace. Old, heavy and immobile, Philip is only partly visible. In the bottom right corner, his head and a paw can be glimpsed in an

unsuccessful attempt to reach up to join Franzi (see fig. 98). The corgi did, however, serve as a model in earlier pictures. He features in Portrait with Turban, 1946 (no. 80), and Morning in the Garden, 1943 (no. 61). The painting is signed and dated on the back ‘1946 Amersham Motesiczky’. This cannot be correct since Franzi joined the Motesiczkys only in 1953. notes 1 ‘Was hat sie denn für eine Farbe – ist sie malbar? … kann sie einen rühren oder ist sie nur schön … Ich bin schon sehr neugierig!!’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Henriette von Motesiczky, 11 August 1953: Motesiczky archive. 2 ‘“Franzi” … übrigens ein wunderschöner Hund u. sehr anregend, malerisch plastisch u. graphisch – man kann garnicht wegschauen so merkwürdig dünn ist er, Rosenholzfarben u. alles kann er zusammen klappen wie ein Taschenmesser.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 26 September 1953: Motesiczky archive. 3 ‘dabei fallen mir unsere Hunde ein … die sind jetzt reitzend! Aussehen tun sie wie eine Zirkusnummer der eine so dick u. der andere so dünn! Der Philip ist ein rührender “Alter” geworden Sonderbar wie ein junges Geschöpf ein altes vollkommen verändern kann. Ich sehe ihn jetzt mit ganz anderen Augen u. möchte ihn gerne malen. Sogar seine braun weisslich grünliche Farbe (die Farbe der alten Hunde) hat etwas rührendes. Die Franzi ist mein Liebling u. wenn ich mit ihr spiele schleicht er sich in eine Ecke u. wirft Blicke die einem durch u. durch gehen … Wenn aber die Franzi leicht u. elegant auf die Betten springt – etwas was er schon lange nicht mehr kann, ist er ganz einfach verzweifelt … Mit der Franzi versteh ich mich unheimlich gut – sie hat einige meiner eigenen Eigenschaften (vielleicht nicht gerade die besten) aber ich habe oft das Gefühl das ist mein kleines verzaubertes Schwesterlein.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 16 October 1953: Motesiczky archive. provenance Artist; Karin and Jan Willem Salomonson. exhibitions Munich 1954, no. 120; London 1960, no. 27, shown as Portrait of Franzi; Vienna 1994, no. 26, illus. (col.), dated 1946. bibliography Tate Gallery, 1996, p. 504 (Portrait of Franzi ).

Fig. 97 Franzi, photograph, c. 1955 (Motesiczky archive)


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Fig. 98 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, undated sketch, brush and ink on paper, 252 Ă— 189 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

Fig. 99 Letter from Henriette von Motesiczky to Käthe von Porada, dated 4 August 1953, with a drawing of Franzi and Philip (Motesiczky archive)

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Water Melon Wassermelone 1954 Oil on canvas, 397 × 503 mm Private collection, the Netherlands

In this still-life, Motesiczky created a daring composition of kitchen utensils and summer fruit. As in most of Motesiczky’s still-lifes, the objects appear to have been arranged almost at random. In fact, they were carefully positioned to create this very effect. The extremely closeup view is also typical and gives the objects an almost monumental appearance. The large half of a water melon, displaying the bright circle of juicy, red flesh and row of white pips, may have been cut by the knife, placed next to it. A wooden slicer and leaves scattered across the tray are unrelated to the melon yet provide a context that suggests a busy day in the kitchen. provenance Artist; Gretl Rupé (purchased before 1969); Karin and Jan Willem Salomonson (inherited 2000). exhibitions Munich 1954, no. 137; London 1960, no. 26, shown as Melon; Munich 1967, ex catalogue; Vienna 2007, no. 49, illus. p. 167 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 49, illus. p. 167 (col.). bibliography Schlenker 2006c, p. 166.

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Portrait of Ursula Vaughan Williams 1954 Oil on canvas, 748 × 1008 mm (sight) Signed (bottom right): Marie Louise Private collection, London

Ursula Vaughan Williams (1911–2007) became well-known as the author of poems, plays and novels. Her poetry appeals to musicians and has been set to music by over thirty composers. When her first husband Michael Wood died in 1942, her friendship with the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958) deepened. They married in 1953 and moved to London, choosing a flat in Regent’s Park (10 Hanover Terrace). Elias Canetti was a regular guest in their home and, as a mutual friend, presumably mediated between the composer and Marie-Louise von Motesiczky when, shortly after their marriage, Ralph Vaughan Williams thought of commissioning a portrait of his wife. In early 1954, the composer expressed his joy at the artist’s acceptance of the commission: ‘I hear that you are willing to do me the honour to paint a portrait of my wife for me. This gives me great pleasure. I understand from Mr Canetti that you would be willing to accept a fee of £105. I hope this is your genuine fee, and not “special terms” due to my friendship with Mr Canetti. I am strongly of opinion that “the labourer is worthy of his hire.”’1 Sittings began in February 1954. The atmosphere, before the first time Ursula Vaughan Williams was to pose for Motesiczky in her studio, is captured by Elias Canetti in an informal, witty little poem: To the dear and adored painter muli How I am looking forward to Saturday morning! When Ursula comes running. The poor thing can hardly wait, She wants to be in Muli’s painter garden. A great beauty every inch She does not know yet what to wear. I told her that drawing comes first, Good, good, she cried, if only we start! So, the commission greets its painter And Pio knows nothing else and has to end. Wishes you a good night. pio canetti 2

Very early on, Motesiczky encountered difficulties. The sittings had to be briefly interrupted when Marie Hauptmann, the artist’s ‘second mother’ and former wet-nurse, died. On resuming work on the portrait the griefstricken Motesiczky confessed: ‘Ursula was here twice already – it does not go very well with the painting but I do not get agitated about it, somehow or other I will manage to complete the painting’.3 In another letter she complained: ‘Should have Ursula tomorrow – a pity – did not start badly. Sometimes it is all too much.’4 Later on work must have progressed rather more quickly since Ralph Vaughan Williams acknowledged receipt of the painting in November: ‘Dear Madame Motesieczky the picture has safely arrived Many thanks for it’.5 In the end, according to Ursula Vaughan Williams, Motesiczky was pleased with the portrait. It shows the sitter, in her early forties, seated in an armchair. She wears an elegant evening gown, adorned with belle époque jewellery. As if deep in thought, her head rests on her left hand, her gaze directed towards the floor. Although the portrait found a place on their wall, it was actually this pose which caused the Vaughan Williamses’ dissatisfaction. According to Erica Propper, a family friend, they disliked the fact that the sitter, a lively and vivacious person, was portrayed in a pose that did not accurately convey her beauty and character. By 1958 the Vaughan Williamses had returned the painting to the artist. When Erica Propper noticed the absence of the portrait, she gained the Vaughan Williamses’ permission to take possession of it and collect it from the artist. Despite the rather unfavourable reception of the portrait by the sitter and her husband, sitting for her portrait had inspired Ursula Vaughan Williams to compose the following poem, written in 1959:

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In a Studio (Self Portraits) See, I was this girl, quiet, translucent, less or was I more, being rich in future then? painting a face upon a summer field, painting a muslin dress, a century of years ago, or ten, a wish unfolding and a thought concealed. If I used words I’d name that face ‘disguise’, the skill I used suggests experience, shaped hair and cheek and mouth and all I see to lead towards the eyes and there I look. That was, but is not, me gazing on flowers with subtle innocence. Now I confront another kind of grace and try to capture beauty’s last touch of pride, shimmer of movement before the darkening rain falls on this time and place: and shall I find, ten years having passed again, another thought than this I do not hide? Again I paint the face I see. I give ancestral features human, passionate sense, truth and proportion, form, colour and light. Rapt in power I live; my hand moves with my thought, sure and intense; from the canvas an unknown face appears.6

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sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Marie Hauptmann, [February 1954]: ‘Der Canetti ist so lieb zu mir – weil er weiss dass ich mir viel Sorgen um Dich mache – u. er haltet mich zum arbeiten an – das ist gut. Ich hab die Frau von dem Komponisten schon angefangen u. bin fleissig.’ Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 8 March 1954: ‘Dann will ich bald versuchen zu arbeiten u. auch die Ursula anrufen, nur in den nächsten Tagen trau ich mir’s noch nicht zu.’ Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 16 March 1954: ‘Für übermorgen hab ich die Ursula bestellt aber wie ich im Stand sein werde zu arbeiten weiss ich noch nicht … Piolein ich weiss wie reich ich noch bin – ach ja malen – u. für Sie malen’ notes 1 Ralph Vaughan Williams to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 3 January 1954: Motesiczky archive. 2 Der lieben und verehrten Malerin muli Bin ich auf Samstag Vormittag gespannt! Da nämlich kommt die Ursula gerannt. Die Arme kann es gar nicht mehr erwarten, Sie will in Muli’s Malergarten. Als grosse Schönheit jeder Zoll Weiss sie noch gar nicht, was sie anziehn soll. Ich sagt’ ihr, dass es erst ans Zeichnen geht, Gut, gut, rief sie, wenn’s nur in Fluss gerät! So lässt der Auftrag seinen Maler grüssen Und Pio weiss nicht mehr und muss jetzt schliessen. Wünscht eine recht gute Nacht. pio canetti (Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, [spring 1954]: Motesiczky archive) 3 ‘Die Ursula war schon 2 mal da – mit dem malen geht’s nicht sehr gut aber ich rege mich darüber nicht auf, irgendwie werde ich das Bild schon zu Ende bringen’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, [spring 1954]: Motesiczky archive. 4 ‘Sollte die Ursula morgen haben – schade – hab nicht schlecht begonnen. Manchmal ist’s schon alles bissl viel.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, [spring 1954]: Motesiczky archive. 5 Ralph Vaughan Williams to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 7 November 1954: Motesiczky archive. 6 Vaughan Williams 1996, p. 126. provenance Artist; Ralph and Ursula Vaughan Williams (purchased 1954); artist (returned 1958); Arthur and Erica Propper (1958). bibliography Schlenker 2005, p. 134.

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Mother and Child Mutter mit Kind c. 1954 Oil on canvas, 761 × 635 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

On 26 May 1953, Motesiczky recorded seeing her friend Georgette Lewinson who had good news: ‘Afternoon Georgette, she is expecting a baby’.1 Born in Poland in 1922, Georgette Lewinson had shared the artist’s flat in Compayne Gardens for a number of years. She had moved out after her marriage. By early September 1953, the baby, a boy named David, had arrived and his mother was quite exhausted. Towards the end of the month, Motesiczky met up again with her former flatmate and remarked on the baby in admiration: ‘Georgette’s child [looks] like a sweet little pygmy (I mean the small Africans)’.2 The double portrait of Georgette and David Lewinson must have been painted later that year or the following year, with sittings taking place at the artist’s studio. Motesiczky created an intimate scene of the mother balancing her baby son, now several months old, on her lap, playing with a rattle. Although David is sitting upright, he is too young to hold this position for any length of time, as his mother’s protective hand, ready to steady him, shows. Her other hand is tickling the sole of the boy’s bare right foot. Mother and child seem utterly absorbed in one another and in their play. Yet, despite the modern paraphernalia, the couple evoke the traditional depiction of the Madonna and Child. It has been said that Georgette Lewinson was not pleased with her features in the portrait and made Motesiczky change them. In numerous drawings and sketches Motesiczky experimented with the composition, showing various positions of the child on his mother’s lap. In some of these sketches (fig. 100), the child is held by his father, suggesting that at one time Motesiczky had thought of painting a father and child.

sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 17 September 1954: ‘Nun bin ich also in München, wo ich vorgestern ankam. Als Erstes ging ich in die Ausstellung, allerdings mit der Gretl, der ich nicht gut nein sagen konnte. Ich war sehr glücklich darüber, es sieht wunderschön aus. Die meisten Bilder kommen gut zur Geltung; das Einzige, das wirklich schlecht gehängt ist, ist die Georgette mit Bankert, das bemerkt man kaum – aber vielleicht war kein anderer Platz. Das sage ich nur, um einen Einwand zu machen, weil sonst mein Lob falsch klingen könnte.’ notes 1 ‘Nachmittag Georgette sie erwartet ein Baby’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 1953: Motesiczky archive. 2 ‘das Kind von der Georgette wie ein herziger kleiner Pigmäe (ich mein die kleinen Afrikaner)’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 26 September 1953: Motesiczky archive. exhibitions Munich 1954, no. 119, illus., shown as Frau mit Kind; London 1960, no. 22, shown as Mother and baby, 1953; Vienna 1966, ex catalogue; Berlin 1986; Oberhausen 1986; Vienna 1986. bibliography Dollen 2000, p. 237.

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Fig. 100 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Man with a Child, c. 1954, charcoal on paper, 240 × 180 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)


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Marie in Doorway After 1954 Oil on canvas, 865 × 562 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Marie Hauptmann, the daughter of a Bohemian shoemaker, probably joined the Motesiczky household in Vienna in 1906. In 1939 she followed the artist and her mother to England where, after suffering several strokes and the amputation of a leg, she died in March 1954, aged 69. In an interview in the mid-1980s Motesiczky talked movingly about her feelings for Marie Hauptmann: ‘I had a second mother, and that was Marie, my real wetnurse, from whom I got my milk. She was a poor Bohemian girl, who as a child, had minded geese with a stick and slept with the animals in the barn. And she took up her first position in a Jewish family in Vienna, and the son of the house got her pregnant, and this child was born, and she told me … “Wöpslein, you know, that was such a shame, and so I came to you, and then I had you.” And that this woman had to give her own child to relatives and had me instead and that she stayed with us for the rest of her life, from my birth to her death, in England in her mid-sixties. And that she came with us, that we had a really kind-hearted, funny, innocent, constantly working, wonderful woman around us, who gave us her life so completely, is something so incredible that one can hardly describe it.’1 The importance in Motesiczky’s life of this ‘second mother’, whom she lovingly called ‘Ritschie’ and whose firstborn she immortalized in Hilda, c. 1937 (no. 44), cannot be overestimated. Losing Marie left her desolate and lonely. ‘Since the death of my Ritschie life is not the same any more. Yes, it is different now. It seems that life has begun to wane – midsummer is gone.’2 Sophie Brentano, a cousin and close friend, found the following words of consolation: ‘Your heart is still so full and sore from all the love that you cannot give her any more, I can imagine how sad you are. All your life she took up such a unique position with you, maybe even bigger than a mother since she was so modest in her devotion.’3 As in the other portrait of her, Girl by the Fire, 1941 (no. 52), Marie Hauptmann is portrayed in an outdoor setting. Lush green

vegetation fills the space around her. Placed in a grey doorway – and yet, somewhat incongruously still standing on soil – Marie Hauptmann wears her usual practical work clothes that include a white apron dress and a headscarf. As if ready to work in the garden or probably already in the middle of it, as a scythe and a pitchfork in the bottom left corner suggest, the sleeves of her blouse are rolled up. Her black-stockinged feet are covered by robust felt slippers. The garden setting and especially the figure of Marie Hauptmann are taken from a photograph that has survived in Motesiczky’s estate (fig. 101). It shows Marie Hauptmann, slightly younger and still healthy, in Amersham several years before her death. It is likely that this so far undated painting was done in commemoration of Marie Hauptmann after her death in 1954. Consequently Marie Hauptmann could not sit for the portrait and a photograph had to serve as a model instead. The fact that an enlarged photograph of Marie Hauptmann’s upper body is also among the artist’s possessions and was presumably used to aid the painting of Marie Hauptmann’s features, further indicates that this portrait was based on the photograph. Trying to console the artist long after Marie Hauptmann’s death, Elias Canetti calls her ‘the wonderful Marie, this best human being you have ever known’.4 He expresses his notion that Motesiczky will soon feel the need to paint her portrait.5 It seems that Elias Canetti was right and that this painting is a memorial to Marie Hauptmann. sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, [spring 1954]: ‘Mein liebes, allerliebstes Muli, Nun habe ich Deinen Brief bekommen und ich denke an Dich mit einer Zärtlichkeit und Wärme, die Du Dir gar nicht vorstellen kannst. Ich will, dass Du Deinen Gedanken nicht zu sehr nachgibst. Du bist weit gegangen, und das Schreckliche ist sehr in Dir. Aber darf ich Dir, als

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ein Mensch, der dem Gram und dieser ganz besonderen Trauer so nachgibt wie kein anderer Mensch auf der Welt, etwas sagen, das ich daraus gelernt habe. Man kann, was man verloren hat, nur in sich lebendig halten; und das kann man nur, indem man so ist, wie man war, als er noch lebte. Die Trauer fälscht. Es ist eine falsche Schuld, die man sich gibt. Es kommt nur auf eines an: wie sehr man Menschen liebt und geliebt hat. Ich will Dir sagen, mein liebes, liebes, liebes Muli, Du hast sie geliebt wie nie einen anderen Menschen, so sehr, dass Du es vielleicht gar nicht genau gewusst hast. Aber sie hat es gewusst und sie hat es gefühlt, und das war ihr Leben, und das ist ein Leben. Ich meine, was ich Dir da sage, und ich sage es Dir nicht, um Dich zu trösten. Ich kenne Dich sehr gut, und seit ich es voll erfasst habe, wie sehr Du lieben kannst, bin ich Dir noch viel mehr gut. Sie war nicht, nie unglücklich. Du bist nie von ihr weg. Sie hat Dich immer gehabt, ihr eigentliches Kind, bis in ihr hohes Alter. Für sie (nicht für Dich oder für mich) war es besser, dass sie kein langes, untätiges Alter erlebt hat. Sie hätte es nie gemocht, wie immer gut Du zu ihr gewesen wärst. Das schwache Alter wäre ihre erste wirkliche Traurigkeit geworden; eine lange Traurigkeit, ein wirkliches Leiden. Sie hat gedient, aber ihrem nächsten Menschen (so wie eine Frau nicht unglücklich ist, die ihrem geliebten Manne dient). Sie hat kaum gelitten. Ich schwöre Dir, mein gutes Muli, dass sie in der ganzen Zeit, in der ich sie kannte, kaum je gelitten hat. Es ist ungestillter Ehrgeiz oder äusseres Elend oder lange Krankheit und Schwäche, worunter Menschen eigentlich leiden, sonst nichts. Ich möchte, dass Du jetzt in die Stadt ziehst und nicht in Amersham bleibst. Nimm die Mutter mit in die Stadt. Es ist nicht gut, dass Du jetzt in Amersham bist. Ich glaube, Du wirst sehr bald das zwingende, unabweisliche Bedürfnis fühlen, ein Bild von ihr zu malen. Es ist eine Gnade, dass Du das kannst. Es ist eine Gnade, um die ich Dich aus tiefstem Herzen beneide, der einzige Neid, den ich fühlen kann. Vielleicht wirst Du, bevor du das malst, das angefangene Porträt beenden wollen. Du ahnst nicht, wie gut es wäre. Es würde Dir genau das Geringe an Distanz geben, das Du brauchst, um dann sie zu malen. – Du sollst Deine Freunde sehen. Du hast gute Freunde. Du hast Freunde, die es so echt sind (Julia, Georgette, Nell, Milaine), wie ich es sonst kaum bei jemand kenne. Wenn ich mich von ihnen ein wenig ferngehalten habe, so war es nie aus den Gründen, die ich sagte, sondern nur, weil ich wollte, dass es ganz Deine Freunde sind. Du musst mir versprechen, alles zu tun, um Dich nicht in gefährliche und sinnlose Zweifel zu spinnen. Du musst ausgehen und Du musst unter Deine Bilder gehen. Du musst wissen, was ich weiss, seit ich Dich kenne, dass Du ein grosser Maler bist und die gesegnete Gabe hast, Menschen zu

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bewahren, wie sie wirklich sind. Dafür liebe ich Dich und darum brauche ich Dich, Du gibst mir etwas, was ich nicht habe und ohne das ich nicht leben könnte. Muli, ich will, dass Du mir viel, viel schreibst, genau wie Dir zumute ist; und wenn Du je fühlst, dass es Dir zu schwer wird, schick mir ein Telegramm und ich komme mit dem nächsten Flugzeug zu Dir. Heute kann ich Dir nicht über diesen Ort schreiben, weil ich von Dir zu voll bin. Aber morgen schreibe ich Dir einen wirklichen Brief. Ich umarme Dich auf das Zärtlichste und sag Dir Muli, Muli, liebes, liebes, liebes Muli und wenn ich Dir bald Maler Mulo sagen kann, werde ich sehr froh sein. Ich hab Dich so lieb, dass ich nicht weiss, wie ich es sagen soll, und das passiert mir selten. Grüsse mir Deine Mutter. Dein Pio, der Dich küsst und lange lange bei Dir sitzt und Du sagst ihm alles, alles.’ notes 1 ‘Ich hab’ eine zweite Mutter gehabt, und das war die Marie, meine wirkliche Amme, von der ich die Milch bekommen hab’. Das war ein armes böhmisches Mädel, das als Kind die Gänse gehütet hat mit einem Stöckchen und das bei den Tieren geschlafen hat im Stall. Und das ist auf ihren ersten Posten in Wien in eine jüdische Familie gekommen, und der Sohn des Hauses hat ihr ein Kind gemacht, und dieses Kind hat sie geboren, und da hat sie mir gesagt … “Wöpslein, weißt Du, das war ja so eine Schande, und so bin ich zu euch gekommen, und da hab ich dann dich gehabt.” Und daß diese Frau ihr eigenes Kind hat hergeben müssen zu Verwandten und mich stattdessen gehabt hat und daß sie bei uns geblieben ist bis an ihr Lebensende, von meiner Geburt bis zu ihrem Tod, Mitte sechzig in England. Und daß sie mit uns gekommen ist, daß wir eine richtig gütige, lustige, unschuldige, ständig arbeitende, wunderbare Frau um uns hatten, die uns ihr Leben gegeben hat so ganz und gar, das ist etwas so Unglaubliches, daß man es kaum beschreiben kann.’: Gaisbauer/Janisch 1992, pp. 172 f. 2 ‘Seit meine Ritschie tod ist, ist das Leben nicht mehr das selbe. Ja das ist jetzt anders. Mir scheint dass sich das Leben geneigt hat – der Hochsommer ist zu ende.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 6 February 1955: Motesiczky archive. 3 ‘Dein Herz ist noch so voll u. wund von aller Liebe die Du ihr nicht mehr schenken kannst, ich kann mir denken wie traurig Du bist. Dein Leben lang hat sie eine so einzigartige Stelle bei Dir gehabt, vielleicht fast noch grösser als eine Mutter weil sie in ihrer Ergebung so völlig anspruchslos war.’: Sophie Brentano to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 11/12 March 1954: Motesiczky archive. 4 ‘die wunderbare Marie, dieser beste Mensch, den Du je gekannt hast’: Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 6 September 1987: Motesiczky archive. 5 Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, [spring 1954]: Motesiczky archive. bibliography Lloyd 2007, pp. 152 f.

Fig. 101 Marie Hauptmann in the garden in Amersham, photograph, 1940s (Motesiczky archive)


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Peter Clegg Mid-1950s Oil on canvas, 610 × 510 mm Peter and Diana Clegg

Peter Clegg, born in 1942 (fig. 103), is the son of Nell and Arthur Clegg, friends of the artist from the post-war years in London. Around 1950 the Clegg family had moved to Aberdare Gardens, a few streets away from the artist’s home in Compayne Gardens, West Hampstead. Peter Clegg remembers that Motesiczky asked him to sit for her. The sittings took place on Saturdays in the artist’s studio in Compayne Gardens and lasted for one or two hours. In order to encourage the boy and to keep him occupied during the sittings Motesiczky gave him a toy elephant to do a painting of; in the portrait he can be seen at work on this task. Seated at a desk, his head propped on his left hand, he is looking up from his sketches, the outlines of an elephant already completed. Instead of the quill he is holding, an imaginary embellishment, Peter Clegg was actually working with one of the artist’s brushes. In the middle of work on the portrait Peter Clegg contracted measles and was unable to attend

sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust

Fig. 103 Studio photograph of the young Peter Clegg by Edith Tudor Hart, 1950s (Collection Peter and Diana Clegg)

the sittings for a while. When he came back, Motesiczky found him changed too much. She did not go on with the portrait and, according to the sitter, never regarded this painting as part of her finished oeuvre. The abrupt termination explains why the two halves of the picture appear so different, the right almost ‘polished’ (complete with a corner of one of the artist’s works, probably a self-portrait, on the wall) and the left unfinished. While his left hand is carried out in great detail, the right hand only exists in a sketchy outline. To a lesser degree, the two halves of the face and the clothes are similarly different. Despite this, Peter Clegg’s slight squint is faintly noticeable – an unfortunate detail that spoilt the portrait for the sitter when he was young. Fig. 102 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, sketch, mid-1950s, graphite on paper, 356 × 228 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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Peter Clegg to Peter Black, 4 November 1996: ‘Here at last is the photograph of Marie-Louise’s portrait of me. It was painted sometime around 1949, 1950, or 1951 when I was seven or eight. Piz, as I always knew her, was living in a flat in Broadhurst Gardens NW6, not far from the Finchley Road tube station, whilst we were living about a mile away in Aberdare Gardens NW6. “Mrs Mot” and Pauzen were at that time in Amersham, and I did not meet them until several years later. At that time Piz did not seem to be using photographs, unlike the accounts at her memorial event. To keep me occupied whilst she worked, she decided to teach me to paint in oils. You can see from the portrait that I embarked on a painting of an elephant, using an Indian toy elephant on wheels as a model. It would, I suppose be about 6 inches high. Is it still around? I would be very interested in it if so. I still have the painting I did at the time. I used to go round every Saturday morning for what seems in memory to be most of the summer. My strongest emotion is that Piz introduced me to yoghurt which she had delivered in little glass jars – unflavoured of course, but which I used to sweeten with sugar. It seemed to me to be very exotic and exciting at the time! At some point, the sittings were interrupted as I developed measles or chicken pox or some other childhood ailment. Afterwards, Piz decided that I had changed too much for her to continue, but I sometimes wonder if she sensed that in “completing” it, the portrait might lose some of its charm. The fact that the painting I am working on is left as a sketch on the raw canvas, seems to me to add to the impression that I am actually painting it – how do you paint an unfinished painting? Whatever the reason, as she hadn’t completed it, it remains unsigned. My own reaction to the painting at the time was mixed. I was very flattered at having my portrait painted, but felt acutely embarrassed at the portrayal of my squint. Over the years I have become more accepting of the honesty of her vision. My stepmother has a photograph of me at around the same age taken by Tudor Hart with my head tilted slightly in much the same way and it is fascinating to me to see now how true a likeness the portrait is. As Sir Ernst Gombrich said at her memorial, her honesty was never cruel.’ provenance Artist; Nell and Arthur Clegg (probably gift before 1958); Peter and Diana Clegg (inherited).


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Still-life with Apples and Banana Äpfel

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Before 1955

1955

Oil on canvas, 292 × 485 mm Mirli and Daniele Grassi, Belgium

As in Orchid and Figure, 1953 (no. 123), the spatial relationship of this still-life is ambiguous. In the foreground, on a table topped with a white table cloth, the artist presents a close-up view of an arrangement of fruit. A green plate, shaped like a leaf, holds a monumental pile of apples and a banana. The background, however, is difficult to read: a female head, apparently unattached to a body and without any clues as to the context, seems to float in space. The figure’s extremely long hair appears to flow behind her. The main facial features, large eyes and a bulbous

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Apples from Hinterbrühl Die letzten Äpfel aus der Hinterbrühl Oil on canvas, 401 × 753 mm Private collection

nose, resemble those of the artist’s mother, Henriette von Motesiczky. The presence of these two unrelated images in one painting suggests that Motesiczky may have started a portrait and then decided to paint a still-life, leaving the earlier image partially visible. provenance Artist; Mirli and Daniele Grassi (wedding gift 1955). exhibition Munich 1954, no. 124.

Motesiczky was inspired to do this painting by a sack of apples which a friend had brought from Hinterbrühl: ‘On Wednesday at ½ 1 Rudi [Nassauer] and Bernice [Rubens] stood before my door … Rudi brought me a sack of apples from Hinterbrühl as you probably know. I have unpacked them and, as they were lying there, started to paint them – it was rather exciting to get apples from Hinterbrühl. At first I thought to make a quick picture and to give it to Rudi – to just carry it over after two days because it was really very nice of him to bring the apples. It is coming on quite well but I do not dare do it since it will be slightly silly if they don’t like it and the friends criticize it – after all, it is only a kind of colour study and I don’t know if he understands that. It’s again awful with Amersham because I said I was coming for a whole day and now I again sit here with the painting … Today I tried the whole day to paint my apples and now I am tired’.1 This apparently casual and straightforward still-life, a simple study of thirteen apples in varying states of decay displayed on the floor in the artist’s studio in Compayne Gardens, is, however, more than a pure exercise in colour harmony. It has a distinctly personal meaning, not at first obvious, which might explain its melancholic aura. After Motesiczky and her mother had left Austria in 1938, the family’s extensive property in Hinterbrühl, a village in the Wienerwald south-west of Vienna, was looked after and protected from seizure by the National Socialists by the artist’s brother Karl von Motesiczky, who stayed on in Austria. In an attempt to make the estate financially viable he set up an orchard in the grounds. Karl von Motesiczky subsequently became active in the resistance and helped many of his Jewish friends. He was caught in 1942 and sent to Auschwitz where he soon died. In 1955 plans to sell the estate at Hinterbrühl were well under way, and in summer 1956 it was sold to Hermann Gmeiner who built an SOS-Kinderdorf on the site. So these apples were indeed the last ever from Karl von Motesiczky’s orchard. Not unlike


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After the Ball, 1949 (no. 87), this work is a memorial to the artist’s brother, a poignant memorial to a lost world. It has been suggested that the vivid shadows, cast on the wall behind the apples, include the imaginary profile of a man, possibly of Karl von Motesiczky. note 1 ‘Am Mittwoch um ½ 1 standen der Rudi und die Bernice vor meiner Tür … Der Rudi bracht mir einen Sack Äpfel aus der Brühl wie Sie wohl wissen. Die habe ich ausgepackt und wie sie da lagen sie zu malen begonnen – es war doch aufregend Äpfel aus der Brühl zu bekommen. Eigentlich dachte ich ein rasches Bild zu malen und es dem Rudi zu schenken – so einfach nach zwei Tagen es hinüber zu tragen weil es doch sehr nett war dass er die Äpfel brachte. Es wird ganz gut aber ich getraue mich’s doch nicht denn wenn es denen nicht gefällt und die Freunde es kritisieren ist es bischen dumm – es ist ja auch nur so eine FarbStudie

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und ich weiss nicht ob er das versteht. Mit Amersham ist’s wieder schlimm denn ich sagte ich führe auf einen Tag und nun sitze ich wieder da mit dem Bild … Heut hab ich versucht den ganzen Tag meine Äpfel zu malen und nun bin ich müde’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 26 August 1955: Motesiczky archive. provenance Artist; Peter Black (gift). exhibitions Cambridge 1991; Vienna 1994, no. 30, illus. (col.), dated c. 1950; Liverpool 2006, no. 51, illus. p. 171 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 51, illus. p. 171 (col.). bibliography Cohen 1994, p. 94; Black 1996, n.p. (dated late 1940s); Michel 2003, p. 57, illus. Abb. 79 (col.); Sander 2006, pp. 126 f.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 170; Freitag 2007, n.p., illus. n.p. (col.); Lloyd 2007, pp. 162 f.; Michel 2007, p. 118, illus. p. 118 (col.).

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Backstage Hinter den Kulissen

1955

1955

Oil on canvas, 254 × 306 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Oil on canvas, 840 × 916 mm Private collection

This small painting shows an intimate encounter between two friends who are enjoying a drink and a smoke. A brunette, wearing a sleeveless pink dress, reclines regally on a bed. She seems to hold a lit cigarette in her raised right hand, the smoke rising in the air. Her blonde companion in a long yellow dressing-gown, a green ribbon adorning her hair, sits by her feet and delicately balances a cup in her hand. The identity of both women is unknown. They might, however, represent Motesiczky (on the left) and her friend and flatmate in Compayne Gardens, Julia Altschulova. Girlfriends is the only known instance in which Motesiczky duplicated one of her own

works. The reason for this unusual action is unknown. Girlfriends is a substantially reduced version of a large composition, The Two Friends, 1950s (no. 163), that has survived in the artist’s estate as an unstretched canvas. The two paintings differ only in a few minor details. In the larger version the figures seem to hover in an empty, undefined space. In this version they are clearly placed in a room, the corner of which is indicated behind the brunette’s head, the shadow of the blonde woman on the wall, against which the chaise longue is placed, and the edge of a mirror or picture behind her.

As the title suggests, the romantic encounter depicted in Backstage takes place off-stage in a theatre. It is unclear whether the performance has not yet started, is still ongoing or has already finished. The audience seems to be nearby, as the yellow curtain on the left which might lead to the stage indicates. Surrounded by musical instruments, a harp in the back and a violin or viola in front of the curtain, the couple, presumably actors, are in disguise. While the man is wearing grey leggings, tunic and hat decorated with two red feathers, the woman, who bears a strong resemblance to the artist, is dressed in a long green skirt with matching blouse. The couple are sitting close together, their arms and legs touching. They seem to gaze into one another’s eyes, but they are obscured and hindered by his blindfold. The two participants in this intimate and intense scene may be lovers, perhaps the commedia dell arte characters Harlequin and Columbine. They appear to be re-enacting off-stage and in private what is acted on stage in public. Yet, because of the blindfold, each is unable to make out what the other really thinks or feels. In a study for Backstage (fig. 104), the male figure with his round cap resembles a pierrot. His right hand enfolds his companion’s

Fig. 104 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, study for Backstage, 1955, charcoal on paper, 210 × 297 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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forearm. The atmosphere between the couple appears much more friendly and less fierce. The Hour, painted some twelve years later (no. 211), again shows a couple in disguise in a similarly intimate manner. Here, in contrast, the situation seems more sad and hopeless. A reviewer criticized Backstage for what he saw as an inappropriate late flowering of Beckmann’s influence in the painting’s composition, colouring and detail, yet lacking the master’s force and daring.1 Others praised the

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unique, strange and mysterious fairytale world Motesiczky had created here which fascinated the viewer.2 notes 1 d.w. 1968. 2 Freundlich 1966. provenance

exhibitions London 1960, no. 31; Vienna 1966, no. 35, illus. (col.); Linz 1966, no. 35, illus. (col.); Munich 1967, no. 35, illus. (col.); Bremen 1968, no. 35, illus. (col.); London 1985, no. 40, illus. p. 77. bibliography Bowness 1960, illus. p. 180 (Dans les coulisses); Hodin 1961/2, illus. p. 21; Freundlich 1966, n.p.; Reifenberg 1966a, n.p.; d.w. 1968, n.p.; Plakolm-Forsthuber 1994, p. 169.

Artist; Sophie Brentano (purchased at 1960 exhibition); artist?; Kurt Egger (purchased at 1967 exhibition); private collection.

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France, Soldier by the Sea Frankreich, Soldat am Meer 1955 Oil on canvas, 255 × 280 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

When, in April 1955, Motesiczky visited her friend Renée Cushman (née Scharf ) and her mother in Paris, she may have stopped at the French seaside on her way. A pencil drawing made on the spot (fig. 105) later served as an aide-mémoire when the artist carried out the composition in oil. It contains notes on the colour of the sky (‘dusty salmon, lilac-blue’) and the sea (‘green-blue’) which Motesiczky seems to have adhered to. The finished beach scene, carried out in a rather sketchy manner, shows a soldier seated at a table in the foreground. He appears to have finished his meal – an empty plate and cutlery have been pushed aside – and now pensively rests his head on his hand. The beach is deserted apart from a lone figure swimming in the calm sea. The composition had originally been larger with the canvas extending 8 cm to the right. The discarded, unfinished section, which is now wrapped around the stretcher, shows a blonde woman in a pink bathing suit walking away from the soldier.

Fig. 105 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, sketch, 1955, graphite on paper, 114 × 177 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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Spanish Still-life Spanisches Stilleben 1955 Oil on canvas, 495 × 902 mm Michael Black

After Bull ght, 1928 (no. 20), Spanish Still-life is the only other pictorial reference to the sport to which Motesiczky had been curiously attracted. It may have been inspired by her holiday in Portugal the year before, which also took her to Madrid. The painting brings together a photograph of a matador, displayed in a colourfully decorated frame, and the artist’s painting equipment. A heart-shaped palette, propped up against the photograph and held in place by two brushes stuck through the hole, partly obscures the face of the bullfighter. More brushes jut out in different directions behind the palette. A single large white flower is placed next to a striking yet unidentified red

object in front of the work accessories. As several sketches in the sketchbooks show, Motesiczky experimented with the composition, regrouping and rearranging the palette, vase of flowers and brushes, yet none of these sketches include the photograph. This still-life had until now been dated 1967. It was, however, probably already painted by 1955 as a diary entry shows. On 12 July 1955 Motesiczky briefly noted ‘Stilleben Spanisch’,1 which presumably refers to her working on this painting. Furthermore, the work with the title Pinsel und Matador, 1955, that appears in a list of works compiled in the late 1960s can only refer to the, later renamed, Spanish Still-life.

note 1 Motesiczky archive. provenance Artist; Halina Kirn (before 1985 – 1990s); Michael Black (purchased 1999).

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Self-portrait with Veil Selbstporträt mit Schleier 1955 Oil on canvas, 409 × 306 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Self-portrait with Veil is an honest selfassessment of the artist in her late forties. Motesiczky, who only rarely depicted herself in a formal self-portrait without a hat covering her head, here employs a veil over her fine, light brown hair. This work bears a close relationship to Self-portrait with Red Hat, 1938 (no. 47), and Self-portrait in Green, 1942 (no. 55), although there is nothing of the former’s coquetry or the latter’s alarm. Now older and more experienced, the artist again concentrates purely on her face. Her clothes appear sketchy, almost unfinished, and the overall colour scheme of sombre greys fits the sober mood of the work. The artist presents her open, honest face with heavy-lidded large dark eyes and the characteristic slightly open mouth. Through her careful self-examination, Motesiczky reveals her surprise or even anxiety caused by what she sees in the mirror. Since she is not wearing a hat it is unclear what the veil is attached to. It enigmatically and protectively envelopes her head like a transparent helmet, giving her shelter and enabling her to hide. exhibitions Cambridge 1986, ex catalogue; Vienna 2004b, illus. p. 30 (col.). bibliography Lloyd 2007, p. 169.

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Karin Rupé 1955/6 Oil on canvas Dimensions and location unknown

With the fate and the whereabouts of the painting unknown, the only document that survives is a black-and-white photograph of the artist presenting the finished portrait on an easel in the garden in Amersham (fig. 106). She is carefully watched by a dog which, in the subsequent photograph, taken moments later, demands her full attention (fig. 107). When, in 1949, the artist’s mother, Henriette von Motesiczky, visited her relatives in the Netherlands, she enthusiastically wrote home about Karin, the teenage granddaughter of her sister Ilse Leembruggen: ‘Karin … [is] one of the most charming delightful creatures I have ever encountered in the family! She seems old-fashioned, full of charm and kindness, a girl from the times of Grillparzer and Schubert … Yet she is no beauty and does not want to be

one, so simple and modest. Well, the little thing is only 16 years old.’1 In 1955, Karin Rupé (now Salomonson) stayed in England for several months to learn English. She sometimes visited the Motesiczkys and by the summer was sitting for her portrait. Yet, due to the sitter’s absence from London in July and subsequent difficulties in finding time for the sittings, Motesiczky was unhappy about progress of the work. She wrote to Elias Canetti: ‘for the time being I cannot continue with the picture, which I imagined to be so beautiful’.2 By mid-August Motesiczky was rather frustrated, alternating between London and Amersham and thinking about doing the portrait from memory, maybe with the help of a sketch as an aide-mémoire. A year later, the portrait still had not been finished and

Fig. 106 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky presenting the portrait of Karin Rupé in the garden, photograph, c. 1956 (Motesiczky archive)

Fig. 107 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky playing with her dog, photograph, c. 1956 (Motesiczky archive)

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Motesiczky resignedly noted in her diary: ‘Worked on Karin a bit but nothing good yet’.3 At some point Motesiczky must finally have been satisfied with the portrait as the photograph and a postcard printed from it testify. In this fairly large painting, Karin Rupé, now in her early twenties, is sitting in an armchair, playing the flute – an instrument she did play when she was young (fig. 109). On the left, a palette and brushes and, further back, perhaps an easel with a painting can be made out. On the right the large leaves of an indoor potted plant are visible. The surviving drawing of Karin Rupé (fig. 108), that, together with several photographs, used to prompt Motesiczky’s memory in the absence of the sitter, depicts her not playing the flute but holding it.


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Fig. 109 Karin Rupé playing the flute, photograph, c. 1955 (Motesiczky archive)

Fig. 108 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Karin Rupé with a Flute, 1955/6, charcoal on paper, 330 × 203 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 12 August 1955: ‘Ich bilde mir ein ich muss dieses Bild malen und werde es doch kaum zu stande bringen denn Karin hat so wenig Zeit und es ist so heiss und drückend in der Stadt … und nun weiss ich nicht ob ich hier durchhalten soll oder nach Amersham gehen und einen Versuch machen das Bild auswendig zu malen?’ Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 19 August 1955: ‘Gestern bin ich … “herausgezogen”. Das Bild von Karin war gut begonnen aber wie ich es beenden soll??

Die einzige Hoffnung dass ich in der Stadt noch zeichne und es dann auswendig mache. Anderseits in der Stadt zu sitzen wo es die einzig schöne Zeit des Jahres heraussen ist und Karin blos einige male in der Woche ab 9 Uhr abends zeit hat … Hatte halt gleich beginnen sollen – alles soll man gleich beginnen und bald beenden … In der Woche will ich aber trotzdem 3 Tage hinein wegen des zeichnens’ Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 26 August 1955: ‘Am Dienstag Abend kam ich herein, hatte mir am Mittwoch allerhand angesetzt Augenartzt Zahnartz u.s.w. Und Karin zum zeichnen in der schwachen Hoffnung dass ich danach das Bild weiter machen kann.’

notes 1 ‘Karin … einer der lieblichsten reizendsten Geschöpfe, die ich je in der Familie angetroffen! Altmodisch wirkt sie, voll Charm u. Güte, ein Mädchen so um Grillparzer u. Schubert herum … Dabei ist sie keine Schönheit u. will garkeine sein, so einfach u. bescheiden. Na ja, das ganze Ding ist ja erst 16 Jahre.’: Henriette von Motesiczky to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 24 April 1949: Motesiczky archive. 2 ‘das Bild welches ich mir so schön dachte kann ich vorläufig nicht weiter machen’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 19 July 1955: Motesiczky archive. 3 ‘Bischen gemalt Karin noch nichts rechtes’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 28 July 1956: Motesiczky archive.

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In Church, Mexico In der Kirche, Mexiko 1956 Oil on canvas, 493 × 600 mm (sight) Signed (bottom right): M. Motesiczky Private collection, the Netherlands

In spring 1956, Motesiczky spent three months on the American continent. As well as visiting New York, Washington and Chicago, she toured Arizona and Mexico. Her trip to these exotic, distant parts of the world impressed her deeply. She recorded vivid images in her diary: ‘I was in Toluca. O this wonderful market! … These indios … The things they drag and carry, on their back, in shawls, the turkeys they hold by their legs, the fruit baskets in colours one could not invent … The flowers. One girl with a good deal on her back and flowers on top especially took my fancy, she looked as mysterious as from a different world. I wish I had photographed her – I have no clue any more what it actually was – but it was beautiful! Ribera [Diego Rivera] painted these calla lilies but in reality it is much more beautiful – and if you paint it, it should really be even more beautiful?’1 (fig. 110). Back in London, Motesiczky must have recalled her delight in what she had observed. She digested the experience, albeit in a slightly

Fig. 110 Diego Rivera, Flower Day, 1925, oil on canvas, 1473 × 1207 mm (Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Fund)

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altered way, in this painting. Instead of a market, the scene is set in a Mexican church similar to those which the artist had visited on her trip. Not much of the church interior is distinguishable. Yet, as suggested by the brightly burning candles, the steps and the rectangular object in the centre of the back wall, partly hidden behind the flowers – presumably a painting above the altar – Motesiczky focused on the area around the altar. While this is a place for silent prayer and contemplation, exemplified by the woman kneeling on the floor near the steps leading to the altar with a baby in her arms and the man behind, it is also a busy and bustling house of God. The two women in the foreground are going about their daily business. One is carrying a large vase of white calla lilies, the other is balancing a similar vessel on her head, supported by her right arm, while she holds a bunch of flowers in her left arm. Together, the two women come close to being a reconstruction of the girl in the market in Toluca who had left a lasting impression on Motesiczky. This painting has often been dated incorrectly as 1955. Its year of origin is in fact 1956, after Motesiczky’s trip to Mexico, as the 1960 catalogue of the Beaux Arts Gallery, where it

was first shown, states. The signature was added many years later by the artist at the request of its then owner, when the picture went to the exhibition at the Goethe-Institut in 1985. The catalogue for that exhibition shows an illustration of In Church, Mexico without its recent signature. note 1 ‘Ich war in Toluca. Oh dieser herrliche Markt! … Diese Indios … Was sie alles schleppen und tragen, am Buckel in Tüchern, die Truthäne die sie an den Beinen halten, die Obstkörbe in Farben wie man sie nicht erfinden kann … Die Blumen. Ein Mädchen mit allerhand am Buckel und Blumen oben drauf hat es mir besonders angetan, so geheimnisvoll wie aus einer anderen Welt sah sie aus. Hatte ich sie nur photographiert – habe keine Ahnung mehr was es eigentlich war – aber schön war’s! Der Ribera hat das mit den Callas gemalt aber in Wirklichkeit ist es viel schöner – und wenn man es malt sollte es doch noch schöner sein?’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 1956: Motesiczky archive. provenance Artist; Cicely Hill (purchased before 1960 exhibition); Alina Tolochko?; Alexander Moorrees?; Karin and Jan Willem Salomonson (purchased 1997). exhibitions London 1960, no. 32, shown as In a Mexican church; Vienna 1966, no. 36, dated 1955; Linz 1966, no. 36, dated 1955; Munich 1967, no. 36, dated 1955; Bremen 1968, no. 36, dated 1955; London 1985, no. 41, illus. p. 80, dated 1955. bibliography Calvocoressi 1985, p. 63; Lloyd 2007, p. 161.


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Yucatan, Mexico 1956 Oil on canvas, 508 × 610 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

When, in spring 1956, Motesiczky travelled in Mexico, she visited Chichen Itza on the southern Mexican peninsula of Yucatan. Once the capital of the Yucatan Maya, it is now a world-famous archaeological site. Motesiczky seems to have been very impressed with Chichen Itza since an especially large number of photographs and postcards of its buildings have been found in her estate. Not choosing the site’s most famous structure, the huge pyramid of the sun, Motesiczky depicts instead a scene in a large courtyard, the Cuadrangulo de Monjas (fig. 111), dominated by the partially crumbling low building in the background. A couple of indigenous people, a man and a little girl, sit on the stone steps leading up to it. The enormous heads of two carved stone serpents (fig. 112), which Motesiczky has relocated from other parts of the grounds, dominate the foreground. On the right, a large column is partially visible. A couple of distinctly Western looking women walk between these menacing stone creatures. One is carrying a parasol which she no longer needs. In the quiet peacefulness of the evening, the setting sun creates a beautiful orange sky, visible through the open doors and windows of the ruined building. bibliography Michel 2003, p. 45, illus. Abb. 53 (col.) (Yukatan, 1955).

Fig. 111 View of the Cuadrangulo de Monjas, Chichen Itza, Mexico, photograph, 1956 (Motesiczky archive)

Fig. 112 Carved stone serpent, Chichen Itza, Mexico, photograph, 1956 (Motesiczky archive)

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The Magic Fish Zauberfisch 1956 Oil on canvas, 765 × 1019 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

When The Magic Fish was first exhibited in 1966, critics remarked that it ‘had something enigmatic, mysterious, something fateful … behind which, in reality, stand impressions of human fates’1 and praised the ‘strangely uncanny fairytale world … which puts the viewer in its spell’.2 Two years later, Motesiczky’s ‘strange paintings’, such as The Magic Fish, were interpreted as ‘means of invocation (of boredom, the fear of loneliness and the secret dread of life, of day-to-day existence)’.3 The widely admired cryptic symbolism of the painting suggests a certain closeness to Motesiczky’s teacher which others discerned: ‘here we see a kinship with rather than the influence of Beckmann’.4 Set in a darkened room with a rough wooden floor, illuminated by the sparse sunlight coming in through the closed shutters of its two windows, a grotesque and dream-like scene, that resembles a fantastic secret rite, is taking place. On a yellow chaise longue, its lower end covered by a green cloth, sits a seminude woman. She is clad only in a transparent whitish knee-length skirt and a long blue scarf which covers her hair. She is engaged in a

strange activity, wielding a fishing net, which she uses in her battle with a large fish, which is flying beside the chaise longue. The creature, with its vivid red body and powerful blue wings, appears to attack the woman who is unable to catch it, the net being too small. She might, however, be able to keep it at a distance or, with luck, frighten it away. Critics have speculated on the woman’s identity: ‘Is it Marie-Louise trying to kill that Magic Fish with a long-handled bedwarmer?’5 The woman’s garb, rather than her features, does indeed resemble the scantily clad female figure in Parting, painted the following year, which is clearly a self-portrait (no. 149). The idea for the painting may have come from a dream Motesiczky had. She sometimes noted down the content of her dreams for herself or reported them in letters to Elias Canetti, who loved to hear them. In several dreams individual fish or a large number of them play a major role, although none would directly explain The Magic Fish. Another source of inspiration may have been the paintings of Max Beckmann. While several works show large fish being held by humans (see figs 185 and 186), Vampir,

painted in 1948 (fig. 113), is the best comparison. It depicts a winged male attacking a reclining woman, both nude. Yet whereas Beckmann’s victim is passive and accepting, Motesiczky’s mounts a vigorous defence. The painting seems to stick in people’s minds. In one instance, the absurd situation depicted was even ‘corroborated’ by a real-life incident in the Motesiczky household. The guest, the historian and researcher Peter Swales, later recalled the amusing scene: ‘I am still bound to have to smile whenever I recall how you exclaimed, “Ah! But it’s alive!” when that mackerel I had gutted started to fold back over on itself under the heat of the grill. That really was a Zauberfisch we had for dinner!’6 notes 1 ‘hat etwas Hintergründiges, Mystisches an sich, etwas Schicksalhaftes … hinter denen in Wirklichkeit Eindrücke von Menschenschicksalen stecken’: Helfgott 1966. 2 ‘sonderbar unheimliche Märchenwelt … die den Beschauer in ihren Bann zieht’: Freundlich 1966. 3 ‘seltsamen Bilder’, ‘Mittel zur Beschwörung (der Langenweile, der Furcht vor Einsamkeit und dem heimlichen Schauder vor dem Leben, dem Alltag)’: Dr. S. 1968. 4 Taylor 1985. 5 Winterbottom 1986, p. 11. 6 Peter Swales to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 18 February 1980: Motesiczky archive. exhibitions Vienna 1966, no. 37, illus.; Linz 1966, no. 37, illus.; Munich 1967, no. 37, illus.; Bremen 1968, no. 37, illus.; London 1985, no. 42, illus. p. 79; Cambridge 1986, no. 42, illus. p. 79; Liverpool 2006, no. 52, illus. p. 173 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 52, illus. p. 173 (col.). bibliography Freundlich 1966, n.p.; Helfgott 1966, n.p.; Reifenberg 1966a, n.p.; Spiel 1966, n.p.; Dr. S. 1968, n.p.; J.Wdt. 1968, n.p.; Taylor 1985, n.p.; Winterbottom 1986, p. 11; Plakolm-Forsthuber 1994, p. 169; Michel 2003, pp. 66, 82, illus. Abb. 96 (b/w) and n.p. (detail, col.); Davies 2006b, n.p.; Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, exh. booklet 2006, n.p.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 172; Lloyd 2007, pp. 162, 256 f.n.

Fig. 113 Max Beckmann, Vampir, 1948, oil on canvas, 550 × 850 mm (Museum Ludwig, Cologne, on permanent loan from a private collection)

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Nicolas Lytton 1956 Oil on canvas, 608 × 506 mm Verso: flower still-life Private collection

Nicolas Lytton is a close relative of Motesiczky – their grandfathers were brothers (Motesiczky also painted a portrait of Nicolas Lytton’s mother, Margit Döry, in 1963). After the war, Lytton lived in a neighbouring Buckinghamshire village and frequently visited the Motesiczkys in Amersham, where the portrait was painted. Framed by ornate dark red curtains, the sitter poses immaculately dressed in a dark blazer with a bow tie and a matching handkerchief in the top pocket. As Nicolas Lytton enjoyed horse riding Motesiczky portrays him holding a riding whip. A slightly mischievous smile betrays the sitter’s enjoyment of the situation in which he finds himself. According to the sitter, the view in the background with its silhouette of towers is evocative of his regimental past in Scotland. provenance Artist; Nicolas Lytton (probably gift late 1950s).

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Coloured Model c. 1956 Oil on canvas, 609 × 381 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This half-length portrait shows an unidentified young Asian model. Her impassive face is characterized by sparkling black eyes, enhanced by lilac eye shadow. Her medium length black hair falls on her shoulders in gentle curls. She is wearing a pink and green garment. The artist seems to have placed the sitter next to a window through which dense green foliage can be seen. As in numerous other portraits (for example Model, Vienna, 1929, no. 27; Portrait of a Russian Student, 1927, no. 16), the background is divided behind the sitter’s head and presumably shows beige curtains and green-tinged wallpaper.

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Parting Trennung 1957 Oil on canvas, 711 Ă— 914 mm Verso: self-portrait in mirror Private collection

It is almost impossible to decipher this enigmatic scene. A young woman, presumably a fortune-teller, is crouching before a large crystal ball, the focal point of the painting. In it she sees a long-beaked, red-feathered bird. With one hand she is holding the crystal ball while the other seems to be either conjuring up more secret images or explaining what she sees to her audience, which consists of an earnest young man in sober green clothes and a grinning head of a disembodied angel sporting feathery blue wings. A mysterious shadow on the wall behind her is caused by a light source outside the picture plane. Since the woman has features that resemble those of the artist, this might depict a dream scene with meaning and content that only Motesiczky knows. provenance Artist; Kurt Egger (purchased at 1967 exhibition); private collection. exhibitions London 1960, no. 35; Vienna 1966, no. 38, illus. on cover; Linz 1966, no. 38, illus. on cover; Munich 1967, no. 38, illus. on cover; Bremen 1968, no. 38, illus. on cover; London 1985, no. 43, illus. p. 79. bibliography Michel 2003, pp. 40, 82, illus. Abb. 44 (col.) (Abschied).

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Fig. 114 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, study for Parting, 1957, graphite on paper, 125 Ă— 202 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)


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Woman from Chestnut Lane 1957 Oil and charcoal on canvas, 484 × 357 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

The sitter for this portrait, Dorothy Kate Sladen, was a neighbour of the artist in Chestnut Lane in Amersham. Born in 1888, she moved to a farmhouse called ‘The Chestnuts’ on her marriage in around 1908. The couple ran a dairy together and had a daughter, Cassie, born in 1908, followed by a son (fig. 115). The sitter’s husband died when Cassie was five years old. Although they were neighbours the Motesiczkys and Dorothy Sladen rarely saw each other, because Dorothy Sladen suffered from obsessive-compulsive behaviour and often could not leave the house. Elias Canetti recalled that ‘Old Daisy’, as he called her, ‘has depressions that last all winter. All this time she is bedridden. From time to time we hear her roaring. In spring, she improves. We are able to visit her. She shows off her flowers, and the big cherry orchard, everything that never changes.’1 As part of her illness she started to paint and draw, mainly interiors and landscapes of a relatively small scale and great

Fig. 115 Dorothy Sladen with her daughter Cassie and baby son, photograph, 1910s (Motesiczky archive)

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charm. This interest in art brought her closer to the Motesiczkys. In 2000 Cassie Sladen recalled: ‘My mother had a difficulty in living and enjoyed Madam [Henriette] Motesiczky’s music and her daughter’s art’.2 When, in July 1957, Motesiczky was in need of a model, her neighbour was willing to help: ‘In the meantime I collect the “Mademoiselle” in the car – you know, one of the two ladies in Chestnut Lane – for painting, she can’t walk, she hardly lives but I only quickly want to do something.’3 A few days later Motesiczky reported that the Mademoiselle was sitting for her again. Unfortunately, work was not progressing as expected, since Motesiczky was much occupied with looking after her mother.4 She was, however, relieved at least sometimes to be able to take up her brushes and paint. In the portrait, Motesiczky concentrates on the sitter’s head which almost fills the canvas.

The surroundings are indicated as being outdoors since Dorothy Sladen is placed among the branches of a rhododendron bush in bloom. While her left hand is partially hidden behind a branch, the right hand with her elegant long fingers holds a blossom for close inspection. Absorbed in this small detail she seems to be in her own world with her thoughts. notes 1 Canetti 2005a, pp. 76 f. 2 Cassie D. Sladen to Ines Schlenker, [July 2000]: Motesiczky archive. 3 ‘Ich hole mir mit dem Auto inzwischen die “Mademoiselle” Sie wissen die eine der beiden Frauleins in Chestnutlane, zum malen ab, gehen kann sie nicht, leben tut sie kaum aber ich will nur ja schnell was tun.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 5 July 1957: Motesiczky archive. 4 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 16 July 1957: Motesiczky archive.


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Portrait Ludwig Baldass Porträt Ludwig Baldass 1957 Oil on canvas, 485 × 459 mm (sight) Georg Baldass, Vienna

Ludwig von Baldass (1887–1963) was a wellknown art historian, professor at the University of Vienna and director of the Gemäldegalerie of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, which Motesiczky’s ancestors, the von Liebens, had helped finance. He published numerous books on art, including studies of Hieronymus Bosch, Jan van Eyck, Giorgione, Stefan Lochner, Hans Memling, and Gothic and Romanesque art in Austria. Ludwig von Baldass’s wife Pauly, the granddaughter of the famous architect Otto Wagner (1841–1918), had been the young Motesiczky’s governess and remained a close friend. Pauly Baldass must have introduced the young artist to the art historian who, according to Peter Black, gave her informal art history lessons and became a lifelong admirer of her art. The following episode, which Motesiczky recorded in her memoirs on Max Beckmann as a teacher, shows the budding artist’s eager attempt at making appropriate remarks in the presence of her older and learned Viennese mentor, who was working on the German artist Albrecht Altdorfer at the time. ‘It was certainly no easy matter to maintain even a spark of independence [from Beckmann]. His only comment on a little Altdorfer I had ventured to admire was: “Ha! Fireworks.” Later on, when I tried to pass this off to an art-historian [Ludwig Baldass] as a remark of my own (I was still very young), it nearly brought me a box on the ears.’1 Despite this early disagreement Ludwig von Baldass proved to be a faithful supporter of Motesiczky. He published several articles on her work and tried to help her find an exhibition venue in Vienna after the war. Even the artist’s friend, Elias Canetti, habitually a critical judge of character, was very appreciative of his support for Motesiczky: ‘I bless Baldass that he keeps at it with your painting. I have never before had the feeling with any other human being that he, in the things that matter for you, is my ally. Although he surely doesn’t see it that way, what matters is the result: he sees you, like me, as a painter. Therefore I am glad that you are in

Vienna, because whatever else you do there, you cannot avoid Baldass.’2 The portrait, which has hitherto been dated 1960, must have been painted in 1957, when the artist visited Vienna for a few weeks, probably staying with the Baldass family in the Burgring. It is not known if the portrait was a commission, but Elias Canetti knew about the project, enquiring in a letter to Motesiczky, who was already in Vienna, in April: ‘Have you started to paint yet?’3 Motesiczky was kept so busy with the painting that she did not have much time to do anything else in Vienna. She nevertheless admitted to being very glad to have done it.4 In early May the portrait was almost completed and Motesiczky, contrary to her usual refusal to show anything unfinished, showed it to several people: ‘I have so much prayed that I will get it right and it really has turned out not too bad. Two days ago the art historian Fürst [Bruno Fürst, 1891–1965] from Oxford came. I let him already see the unfinished picture and he said it was a work of art and “beautiful” and so on – then I let down my guard and already showed it to the Baldass family as well – and I think he really did get a fright – she rather likes it, I think. Nevertheless I wanted to hang myself in the evening. My mother was very nice – kept repeating that it is one of my best portraits – she really believes it – in the end she said: well, in such a case Canetti is better than me! – I had just wanted to give Baldass some pleasure.’5 Despite this disappointment she confidently – and with a hint of relief – stated a few days later: ‘The Baldass portrait has been completed to everybody’s satisfaction. It is of course too realistic but as such so that I cannot understand how I managed to do it – it is simply terribly like him and lively. If the good Baldass was dead I would be afraid of being in the same room with the picture.’6 The almost monochrome portrait, which concentrates on the large head and massive upper body of the eminent scholar, does indeed show a remarkable likeness. Motesiczky’s honesty was often not appreciated by the sitters 277


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who, occasionally, rejected their portraits disliking their lack of flattering idealization (this was the case, for example, with Portrait Philippe de Rothschild, 1986, no. 287, and Portrait of Ursula Vaughan Williams, 1954, no. 132). Ludwig von Baldass is seated in a deep armchair, wearing a beige suit. His head slightly averted, he looks sceptically at the viewer. His features are concentrated in the centre of his face which seems enlarged by the hair receding at the temples and by a double chin. Deep lines run from the nose to the corners of his down-turned mouth and are echoed by the well-defined dark eyebrows which slope down towards the nose. The life-like depiction Motesiczky managed to achieve in this portrait is underlined by the following story: ‘The little grandson – he is 3 years old – whom I showed the painting and whom I asked who it was said: grandpa – and after a break –: where is grandma? – then he ran behind the easel, to find his grandmother behind the painting!’7 sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, [1957]: ‘Ich fühl mich nicht so ganz wohl hier – vielleicht wegen des Baldass Bildes – ich will’s erzwingen und diesmal ist wirklich wenig Zeit und trotzdem möchte ich mich u. die Anderen nicht enttäuschen. Hab alles dort aufgestellt, Staffelei u.s.w. – hab sogar einen Kittel – aber die Leinwand ist zu klein. Es ist ganz unmöglich dass etwas daraus wird … Ach Piolein, heut mittags glaubte ich das Bild wird doch irgendwas – da war ich so gut gelaunt – und so froh und dankbar – auch Ihnen – dass ich’s begonnen habe – denn ich hab’s doch auch Ihretwegen getan. Nachmittag hab ich wieder daran gemalt und jetzt glaub ich wieder es wird nichts – bin ganz nervös u. verrückt damit und das ärgste, dass ich’s nicht in der Pension habe und sicher schaut’s die Baldassin an in jedem Stadium obwohl sie versprach es nicht zu tun. Ich müsst das viel öfters machen – es wäre auch gut für die Arbeit – man darf sich nicht so absperren – es ist ganz anregend wenn man glaubt es muss um jeden Preis was werden.’

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Fritz Novotny, Österreichische Galerie, Schloß Belvedere, Vienna, to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 19 December 1963 (original in capitals): ‘Nun muss ich leider mit einem aufschiebenden Bescheid kommen: unser Ministerium hat für die nächste Zeit die Veranstaltungen von Ausstellungen, die nennenswerte Kosten verursachen … als undurchführbar erklärt … So bleibt mir nichts anderes übrig als unser Projekt zunächst zurückzustellen … Nun ist die Frage, was mit den Gemälden geschehen soll die Sie uns zur Ansicht geschickt haben. Wir könnten sie natürlich hier lassen, falls es Ihnen nicht unangenehm ist, dass dies auf unbestimmte Zeit sein müsste … Das Bildnis von Prof. Baldass (von dem ich noch ganz kurz vor seinem Tod einen Brief bekommen habe) werden wir natürlich an die Familie zurückgeben.’ Conny Nechansky to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 26 February 1986: ‘Unlängst habe ich Dein Portrait von Herrn Baldass in einem Architekturbüro gesehen und es sofort erkannt als Dein Werk.’ notes 1 Motesiczky 1984, p. 52. 2 ‘ich segne den Baldass dafür, dass er mit der Malerei bei Dir nicht locker lässt. Ich habe noch nie bei einem Menschen so sehr das Gefühl gehabt, dass er in den Dingen, auf die es bei Dir ankommt, mein Bundesgenosse ist. Obwohl er es sicher selbst nicht so sieht, kommt es in der Wirkung darauf hinaus: er sieht Dich, wie ich, als Maler. Darum bin ich auch froh, dass Du in Wien bist, denn was immer Du sonst dort tust, Du kannst den Baldass nicht vermeiden.’: Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 18 March 1958: Motesiczky archive. 3 ‘Hast du schon zu malen begonnen?’: Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, April 1957: Motesiczky archive. 4 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 4 and 7 May 1957: Motesiczky archive. 5 ‘Ich habe so gebetet dass es mir gelingt und es ist tatsächlich nicht ganz schlecht geworden. Vorgestern kam der Kunsthistoriker Fürst aus Oxford ich liess ihn schon unfertige Bild ansehen u. er sagte es sei ein Kunstwerk und “schön” und so weiter – da beging ich die Unvorsichtigkeit es den Baldassen auch schon zu zeigen – und ich glaub doch er ist sehr erschrocken – Sie findet es glaube ich gut. Trotzdem wollte ich mich den Abend am liebsten aufhangen. Meine Mutter war sehr nett – sagte immer wieder es sei eines meiner besten Porträts – sie glaubt es wirklich – schliesslich meinte sie: ja in so einem Fall ist halt der Canetti besser wie ich! – Ich wollte halt so gerne dem Baldass auch eine Freude machen.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 4 May 1957: Motesiczky archive. 6 ‘Das Baldassbild ist zur allgemeinen Befriedigung beendet. Es ist naturlich zu realistisch aber als solches so dass ich gar nicht verstehen kann wie ich’s fertig brachte – es ist ganz einfach fürchterlich ähnlich und lebendig. Wenn der gute

Baldass todt wär hätt ich Angst davor mit dem Bild in einem Zimmer zu sein.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 7 May 1957: Motesiczky archive. 7 ‘Der kleine Enkel – 3 Jahre ist er alt – dem ich es zeigte und den ich fragte wer das ist sagte: der Opa – und nach einer Pause -: wo ist die Oma? – dann lief er hinter die Staffelei, hinter das Bild die Oma suchen!’: ibid. provenance Artist; Ludwig Baldass (gift 1957); Pauly Baldass; Georg Baldass (inherited 1974). exhibitions Vienna 1966, ex catalogue; Vienna 1994, ex catalogue. bibliography Black 1997, p. 993; Michel 2003, illus. Abb. 27 (col.).


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Portrait Rein Bakker 1958 Oil on canvas, 505 × 610 mm Signed (bottom right): motesiczky Juliaan T. Bakker, Amsterdam

Dr Rein Valencijn Bakker was a friend of Willem Leembruggen, the Dutch husband of Motesiczky’s aunt Ilse (whom the artist depicted in the drawing Portrait Frau L., 1934, p. 532). In the 1930s he lived in The Hague and was the president of the board of the Leembruggen factory. Having been the Leembruggen family’s lawyer, he also took over the responsibility for the financial affairs of Henriette von Motesiczky in early 1935 from Henk de Waal, another relative. Several photographs from the 1930s in the artist’s estate show Motesiczky with Rein Bakker and others enjoying a sunny day out bathing (fig. 116). They even went on holiday together in Ascona in 1937. Before the war, on the advice of Rein Bakker, Ilse Leembruggen granted Motesiczky a small pension to give her some independence in times of financial difficulties for the family. When the artist reached England she wrote to Rein Bakker to stop these

monetary allocations since she was sure that her aunt would thus be free to help more needy causes. In 1938, when Motesiczky had to leave Austria for the Netherlands, Bakker became instrumental in arranging her first solo exhibition: ‘Hitler marched into Austria, and the next morning I went with mother to the family in Holland … In The Hague, I had my first exhibition. An old family lawyer [Rein Bakker] took up my cause, and went to buy some frames with me. He said: “Now we will put on an exhibition.” At the opening I wore a very modern hat. The next day, I heard that there was something about me in the newspaper. My first thought was: probably about the hat which I was wearing. The fact that the pictures might be reviewed and even sold did not enter my head. The exhibition was a great success in the press, and I did not notice that nothing was sold.’1 The photograph of the exhibition opening (fig. 26) shows Rein Bakker

standing modestly behind the artist in the centre of the gathering of visitors. Motesiczky, who liked Rein Bakker and believed that he was fond of her, also in later years,2 kept in touch after the war. According to Peter Black, this portrait was painted to express the artist’s gratitude to the lawyer for a donation she received from her aunt’s descendants after the war thanks to his mediation. It was probably painted from a photograph. In this substantial half-length portrait Motesiczky presents an impressive, large figure. Rein Bakker is conventionally dressed in a dark suit. Turning his head slightly to confront the viewer, he shows his serious face which is characterized by a firm expression. His white hair, bushy white eyebrows and sunken cheeks testify to his advanced age. The sitter’s profession, in which he helped the artist and her family so much, is indicated by the scales of justice, visible on either side of his head. Motesiczky positioned the sitter in such a way that he appears to be part of this instrument of justice. More than a decade after its creation, Elias Canetti singled out this portrait for special praise: ‘First of all I wish you a happy birthday and hope for you and me that you can now paint several beautiful pictures, among them portraits as good as that of Bakker.’3 notes 1 Motesiczky 1985, p. 13. 2 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Sophie Brentano, undated: Motesiczky archive. 3 ‘Erst also gratuliere ich zum Geburtstag und wünsche Ihnen wie mir, dass jetzt einige wunderbare Bilder kommen, darunter auch Porträts so gut wie das vom Bakker.’: Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 20 October 1970: Motesiczky archive. provenance Artist; Rein Bakker (probably gift); Theo Bakker; Juliaan T. Bakker. bibliography Schlenker 2006b, pp. 194 f., illus. p. 195.

Fig. 116 Rein Bakker (third from left), his wife Christine Bakker-van Bosse (left), Marie-Louise von Motesiczky (third from right) and others in the grounds of the Hotel Monte Verita in Ascona, photograph, 1930s (Motesiczky archive)

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Orchid Orchidee 1958 Oil on canvas, 361 × 258 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

In this simple composition three objects, each casting marked shadows, are arranged close together before a black background: a sturdy brown earthenware vase with a handle holding a single pinkish-white orchid and some foliage, a bowl or ashtray and a book, which is the focal point of this highly personal and intimate composition. Although its title cannot be discerned, it pays an unambiguous tribute to Motesiczky’s long-standing relationship with the author Elias Canetti, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1981, since the spine of the book is labelled ‘Pio’, Motesiczky’s private nickname for Canetti. She had met him as a relatively young and unknown writer in 1939 and was to support him throughout his career, emotionally and practically, as well as financially. Several drawings and portraits, for example Study of Canetti Reading, c. 1945 (no. 78), Conversation in the Library, 1950 (no. 103), Elias Canetti, 1960 (no. 165), and Portrait Elias Canetti, 1992 (no. 315), testify to their lasting friendship. From 1951 to 1957 the artist and the writer shared a flat in Compayne Gardens, West Hampstead. Later, especially after the artist’s move to Chesterford Gardens in Hampstead, Canetti frequently worked in Motesiczky’s house. Each was very appreciative of the other’s work. Motesiczky shows her high esteem for, and easy familiarity with, Canetti and his writings by including one of his books in this still-life. It is presumably a copy of his first novel Die Blendung, originally published in German in 1936. In 1958, Canetti was still working on Masse und Macht, first published in German two years later. This is not the only secret dedication of a painting to a lover. In 1926 Still-life with Tulips (no. 11) had borne testimony to an even more furtive relationship.

provenance Artist; Michael Croft (purchased at 1960 exhibition); artist (probably not returned after 1966–8 exhibitions). exhibitions London 1960, no. 36; Vienna 1966, no. 40, illus.; Linz 1966, no. 40, illus.; Munich 1967, no. 40, illus.; Bremen 1968, no. 40, illus.; London 1985, no. 44, illus. p. 80. bibliography Dr. S. 1968, n.p.; Michel 2003, pp. 18, 57 (Stilleben mit Orchidee), illus. Abb. 12 (col.); Schlenker 2003, p. 111; Schlenker 2005, p. 128, illus. p. 130; Black 2006, p. 57; Lloyd 2007, p. 159.

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Father Milburn Pfarrer Milburn 1958 Oil on canvas, 1168 × 870 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

When Motesiczky moved to Amersham in 1940 she found lodgings with Mary and Gordon Milburn who lived in a house called ‘Durris’ in Stubbs Wood. Later, after the Motesiczkys had bought a house in Chestnut Lane, just a few minutes’ walk away, Elias Canetti and his wife Veza moved in with the Milburns (fig. 117). Robert Gordon Milburn (1870–1973), an Anglican priest and scholar, was the author of A Study of Modern Anglicanism, published in 1901. The Gordon Milburn Junior Research fellowship in Oxford now supports research in the field of theological or philosophical study of mysticism and religious experience. Veza Canetti bitingly caricatured the couple in her short story Toogoods oder das Licht.1 In the fourth part of his autobiography, Party in the Blitz, Elias Canetti writes at length about Gordon Milburn, highlighting his miserliness

and love of the German poet Friedrich Hölderlin. He also briefly touches on his landlord’s physical appearance: ‘Mr Milburn … was even skinnier than Mary … His hair was still thinner than hers. His face had deep vertical furrows, perhaps from study, he had studied all his life. A little goatee beard was the only pert thing about him.’2 The portrait was painted when the sitter was in his eighties, and long after he had ceased to be Canetti’s landlord. Wearing a comfortable red house coat, Father Milburn sits relaxed, his hands gently folded on his crossed legs. His white beard, sparse hair and red-rimmed eyes, which still firmly and contemplatively engage the viewer, indicate his old age. By including only a few props Motesiczky concentrates fully on the sitter. On a table in the background are a small globe

Fig. 117 Elias Canetti, Gordon Milburn, Veza Canetti and Mary Milburn (from left) at the table, photograph, 1940s (Motesiczky archive)

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and two candles, extinguished but still glowing. In these austere surroundings, despite some paraphernalia of domesticity, the sitter’s quiet authority and earnest seriousness can be felt. Father Milburn has generally had a positive reception. When Motesiczky first showed it to her cousin Sophie Brentano, the reaction must have been favourable for Motesiczky succinctly and proudly noted in her diary: ‘Brentanos London Soph saw Milburn! Beautiful!’3 One critical reviewer of the 1966 Vienna exhibition somewhat grudgingly, and despite its bad frame, singled it out as ‘one of the few good portraits’4 while another without hesitation praised it as a ‘grandiose painting’.5 sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Daniele Grassi, typescript, c. 1986, p. 6: ‘Der alte anglikanische Geistliche Milburn, so gebrechlich mit seinen steifen, mageren Beinen und Händen, so fröstelnd in seinem rötlichen Morgenrock und so vergeistigt in seinem abgezehrten Gesicht, mit kahlem Haupt und tiefliegenden Augen, die schon aus dem Jenseits blicken, mit abstehenden Ohren und dem Spitzbärtchen eines Pastors – welch spröden Takt verrät sein transzendentes Äußere; es ist jedoch auch einfach das Bildnis jenes Mannes, wie Du ihn mir vorgestellt hast in der Umgebung von Amersham, zur Zeit des Porträts!’ notes 1 Canetti 2001, pp. 197–204. 2 Canetti 2005a, pp. 32 f. 3 ‘Brentanos London Soph Milburn angesehen! Schön!’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 23 August 1958: Motesiczky archive. 4 ‘Eines der wenigen guten Portraits’: VB 1966. 5 ‘grandiose Bild’: Hart 1966. exhibitions London 1960, no. 34, shown as Portrait, 1957; Vienna 1966, no. 39, illus.; Linz 1966, no. 39, illus.; Munich 1967, no. 39, illus.; Bremen 1968, no. 39, illus.; London 1985, no. 45, illus. p. 39 (col.); Cambridge 1986, no. 45, illus. p. 39 (col.); Dublin 1988, no. 11, shown as Fr. Milburn; Vienna 1994, no. 34, illus. (col.).

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Fig. 118 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, sketch, c. 1958, graphite on paper, 228 × 176 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

bibliography Hart 1966, n.p.; Hodin 1966, illus. p. 48; Reifenberg 1966a, n.p.; VB 1966, n.p.; Anonymous 1994g, n.p.; Black 1994, p. 7; Schmidt 1994a, p. 7; Black 1997, p. 992; López Calatayud 2005, pp. 14 f.n., 26; Schlenker 2005, p. 128, illus. p. 129; Schlenker 2006b, pp. 198 f., illus. p. 198 (col.) (Vater Milburn); Schlenker 2006d, p. 256 (Vater Milburn).


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Kitzbühel 1958 Oil on canvas, 332 × 429 mm Milein Cosman, London

In February and March 1958 Motesiczky went on holiday to the Austrian ski resort of Kitzbühel with her friends the artist Milein Cosman and her husband, the musicologist Hans Keller. Her friends were skilled and enthusiastic skiers, but Motesiczky felt the need to brush up her skiing by attending classes, which proved to be an unpleasant experience: ‘And on the slope … – after 20 years – not only my feet hurt – I felt fat and old and rigid and only wanted to cry – being in a ski school with the beginners while I had once been able to go down all the mountains.’1 After the skiing, Motesiczky found time to visit various acquaintances, the artists Hilde Goldschmidt, who had emigrated to London in 1939, and Carl Theodor von Blaatz, who had painted a portrait of the young Marie-Louise

(fig. 13). In the evenings the friends found entertainment in the local casino. When Motesiczky was back in England, she painted this little winter landscape as a ‘souvenir postcard’, as Milein Cosman put it, and gave it to her friend as a present. Snowcovered high peaks rise forbiddingly against a snow-laden sky, while gentler hills in the middle distance invite skiing. The landscape is entirely covered in snow. Only a single weathered fir tree stands out from the white carpet of snow. In the foreground a horse, protected from the cold by warm blankets, rests from drawing a sleigh and feeds at a manger. The sleigh’s occupants are probably seeking warmth and taking refreshments in the adjoining ski hut. The landscape contains two personal tributes to the artist’s friends

(of whom Motesiczky created two successful portraits in Studio with Nude Model, 1970, no. 239): a signpost, rather illegibly, proclaims a famous local slope, the ‘Streif ’, a favourite of Hans Keller’s, and, in a special dedication, Motesiczky depicted Milein Cosman as the solitary blue figure racing down the slopes. note 1 ‘Und auf dem Hang … – nach 20 Jahren – haben nicht nur die Füsse weh getan – ich kam mir dick und alt und unbeweglich vor und hätt immer nur gerne geheult – so in der Skischule mit den Anfängern wo ich schon all die Berge herunter fahren konnte früher.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 20 February 1958: Motesiczky archive. provenance Artist; Milein Cosman (gift 1959). bibliography Michel 2003, p. 45, illus. Abb. 55 (col.) (dated 1959).

Fig. 119 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, sketch, c. 1958, graphite and pastel on paper, 327 × 240 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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Haystacks Kornfeld c. 1958 Oil on canvas, 354 × 457 mm Signed (bottom right): M.L.M. Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Haystacks, one of the few landscapes by Motesiczky, depicts a collection of haystacks, carefully built up pyramids of ripe grass, in a harvested field on a warm summer day. The view opens up to a series of soft rolling hills, crowned by little copses and single trees, interspersed with atmospheric blue haze in the middle distance. The bank of clouds in the grey sky resembles a distant mountain range. A photograph in the artist’s estate, which shows haystacks in a large alpine meadow, may have inspired the painting (fig. 120). It could have been taken on one of Motesiczky’s holidays in the Austrian Alps in 1952 (where she visited Rinn, Salzburg and Faakersee), 1953 (taking in Judenstein and Attersee), or 1954 (again visiting Salzburg and Mondsee). Compared with the landscape captured in the photograph, the tall trees in the painting, perhaps pines, evoke warmer climes.

Fig. 120 Haystacks in a meadow, Austria, photograph, early 1950s (Motesiczky archive)

Fig. 121 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, sketch, c. 1958, charcoal and pastel on paper, 200 × 280 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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Eight Figures in Yellow Hats in Landscape 1959 Oil on canvas, 407 × 509 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

In spring 1956 Motesiczky spent an extended holiday in the United States and Mexico, visiting numerous places and meeting up with old friends including Franz Pollaczek, Wolfgang Paalen, Otto and Fanny Kallir, Irma Simon, Quappi Beckmann and Renée Cushman. As the headgear of the depicted figures suggests, this picture was inspired by Motesiczky’s travels in Mexico. In a sketch-like composition, Motesiczky brings together eight men, wearing large yellow sombreros and walking in a barren

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landscape. Dry brown earth extends as far as the gentle hills on the horizon. An occasional bush and two trees, one covered in a mass of orange blossoms, indicate the presence of surviving plants in these extreme conditions. Split into two groups of four, the men are marching in line, underneath a green horizontal structure at the top of the picture which is presumably a railway bridge. One figure, the fourth from the right, seems to be carrying a stick, another is bending down as if to further investigate something that has caught his

attention. The artist may have portrayed a search party, looking for something not revealed to the viewer. The uncertainty of the men’s occupation, their comical hats and amusing, rigid postures as well as their overall resemblance to stick figures or even caricatures, make this a humorous picture.


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The Old Song Das Alte Lied 1959 Oil on canvas, 1017 × 1526 mm Signed (bottom right): marie louise. m. 1959. Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Following a trip to Paris in spring 1955, Motesiczky recorded an inspirational visit to the Louvre: ‘Been to the Louvre. Thought in front of an early Italian painting that one could well paint allegories just as a pretext – and leave the symbolic to look after itself.’1 In 1959 Motesiczky seems to have followed up this idea when she created The Old Song (also known as The Old Tune and The Old Tale), a work that has attracted praise as a ‘grandiose allegorical composition’2 and a ‘soul-stirring allegory’.3 Furthermore it has been warmly received for the power of its ‘remarkable imaginative subject’.4 When The Old Song was shown in Vienna in 1966, it was counted ‘among the strongest portraits that could be seen in Austria in the recent past’.5 Several critics have emphasized the painting’s debt to Rembrandt, especially David Playing the Harp for Saul of c. 1629 (fig. 122),6 and one even went so far as to state that ‘Beckmann would have been incapable of suggesting its elusive overtones’.7

Fig. 122 Rembrandt van Rijn, David Playing the Harp for Saul, c. 1629, oil on wood, 620 × 500 mm (Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main)

The Old Song, Motesiczky’s largest painting, seems eloquently to tell a story, although not necessarily one that can be easily and correctly interpreted. Adopting a daring perspective, the artist’s mother, Henriette von Motesiczky, is portrayed as an old woman in her seventies with a balding head. Wearing a white nightgown, she is resting in a simple brass bed (actually the one in which the artist was born8), propped up on her elbows and listening intently to a white-haired woman playing a harp at her bedside. Dramatically dressed in a red ermine-lined cloak and accompanied by a tousled bird reminiscent of a heraldic eagle, the ‘rhapsodian’, as the visitor is sometimes referred to, forms an intriguing contrast to the common appearance of the old woman. The composition is completed by a dog, the Motesiczkys’ Italian greyhound Franzi, lying under the bed. Motesiczky herself gave an explanation of this biographical allegory: ‘I can tell you how the picture, “The Old Tale” … which many critics have said is one of my best, happened. It moved me very much, that expression of my mother, when I went up to London and she was left at Amersham. She had a good friend there, a woman with a very unhappy marriage. She always told mother how terrible her husband was! The husband is the ugly bird in the picture – he spoils the sound! I had myself in there at first, as a counter effect to mother, but it was wrong. I wanted to capture mother’s yearning expression, that almost greed for life and knew it couldn’t be captured as a portrait. At last I thought, the answer is to put in that friend and that ugly bird of a husband. That was enough to make the composition and to make the expression possible. With me there, it wasn’t right. I was then terribly excited and ordered a big canvas. The dog we always had. He was just under the bed, he was always there.’9 Henriette von Motesiczky’s friend and neighbour, Liss Gray, had been born in Aachen, Germany. She was married to the film music

composer Allan Gray (1902–73). Around 1974 she left Amersham and moved back to her home city. Throughout her friendship with Henriette von Motesiczky, Liss Gray complained about her husband. When visiting her friend, she would habitually bring up the subject of her unhappiness. The artist and her mother noticed that their friend was particularly nice to them when she was going through a tough time with her husband and that they were not needed as much when the couple got on better. Although Henriette von Motesiczky saw through her friend, she was by her side during her affairs (in 1956, for example, Liss Gray had a Swedish lover) and tried to help her, always lending a sympathetic ear. Once, in 1956, she even tackled Gray’s husband about his marital problems. Henriette von Motesiczky’s comments on her friend’s character and appearance vary dramatically. At times she compared Liss Gray with her dog Franzi, both being ‘a little too complicated and reserved’.10 She clearly spotted her friend’s pampered and demanding attitude and was often angry with her. Early in their friendship, the artist’s mother praised her friend’s immaculate looks: ‘As a woman she is as perfect as Father Schey was as a man. Everything is positioned correctly and clearly on her head, all manners are so natural and also always right. Her goodness, her small, tender malignities are always well placed and also always right so that she is hardly interesting for me, only for the fact that one seldom meets such a true human specimen.’11 Later, the conflicting feelings towards her friend became more outspoken: ‘She [Liss] is the most conceited and selfish woman I know. I am even sure that, if I were a poor devil, she would soon finish the friendship. Although I see all that clearly, I like her nevertheless – well, you do not have much choice in Amersham. She certainly is clever, and a very good-looking woman she surely is, despite her age! And she looks so Aryan, and I cannot stand these Jewish faces any more.’12 However, Liss Gray’s appearance was not always 289


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Fig. 123 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Head of Henriette, 1959, graphite on paper, 230 Ă— 180 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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Fig. 124 Photograph of the undated drawing Der Ball by Henriette von Motesiczky (Motesiczky archive)

Fig. 125 Liss Gray, photograph, undated (Motesiczky archive)

favourably received, causing Henriette von Motesiczky to describe her as ‘gaunt, not beautiful, only sun-tanned’13, a fact that, as Motesiczky had discovered earlier, was partly to be attributed to the effects of a sun lamp. Henriette must often have wondered about her friend. She even wrote a poem entitled ‘An Liss’ (‘To Liss’), dated November 1946. Another, untitled poem of 26 November 1962, juxtaposed with The Old Song in the memorial book Motesiczky created for her mother, most probably refers to Liss Gray:

mother had described. Appropriate to her name (and also her age), Liss Gray’s face is depicted with a grey pallor, surrounded by a shock of white hair, in which her round golden earring, which she must have worn regularly as it also appears in photographs, provides a necessary highlight. An undated drawing by Henriette von Motesiczky entitled Der Ball (fig. 124), reproduced in the artist’s memorial book for her mother, shows Liss Gray as a skeletal figure with wings, engaged in a dance with a fashionable young man. Her facial features are carefully chiselled out and the profile bears an unmistakable resemblance to that of the harpist in the painting (fig. 125). Motesiczky’s initial idea of incorporating herself in the composition is recorded in a drawing (fig. 126). As in the final painting, Henriette von Motesiczky reclines in bed while a harp stands by her bedside. This time the harpist is her daughter, whose rendition does not seem to satisfy her listener. The Old Song is a tribute to the artist’s ageing mother, relocated in a mysterious, magical world. Interpretations often follow the attempt by art critic and art historian Josef Paul Hodin (1905–95) to read the painting as an allegory of the loneliness of old age. Consequently, the visitor is identified as a neighbour parting with her sorrows and providing the bed-ridden woman, hungry for news from the outside world, with the latest gossip. The striking iconographical allusions,

I often despise you with your face With your eyebrows that are not your own, With the blonde hair that really is white With the complexion as yellow as ripe corn. With the withered hands and claws on them, With the nails so long and red, Why, the devil, am I devoted to you. Is it your voice so quiet and pure. Is it the soft glow of your eyes – Is it your coldness which talks to me Why, the devil, I do not know.14

By all accounts, and judging by the surviving photographs, Liss Gray had a well-groomed, slim and elegant figure. In The Old Song Motesiczky picks up on her characteristic features by emphasizing the ‘claw-like hands’ with the dangerously sharp red fingernails her 292

however, suggest a second layer of meaning. Not just isolation due to ageing and illness but also the experience of exile is discernible. Through her assorted props, the harpist symbolizes the now lost aristocratic world in which the Motesiczky family had moved before the Nazi invasion of Austria. With great imaginative power but also a certain ironical distance, Motesiczky represents the solitude of an aged refugee who, through the narration of the ‘rhapsodian’, recalls an era long gone. A further threatening dimension is introduced by the bird that in ancient religions, such as that of Egypt, represents the departing soul and, in this instance, could also function as a metaphor for impending death. It is not known whether Motesiczky was aware of the wonderfully appropriate English expression ‘harping on’. Whether involuntary or intended, the pictorial realization of the pun hovers between the comic and the serious. Similarly, the harpist’s song could be perceived as dull and boring or as reassuringly familiar. The riddle, however, of whether The Old Song stands for ‘the same old story’, for a sweet song from childhood or for a ‘constant refrain’ about death being inevitable, ultimately cannot be solved. A short comment, which Motesiczky noted next to her explanation of the painting, may provide a clue that the artist preferred to see the positive side of the expression: ‘Old song resound, go on so that, alas, you never come to an end.’15


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Fig. 126 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, study for The Old Song, late 1950s, graphite on paper, 224 × 302 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

Motesiczky’s reaction to critical interpretation of her work is generally unknown, but a review of this painting stimulated a rare show of gratitude. A few years after the work’s creation, Hodin had written the following sympathetic lines: ‘An old lady, in fact the artist’s mother, is lying in bed. A friend has come to visit her, a friend who always appears to tell her about herself and her troubles. In the position of the mother’s body, in the expression of her face we can read her anxiety that this friend may leave too soon, leave her with her loneliness again – the anxiety that something exciting, something vital will disappear. The old lady listens to what is to her as the promise of new life. The friend is dressed in a red cloak edged with ermine, and her narration is expressed through the playing of a harp. A cockatoo, the troublemaker in the friend’s life, sits on the harp, spoiling the tune. The old lady seems more satisfied the more unsettled the friend is – and there were many different ones throughout the years – who wishes to find relief in her complaints. Although the friend appears in a rich red, it is the old lady who glows from a more intense inner life. Marie Louise Motesiczky has painted her mother as she has always known her, the figure being as established for her as that of Homer or Aesop; it is not just a given head which has here been reproduced but the head as she has so often seen it, never changing, a situation which always existed, familiar like an old melody

from childhood days – The Old Tune. The artist was impelled to paint it, the expression of the face which she likes so much, the gestures which deepen the meaning of the scene, impelled to wrest it from reality and transitoriness, to raise it on to another plane. Symbolism? Romanticism? No, it is simpler than that. The human touch in art, the meaning of reality formed in the fire of a poetic conception. Painted thinly as though with transparent washes, these are all portraits: the mother, the friend, the bird, the dog under the bed. And this was in fact the artistic problem: how to combine several portraits into a meaningful and justifiable composition.’16 Motesiczky thanked Hodin enthusiastically for his interpretation, yet reminded him that his analysis of The Old Song was not quite correct, but sadly gives no details: ‘I am deeply moved. It is beautiful, almost too beautiful – as beautiful as something I would have dreamt up for myself – which however can’t be right since it is so entirely without a sting – so fond one only is of oneself – no other person can think of something so affectionate for someone else. Really … I am totally speechless – although, as you see, words don’t leave me. The analysis of the “Old Melody” has certain problems – because of my mother and her friend, but we have to talk about all this – they are only minor details. Today only so much: your article is in front of me and I don’t dare read it again, although I am alone in the room, because I

would have to blush over this little poetry which, at the moment, I feel totally unworthy of.’17 sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 25 March 1959: ‘Dieses Häuser auf und ab hat mich natürlich sehr aus der Arbeit gebracht aber ich muss Ihnen eine erfreuliche Mitteilung machen und zwar dass das grosse Bild mich über alles hinwegtrösten kann wenn es wird das Bild. Das ist entschieden ein Fortschritt wenn auch kein Malerischer – aber vielleicht ist es sogar gerade dass.’ Mary Duras to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 18 November 1959: ‘Ich hoffe nur, dass … Du Dich jetzt in Amersham ganz der Malerei widmen kannst. Denn das grosse Bild wird bestimmt gut und Du musst es zur Ausstellung fertig machen.’ Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 31 October 1967: ‘ich war also in München und habe die Ausstellung gesehen und sie war wunderschön … Nicht immer glücklich war ich mit den kleinen Zimmern. “Das alte Lied” geht so nicht, das muss in einen grossen Raum. Obwohl man vom Nebenzimmer her einen weiten Blick darauf hatte, fand ich es nicht so wirksam wie in Wien oder in London.’ notes 1 ‘Im Louvre gewesen. Bei frühem Italienischen Bild gedacht dass man ruhig Allegorien malen könnte nur als Vorwand – und das Symbolische dabei sich selbst überlassen.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 22 April 1955: Motesiczky archive. 2 ‘großartigen allegorischen Komposition’: Spiel 1966. 3 ‘ergreifenden Allegorie’: Kruntorad 1994. 4 Anonymous [Eric Newton] 1960.

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5 ‘zu den stärksten Bildnissen, die man in der letzten Zeit in Österreich sehen konnte’: Hart 1966. 6 Newton 1960a; Freundlich 1966. 7 Newton 1960b. 8 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Benno Reifenberg, [1966]: Motesiczky archive. 9 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, undated manuscript: Motesiczky archive. 10 ‘ein bissl sehr faxig u. zurückhaltend’: Henriette von Motesiczky to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 26 April 1956: Motesiczky archive. 11 ‘Sie ist als Frau so vollkommen, wie der Papa Schey als Mann war. Alles sitzt so klaar u. richtig in ihrem Kopf, alle Manieren sind so ungezwungen u. auch immer richtig. Ihre Güte ihre kl. zahrten Bosheiten sind immer am Platz u. auch immer richtig, so dass sie einem kaum interessiert, ausser, das man ein so richtiges Menschenexemplar selten begegnet.’: Henriette von Motesiczky to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, undated: Motesiczky archive. 12 ‘Sie ist die eingebildetste und egoistischste Frau die ich kenne. Ich binn sogar sicher, wenn ich ein armer Teufel wäre, würde sie bald die Freundschaft aufgeben. Obwohl ich das alles klaar sehe, mag ich sie doch – nun ja, man hat in Amersham nicht viel Auswahl. Gescheit ist sie ja doch, und eine gut aussehende frau ist sie ja doch, trotz ihres Alters! Und so arisch schaut sie aus, und ich kann halt die jüdischen Gesichter nicht gerne ansehen.’: Henriette von Motesiczky to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 31 March 1957: Motesiczky archive. 13 ‘mager nicht schn [schön] nur braun’: Henriette von Motesiczky to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, [1956]: Motesiczky archive. 14 Oft bis Du mir über mit Deinem Gesicht Mit den Augenbrauen die die Deinen nicht, Mit dem blonden Haar das im Grunde weiss Mit den Tint der so gelb ist wie reifer Mais. Mit den welken Händen und Krallen daran, Mit den Nägeln so lang und roth, Warum zum Teufl binn ich Dir devot. Ist es Deine Stimme so leis und rein. Ist es Deiner Augen matter Schein – Ist es Deine Kühle die zu mir spricht Warum zum Teufl ich weis es nicht. (Motesiczky archive) 15 ‘Altes Lied töne, gehe weiter ach dass es nie ein Ende nehmen soll.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, undated manuscript: Motesiczky archive.

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16 Hodin 1961/2, pp. 19 f. 17 ‘Ich bin tief gerührt. Es ist schön, beinahe zu schön – so schön wie etwas was ich mir selbst für mich erträumt hätte – was aber gar nicht stimmen kann weil es so ganz ohne Stachel ist – so gerne hat man nur sich selbst – kein anderer Mensch kann sich so liebevoll etwas für einen ausdenken. Wirklich … ich bin ganz sprachlos – obwohl, wie Sie sehen, mir die Sprache dabei gar nicht versagt. Die Analyse der “Alten Melodie” hat gewisse Schwierigkeiten – wegen meiner Mutter und ihrer Freundin aber das müssen wir alles noch besprechen – das sind nur Kleinigkeiten. Für heute nur so viel: Ihr Aufsatz liegt vor mir und ich traue mich garnicht ihn nochmals zu lesen obwohl ich allein im Zimmer bin denn ich müsste erröten über diese kleine Dichtung derer ich mich im Augenblick ganz unwürdig fühle.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Paul Hodin, 24 January 1963: Motesiczky archive. exhibitions London 1960, no. 37, shown as The old tune; Vienna 1966, no. 42, illus. (full and detail); Linz 1966, no. 42, illus. (full and detail); Munich 1967, no. 42, illus. (full and detail); Bremen 1968, no. 42, illus. (full and detail); Frankfurt am Main 1980, no. 78; London 1985, no. 46, illus. pp. 40 f. (col.), shown as The Old Tale; Cambridge 1986, no. 46, illus. pp. 40 f. (col.), shown as The Old Tale; Vienna 1994, no. 35, illus. (col.); Manchester 1994, no. 24, shown as The Old Tale; Liverpool 2006, no. 55, illus. p. 179 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 55, illus. p. 179 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 55, illus. p. 179 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 55, illus. p. 179 (col.). bibliography Anonymous [Eric Newton] 1960, n.p. (The Old Tune); Newton 1960a, n.p.; Newton 1960b, n.p.; Hodin 1961/2, pp. 19 f., illus. p. 20; Anonymous [Victor Matejka] 1966, p. 15, illus. p. 15; b. 1966, n.p.; Freundlich 1966, n.p.; Hart 1966, n.p.; Hodin 1966, p. 48, illus. p. 49; Reifenberg 1966a, n.p.; Spiel 1966, n.p.; M.B. 1967, n.p.; r-sch 1967, n.p.; Albrecht 1968, n.p.; Dr. S. 1968, n.p.; J.Wdt. 1968, n.p.; Helmolt 1980, n.p.; Malcor [1980], n.p.; Anonymous 1985, n.p. (The Old Tale); Calvocoressi 1985, p. 62; Winterbottom 1986, p. 11; Vann 1987, p. 16, illus. p. 16 (col.) (The Old Tale); Adler 1994, p. 18; Cohen 1994, pp. 94 f.; Krumpl 1994, illus. n.p.; Kruntorad 1994, n.p.; Tate Gallery, 1996, p. 504 (The Old Tale); Black 1997, p. 993 (Old Song); Vorderwülbecke 1999, pp. 34, 53 f.n., illus. p. 80 (The Old Tale); Michel 2003, pp. 30 f., 70, illus. Abb. 30 (col.); López Calatayud 2005, p. 14 f.n. (The Old Tale); Davies 2006b, n.p.; R. Gries 2006, illus. n.p. (detail, col.); Klein 2006, illus. n.p. (detail); Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, exh. booklet 2006, n.p., illus. n.p. (col.); Schlenker 2006b, pp. 204 f.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 178; Schlenker 2006d, p. 258, illus. p. 260; Lloyd 2007, pp. 166 f., illus. fig. 29.


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Self-portrait in Black Selbstportr t in Schwarz 1959 Oil, charcoal and pastel on canvas, 1056 × 590 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Wearing an elegant black cocktail dress with golden dots, the amber-coloured necklace echoing the colour of her hair and a white shawl draped across her shoulders, Motesiczky stands in front of a radiant golden background, probably a door. As if ready for an outing, she waits for things to happen with a mixture of sadness and anticipation. This discrepancy between the festive clothes and the desolate expression gives the painting a tangible tension. Motesiczky must have been working on the self-portrait for several years since it is probably the one Elias Canetti refers to in a letter to the artist dated 6 July 1957. Then the painting was not yet finished (Motesiczky was busy with family obligations) and Elias Canetti, who considered it to be undoubtedly her best self-portrait, urged her to finish it for him.1 It took Motesiczky two years to do so although family tradition has it that the somehow awkwardly executed and crammed-in left hand had not been completed until the painting was to be exhibited in 1985. note 1 Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 6 July 1957: Motesiczky archive. exhibitions London 1985, no. 47, illus. p. 42 (col.); Cambridge 1986, no. 47, illus. p. 42 (col.); Dublin 1988, no. 12; London 2001, p. 92, illus. p. 93 (col.); Liverpool 2006, no. 53, illus. p. 175 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 53, illus. p. 175 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 53, illus. p. 175 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 53, illus. p. 175 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 53, illus. p. 175 (col.). bibliography Pyle 1988, n.p.; Phillips 2001, illus. on magazine cover (detail, col.); Michel 2003, p. 41, illus. Abb. 47 (col.); López Calatayud 2005, pp. 9, 12 f., 14 f.n., 16, 20, 26–8, illus. n.p. (full and numerous details, col.); Crüwell 2006b, n.p.; R. Gries 2006, n.p.; Huther 2006b, illus. n.p. (detail, col.); Sander 2006, pp. 120 f.; Sternburg 2006, n.p.; Lloyd 2007, p. 169.

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Henriette von Motesiczky 1959 Oil on canvas, 913 × 813 mm Signed (bottom right): M.M. 1959. Private collection, Switzerland

In January 1959, Motesiczky told Elias Canetti about the new portrait of her mother she was working on: ‘Since it is too dark to paint it feels good to hold the pen in my hand for a while and to write. I have now decided on a portrait of my mother and, unfortunately, it is not at all “the picture” but I have calmed down a little and can, despite it all, work on it with a certain conviction since I tell myself that it is a picture after all. You should now see the room here. It looks like much more good work than it actually contains but nevertheless … You would like it.’1 In the resulting large portrait Henriette von Motesiczky, now in her late seventies, still presents an imposing, almost manly figure. Relaxing in a grey armchair in what appears to be a habitual pose (fig. 127), she is calmly looking at the viewer. Her large figure is informally dressed in a comfortable yellow house coat.

While her left arm rests on the arm of the chair, her raised right arm unselfconsciously holds a pipe she is in the process of smoking. Despite the sitter’s regal pose, the artist subtly hints at her mother’s age. Above her ear a thin lock of sparse white hair has managed to escape from under her wig. The indication of a slight moustache suggests that the growth of hair in unwanted places can no longer easily be controlled. The armchair is surrounded by feathery plants. On the right, the composition is framed by a curtain, while a large, pronounced shadow looms on the light grey wall behind the sitter. In the late 1950s the artist’s mother was still living in Amersham while Motesiczky shared a flat in Compayne Gardens, West Hampstead. In 1960 mother and daughter finally moved together into a newly purchased house in

Fig. 127 Henriette von Motesiczky in her armchair, photograph, 1943 (Motesiczky archive)

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Chesterford Gardens, Hampstead. In the memorial book Motesiczky created for her mother she juxtaposes the portrait with a poem Henriette von Motesiczky had written on 25 October 1957. The poem expresses a balance of melancholy, loneliness and determination that is not dissimilar to the mood of the portrait: The furniture is polished The carpets free of moths The silver shines in the old cabinet, And between all the windows There is not a single dead fly. The kitchen is clean as well, So it should be, the housewife says. And yet it seems to me that the house is dead, Only a serving soul goes in and out. Where is the person who needs all this? She sits alone in her room and smokes.2

Fig. 128 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, sketch, c. 1959, graphite on paper, 275 × 203 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)


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An exquisite drawing entitled Head of Henriette von Motesiczky, 1959 (fig. 130), is a study of a detail of the oil painting and focuses on the sitter’s undisturbed and equable expression. Looking back in 1988, the artist counted this portrait among the greatest and most important achievements in her long career, part of which she had to devote to the care of her mother. The portrait was sold to a cousin of the artist, Sophie Brentano, during the exhibition at the Galerie Günther Franke in Munich in 1967. It seems, however, to have stayed in the artist’s London house until after Motesiczky’s exhibitions in London and Cambridge in 1985/6. This was apparently due to lack of space in the purchaser’s Swiss home.3 In autumn 1987 the portrait was finally shipped to Switzerland. sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 31 October 1967: ‘ich war also in München und habe die Ausstellung gesehen und sie war wunderschön … Viele Bilder kommen auch in den kleinen Zimmern gut heraus, z.B. das grosse Porträt der Mutter, das die Soph gekauft hat. Es ist eine wirklich schöne Ausstellung, ich hab in den letzten drei Tagen oft dran denken müssen.’ Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Milli [Kann?], 3 November 1988: ‘Etwa 40 Jahre habe ich, erst ein zwei Bilder dann schliesslich 5 meiner besten Bilder Soph zur Verfügung gestellt, wie eine Schwester, weil sie die Bilder lieb gehabt hat und sie gut behandelt hat. Schliesslich hat sie die Bilder gekauft für einen kleinen Preis auf anraten von Percy [Ursula Brentano] … Diese Bilder sind das Beste und zwar ein Viertel des Besten was ich in 60 Jahren Arbeit leisten konnte. Ich war eingeschrenkt durch Mutter und C. und konnte nicht mer leisten. Noch dazu sind die zwei wichtigsten Bilder von Mutter – das grosse Portrat und der kurze Weg darunter … die Spanierin (vielleicht (?) der beste Kopf den ich je gemalt habe (und die wir retteten))’

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notes 1 ‘Weil’s aber zu dunkel zum malen ist so tut’s gut ein bischen die Feder in der Hand zu halten und zu schreiben. Ich habe mich nun auf ein Bild meiner Mutter festgelegt und es ist leider gar nicht “das Bild” aber ich habe mich etwas beruhigt und kann trotzdem mit einiger Überzeugung daran arbeiten weil ich mir sage dass es immerhin ein Bild ist. Sie sollten jetzt das Zimmer hier sehen. Es sieht nach viel mehr guter Arbeit aus als es enthält aber immerhin … Es würde Ihnen gefallen.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 6 January 1959: Motesiczky archive. 2 Die Möbel sind poliert Die Teppich mottenfrei Das Silber glänzt im alten Schrank, Und zwischen allen Fenstern liegen Nicht einmal tote Fliegen. Auch in der Küche ist es rein, So sagt die Hausfrau soll es sein. Und doch scheint es mir tot im Haus, Nur eine dienende Seele geht ein u. aus. Wo ist der Mensch der dieses alles braucht? Er sitzt allein in seiner Stub’ und raucht. (translated by Jill Lloyd: Motesiczky archive) 3 Sophie Brentano to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 18 January 1977: Motesiczky archive. provenance Artist; Sophie Brentano (purchased at 1967 exhibition); Ursula Brentano (inherited). exhibitions London 1960, no. 38, illus., shown as Henriette Motesiczky; Vienna 1966, no. 41, illus. (col.), shown as Portrait Henriette v. Motesiczky; Linz 1966, no. 41, illus. (col.) shown as Portrait Henriette v. Motesiczky; Munich 1967, no. 41, illus. (col.), shown as Portrait Henriette v. Motesiczky; Bremen 1968, no. 41, illus. (col.), shown as Portrait Henriette v. Motesiczky; London 1985, no. 48, illus. p. 43 (col.); Cambridge 1986, no. 48, illus. p. 43 (col.); Liverpool 2006, no. 54, illus. p. 177 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 54, illus. p. 177 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 54, illus. p. 177 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 54, illus. p. 177 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 54, illus. p. 177 (col.). bibliography Freundlich 1966, n.p.; Spiel 1966, n.p. (Porträt Henriette v. Motesiczky); M.B. 1967, n.p.; Dr. S. 1968, n.p.; Berryman 1985, illus. p. 628; Zimmermann 1985, n.p.; Plakolm-Forsthuber 1994, p. 167; Cohen 1996a, n.p.; Tate Gallery, 1996, p. 504; Phillips 2001, p. 33; Schlenker 2001, p. 2; Michel 2003, p. 70, illus. Abb. 103 (col.); Schlenker 2003, p. 107; Foster 2004, p. 143; Held 2006, n.p.; Sander 2006, pp. 122 f.; Schlenker 2006b, pp. 202, 204 f.; Lloyd 2007, p. 165.

Fig. 129 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, undated sketch, graphite on paper, 275 × 203 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)


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Fig. 130 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Head of Henriette von Motesiczky, 1959, charcoal on paper, 404 Ă— 294 mm (sight) (private collection)

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Woman in Pro le Late 1950s Oil on canvas, 461 × 324 mm Verso: head of a woman Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This is a portrait of an unknown woman shown in profile. Her black hair is topped by a headdress made of tied-up white cloth. A large, dangling, pink and white earring plays around her neck. She is wearing colourful blue and red clothes and carries a calla lily, its yellow pistil prominently glowing, that is probably part of a larger bunch of flowers. It has been suggested that the woman is Indian. She is, however, more likely to be Mexican as a comparison with In Church, Mexico, 1956 (no. 144), reveals a woman with a large bouquet of calla lilies. In spring 1956 Motesiczky visited Mexico as part of her extensive travels around North and Central America. She loved the abundance of colours and flowers and was very impressed with the way the Mexican painter and muralist Diego Rivera had depicted calla lilies (fig. 110). This so far undated painting may therefore be safely located in the late 1950s.

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Cook Attacked by Dragonflies 1950s Oil on canvas, 358 × 458 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

A mysterious, unexplained scene takes place in this dingy, cavernous kitchen. Leaning over a table placed in front of the large empty fireplace is the cook, a chubby figure dressed in baggy grey trousers with a white shirt over his sizeable stomach. A white cap crowns his fleshy face and a piece of white cloth seems to be tucked into the top of his trousers. He is busy kneading dough with his large hands. Three already formed round, light brown loaves of bread lie on the table. On the left, dark brown, probably freshly baked, loaves sit on the shelves of a contraption that might be an oven. Motesiczky introduces a fantastical, almost surreal element into this otherwise ordinary activity with the three enormous dragonflies that hover around the cook, seemingly intent on attacking him. A fourth creature has already flown into the oven. Yet the cook, unaware of the danger or undisturbed by it, simply gets 300

on with his work. In its subtle suggestion of an implicit threat from the air, Cook Attacked by Dragonflies is not unlike The Magic Fish, 1956 (no. 146). It is unclear whether the artist was inspired to do this painting by a dream.


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The Two Friends 1950s Oil and charcoal on canvas (not attached to stretcher), 750 × 1000 mm (painted area) Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This unstretched canvas is a substantially enlarged version of a painting Motesiczky created in 1955, Girlfriends (no. 138). It shows the encounter of two friends who, sitting on a bed, enjoy a conversation and a cup of tea. While the identity of both women is unknown, they may represent the artist herself (on the left) and her friend and flatmate, Julia Altschulova.

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Waiting at the Airport 1950s Oil on canvas (not attached to stretcher), 520 × 695 mm (painted area) Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This unstretched canvas shows a scene at an airport. An elderly couple, elegantly dressed, sit in armchairs. Seemingly resigned to waiting for their plane to be ready to board, they regard their surroundings: the table in front is empty apart from some flowers. Through a panoramic window behind them two planes can be glimpsed outside. Several men in uniform are going about their business. The painted area was originally larger, extending to the right by a few centimetres. At some point Motesiczky decided to decrease the size of the composition by unstretching the canvas, pinning it to a board and painting a brown frame on it. Motesiczky appears to have been unsure about the painting as it is overpainted in several places and seems unfinished.

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Elias Canetti 1960 Oil on canvas, 499 × 396 mm Signed (bottom right): M. Motesiczky 1960. Wien Museum, Vienna (133.725)

The friendship between Marie-Louise von Motesiczky and the writer and 1981 Nobel Laureate Elias Canetti began in 1939 and lasted until Canetti’s death in 1994. This portrait is one of the first in a series that capture the memorable features of Elias Canetti, whom Motesiczky had lovingly nicknamed ‘Pio’. In March 1955, Motesiczky noted in her diary: ‘Have made drawing for painting of Pio. Am hoping that it will be a good picture.’1 Since there is no surviving portrait of Elias Canetti dating from the 1950s, it can be assumed that studies for, and work on, this painting went on for several years. Certainly by 1957 it had already taken shape.2 Yet the artist did not find it easy to pin down her model, admitting that ‘Canetti really did not like to sit!’3 In the frequent absence of the sitter, the artist probably resorted to the drawings she had managed to sketch and some polaroid photos to refresh her memory of his exact features. In this portrait Motesiczky chose to focus on the writer’s majestic head. His surroundings are indicated only by the glimpse of the back of a red armchair in which he is seated. As if deep in thought, his face, with its dark glasses and furrowed forehead, has an air of deep concentration and he has a compelling presence. The brilliantly white cigarette provides an unusual, stark highlight. When the portrait was first exhibited at the Vienna Secession in 1966 critical opinion was divided. Several reviewers counted it among the best works in the show,4 but one critic remarked disparagingly: ‘Her friendship with the writer Elias Canetti may have brought her many ingenious hours, but him only a bad portrait. “Poor Canetti, how you have changed!” Whoever has said that?’5 Closer to home, the portrait was met with delight. Just after its completion in 1960, Elias Canetti had shown it to his wife Veza who, recovering from an illness, had been constantly asking to see it. She was strangely moved by it and, according to Canetti, warmly praised the artist.6 In May 1966 Canetti received the Dichterpreis 302

Fig. 131 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Head of Elias Canetti, 1960s, black chalk on paper, 245 × 175 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

Fig. 132 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Elias Canetti, undated, pen and ink on paper, 298 × 210 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

der Stadt Wien (Writer’s Prize of the City of Vienna). He was particularly pleased since the award ceremony coincided with Motesiczky’s exhibition at the Vienna Secession and, he reckoned, his growing fame could only foster publicity for the exhibition, especially since, as he wrote to Motesiczky, he ‘will meet numerous people all of whom I can send or bring to your exhibition’.7 He also urged her to emphasize their connection by pointing out his portrait and Conversation in the Library, 1950 (no. 103), showing him in discussion with his friend Franz Baermann Steiner, at the press reception. Elias Canetti speculated that the City of Vienna would either commission Motesiczky to do a portrait of him or simply purchase the portrait on show. In fact, the City of Vienna acquired this portrait and, the following year, passed it on to the Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien (now Wien Museum).

sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 26 April 1966: ‘Eben kam Dein Brief und ich schreibe Dir gleich, um Dir ein wenig Mut zuzusprechen und auch um Dir zu erzählen, dass zugleich mit Deinem ein anderer Brief aus Wien kam, der zwar mich betrifft, sich aber nur besonders günstig auf die Ausstellung auswirken kann. Ein Direktor des österreichischen Rundfunks teilte mir offiziell mit, dass ich für dieses Jahr zwar nicht den Stadtpreis, dafür aber den Dichterpreis der Stadt Wien zuerkannt bekommen habe. Ich soll am 16. Mai im Rathaus anwesend sein, um ihn entgegenzunehmen und dafür zu danken. Das ist nun materiell bestimmt nicht so günstig wie der Stadtpreis gewesen wäre (ich weiss nicht einmal, ob Geld damit überhaupt verbunden ist, das steht im Brief nicht drin) aber dafür geschieht es jetzt, während Deiner Ausstellung, was die Journalisten bestimmt interessieren wird. Es trifft sich geradezu wunderbar, dass ich in Wien sein werde. Der Rundfunk wird ein ganzes Programm über mich machen und ich werde unzählige Leute kennen lernen,


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die ich alle in Deine Ausstellung schicken oder bringen kann. Ich bin sehr froh, dass Du den Presse-Empfang in der Sezession haben wirst. Du darfst dabei nicht sparen, es soll sehr schön sein, das haben die Leute gern (aber nicht übertrieben üppig). Die Aufwartung soll so sein, dass Du nicht daran zu denken hast, alles soll von selber laufen. Dein Kopf soll für die Gespräche frei bleiben. Du musst mir jetzt schon heilig versprechen, ganz wenig oder nichts zu trinken, und zwar aus folgenden Gründen: wenn man getrunken hat, sagt man frei heraus, was man denkt. Die Journalisten werden Dich allerhand fragen, Du darfst aber nie einen Hieb gegen die Abstrakten oder die Wiener Surrealisten riskieren, dazu ist Deine Stellung nicht stark genug. Du musst sagen, dass es Dir um andere Sachen zu tun war, Dich auf Beckmann berufen, einfach so natürlich reden, wie Du es kannst, ohne andere Richtungen anzugreifen. Wenn es sich ergibt, kannst Du auf Deine feine Art das Steiner-Bild zeigen und sagen, dass ich der andere bin, auch das Porträt kannst Du ruhig zeigen, alle werden wissen, dass ich bald komme. Du sollst zum Beispiel sagen, welche Bilder mir “offiziell” gehören. Vergiss nicht, dass “Mutter mit Strohhalm” “Canettis Lieblingsbild” von Dir ist. (Im Katalog gehört es mir). Sag, dass ich bald komme, weil ich die Ausstellung sehen will. Glaub mir, es ist viel besser, dass ich nicht bei der Eröffnung dabei bin, jetzt noch mehr, weil sich zuviel Aufmerksamkeit mir zugewandt hätte. Wenn ich komme, so um den 9. herum, wird die Sache einen neuen Impetus bekommen, und erst recht in der letzten Woche nach der Preis-Verleihung im Rathaus. Ich halte es jetzt für sehr wahrscheinlich, dass die Stadt ein Porträt von mir bei Dir bestellt (wenn sie nicht das Vorhandene gleich kauft).’ Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 4 May 1966: ‘Heute erfahre ich aus Wien, dass die Nachricht über die Verleihung des Dichterpreises der Stadt Wien in allen Zeitungen stand, am Sonntag. Ich hoffe, Du warst bei Deiner Presse-Konferenz klug und hast die Sprache auf das Porträt gebracht, es würde bedeuten, dass die Zeitungen es Dir alle als Photo bringen und auch damit auf Deine Ausstellung verweisen. Jedenfalls wird das meiner Tätigkeit für den Maler Mulo in Wien ganz anderen Nachdruck geben.’ Erika Lorenz to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 17 December 1986: ‘Nun zuletzt zu ihrem Bild – leider dem einzigen in dieser Ausstellung [Kunst im Exil in England at the Historisches Museum in Vienna]: Es war ein Lichtstrahl im dunklen Winkel (es war auch tatsächlich nicht gut ausgeleuchtet), es war so nah – nein hautnah, als Betrachter fühlte ich dabei zu sein bei der Arbeit mit Elias Canetti, der sich vielleicht gar nicht gerne die Zeit dafür nahm, still zu sitzen. Es war ein Erlebnis!’

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notes 1 ‘Habe Zeichnung zu Bild für Pio gemacht. Habe Hoffnung dass es ein schönes Bild wird.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 9 March 1955: Motesiczky archive. 2 Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, April 1957: Motesiczky archive. 3 ‘Canetti ist garnicht gerne gesessen!’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Erika Lorenz, 29 December 1986: Motesiczky archive. 4 Freundlich 1966; Hart 1966; Muschik 1966; Spiel 1966. 5 ‘Ihre Freundschaft mit dem Schriftsteller Elias Canetti trug ihr vielleicht viele geistreiche Stunden ein, ihm nur ein schlechtes Portrait. “Armer Canetti, wie hast du dir verändert!” Wer hat das nur gesagt?’: VB 1966. 6 Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 24 October 1960: Motesiczky archive. 7 ‘werde unzählige Leute kennen lernen, die ich alle in Deine Ausstellung schicken oder bringen kann’: Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 26 April 1966: Motesiczky archive. provenance Artist; Culture Office of Vienna (purchased 1966); Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien, now Wien Museum (passed on in 1967). exhibitions Vienna 1966, no. 44, illus., shown as Portrait Elias Canetti; Linz 1966, no. 44, illus., shown as Portrait Elias Canetti; Munich 1967, no. 44, illus., shown as Portrait Elias Canetti; Bremen 1968, no. 44, illus., shown as Portrait Elias Canetti; Vienna 1970, no. 129, illus. p. 23, shown as Porträt Elias Canetti; London 1985, no. 49, illus. p. 81; Vienna 1986; Vienna 1999c, no. 3.26, illus. p. 46, shown as Der Schriftsteller Elias Canetti; Liverpool 2006, no. 56, illus. p. 181 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 56, illus. p. 181 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 56, illus. p. 181 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 56, illus. p. 181 (col.). bibliography Anonymous [Victor Matejka] 1966, illus. p. 15; BA 1966, n.p.; Freundlich 1966, n.p.; Hart 1966, n.p., illus. n.p.; Muschik 1966, n.p. (Schriftsteller Elias Canetti); Pack 1966, n.p.; Reifenberg 1966a, n.p.; Spiel 1966, n.p.; Sterk 1966, pp. 25 f.; VB 1966, n.p.; Albrecht 1968, n.p.; d.w. 1968, illus. n.p.; Calvocoressi 1985, p. 63; Fallon 1985, n.p., illus. n.p.; Gaisbauer 1986, n.p.; Gaisbauer/Janisch 1992, p. 173; Adunka 1994, p. 20; Vorderwülbecke 1999, p. 54 f.n., illus. p. 112; Schlenker 2003, p. 116; Adler 2006, pp. 14 f.; Orth 2006, n.p., illus. n.p. (col.); Schlenker 2006b, pp. 202, 205; Schlenker 2006c, p. 180; Schlenker 2006d, pp. 258 f.; Stadler 2006, illus. n.p.; Melchart 2007, illus. n.p.; Michel 2007, illus. p. 118 (col.) (Porträt Elias Canetti); Wiesauer 2007, illus. n.p.


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Blonde Woman 1960 Oil on canvas, 611 × 508 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This half-length portrait of an unidentified model is probably part of a series of studies made in the early 1960s of a young woman called Lolita. She is wearing clothes identical to those of the sitter for Lolita, 1962 (no. 180), and also sports the same red fingernails, and in the length and colour of her hair she resembles the model for Lolita III, 1962 (no. 181). Although the title Lolita II does not appear in the artist’s records, this painting is probably part of the series. The sitter’s reddish-blonde hair, parted in the middle, plays around her face with a slight curl at the ends. She is raising her left hand as if greeting someone or waving goodbye. The artist seated her in front of a bare, grey wall, enlivened only by what must be a curtain with a pattern of bright red, yellow and blue-violet stripes. These vivid colours are picked up in the sitter’s jumper, the red fingernails and the spots on her cheeks.

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Hotel, Paris 1960 Oil on canvas, 457 × 303 mm Private collection

In July 1960, Motesiczky travelled through France. She stopped in Paris to see her Dutch friend and fellow artist Berthe Edersheim (1901–93) who lived with the Dutch author Josepha Mendels. The two painters had shared a studio in the French capital in the mid-1920s where paintings including Workman, Paris, 1926 (no. 12), had been created. They reverted to an old habit and worked together on the same subject, this time the view from what seems to have been the balcony of Motesiczky’s hotel in Paris. In comparison to Edersheim’s monochrome and formal depiction of the view (which survived in her friend’s estate – fig. 133) Motesiczky created a more playful, coloured oil study. The view of the roofs and trees of Paris is obstructed by the ornately decorated balcony and the red awnings, seemingly blown about by the wind. Executed in a sketchy manner, the scene is devoid of any human presence despite the fact that a hotel is normally busy. provenance Artist; Peter Black (gift 1992).

Fig. 133 Berthe Edersheim, Hotel in Paris, 1960, brush and ink on paper, 651 × 500 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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Self-portrait with Palette 1960 Oil on canvas, 632 × 761 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This is one of the few self-portraits in which Motesiczky depicts herself as a professional painter with all the attributes of her trade. Wearing a cap and dressed in a blue artist’s smock, she is standing by an easel, holding the large palette which also appears in Spanish Still-life, 1955 (no. 141). She is working on a large painting showing a slightly bedraggled bird,

probably an eagle, that hovers in a flying posture, wings outstretched. A painting of an eagle of this size does not exist. It is very likely that Motesiczky is referring to the creation of her largest work, The Old Song (no. 158), the year before, in which an eagle features above a harp in a comparable manner. Apart from the family’s Italian greyhounds Motesiczky rarely

painted animals (Cat with Flowers, 1949, no. 86, and Camels, 1964, no. 194, are two examples). However, she often sketched them and numerous drawings of monkeys, calves and other animals survive in her estate. bibliography Lloyd 2007, p. 171.

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Garden in the Summer Garten im Sommer 1960 Oil on canvas, 763 × 636 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This outdoor scene shows the artist in the garden of her Hampstead home at 6 Chesterford Gardens. Motesiczky bought the house in 1959 and, during the following months, undertook substantial alterations and renovations. During the period of construction work Motesiczky did not get much painting done, a fact that she regretted very much: ‘One year I have betrayed painting and built a house.’1 Garden in the Summer is probably one of the first works that mark her return to painting. Seen from the kitchen on the raised ground floor of the house, it shows the glory of the new garden and expresses Motesiczky’s joy in living and working in it. The artist, who was not a keen gardener, is bending down to tend the plants. Behind her, the large central flowerbed contains an array of plants, among which broom, pink and white nicotiana, some roses, and possibly pink azaleas or rhododendrons, can be identified. The large oak tree in the upper right-hand corner of the picture is still a dominant feature of the garden although it actually stands on the other side of the fence, in the neighbour’s garden (see fig. 134). A lighthearted touch is the partially hidden Italian greyhound, the Motesiczky family dog, which can be seen peeping out of the flowerbed, his nose quivering above the lawn. note 1 ‘Ein Jahr habe ich die Malerei verraten und an einem Haus gebaut.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 1960: Motesiczky archive. exhibitions Frankfurt am Main 2006, ex catalogue; Vienna 2007, ex catalogue; Passau 2007, ex catalogue; Southampton 2007, ex catalogue. bibliography Sander 2006, pp. 128 f.; Schlenker 2006b, pp. 202 f., illus. p. 203 (col.); Lloyd 2007, p. 170.

Fig. 134 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, sketch, c. 1960, graphite on paper, 230 × 290 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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Cars beneath a Palm Tree by a Lake c. 1960 Oil and charcoal on canvas, 409 × 510 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This landscape may have been inspired by Motesiczky’s holiday in Switzerland in October 1960 which she spent with her cousin Sophie Brentano in Blonay on Lake Geneva. The actual location depicted has not, so far, been identified. Huddled close together in an otherwise empty car park, two cars are parked under the shade of an expansive palm tree. A low railing separates the car park from the beach to which steps lead down on the right. The large lake is surrounded by gentle hills in the distance. The expanse of calm water is disturbed only by two solitary boats. The distinctive charcoal drawing of a car’s boot to the right of the cars indicates that Motesiczky either slightly altered the position of the cars or originally intended to add a third car. Several paintings by Max Beckmann show similar waterside scenes, for example Kleine italienische Landschaft, 1938 (fig. 135), and Hafen bei Bandol (grau) und Palmen, 1939 (fig. 136). Motesiczky was probably familiar with these landscapes, especially with the former which was in the possession of her aunt Ilse Leembruggen.

Fig. 135 Max Beckmann, Kleine italienische Landschaft, 1938, oil on canvas, 650 × 1054 mm (Kunsthalle Emden – Stiftung Henri und Eske Nannen und Schenkung Otto van de Loo)

Fig. 136 Max Beckmann, Hafen bei Bandol (grau) und Palmen, 1939, oil on canvas, 605 × 800 mm (Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund)

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Still-life with Lilac Stilleben mit Flieder c. 1960 Oil on canvas, 760 × 500 mm Michael Black

In 1960 Motesiczky and her mother moved from Amersham to their new house in Chesterford Gardens in Hampstead, where this still-life was probably painted. The focal point of the arrangement is the grey vase with a handle containing an abundant bunch of mauve and white lilac, that must have come from the artist’s garden. The flowers partially obscure the yellow shade of a table lamp which throws a gentle light on the scene. Musical instruments, a recorder and an oboe or clarinet, have been placed behind the vase. They provide a horizontal balance to the upward movement of the flowers and the lamp. provenance Artist; Peter Black (gift c. 1989); Michael Black (purchased 1998). exhibitions London 1986b, dated 1945; Vienna 1994, no. 36, illus. (col.), shown as Stilleben mit Flieder und Pfeifen; Manchester 1994, no. 25, dated 1960.

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Still-life, Bowl of Fruit with Pomegranate Stilleben, Obstschale mit Granatapfel c. 1960 Oil on canvas, 353 × 451 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This still-life prominently features a bowl with a selection of fruit, among which are apples, oranges and black grapes. A large pomegranate is on top of the pile in the centre of the composition. A dried pomegranate which survived in the artist’s estate may have been used in this still-life. Behind the bowl towers a rectangular table-top mirror with an elaborate wooden stand and a mechanism which allows the angle of the mirror to be adjusted. The original, which is still in the artist’s estate, however, does not double as a candlestick as the artist suggested by the candle stubs and remaining wicks on top of the side supports. It has also been slightly reduced in size. A stringed instrument, its body decorated with marquetry work, leans against the wall on the right. exhibitions Vienna 2007, ex catalogue; Passau 2007, ex catalogue; Southampton 2007, ex catalogue.

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Roses, Toad and Nude c. 1960 Oil on canvas, 355 × 455 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Arranged on a table, placed against the wall, is a small glass vase holding a bouquet of large pink roses, probably from the artist’s garden, and a squatting dark green ceramic toad. The plump animal is staring at the flowers, poised in a crouching position as if ready to jump as soon as its prey, perhaps a fly, emerges from hiding among the flowers. Yet it may also be ogling the painting of a female nude, reclining in an abandoned if somewhat stiff pose, which fills the wall above the table. The toad, which survives in the artist’s estate, must have been an object of which Motesiczky was rather fond. It appears in several sketches for still-life compositions (fig. 137). Fig. 137 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, sketch, c. 1960, black chalk on paper, 178 × 255 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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Still-life with Brushes, Pineapple and Red Tulips Stilleben mit Ananas 1960/1 Oil on canvas, 305 Ă— 610 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Displayed next to each other on a table are a pineapple in an ornamental white dish and a white vase of red tulips. The owers are past their prime, their drooping heads already touching the table top. The smaller tulip even looks shrivelled while the yellowing leaves tell the same story. Behind the table the green back of a studded armchair and a selection of brushes can be made out. In this still-life Motesiczky experimented with an unusually extended, horizontal canvas and bright, even garish colours. Her usual compositional device of placing arrangements of objects on the edge of a table that juts into the picture plane, is, however, reassuringly familiar.

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Still-life with Inkpot, Ashtray and Matches Stilleben mit Aschenbecher 1960/1 Oil on canvas, 304 × 661 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Motesiczky chose a narrow, horizontal canvas to present this still-life of objects on a table. The haphazard arrangement looks almost accidental as if the artist had not bothered to arrange the composition, being happy with what she found on her table, as it was. The

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collection of objects contains items the artist regularly used for pleasure or work: a heavy metal ashtray, a brightly coloured box of matches, placed on a piece of cloth, a small dark red vase, a blue bulging inkpot and two large goose-quills, lying parallel across an

open book and a sheet of paper with a pen. The objects in the centre, the ashtray and the inkpot, throw strong shadows on the tablecloth, highlighting their presence and importance within the composition.

Still-life, Red Rose 1961 Oil on canvas, 360 × 464 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This still-life presents a large red rose with a long, thick stem. Together with a large number of leaves, it is displayed on an object that cannot be identified – it could be a roughly hewn wooden board or even a shoe. The lack of detail and absence of other objects, as well as the consistently neutral treatment of the surrounding area, elevates the flower to a monumental scale.

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Henriette M. 1961 Oil on canvas, 760 × 810 mm Manchester Art Gallery (1995.139)

The Austrian art critic Kristian Sotriffer, writing about Motesiczky’s 1994 exhibition at the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere in Vienna, singled out this painting in his praise for the artist’s work: ‘Motesiczky’s development culminates in very personal, intimate works like for example “Henriette M.” that are filled with great charisma.’1 This portrait of Henriette von Motesiczky, here in her late seventies, is part of a series of images of the artist’s ageing mother. The setting is far from obvious and may be improvised. Facing the viewer and dressed in a brownish house coat, Henriette von Motesiczky is shown in what are probably the familiar surroundings of her own room, decorated with a large oval mirror on the back wall. The well-known face with its characteristic bulbous nose and large dark eyes bears a sad and tired expression. Above her ear a wisp of thin white hair has escaped from under her wig. Motesiczky has covered a large portion of the canvas with a transparent layer of dark colour which, resembling a window frame, creates the illusion that the sitter is looking out. The overpainting took place in anticipation of a restretching of the canvas that never took place. The unusual framing device, which puts the emphasis on the sitter’s face yet distances the sitter from the viewer, was, nevertheless, retained. The viewer is left wondering if the mirror shows a reflection of a tree outside, as the butterfly fluttering around it suggests, or if Motesiczky was depicting a houseplant in the room, as the patch of red, perhaps a pot, might indicate.

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note 1 ‘Motesiczkys Entwicklung kulminiert in den sehr persönlichen, intimen, von großer Ausstrahlungskraft erfüllten Bildnissen etwa der “Henriette M.”’: K.S. [Kristian Sotriffer] 1994. provenance Artist; Manchester City Art Gallery, now Manchester Art Gallery (purchased 1995). exhibitions London 1985, no. 50, illus. p. 44 (col.); Cambridge 1986, no. 50, illus. p. 44 (col.); Vienna 1994, no. 37, illus. (col.); Manchester 1994, no. 26; Liverpool 2006, no. 58, illus. p. 183 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 58, illus. p. 183 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 58, illus. p. 183 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 58, illus. p. 183 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 58, illus. p. 183 (col.). bibliography K.S. [Kristian Sotriffer] 1994, n.p.; Black 1997, p. 993, illus. p. 993; Vorderwülbecke 1999, pp. 54 f.n., 56 f.n., illus. p. 108; Phillips 2001, illus. p. 31 (mirror image, incorrect title); Michel 2003, pp. 70 f., 75, illus. Abb. 105 (col.); Behr 2006, p. 561, illus. p. 561 (col.); Lloyd 2006, pp. 40 f.; Sander 2006, pp. 122 f.


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Still-life with Hyacinths 1961 Oil on canvas, 608 × 420 mm Signed (top right): m. motesiczky. 1961. Verso: still-life with tulips Michael Black

This still-life was painted the year after Motesiczky moved into her house in Chesterford Gardens in Hampstead. A small, round, knee-high table, placed against the wall, holds a shallow terracotta bowl with two white and two lilac hyacinths and a green bottle, casting its shadow across the table top. The simple composition was probably inspired by the bowl with the four hyacinths, seen on a photograph, probably taken in the still rather bare garden, which survives in the artist’s estate (fig. 138). The painting’s provenance is unusual and cannot be established without gaps. In the early 1980s it appeared in a stall in Petticoat Lane market where John Lessore, the son of the art dealer Helen Lessore who had shown Motesiczky’s works at the Beaux Arts Gallery in the early 1960s, found it. The back of the canvas shows a still-life with tulips and opera glasses, said not to be the work of Motesiczky. provenance Artist; ?; John Lessore (purchased at a market stall in 1980/1); Peter Black (purchased 1993); Michael Black (purchased 1993).

Fig. 138 A bowl of hyacinths in the garden, Chesterford Gardens, photograph, c. 1961 (Motesiczky archive)

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Beach and Rocks c. 1961 Oil on canvas, 408 × 610 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

In a quick and sketchy manner Motesiczky here paints a simple seascape. Wildly shaped rocks divide the canvas between the sand dunes of the foreground and the calm blue mass of water and the light blue sky beyond. On the horizon, which almost exactly bisects the picture plane, the sea arcs gently – a device the artist had already employed in Beach Still-life, 1944 (no. 68), and Pier Llandudno, 1944 (no. 64). On the left, a gap in the rocks allows a glimpse of white surf as the sea approaches

the beach. There is evidence of some vegetation on this barren and empty stretch of sand: on the far right, a thick short stem and a few sparse leaves imply the presence of a hardy bush. Beach and Rocks is probably the painting to which Motesiczky referred in a hand-written list of works as Landschaft Herm directly before Landscape, Sark, 1962 (no. 182). It is therefore likely that the painting, which has hitherto been dated 1954, originated during or after the artist’s visit to the Channel Islands in July 1961.

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Lolita 1962 Oil on canvas, 760 × 632 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This is a portrait of a young model of whom only the first name is known. She was apparently a Spanish girl to whom Motesiczky gave a room in exchange for sittings. Lolita is seated in a green and orange armchair in front of a sketchy grey background. Her shapely legs, clad in tight black trousers, are drawn up. In accordance with contemporary fashion, her red hair is piled high with one strand escaping the sophisticated hair-do. She gazes thoughtfully and slightly forlornly into the middle distance and awkwardly wrings her hands, which are beautifully manicured. Motesiczky produced several drawings of this sitter, ranging in character from demure and pious housewife with a headscarf (fig. 139) to lazily reclining, half-naked vamp (fig. 140). There is also one more portrait in oil, Lolita III, 1962 (no. 181). The same model appears in Blonde Woman, 1960 (no. 166). bibliography Lloyd 2007, p. 178.

Fig. 139 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Lolita Seated, early 1960s, charcoal on paper, 765 × 562 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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Fig. 140 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Lolita Reclining, early 1960s, charcoal on paper, 560 × 762 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)


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Lolita III 1962 Oil on canvas, 610 × 420 mm Location unknown

At an unknown date Lolita III was purchased by Lord McAlpine. The loan of this painting for an exhibition had already been refused during Motesiczky’s lifetime since it could apparently not be found. It has since proved impossible to locate the painting in the McAlpine collection. A colour photograph in the artist’s possession is therefore the only available record. The full name of the model is unknown. She is said to have been a Spanish girl to whom Motesiczky gave a room in exchange for sittings. The same year, Motesiczky painted another portrait of her, Lolita (no. 180). The title Lolita III suggests the existence of a further painting, yet a work titled Lolita II does not exist.

Blonde Woman, 1960 (no. 166), which shows the same model, may be the missing work in the series. Motesiczky also produced several drawings of Lolita in various poses, ranging from prim to lascivious (figs 139, 140 and 141). In this half-length portrait, Lolita is shown in a pensive mood, resting her head on her hand. Her pale, oval face, enlarged by the fact that a white headband keeps her hair off her forehead, is characterized by her marked, black eyebrows and a long, straight nose under which her tiny mouth almost disappears. provenance Artist; Lord McAlpine (probably purchased at the Beaux Arts Gallery in early 1960s).

Fig. 141 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, sketch, early 1960s, graphite on paper, 357 × 228 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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Landscape, Sark Landschaft Sark 1962 Oil on canvas, 715 × 918 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This seascape was inspired by Motesiczky’s holiday in Guernsey in July 1961, from where she visited the neighbouring smaller island of Sark. It was painted back at home in London from a sketch made on the spot. The sea takes up most of the space, covering more than half of the canvas. A single sailing boat disturbs its empty and calm surface which is illuminated by a strange, diffuse light that emanates from the overcast grey sky. The bluish-grey mass of water is divided by a large rock in the centre of the composition, which casts a strong shadow,

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and by a smaller one on either side. A single figure, probably representing Motesiczky herself, sits amid the rocky outcrops and colourful vegetation of the foreground. The easel identifies her as an artist, seemingly involved in recording the natural spectacle before her. Yet the sketchy, almost transparent manner of depiction make her appear strangely out of place in this deserted landscape. exhibition Munich 1967, no. 63 (ex catalogue).


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Psychoanalyst Psychoanalytiker 1962 Oil on canvas, 1017 × 762 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

The Motesiczky family’s connections with psychoanalysis are numerous and span several generations. The artist’s maternal grandmother, Anna von Lieben (1847–1900), was an early patient of Sigmund Freud and thus a crucial inspiration in the creation of psychoanalysis. The artist herself underwent a brief period of analysis by Paul Federn, and her brother Karl was treated for several years by Wilhelm Reich, the physician-scientist and student of Sigmund Freud with whom he also worked. Karl’s analysis began in 1932 and came to a rather sudden end when the deteriorating financial situation of Henriette von Motesiczky in 1934 no longer allowed the funding of the treatment. Early on, the artist seems to have wholeheartedly embraced the idea of psychoanalysis, but in later years her attitude appears to have become more ambiguous. Although, in the 1970s, she steadily encouraged a young friend, Jörg Roth, to become a psychoanalyst, she never took up a friend’s suggestion of consulting a psychoanalyst herself to deal with her own problems. Furthermore, Motesiczky was certainly aware of Elias Canetti’s strong aversion to psychoanalysis. This dislike, which, to a certain degree, she seems to have shared, is conveyed by this portrait. Conventionally dressed in a grey suit, the slim figure of the psychoanalyst is seated in a chair in front of a bare green wall. The stark surroundings give no clue to the sitter’s occupation or personality – only the sitter himself reveals some aspects of his character as the artist perceives them. His bald head and the prominent ears, his extraordinary slanting eyes and slight grin give the sitter a demonic and secretive, even threatening, air. With his hands involved in a mysterious activity with a ball of wool, he seems to be enjoying disentangling the chaos in his lap and in the mind of his invisible client. Several scholars have suggested the model might have been Karl Landauer (1887–1945), cofounder of the Frankfurter Psychoanalytisches Institut in 1929. Although there is a certain

resemblance it is unlikely that Motesiczky knew Landauer. The only clue Motesiczky left as to the identity of the sitter is the fact that he was an American analyst working in Vienna and a friend of hers. Ultimately his identity may not matter since she appears to have intended to depict a generic type rather than an individual. Contemporary critics, who first saw Psychoanalyst on public display in the late 1960s, picked up on the ‘faunlike-macabre’1 and ‘grotesque’2 qualities of the portrait and praised the artist’s ability to narrate in painting with light irony and a sense of caricature.3

notes 1 ‘faunisch-makabre’: Spiel 1966. 2 ‘grotesken’: J.Wdt. 1968. 3 Ibid. exhibitions Vienna 1966, no. 47, dated 1963; Linz 1966, no. 47, dated 1963; Munich 1967, no. 47, dated 1963; Bremen 1968, no. 47, dated 1963; Liverpool 2006, ex catalogue. bibliography b. 1966, n.p.; Pack 1966, n.p.; Spiel 1966, n.p.; J.Wdt. 1968, n.p.; Black 2006, p. 57.

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Birthday Geburtstag 1962 Oil on canvas, 354 × 812 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Motesiczky rarely used such an extreme, horizontal format. In this instance, her choice seems to have been determined by the shape of the small round Victorian table, decorated with a camel motif underneath its glass top, on which a series of objects are placed. These include a pile of three books, an earthenware jug with two roses and a burning candle, perhaps a Lebenslicht, a single light celebrating the fact of life instead of the number of years accumulated on a birthday. The table’s mirror-like surface reflects the objects, creating an illusion of more objects than are actually present. Despite the quiet beauty of the still-life, the emotionally charged and fundamentally lonely circumstances that led to its creation can be felt. Here, clearly, is an event to which the artist attached great sentimental value. It has been suggested that the birthday commemorated here could be that of Elias Canetti, not present to share in the celebration. It seems more likely, however, that Motesiczky chronicles her own birthday on 24 October as she

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does in the undated drawing Birthday Still-life with Photo (p. 538). The bright flame of the candle, doubled by its reflection and ‘burning with an almost human fire’1 could be an attempt at consolation for the absence of human companions. The subject-matter of the still-life had apparently been suggested by Elias Canetti. In 1986 the conductor André Previn (born in 1929), having been shown some of Motesiczky’s paintings, expressed his wish to purchase this picture, but Motesiczky could not bring herself to part with it. sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust André Previn to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 9 July 1986: ‘It has been months since my wife and I came to visit you, but I hope you’ve not forgotten us entirely. I have been travelling and conducting without stop since, have been impossible to find, and unable to contact you. Now I am at home here in England until July 20,

after which I have to go to America until August 20. If you can recall, of all the paintings we admired at your house, we loved the one called “Birthday” (1962) the most and I wanted respectfully to ask whether it might still be possible for me to buy that picture. I know exactly where I would like it to live in my house, and it would make my wife and me extremely happy if it were still something we might discuss. If you have a moment, would you be able either to call me or drop me a note? … If I don’t hear from you, I will certainly understand but will call you anyway sometime next week. I hope you are well and painting happily. It was a privilege to meet you, and I look forward to seeing you again.’ note 1 ‘brennt mit einem fast menschlichen Feuer’: Adler 1994, p. 17. exhibitions Vienna 1966, no. 45; Linz 1966, no. 45; Munich 1967, no. 45; Bremen 1968, no. 45; Frankfurt am Main 1980, no. 79, dated c. 1960; London 1985, no. 51, illus. p. 44 (col.); Vienna 1994, no. 38, illus. (col.); Manchester 1994, no. 27. bibliography Adler 1994, p. 17; Black 1997, p. 993.


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Night Still-life Stilleben mit Stehlampe 1962 Oil on canvas, dimensions unknown Location unknown

Since the present whereabouts of Night Still-life are unknown, a poor-quality black-and-white illustration of what is probably a relatively large work is the only available source. The objects in the still-life are arranged on a table in front of a window, with a curtain on the left, through which the darkening sky and a group of trees can be seen. The items on the table are, probably, from left to right: a telephone, a table lamp (possibly the same one that was used in Still-life with Lilac, c. 1960, no. 171) and a pile of books. The painting left Motesiczky’s possession in 1964 when it was sold at the Beaux Arts Gallery. When, two years later, the artist tried to locate it for her forthcoming exhibition in Vienna, it proved impossible to find: ‘Small trouble like for example that three pictures which have been sold by the Beaux Arts Gallery two years ago can’t be found. I let the pictures go so cheaply because I was happy that someone wanted them. I was told a gallery [bought them] – even more flattered – I see, I thought: someone wants to make a bargain! Now it becomes apparent that it was a firm of builders and contractors – they immediately sold the pictures on again – were hellishly rude when I asked them to help me find the pictures.’1 note 1 ‘Kleine Unanehnmlichkeiten wie z.B. das 3 Bilder die von der Beaux Arts Gallery vor 2 Jahren verkauft wurden unauffindbar sind Ich hab die Bilder so billig hergegeben weil ich mich freute dass sie wer will. Man sagte mir eine Galerie – noch mehr geschmeichelt – a ha dachte ich: da will einer ein Geschäft machen! Jetzt stellt sich heraus das war eine Baufirma – die haben die Bilder soffort wieder verkauft – waren sau grob als ich sie bat mir zu helfen die Bilder zu finden.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Theo Garve, 7 February 1966: Motesiczky archive. provenance Artist; sold at the Beaux Arts Gallery to an unknown buyer in 1964.

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Mother with a Straw Mutter mit Strohhalm 1962 Oil on canvas, 509 × 613 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Seen from an unusually low, close viewpoint, this intimate scene portrays the artist’s mother, Henriette von Motesiczky, lying in bed. Behind her almost bald head are the outlines of the carved wooden bedhead. The bedside table holds a large glass and a blue jug, from which the old lady is drinking through a yellow straw. On the other side of the bed, Henriette von Motesiczky’s devoted Italian greyhound Bubi (also called Wixi) is watching his mistress as if anticipating participation in the refreshment. The beautiful black dressing gown with a devoré pattern of golden velvet leaves blends in with the subdued range of twilight and nocturnal colours in which numerous small highlights stand out. First shown in an exhibition of the Beaux Arts Gallery’s regular artists in 1963, this portrait was praised for giving ‘a particularly warm, personally observed impression’1 of the elderly sitter. It did not find a buyer and was subsequently included in the artist’s first solo exhibition in Vienna in 1966 where it was counted ‘among the strongest portraits that could be seen in Austria in the recent past’.2 By then, the portrait belonged to Elias Canetti who called it his favourite painting by Motesiczky.3 According to Miriam Rothschild, a sitter and friend, Motesiczky, who was never keen to discuss her work, did occasionally talk about the pictures she painted of her mother, and especially about this portrait.

sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust

provenance

Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 27 July 1963: ‘Ja Piolein und in der Times bin ich scheinbar erwähnt, recht günstig “Old women sipping Limonade” in extra Absätzchen: “mit besonderer Liebe gemalt.” Milein las es mir vor am Telephon hab’s noch nicht selbst gesehen.’

London 1963, probably shown as Old Woman drinking through a straw; Vienna 1966, no. 46, illus.; Linz 1966, no. 46, illus.; Munich 1967, no. 46, illus.; Bremen 1968, no. 46, illus.; London 1985, no. 52, illus. p. 46 (col.); Cambridge 1986, no. 52, illus. p. 46 (col.); Vienna 2004b, illus. p. 222 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 59, illus. p. 185 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 59, illus. p. 185 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 59, illus. p. 185 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 59, illus. p. 185 (col.).

Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 26 April 1966: ‘Ich bin sehr froh, dass Du den Presse-Empfang in der Sezession haben wirst … Du sollst zum Beispiel sagen, welche Bilder mir “offiziell” gehören. Vergiss nicht, dass “Mutter mit Strohhalm” “Canettis Lieblingsbild” von Dir ist. (Im Katalog gehört es mir). Sag, dass ich bald komme, weil ich die Ausstellung sehen will.’ notes 1 Anonymous 1963. 2 ‘zu den stärksten Bildnissen, die man in der letzten Zeit in Österreich sehen konnte’: Hart 1966. 3 Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 26 April 1966: Motesiczky archive.

Fig. 142 Henriette von Motesiczky in bed, photograph, 1960s/70s (Motesiczky archive)

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Artist; Elias Canetti (before 1966); artist (before 1985). exhibitions

bibliography Anonymous 1963, n.p. (Old Woman drinking through a straw); Hart 1966, n.p.; Kraft 1966, n.p., illus. n.p.; Spiel 1966, n.p.; M.B. 1967, n.p.; Dr. S. 1968, n.p.; J.Wdt. 1968, n.p.; Gaisbauer 1986, n.p. (Mother with the Straw); Anonymous [Jeremy Adler] 1996, n.p.; Tate Gallery, 1996, p. 504; Vorderwülbecke 1999, pp. 34, 53 f.n., illus. p. 81; Michel 2003, p. 70, illus. Abb. 104 (col.); Lloyd 2004, p. 223, illus. p. 222 (col.); Schlenker 2005, p. 134, illus. p. 136; Lloyd 2006, pp. 40 f.; Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, exh. booklet 2006, illus. n.p. (col.); Sander 2006, pp. 122 f.; Schlenker 2006c, pp. 168, 184; Schlenker 2006d, p. 258; Sternburg 2006, n.p.


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Fig. 143 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, sketch, 1963, graphite on paper, 355 Ă— 255 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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Fig. 144 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, sketch, 1963, ballpoint pen on paper, 255 Ă— 355 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)


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Uncle Ernst Onkel Ernst 1963 Oil and charcoal on canvas, 408 × 510 mm Verso: head of a man Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This portrait shows the artist’s uncle, Ernst von Lieben (fig. 145), in old age. Born in Vienna in 1875, he was the elder brother of Henriette von Lieben, Motesiczky’s mother. In 1901 he received his doctorate in Chemistry from the University of Vienna and subsequently worked in the family bank Lieben & Cie. (from 1921 Auspitz, Lieben & Co.) in Vienna. Throughout his life, he practised as an inventor. He left Austria in the late 1930s and, unable to obtain a visa for the USA, spent the war years in Cuba. After the war he lived in Portugal for a number of years before eventually returning to Vienna, where he died in 1970. This painting, hitherto dated 1960, must have been created in 1963 as proved by several letters, which the artist wrote to Elias Canetti. In May 1963 Ernst von Lieben stayed with the Motesiczkys in Chesterford Gardens. Motesiczky was working on a portrait of her

Fig. 145 Ernst von Lieben, photograph, undated (Motesiczky archive)

uncle which proved rather difficult due to the model’s inability to sit still: ‘At noon I cooked a barbecue meal for mother and Uncle Ernst … Later Uncle Ernst is to sit for me. The sitting yesterday was miserable – he is much worse than a five-year-old child, mocking and restless and not at all willing to cooperate in the slightest. This again and again reminds me that I must draw a hundred thousand times more. I must have better, faster drawings and then work alone – perhaps this is a way to finally leave my awful difficulties behind. (I often feel like a roulette player who has lost everything and when I go into the studio I want to regain everything with one large brush stroke – but it doesn’t work like that)’.1 Despite the struggle with the sitter and the artist’s dissatisfaction with the process, the completed portrait is an intimate and sympathetic depiction of Ernst von Lieben in his eighties. Seated in an armchair with his eyes, deep in their sockets, closed, he appears peaceful and at rest, perhaps even asleep – in contrast to Motesiczky’s comments. His high forehead is marked by horizontal lines and framed by silvery hair. Red and bluish marks indicate the sitter’s mottled skin, which is tightly stretched over sunken cheeks and a receding chin. The artist may have resolved to overcome her problems with this fidgety sitter by catching him unawares. Several pages in her sketchbook are filled with studies of Ernst von Lieben (figs 143 and 144). Some focus purely on his head, and others show him reading or as a part of a scene with the artist, reclining on a bed, and her mother. Motesiczky seems to have carried the idea of a static sitter almost to its extreme, leading to the strange effect that the portrait vaguely resembles a death mask. The painting, however, bears witness to the artist’s struggle: while the background remains unresolved with clumsy shadows only and the suggestion of a plant, several charcoal lines on the right indicate the artist’s abandoned intention to add something, perhaps a hand (which is included in some sketches).

note 1 ‘Mittags habe ich für Mutter u. Onkel Ernst eine Holzkohlenmahlzeit gekocht … Später soll Onkel Ernst mir sitzen. Gestern die Sitzung war elend – er ist auch ärger als ein 5 jähriges Kind, spöttisch und unruhig und gar nicht bereit auch nur im leisesten mit zu arbeiten. Das bringt mich immer wieder darauf dass ich hunderttausendmal mehr zeichnen muss. Ich muss bessere schnelle Zeichnungen haben und dann allein arbeiten – das ist vielleicht ein Weg um endlich aus meinem schrecklichen Schwierigkeiten herauszukommen. (komm mir oft vor wie ein Roulettespieler der alles verloren hat und wenn ich in’s Atelier gehe möchte ich mit einem grossen Pinselstrich alles wieder zurückgewinnen – so geht’s aber nicht)’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 9 May 1963: Motesiczky archive. exhibitions Vienna 2004b, illus. p. 28 (col.), shown as Ernst v. Lieben; Liverpool 2006, no. 60, illus. p. 187 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 60, illus. p. 187 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 60, illus. p. 187 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 60, illus. p. 187 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 60, illus. p. 187 (col.). bibliography Lloyd 2004, p. 214; R. Gries 2006, n.p.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 186.

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Margit Döry 1963 Oil on canvas, 407 × 310 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Motesiczky made pictorial records of several members of her close and more distant family. In this portrait, she depicts Margit Baronin Döry de Jobbaháza (1896–1988), who had been married to Heinrich von Lieben, Henriette von Motesiczky’s cousin. In 1956 Motesiczky had already painted the sitter’s son Nicolas Lytton. The Motesiczkys kept in touch with their relative who had stayed in Vienna, exchanging visits. In 1953, for example, Henriette von Motesiczky received a succinct assessment of Margit Döry from her daughter in Vienna: ‘Visited Margit’s tearoom, ate Döritorte. Found Margit rather nice’.1 Margit Döry wrote several volumes of poetry which appeared between 1970 and 1982. Margit Döry visited the artist and her mother in Hampstead in 1963. Her presence and the intended portrait prompted Motesiczky to write the following thoughtful lines in a letter to Elias Canetti: ‘Margit is here … Well, and now I go to the studio – this is true – in the garden the grass is growing, no gardener – but even if a lot is going on, I have less fear of “individual” things (… gardener, tenants who all cancel – portrait that I might not be able to get right etc. etc.) … The only important issue is and will be – a good painting’.2 The resulting portrait depicts Margit Döry in her late sixties. Her attentive face has a look of surprise, her eyebrows are raised and her black eyes wide. The colour of her rosy cheeks and thin-lipped mouth is echoed by the tint of her greyish hair, which is covered with a light blue scarf knotted at the nape of her neck. The white pearl in her ear, the elegant swirls of a chair back and, behind her head, the indication of what may be the oval frame of a painting of a vase of flowers or a mirror reflecting this image, allude to the sitter’s distinguished personality.

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notes 1 ‘Margit Teestube besucht, Döritorte gegessen. Margit recht nett gefunden’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Henriette von Motesiczky, 10 September [1953]: Motesiczky archive. 2 ‘die Margit ist da … So und jetzt gehe ich in’s Atelier – das ist wahr – im Garten wächst das Gras, kein Gärtner – aber wenn so allerhand los ist, hab ich weniger Angst vor vor “Einzelnen” Dingen (… Gärtner, Mieter die alle absagen – Porträt das ich nicht zu sammen bringen könnte u.s.w. u.s.w.) … Der einzig feste Punkt ist und bleibt – ein gutes Bild’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 10 September 1963: Motesiczky archive.


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Gerda 1964 Oil on canvas, 560 × 611 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

The sitter in this portrait has not, so far, been identified; only her first name is recorded. Although there are several women called Gerda among the Motesiczkys’ friends and relatives, an index card that has survived in the artist’s estate reads ‘Model – Gerda’, indicating that she probably had no personal connection with the artist. Gerda is seated on a chair with a high, rounded back that echoes her silhouette. The uniform grey wall in the background finds a colourful contrast in the sitter’s yellow short-

sleeved top, her painted fingernails providing additional highlights. Perfectly combed, short brown hair frames her face, which subtle make-up and earrings further enhance. A slightly over-large right forearm juts out at the bottom of the picture, creating a barrier between the viewer and the model. Her arm probably supports the newspaper or magazine she is holding in her left hand. Gerda, however, is not reading but gazing at something over the top of her reading material.

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Sheela Bonarjee Inderin 1964 Oil on canvas, 710 × 1015 mm Signed (bottom left): marie louise 1969 Sheela Bonarjee, London

Sheela Bonarjee (born in 1934) recollects that, in 1964, Motesiczky had seen her sitting on a bench on Hampstead Heath, reading a book, and asked if she could paint her. Sheela Bonarjee agreed and was taken back to Chesterford Gardens for tea and home-made Apfelstrudel. She also met the artist’s mother and Elias Canetti. Work on the portrait was begun soon after this initial meeting. Upon hearing that Sheela Bonarjee would not be able to keep still doing nothing for very long during the sittings, Elias Canetti had recommended she busied herself reading while he could provide further entertainment by explaining his novel, Die Blendung (Auto-da-fé ), which had just appeared in the USA – said to be the book Sheela Bonarjee is engrossed in. A few years after its completion, the painting was given to the sitter. In the 1980s having heard comments about apparently ‘not wearing any trousers’ due to the fleshlike colour of these garments in the picture, Sheela Bonarjee took the opportunity

Fig. 146 Sheela Bonarjee and friend in front of the original version of her portrait, photograph, 1960s (Collection Sheela Bonarjee)

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to ask the artist to give them a different hue and sign the so far unsigned work. Motesiczky did as she was asked (adding the incorrect date ‘1969’ to the signature) and furthermore, surprisingly, substantially changed the whole composition. The reason for the alteration is unknown. The sitter, however, was happy with the new image. The original version (fig. 146) had shown Sheela Bonarjee reclining on a divan, reading a book. In the background a little snake was curled round the wooden bedhead and appeared to be heading for the pile of cushions and duvets. In the reworked version only the pose of the sitter remains the same. She is transferred from a cosy indoor setting to an exposed outdoor terrain. In the background Motesiczky created a seascape, complete with sailing boats and cliffs, probably inspired by Sheela Bonarjee’s recent holiday in Greece. In the bottom right corner, Motesiczky added a bird, presumably a seagull, which also appears

to read the book. In her work Motesiczky repeatedly turned to the catalogue raisonné of Max Beckmann’s paintings for ideas and inspiration. Published in 1976, the two volumes in the artist’s estate testify to heavy usage by the numerous paint smears on their pages. The 1940 painting Die Möwen (fig. 147) must have appealed to Motesiczky in this context. Her bird seems to be modelled on Beckmann’s. According to Sheela Bonarjee, Motesiczky did not like the painting very much since the model was not looking at the viewer but reading a book. Several years earlier, by contrast, she had been happy with Ursula Vaughan Williams doing just that. Elias Canetti, however, was pleased with it, appreciating the way she had captured the scene naturally. provenance Artist; Sheela Bonarjee (gift late 1960s). bibliography Lloyd 2007, pp. 178 f.

Fig. 147 Max Beckmann, Die Möwen, 1940, oil on canvas, size unknown, location unknown


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Snake Charmer 1964 Oil and pastel on canvas, 800 × 501 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

In May 1964 Motesiczky visited Tunisia. She much admired the local fauna and enjoyed camel rides and visits to markets where she may have come across this little group of snake charmers. A bearded man, dressed in lilac trousers and a white top that leaves his chest bare, handles the snake. While its head is held firmly in the snake charmer’s grip, its thick body winds round his shoulders, continuing down along and between his legs with the tip of the tail just touching the ground. The lower half of the snake is only sketched in and therefore difficult to discern. The snake charmer’s female companion, standing further back and protected from the sun by a green parasol, is entirely covered by a long yellow dress. She is playing the flute and accompanying the tricks he performs with the snake. Motesiczky must have abandoned the painting at some point as the unfinished state of the snake, the unresolved area to the left of the man’s head and the incomplete left hand of the flautist show. Besides, there are several elements in the composition that do not make much sense in an outdoor setting, for example, the round rug on which the man is standing and the cascading, curtain-like structure on the right. Snakes seem to have fascinated Motesiczky that year. The original version of Sheela Bonarjee, 1964 (no. 190), showed a snake winding its way around the bedhead (fig. 146).

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Circus Scene 1964 Oil on canvas, 536 × 903 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

At first glance, this looks like an imaginary scene with toy figures or small statues. In fact, as shown by three photographs in the artist’s collection on which the composition is based, Motesiczky here re-creates an actual circus performance which she probably attended (fig. 148). The equestrian act takes place in a claustrophobically small arena beyond which the spectators are depicted as an unfocused mass. The four white circus ponies are presented by their trainer who is dressed in

a white evening gown with a low neckline. She waves a huge green feather boa over her head, and the animals are adorned with blue feathered plumes attached to their harness. They are in the middle of performing their tricks, curtseying, rearing or waiting for their turn. The small unfinished area to the left and the larger one to the right of the circus scene indicate that the size of the canvas is not quite right for the composition. The artist may have reused an old canvas, overpainting the original image. Fig. 148 Circus ponies, photograph, early 1960s (Motesiczky archive)

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Iris Murdoch 1964 Oil on canvas, 751 × 498 mm St Anne’s College, Oxford

The writer and philosopher Iris Murdoch met Motesiczky through Elias Canetti and Franz Baermann Steiner, who became unofficially engaged to her shortly before his death. Murdoch’s appreciation of, and interest in, Motesiczky’s paintings span several decades and reached a climax in 1963 when Murdoch commissioned Motesiczky to paint her portrait when she became an honorary fellow in philosophy and left St Anne’s College, Oxford, in order to devote her time fully to her novels. As a parting gift to the college, Murdoch was willing to pay the difference between the college’s contribution and Motesiczky’s normal fee. Murdoch chose Motesiczky as an artist she personally admired and thought was undervalued in this country. With this commission she hoped to help increase Motesiczky’s reputation and make her more familiar to a wider audience. Murdoch started to sit for the portrait in early autumn 1963 and continued at irregular intervals well into 1964. In between the sittings, Motesiczky tried to paint her from memory. These ‘unaided’ attempts sometimes proved very fruitful and even more satisfying than when the sitter had been present. ‘I have managed to capture Iris … much better by heart’, Motesiczky wrote to Canetti on 4 November 1963.1 Working without the sitter had made Motesiczky aware of the special nature of Murdoch’s features: ‘she really has a very good face if one understands that she is a man and not a woman.’2 The finished portrait indeed does not dwell on Murdoch’s feminine qualities and corresponds with a remark John Bayley made about his wife: ‘Iris in general was never “female” at all.’3 Motesiczky portrayed Murdoch facing the viewer, her head turned to the right with an absent, dreamlike expression on her face and a slightly windblown air about her whole presence. Fittingly, she is seated in front of a background of an animated dark sea on which the prow of a ship can be identified, cutting diagonally across the picture plane. The ship 334

was the emblem of St Anne’s College. By depicting it in the background Motesiczky places Murdoch in her collegial context and also marks the occasion the portrait was to commemorate. Motesiczky appears to have settled on the idea for the general atmosphere of the painting and especially the sea setting during an overnight sea crossing to the continent where she ‘saw wonderful things on deck. There the people really look the way I would love to have them in a portrait. Grey and green and black and only the heads illuminated. If only Iris had been sitting there!’4 The reception of the portrait was ambiguous. One viewer is said to have mistaken the ship for an aeroplane crashing into the sea. The historian and educationist Marjorie Reeves, a colleague of Murdoch’s at St Anne’s College, found it a ‘powerful portrait’ but felt that the overall ‘ship-wrecked’ appearance of the sitter did not capture the various aspects of Murdoch’s personality adequately.5 Helen Lessore, Motesiczky’s London dealer at the time, thought the background too decorative and urged Motesiczky to re-paint it. ‘She considers Iris’s head to be one of my very best heads’,6 Motesiczky wrote to Canetti. Murdoch herself, who saw the portrait when it was nearly completed, found it uncannily accurate. She noted in her diary: ‘I think it is wonderful, terrible, so sad and frightening, me with the demons. How did she know?’7 sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 13 July 1963: ‘Ich hatte der Iris geschrieben, die mir hierher geantwortet hat. Ich sagte ihr, dass Dein normaler Preis für Porträts zwischen 200–250 Pfund sei. Du bestehst aber darauf, es für sie zu reduzieren. Sie ist sehr begeistert davon, dass Du bereit bist, sie zu malen, und bittet Dich, den Preis nicht zu sehr zu reduzieren. Sie muss bald nach Canada und kommt am 17. August zurück. Dann, wenn Du kannst, möchte sie mit den Sitzungen beginnen. Bis dahin hast Du vielleicht schon ein Porträt von Pio gemalt.’

Fig. 149 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Iris Murdoch, 1963/4, charcoal on paper, 565 × 488 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 27 July 1963: ‘Hast Du von der Iris gehört? Sie ist jetzt in Kanada und kommt am 17. zurück. Sie möchte sehr gern, dass Du dann gleich mit ihrem Porträt beginnst’ Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 6 September 1963: ‘ertappe ich mich doch dabei, wie ich an mein Zimmer bei Dir denke, wo die Pappeln draussen leise für mich tanzen. Auch der kleine Musikant im Garten geht mir ab und besonders der Geruch des Malens. Ich wäre gern dabei gewesen, als Iris kam, schon damit sie begreift, dass sie öfters kommen muss. Aber ich werde sie gleich nach meiner Rückkehr sehen und mit ihr darüber sprechen.’ Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 10 September 1963: ‘In der “Queen” las ich eine Besprechung vom neuen Iris Buch – Anna Sebastian [Friedl Benedikt] wird erwähnt – es wird Sie interessieren Iris wird sehr kritisiert … Von Iris bis jetzt noch nichts gehört.’ Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 6 November 1963: ‘Hier war’s sehr schon die Ausstellung wunderbar und sehr interessant für mich (im Katalog ein Zitat aus dem Tagebuch: “ich glaube ich male kein Porträt mehr. Nein. Es ist so undankbar und es wird doch nie so wie man will.” Das hat mich sehr getrostet und auch Mut für die Iris gemacht. Es ist eben nicht so leicht Und was die Ahnlichkeit anbetrifft stelle ich eben andere Ansprüche wie Beckmann und weil ich kleiner bin hab ich’s noch schwerer.’ Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 19 November 1963: ‘Morgen sehe ich Iris aber nicht zum arbeiten sondern in der Stadt weil ich noch ein wenig daran auswendig machen möchte und doch die Erinnerung auffrischen.’ Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 30 April 1964: ‘Die Lessore schliesst ihre Galerie – noch nicht gleich aber in einem Jahr … Bei der Iris will sie


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durchaus dass ich den Hintergrund ganz wegmache. Das kann ich nicht und so wird sie wohl das Bild nicht ausstellen und zu guter letzt werde ich in ihrer Porträt Ausstellung kein einziges Bild haben scheint mir. Den Iris Kopf selbst findet sie einen meiner allerbesten Köpfe. Aber der Hintergrund sei zu ilustrativ … und nächsten Donnerstag esse ich mit Iris.’ provenance Artist; St Anne’s College (presented by the sitter in 1964). notes 1 ‘Iris hab ich auswendig … besser getroffen’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 4 November 1963: Motesiczky archive. 2 ‘eigentlich hat sie ein sehr gutes Gesicht wenn man versteht dass sie ein Mann u. keine Frau ist.’: ibid. 3 Bayley 1998, p. 59. 4 ‘wunderbare Sachen gesehen am Deck. Da sehen die Leute eigentlich so aus wie ich sie gerne auf einem Porträt hätte. Grau u. grün und schwarz und nur die Köpfe beleuchtet. Wenn da die Iris gesessen wäre!’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 6 November 1963: Motesiczky archive. 5 Marjorie Reeves to Ines Schlenker, 18 June 2000: Motesiczky archive. 6 ‘Den Iris Kopf selbst findet sie einen meiner allerbesten Köpfe’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 30 April 1964: Motesiczky archive. 7 Iris Murdoch, unpublished diary entry for 16 February [1964], kindly made available by Peter Conradi. exhibitions Liverpool 2006, no. 61, illus. p. 189 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 61, illus. p. 189 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 61, illus. p. 189 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 61, illus. p. 189 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 61, illus. p. 189 (col.). bibliography Anonymous [ Jeremy Adler] 1996, n.p.; Black 1997, p. 992; Conradi 2001, p. 374; Phillips 2001, p. 32; Schlenker 2001, pp. 2–4, illus. on cover (col.); Michel 2003, p. 54, illus. Abb. 73 (col.); Schlenker 2003, pp. 112, 116, illus. p. 113 (col.); Schlenker 2005, p. 132; Black 2006, p. 57; Crüwell 2006b, n.p.; Crüwell 2006c, n.p.; Davies 2006b, n.p.; R. Gries 2006, n.p.; MarieLouise von Motesiczky, exh. booklet 2006, n.p.; Sander 2006, pp. 122 f.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 188; Schlenker 2006d, p. 258; Lloyd 2007, pp. 180 f., illus. fig. 30; Weinzierl 2007, n.p.

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Camels Kamele 1964 Oil on canvas, 762 × 1017 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

On her trip to Tunisia in May 1964 Motesiczky went on a camel ride in the mountains. She recounted her experience in great detail in a letter to Elias Canetti: ‘Also [I have] a beautiful (very indigenous) jacket with a hood, which I wear all the time in the sun and it cools me down, warms and protects me, but today on my great camel ride to the bedouins (3 hours) the camel, which had soiled itself during the rest, wagged its tail so much when I was mounting it again that I was bespattered over and over. My white jacket – the apple of my eye! It was rather funny. The ride was great but quite exhausting, great because one was completely alone, only with the young camel driver – at first through lemon plantations and then through a brook to the mountains, not high but with endless distant views. At this time of year the landscape is by no means dried up – there are really flowers in all colours … some the same as at home only more fiery – it is lovely to sit on the camel and to look into the lemon gardens from above, which, in turn, are bordered by cactus hedges which are often also in bloom; pink geraniums half wild wind their way in between and oleander in all corners and figs and carob bean trees’.1 In Camels, Motesiczky generalizes her adventure. She depicts a group of three animals with their drivers, resting in the shadow of a few miniature palm trees in the desert. Apart from the white building in the background, sand seems to engulf them on all sides, reaching to the mountains in the far distance. One driver, his hat pulled down over his face, is sleeping, while another is reclining, watching the third who busies himself with a small fire. The camels still have their luggage strapped to their backs, indicating that the trek has not yet reached its final destination.

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note 1 ‘Auch eine wunderhübsche (sehr eingeborene) Jacke mit Kaputze, die trage ich die ganze Zeit in der Sonne und sieh kühlt und wärmt und schützt aber heute bei meinem grossen Kamelritt zu den Beduinen (3 Stunden) hat beim wieder Aufsteigen das Kamel sich bei der Rast ganz angemacht und als ich wieder aufstieg so gewedelt dass ich über und über bespritzt war. Meine weisse Jacke – mein Augapfel! es war recht komisch Der Ritt war schön aber recht anstrengend, schön weil man ganz allein war, nur mit dem jungen Kameltreiber – erst durch Zitronen Plantagen und dann durch einen Bach in die Berge nicht hoch aber mit unendlich weiten Ausblicken Die Landschaft ist um

die Zeit keineswegs vertrocknet – es sind wirklich Blumen in allen Farben … manche die selben wie bei uns nur feuriger – es ist hübsch auf dem Kamel zu sitzen und von oben in die Zitronen Gärten zu sehen, die sind wieder von Kakteenhecken eingefasst die auch oft blühen und dazwischen winden sich rosa Geranien halb wild dazwischen und Oleander an allen Ecken und Feigen und Johannesbrotbäume’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 22 May 1964: Motesiczky archive. bibliography Michel 2003, p. 45, illus. Abb. 54 (col.).


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Self-portrait in Blue Selbstporträt in Blau 1964 Oil and pastel on canvas, 877 × 674 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This self-portrait shows Motesiczky, in her late fifties, drawing. Wearing a blue summer dress and a pearl necklace, she is seated comfortably in a voluminous armchair, which is placed directly in front of the large mirror that must have assisted in the creation of this selfportrait. An open sketchbook is balanced on her crossed legs. Her raised arm, holding a pink crayon which is used for the drawing, is poised in mid-air while the artist is observing her mirror image before continuing to work. The crayon has occasionally been mistaken for make-up or lipstick since the artist’s eyeshadow and the hue of her characteristic slightly open mouth match in colour. bibliography Lloyd 2007, p. 171.

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Chemist’s Shop Drogerie 1964 Oil on canvas, 814 × 814 mm Signed (bottom right): M.M. 1964. Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

In the beauty corner of a chemist’s shop, a blonde woman is trying out lipstick. The shop-assistant, seated behind the counter and smiling encouragingly, is holding up a hand mirror for her customer to see the effect of the orange lipstick she is putting on. A large palette on the counter between them – resembling the artist’s own which she has used in other works such as Spanish Still-life, 1955 (no. 141), or Selfportrait with Palette, 1960 (no. 168) – displays the range of available lipstick colours in large swirls. It is impossible to judge from the customer’s face whether she likes the lipstick. The reflection in the mirror cannot be seen either. Another reflection, however, is well captured: the vivid colour of the shop-assistant’s sunlit blue-lilac dress is mirrored in her face – similar to the way the orange lipstick echoes the orange dress of the customer. Motesiczky must have been pleased with the way she caught the sun’s effect on the blue dress. In a rare instance of self-quotation, she repeated the colour scheme on the garment of one of the reclining figures in Camels, painted the same year (no. 194). The painting hardly deviates from Motesiczky’s original compositional ideas as laid down in a preparatory drawing (fig. 150). The drawing, however, helps to decipher the writing on the yellow strip above the women’s heads. While the letters are not legible in the painting, the drawing clearly identifies them as ‘chemist’. The drawing also substantiates Motesiczky’s story of the source of inspiration: driving along in a car one day she thought she saw the palette in a shop together with the figures of two women, illuminated both by the interior lights of the shop and by the sun passing through the glass of the window. The reflection of a traffic light in the shop window confirms that she saw the scene from the outside.

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Helen Lessore, Motesiczky’s London dealer in the early 1960s, closed down her gallery in 1965. To select works for the final exhibition at the Beaux Arts Gallery she visited Motesiczky’s studio: ‘of all the pictures she really only liked the last picture (at the chemist) – she was totally enthralled by it, I am not to touch it any more.’1 Together with At the Dressmaker’s, 1930 (no. 35), the painting was shown under a title that added an element of surprise and coincidence to the scene, Chemist from the window of a car. Several critics have detected ‘something enigmatic, mysterious … something fateful’ which in the painting is translated into ‘a sort of expressionist surrealism’.2 They seized on the painting’s origins in dreams, subjectivity and the subconscious and suspected a ‘latent psychosexual symbolism’.3 The suspected hidden layer of meaning in the painting has so far not been explained.

notes 1 ‘wirklich gefallen von den Bildern hat ihr nur das letzte Bild (beim chemist) – davon war sie ganz entzückt ich soll nicht mehr daran rühren.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 30 April 1964: Motesiczky archive. 2 ‘etwas Hintergründiges, Mystisches … etwas Schicksalhaftes’, ‘eine Art expressionistischen Surrealismus’: Helfgott 1966. 3 ‘latente psychosexuelle Symbolik’: PlakolmForsthuber 1994, p. 169. exhibitions London 1964, no. 20, shown as Chemist from the window of a car; Vienna 1966, no. 48, illus. (col.); Linz 1966, no. 48, illus. (col.); Munich 1967, no. 48, illus. (col.); Bremen 1968, no. 48, illus. (col.); London 1985, no. 53, illus. p. 45 (col.); Cambridge 1986, no. 53, illus. p. 45 (col.); Liverpool 2006, no. 62, illus. p. 191 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 62, illus. p. 191 (col.). bibliography Helfgott 1966, n.p.; illus. in Die Kunst und das schöne Heim, vol. 65, no. 15, December 1967, p. 10; Dr. S. 1968, n.p.; Plakolm-Forsthuber 1994, p. 169; Schlenker 2006d, p. 258; Lloyd 2007, p. 259 f.n.

Fig. 150 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, study for Chemist’s Shop, 1964, pastel and black chalk on paper, 204 × 286 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)


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Tunisian Landscape Tunesische Landschaft 1964 Oil on canvas, 530 × 650 mm Private collection, the Netherlands

In May 1964 Motesiczky and her friend Julia Altschulova went on a trip to Tunisia. ‘A relative is excavating there and we want to catch the summer, that you never get here, for two weeks.’1 Jan Willem Salomonson, the Dutch relative, met them at the airport and took them for five days to the famous village of Sidi Bou Said on the coast close to Carthage, where they stayed in a villa. Motesiczky described the place as a ‘beautiful little village with an (awfully expensive) hotel (former Arab palace) wonderful view over the bay – high up – you have to climb down a long way to swim in the bay – gardens, lemons, oranges (unknown flowers!) And a little coffee house where you drink coffee lying down – a Tyrolian village Arabic style, very exotic.’2 The village was not far from Tunis, so that the artist and her friend could visit the town’s museums and go shopping. Back home in London, with her memories still fresh, Motesiczky started working on the painting. On 30 June she reported to Elias Canetti: ‘I have made a little Tunis landscape – well, it is not quite finished – one part I don’t seem to get right. I want to try to not stop completely what with “mother service” and cooking’.3 The light, airy and colourful work seems to distil the artist’s impressions of her recent holiday in the sun. The raised vantage point of a terrace allows a view over the Bay of Tunis. Beyond the bright blue sea, the Bou Kornine mountains can be made out in the distance. The terrace with its set of table, chairs and umbrella is surrounded by a mass of exotic flowers and vegetation, some presumably invented, that had left a lasting impression on the artist, who was not a keen gardener. Two children, insubstantial and ghostly, are seen climbing up to the terrace, perhaps returning from the beach down below. Elias Canetti particularly liked and praised the painting, because it showed a landscape, rare among Motesiczky’s works.4

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sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 1 October 1967: ‘Es freut mich auch, dass der Busch [Günter Busch] die “Tunesische Landschaft” mochte, die ich sehr gern habe, überhaupt, dass er den Nachdruck auf Landschaften legt. Denn darin bist Du nicht genug ermutigt worden, vielleicht hast Du auch nicht genug darin gemacht. Ist das eine Freude, ich bin überglücklich!’ notes 1 ‘Ein Verwandter macht dort Ausgrabungen und wir wollen uns 14 Tage den Sommer holen den man hier doch nie bekommt.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Maryla Reifenberg, 8 May 1964: Deutsches Literaturarchiv, Marbach, Estate Benno Reifenberg. 2 ‘wunderhübsches kleines Dorf mit einem (sauteuren) Hotel (ehemaliger arabischer Palast) herrliche Aussicht in die Bucht – hochgelegen – man muss tief hinunter steigen um in der Bucht zu baden – Gärten, Zitronen Orangen (unbekannte Blumen!) Und ein kleines Caféhaus wo man liegend den Café trinkt – ein Tiroler Dorf halt auf Arabisch, sehr exotisch.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Henriette von Motesiczky, 15 May 1964: Motesiczky archive. 3 ‘Ich habe eine kleine Tunis Landschaft gemacht – das heisst sie ist noch nicht fertig – mit einem Teil komme ich ewig nicht zurecht. Ich will versuchen trotz “Mutterdienst” und kochen nicht ganz aufzuhören’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 30 June 1964: Motesiczky archive. 4 Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 1 October 1967: Motesiczky archive. provenance Artist; Louise Rupé (purchased at 1967 exhibition); Karin and Jan Willem Salomonson (inherited). exhibitions Vienna 1966, no. 49; Linz 1966, no. 49; Munich 1967, no. 49; Bremen 1968, no. 49; Vienna 1994, no. 39, illus. (col.). bibliography Hodin 1966, illus. p. 48; Black 1994, p. 9; Vorderwülbecke 1999, p. 42, illus. p. 97.


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Two Women on a Ship Early 1960s Oil on canvas, 405 × 305 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

In this charming conversation piece two women are seated in high-backed, red armchairs, with a low table and an arrangement of fruit in front of them. The scene takes place on board a ship, as indicated by the large porthole that elegantly frames the couple. Through it can be glimpsed a calm, light blue sea and a sky shot through with orange and red clouds, suggesting a sunset. The women are probably travelling companions. Despite appearing tired, they seem to know each other well enough to feel at ease even when not engaged in conversation. They are, however, strikingly different in their appearance. The blonde, blue-eyed woman on the left wears matching light clothes of orange and yellow, and her dark-eyed companion is dressed in a dark blue robe whose colour is reflected in her shiny black hair. The painting is closely based on a preparatory drawing (fig. 151) that was probably made on board the ship. In the sketch, some details are more clearly defined – for example the fruit on the table – while others, including the trailing light blue shawl of the darker woman, were eventually omitted in the painting. The exact date of the painting is unknown, yet several facts suggest that it was painted in the early 1960s. The women’s no doubt fashionable contemporary hairstyle fits this period. In a 1963 letter to Elias Canetti, Motesiczky enthused about her wish to paint the wonderful people she saw on board a ship and wished Iris Murdoch, whose portrait she would complete the following year, had been sitting there.1 Indeed, the face of the woman on the left resembles Iris Murdoch’s soft features which Motesiczky had been studying intently (see Iris Murdoch, 1964, no. 193). note 1 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 6 November 1963: Motesiczky archive. bibliography Michel 2003, p. 82, illus. Abb. 128 (col.) (Zwei Mädchen am Meer, c. 1965).

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Fig. 151 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, study for Two Women on a Ship, early 1960s, charcoal and pastel on paper, 225 × 200 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)


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Portrait, American Model 1965 Oil on canvas, 1829 × 914 mm Destroyed

This portrait was destroyed in a house fire in April 2003, and only a black-and-white photograph in the artist’s estate gives clues to its content. Executed in an unusually extended format, it accommodates a seated, threequarter-length portrait of a female model, the American teenager Andrea Denbeaux, who was born in 1947 and is now a lawyer in New York. With her parents Jane and Fred Denbeaux she had been living in London, at an address very close to Chesterford Gardens, from January to May 1965. As the sitter later recalled, a mutual friend, Lisl Schwartz, had made the initial contact. On meeting the Denbeaux family, Motesiczky enquired if the daughter would sit for her portrait. Andrea Denbeaux accepted, thinking it was a great honour and thus went to the artist’s studio in April 1965 every morning for about three weeks and on each visit sat for several hours.1 In her portrait Andrea Denbeaux is wearing a knee-length sleeveless dress in a light colour that contrasts with her short dark hair through which a large earring can be glimpsed. Her left hand lies in her lap while her right elbow rests on the arm of the chair and her right hand is raised to her chin. An unidentified musical instrument stands by the model’s side in the foreground and behind the chair a vase holds an arrangement of large white flowers. In the top left corner the outlines of a head with a cap are faintly visible, presumably a sketchy representation of the artist’s mother.2 Judging by the photograph, Motesiczky must have altered the position of the little finger of the sitter’s right hand. It is now shown bent like the others yet appears originally to have been straight.

sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Jane Denbeaux to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 20 June [1970s]: ‘I must thank you again for your wonderful offer of Drea’s portrait some day. I can’t tell you how much it would mean to us. It is a fine picture and moves me very much – it is Andrea. And I miss her when she is away.’ Jane Denbeaux to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 15 October 1976: ‘I was so appreciative of your letter, your kind welcome to my children and your willingness to let us have your picture for such a moderate sum £ 500! I am sure you could get much more for it – but we are so happy to have it! Mark has gathered the money and is ready to send you a cheque as soon as you are ready. He says that you had a little finishing to do on the picture. He also says that you will arrange for the shipping, insurance, etc. Would you tell us the cost of this as well? We would be so delighted to have the picture for Christmas if it would be possible … Once our picture is hanging over our fireplace, I hope you will pay us a visit to see it!’ Jane Denbeaux to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 22 January 1977: ‘We look forward to the picture as soon as you can send it. Drea keeps asking me about it. We are all so excited at the prospect of having it.’ Jane Denbeaux to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 27 March 1977: ‘We were so glad to get the good news that the picture is ready and perhaps on its way … You have no idea how anxious I am to see the painting again … make the living room ready for its crowning glory. I’ll send you a picture of the wall when it is hung upon it.’ notes 1 Andrea Moran to Ines Schlenker (e-mail), 10 March 2004: Motesiczky archive. 2 Telephone conversation with Mark Denbeaux, 2 September 2002. provenance Artist; Jane and Fred Denbeaux (purchased late 1970s).

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Canetti, London 1965 Oil on canvas, 304 × 253 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

In the early 1960s the nature of the close friendship between Motesiczky and the author Elias Canetti was radically altered. After Veza Canetti’s death in 1963 the artist harboured hopes of marrying the writer. Yet no such offer was forthcoming although their domestic arrangements somewhat resembled a marriage. As well as taking meals with the artist, Canetti would often work in his room in Motesiczky’s house in Chesterford Gardens. This intimate, small-scale work has the immediacy of long familiarity. Canetti probably did not sit for the portrait – something he did not like doing. Motesiczky seems instead to have used a polaroid photograph (fig. 152) to trigger her memory. Canetti, wild-haired and conventionally dressed, is seated at a table, holding a newspaper in his large hands. He is reading with the utmost concentration, as his furrowed forehead suggests, and smoking a cigarette that protrudes from his mouth in a black holder. Motesiczky probably painted this portrait in February 1965. During that month, Canetti visited Braunschweig in Germany, where his Komödie der Eitelkeit was being performed to critical acclaim and public scandal. Overjoyed, he wrote back to London: ‘Muli, I am now really famous in Germany.’1 In two letters he urged the artist to surprise him with a new picture on his return.2 By the end of the month, Canetti was exhausted by the excitement and pressures of the trip and longed to be back in peaceful Hampstead where he could think and write undisturbed and enjoy Motesiczky’s new paintings. The extremely small scale of the work and its sketchy, almost hasty style indicate that it could indeed have been carried out rather quickly, in anticipation of Canetti’s return. In 1994 Motesiczky was in touch with Carl Hanser Verlag, the publishing house in Munich, which was thinking of using Canetti, London for a publication. She describes the portrait as ‘a sketch which I made in London

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in my studio. It is a very good likeness … especially the firm glance and his age is captured in a few strokes … The colourful thing [in the background] is reminiscent of a globe. That suits Canetti.’3 notes 1 ‘Muli, in Deutschland bin ich jetzt wirklich berühmt.’: Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 10 February 1965: Motesiczky archive. 2 Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 5 and 12 February 1965: Motesiczky archive. 3 ‘einer Skizze die ich in London in meinem Atelier machte. Sie ist sehr ähnlich … gerade der feste Blick und das Alter ist in wenigen Strichen festgehalten … Das bunte Ding erinnert an einen Globus. Das passt zu Canetti.’: MarieLouise von Motesiczky to Herr Arnold, 12 December 1994: archive of Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich. exhibitions Marbach 1998, section 5 exhibit 19, illus. p. 157 (col.), shown as Porträt Elias Canetti, 1950s; Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 63, illus. p. 193 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 63, illus. p. 193 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 63, illus. p. 193 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 63, illus. p. 193 (col.). bibliography Wachinger 2005, illus. p. 94; Schlenker 2006c, p. 192.

Fig. 152 Elias Canetti reading a newspaper, polaroid photograph, 1960s (Motesiczky archive)


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Dog with Flowers Hund mit Blumen 1965 Oil on canvas, 455 × 306 mm Private collection, London

While the various Motesiczky dogs are crucial accessories in many portraits of the artist’s mother, this is one of a few examples in which a pet animal takes pride of place (others are Dog with Flowers, no. 130, and Wenki, no. 126, both 1954). This charming painting is in fact a portrait of the Italian greyhound Bubi (also called Wixi) who joined the Motesiczky family in 1960 and died in 1973. The scene probably takes place in the artist’s dining room, lit by daylight coming through French windows to the left of the picture. Drawing his slender, fawn body up to full height – a pose he could not have held for very long – Bubi gazes at a potted African violet, placed on a set of library

Fig. 153 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, undated sketch, charcoal, watercolour and pastel on paper, 290 × 228 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

steps, which echo the shape created by the light, streaming in through the near windows, on the wooden cover of the radiator in the background. An oval silver dish corresponds to the plate protecting the flower stand from water stains. In the overall muddy colour scheme of the picture, the bright purple of the flowers provides a colourful highlight that illuminates the composition. Motesiczky gave the painting to the mother of the current owner, Charlotte Bondy, a fellow emigrant and friend who regularly looked after the Motesiczky dogs, for her help with the memorial book for Henriette von Motesiczky which the artist compiled for friends and relatives.

provenance Artist; Charlotte Bondy (gift early 1980s); Jo Bondy (inherited). exhibition London 1985, no. 55, illus. p. 46 (col.). bibliography Adler 1994, pp. 17 f.; Tate Gallery, 1996, p. 504.

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Self-portrait with Pears Selbstporträt mit Birnen 1965 Oil on canvas, 615 × 465 mm Signed (bottom right): M.M. 1965. Lentos Kunstmuseum, Linz (298)

As in a number of other self-portraits Motesiczky employs a mirror as the key to the painting. The square hand mirror, propped up on a table, dominates the composition. It shows the reflection of the artist’s face, her head gently supported by her hand, which resembles a photograph in a frame, like those depicted in a number of other paintings (see for example Still-life with Photo, 1930, no. 34, and Baron Schey at the Races, 1989, no. 298). The self-portrait is therefore imbued with the tranquillity and immobility of a still-life. Two ripe green pears, perhaps symbols of the mature age of the artist, are placed in front of the mirror on a sheet of paper on which a drawing seems to have been begun. Motesiczky does not depict herself with the tools of her artistic profession but focuses on herself as a woman growing older. It has been claimed that, throughout her life, Motesiczky was the personification of female vanity.1 While a certain element of vanity might arguably be detected in some earlier self-portraits, it is surely absent from this image of the grey-haired artist, aged 59. As if aware of her advancing age and the loss of youthful beauty, Motesiczky introspectively and reflectively stares at the naked truth of the mirror image in an on-going process of self-examination. Benno Reifenberg called this moving work ‘a painting of the simplest but not the easiest of experiences’.2 It seems in fact to bear a universal meaning since the mirror is placed in such a way that the reflection might be of the viewer him/herself. In an interview in the mid-1980s the artist described how an unsuccessful abandoned

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self-portrait provided the inspiration for this work: ‘When I painted this there was a moment – it was during a bungled self-portrait – when I had these tones already, when I had the underpainting. And like a grand master in one hour I was able to paint the essentials on the right ground, because it already had the right ground. I had been thinking about this selfportrait for a long time and then I thought: now I will try my luck, and I got it.’3 Motesiczky subsequently gave Self-portrait with Pears to Elias Canetti as a present. She felt, however, that he did not quite understand it, finding it too pleasing. Henriette von Motesiczky, who liked it, complained: ‘whenever there is something beautiful, Canetti gets it’.4 sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Daniele Grassi, typescript, c. 1986, p. 7: ‘Im “Selbstporträt mit Birnen” von 1965 ist das Einwirken der Zeit auf Dein Gesicht im Spiegel reflektiert, also meditiert und den beiden Birnen wird, mehr als Deinem Gesicht, die Botschaft der Reife anvertraut.’ notes 1 Dollen 2000, p. 187. 2 ‘ein Bild der einfachsten aber nicht der leichtesten Erfahrungen’: Reifenberg 1966a, n.p. 3 ‘Wie ich das gemalt hab’, da hab’ ich einen Moment gehabt – es war bei einem verpatzten Selbstportrait –, da hatte ich diese Töne schon, da hatte ich die Untermalung. Und ich konnte wie ein großer Meister auf dem richtigen Grund das Wesentliche in einer Stunde malen, eben weil es schon den richtigen Grund gehabt hat. Bei diesem Selbstportrait war es so, daß mich das lang beschäftigt hat, und dann hab’ ich gedacht: Jetzt versuch’ ich mein Glück, und ich hab’s gehabt.’: Gaisbauer/Janisch 1992, p. 174. 4 ‘immer wenn’s was Schönes gibt, dann kriegt’s der Canetti’: Menschenbilder, Ö1, 23 February 1986.

provenance Artist; Elias Canetti (gift 1965/6); Neue Galerie der Stadt Linz, now Lentos Kunstmuseum (purchased 1966). exhibitions Vienna 1966, no. 51, illus.; Linz 1966, no. 51, illus., also exh. poster; Munich 1967, no. 51, illus.; Bremen 1968, no. 51, illus.; London 1985, no. 56, illus. p. 83; Vienna 1994, no. 40, illus. (col.); Liverpool 2006, no. 64, illus. p. 211 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 64, illus. p. 211 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 64, illus. p. 211 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 64, illus. p. 211 (col.). bibliography Hodin 1966, illus. p. 49; Kraft 1966, n.p.; Pack 1966, n.p.; Reifenberg 1966a, n.p.; Reifenberg 1966b, illus. p. 17; Spiel 1966, n.p.; M.B. 1967, n.p., illus. n.p.; Albrecht 1968, n.p.; Dr. S. 1968, n.p.; Taylor 1985, n.p.; Gaisbauer 1986, n.p., illus. n.p.; Gaisbauer/Janisch 1992, pp. 173 f.; Black 1994, pp. 9 f.; Kruntorad 1994, n.p.; Plakolm-Forsthuber 1994, p. 166; Anonymous [Jeremy Adler] 1996, n.p.; Black 1997, p. 993; Borzello 1998, p. 139, illus. p. 141 (col.); Vorderwülbecke 1999, pp. 38, 54 f.n., illus. p. 87; Dollen 2000, p. 187, illus. on the dust jacket and frontispiece on p. 2 (both col.); Phillips 2001, p. 33; Michel 2003, p. 60, illus. Abb. 87 (col.); Schlenker 2005, p. 134; Black 2006, p. 57; R. Gries 2006, n.p.; Kneller 2006, illus. n.p. (detail, col.); Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, exh. booklet 2006, n.p.; Schlenker 2006b, pp. 202, 205; Schlenker 2006c, p. 210; Schlenker 2006d, p. 259; Lloyd 2007, p. 177; Michel 2007, illus. p. 119 (col.).


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Miriam 1965 Oil on canvas, 860 × 1115 mm Signed (bottom right): M.M. 1965. Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

The full name of the red-haired model Miriam, proud and beautiful, reclining on a chaise longue, is unknown. Scantily clad in a short skirt and bra, she is resting her head in her hand and gazing into the distance. An empty chessboard is in front of her, and behind her a television set projects mysterious reflections into the room. Motesiczky must have been fascinated by new technology for she possessed television sets early on. An invoice in the estate archive dated 5 December 1957 states that she bought a Philips Television Receiver, probably her first television set. On 23 December 1964 she purchased a ‘KB 003 UHF television portable receiver’ which, judging by the relatively small size of the set in the painting, may be the one depicted here. When, in May 1965, Motesiczky stayed with her cousin Sophie Brentano in Blonay, Switzerland, Elias Canetti wrote to her of his recent visit to her studio and his appreciation of the works he had seen: ‘I again went to see the picture in your studio, it is beautiful. (also, that with the reclining girl in front of the television set I like extremely well. The studio really looked like something when I came in).’1 At the painting’s first exhibition in Vienna in 1966, it was praised for its ‘gripping immediacy’ and its ‘downright electrifying élan’. One critic admired the fact that it ‘vibrates with inner

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dynamics and at the same time exudes a fantastic calm’.2 Another critic, however, pointed out that the portrait merely reflected Max Beckmann’s precision, albeit in a different range of colours.3 Two years later, a reviewer introduced a more philosophical aspect into the debate. Commenting on the fact that the television set had replaced the mirror in the paintings, he stated regretfully: ‘Before the “magic box” there were other means of invocation (of boredom, the fear of loneliness and the secret dread of life, of day-to-day existence).’4 notes 1 ‘Ich war mir wieder das Bild bei Dir im Atelier anschauen, es ist wunderschön. (auch das mit dem liegenden Mädchen vor dem Television-Apparat gefällt mir ausgezeichnet. Das Atelier sah wirklich nach was aus, beim Hereinkommen).’: Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 18 May 1965: Motesiczky archive. 2 ‘packende Unmittelbarkeit … geradezu elektrisierenden Elan … vibriert von innerer Dynamik und strömt zugleich phantastische Ruhe aus’: Vogel 1966b. 3 Muschik 1966. 4 ‘Vor der “Zauberröhre” gab es andere Mittel zur Beschwörung (der Langenweile, der Furcht vor Einsamkeit und dem heimlichen Schauder vor dem Leben, dem Alltag).’: Dr. S. 1968. exhibitions Vienna 1966, no. 50, illus.; Linz 1966, no. 50, illus.; Munich 1967, no. 50, illus.; Bremen 1968, no. 50, illus. bibliography Muschik 1966, n.p.; Pack 1966, n.p.; Vogel 1966b, n.p.; Dr. S. 1968, n.p.; Lloyd 2007, p. 178.


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The Short Trip Die kurze Fahrt 1965 Oil on canvas, 882 × 1271 mm Signed (bottom right): M.M.1966 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

When the artist’s mother, Henriette von Motesiczky, was no longer able to drive an ordinary car, she switched to small, sometimes three-wheeled, electric vehicles to retain her mobility and independence (fig. 154). It was probably in the 1940s that she used a black, open ‘Carters’ Electric Carriage. Model G’. On the back of a photograph that shows her sitting in it, she commented: ‘It is a strange substitute for a car, but for me of great importance’.1 A later model she owned was less basic, painted grey and featured a roof, a windscreen and side windows. According to many eyewitnesses, Henriette von Motesiczky used to drive recklessly around Hampstead. Beatrice Owen, who sat for her portrait in 1973, later recalled ‘chasing after the old ladies [sic] electric “car” which she drove with total disregard of Hampstead conditions, to the terror of neighbours, dogs & nannies’.2 In a style that a contemporary critic labelled ‘related to naïve painting’,3 Motesiczky recreates what must be considered a dream scene in a real setting, the artist’s Hampstead garden. On a strip of lawn, Henriette von Motesiczky is going on a short trip in her invalid’s car, which the artist depicts as possessing a full set of four wheels. The ageing driver seems to take unusual care while crossing the garden – perhaps this prudence is wishful thinking on her daughter’s part or is due to the intervention of the ghostly white figure behind the car who can be identified as the artist herself. Waving what looks like a lighted stick resembling a magic wand (but which may in fact be an ordinary twig lined up in front of the setting sun), the artist appears to be casting a spell to ensure her mother’s safe driving. In a drawing (fig. 156) related to this painting, the artist is seen running alongside her mother’s cart, hurrying along the dog who is in charge of pulling it (two seagulls accompany the procession). The painting shows a less active Motesiczky, still watching over her mother aiming for a figure on the other side of the lawn who is wearing sandals, a green frock and 350

Fig. 154 Henriette von Motesiczky in her invalid car with Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, photograph, undated (Motesiczky archive)

cap, has shoulder-length blonde hair and wields a brush, apparently in the process of painting. The figure in fact represents Irma Simon, a relative and close friend of the artist and the widow of Heinrich Simon, the former editor-in-chief of the Frankfurter Zeitung. In 1920, she had introduced Max Beckmann to the young Marie-Louise. By the 1960s she lived in the USA and had just come over for a visit to Chesterford Gardens. The mother’s pet dog, the Italian greyhound Bubi, which would usually sit on her lap in the car, is relieved of the task of pulling the vehicle and instead runs or rather flies ahead. From its elevated position on the garden wall, a stone figure playing a cello is watching the scene (fig. 155). Motesiczky had purchased such a stone sculpture, the ‘Stone Dwarf (Chinaman)’, in July 1962 at Syon Lodge, Isleworth, to decorate her garden. Both the artist’s father and her brother had played the cello and the figure may have constituted a

Fig. 155 Stone figure playing cello, installed on a wall in the garden, Chesterford Gardens, photograph (Motesiczky archive)


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Fig. 156 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Henriette in Dog Cart with Marie-Louise Running Alongside, undated, charcoal, black chalk and pastel on paper, 319 × 510 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

visible memorial to them. In 1963 Elias Canetti expressed his longing for his room in the Motesiczky house, overlooking the garden: ‘I find myself thinking of my room … where outside the poplars dance softly for me. I am also missing the little musician in the garden and especially the smell of painting.’4 The painting seems not to have been among Canetti’s favourites. Yet, seeing it in the Munich exhibition in 1967, he conceded: ‘Incidentally, the “last trip” is hung well, and all of a sudden I liked it again’.5 The painting is usually dated 1965 and was assigned to that date in the exhibition catalogue of 1966. That fact that, in the bottom right corner of the composition, Motesiczky put ‘1966’ probably indicates only that she signed and dated the work several years after it had been created, not unusual for the artist, as she could not recall the exact year of execution.

notes 1 ‘Es ist ein komischer Autoersatz, aber für mich von grosser Wichtigkeit’: Motesiczky archive. 2 Beatrice Owen to Jill Lloyd, 21 July 2000 (original in capitals): Motesiczky archive. 3 ‘naiver Malerei verwandten’: Albrecht 1968. 4 ‘ertappe ich mich doch dabei, wie ich an mein Zimmer … denke, wo die Pappeln draussen leise für mich tanzen. Auch der kleine Musikant im Garten geht mir ab und besonders der Geruch des Malens.’: Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 6 September 1963: Motesiczky archive. 5 ‘Übrigens hängt die “letzte Fahrt” hier gut, sie hat mir plötzlich wieder gefallen’: Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 31 October 1967: Motesiczky archive. exhibitions Vienna 1966, no. 52, illus.; Linz 1966, no. 52, illus.; Munich 1967, no. 52, illus.; Bremen 1968, no. 52, illus.; Liverpool 2006, no. 65, illus. p. 213 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 65, illus. p. 213 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 65, illus. p. 213 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 65, illus. p. 213 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 65, illus. p. 213 (col.).

Fig. 157 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, study for The Short Trip, 1965, watercolour, charcoal and pastel on paper, 180 × 270 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

bibliography Spiel 1966, n.p.; Albrecht 1968, n.p.; Calvocoressi 1985, p. 63, illus. p. 63; Cohen 1994, p. 94; Anonymous 1996b, n.p.; Cohen 1996a, n.p.; Tate Gallery, 1996, p. 504; Smithson 1999, n.p.; Mirror Mirror, exh. cat. 2001, p. 92; Schlenker 2006c, p. 212; Sternburg 2006, n.p.

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Kees Leembruggen 1966 Oil on canvas, 816 × 618 mm Signed (centre left): M.M. 1966. Private collection, The Hague

Kees Leembruggen (fig. 159), a cousin of Motesiczky from the Dutch side of the family, was born Cornelis Giovanni Leembruggen in 1904 in Hinterbrühl, the Motesiczkys’ summer residence outside Vienna. A strong friendship between the cousins of almost identical age existed throughout their lives, leading Kees Leembruggen’s sister Sophie to suggest ‘that there is hardly a human being he likes as much as her’.1 Throughout their youth, the cousins saw each other frequently, sometimes going on holiday together. They explored Spain in the late 1920s and enjoyed a skiing trip in early 1939. By then Motesiczky had already lived in the Netherlands for several months, after leaving Austria in the spring of 1938. Straight after the war, in December 1945, Leembruggen, who was a great chess player, possibly among the ten or twenty best players in the Netherlands at the time, took part in a chess tournament in Hastings, visiting the Motesiczkys en route.

In an interview given in 2000, Philip Leembruggen described his father Kees as a dreamer and a thinker, quiet and introverted and not much inclined to talking. According to his son, Kees Leembruggen should have been a lawyer instead of the manager of the woollen factory in Leiden that had been in the family for generations. The portrait was commissioned for the 200th anniversary of the factory in 1966, when the employees wanted to give a present to Kees Leembruggen. According to his son, Kees Leembruggen considered Motesiczky to be a talented painter and a great artist but one who could have made more of herself, and it seems likely that he himself chose his cousin to paint his portrait. During the sittings, which took place in London and the Netherlands, several sketches were made. While most try to capture the sitter’s features in a rudimentary manner, one in particular stands out as presenting Kees Leembruggen in the pose that was later chosen for the oil painting (fig. 158). Motesiczky depicted her cousin in a halflength portrait that combines his official position as factory manager with a slightly more relaxed leisurely yet appropriate pastime, smoking. Seated at a table in front of a bright yellow wall, Leembruggen is dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and striped tie and rests his elbow on the table top next to a piece of paper. His raised right hand holds a cigar, while his left hand is hidden under the table. The sitter’s balding head is characterized by thick blackrimmed glasses through which he calmly watches the viewer. According to Philip Leembruggen, Motesiczky had trouble with the mouth, re-painting it several times. The sitter’s wife, as well as the rest of the family, did not particularly like the portrait for the rather too severe personality it conveyed. The portrait was officially handed over to Kees Leembruggen at the ceremony to celebrate the factory’s anniversary (figs 160 and 161).

Fig. 159 Kees Leembruggen, photograph, 1930s (Motesiczky archive)

Fig. 158 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, sketch, 1966, graphite on paper, 290 × 230 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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Fig. 160 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky with the portrait of Kees Leembruggen, photograph, 1966 (Motesiczky archive)

In October 1967, the portrait was shown at the artist’s solo exhibition at the Galerie Günther Franke in Munich. In a letter to her mother, Motesiczky describes how the arrival of the portrait during the hanging process turned out to be good publicity: ‘Yesterday morning hanging, afternoon the press – for me always the most awful thing. A funny stroke of luck: while we were fixing prices the couriers burst into the gallery with the painting of Kees and wanted 7,000 Marks because they had no guarantee that the painting would leave the country again. 7,000 Marks was the sum that the painting was insured for transport in Holland. Then I could say: “yes, that is the sum I received for the painting.” – And in reality I had only received half of that! This really was a good theatrical ruse! The couriers also calmed down, since I assured them that the painting belonged to a factory etc. But with all that the Frankes got the impression that I regularly receive 7,000 Marks for portraits.’2

notes 1 ‘dass es kaum einen Menschen gibt den er so gern hat wie sie’: Sophie Brentano to Henriette von Motesiczky, 24 November 1974: Motesiczky archive. 2 ‘Gestern Vormittag die Hängerei Nachmittag die Presse – was für mich immer das Fürchterlichste. Ein lustiger Glücksfall: mitten in den Preise festsetzen, kamen die Spediteure in die Galerie gestürzt mit dem Bild vom Kees und wollten dass man 7000 Mark erlegt weil sie keine Garantie hatten dass das Bild wieder aus dem Land geht. 7000 Mark war nämlich die Summe für die das Bild in Holland für den Transport versichert war. Da konnte ich sagen: “ja das ist die Summe die ich für das Bild bekommen habe.” – Und in Wirklichkeit hab ich doch nur die Hälfte bekommen! Das war wirklich ein guter Theater Trick! Die Spediteure beruhigten sich auch, denn ich versicherte dass das Bild einer Fabrik gehört u.s.w. Aber die Frankes bekamen dadurch den Eindruck dass ich eben für Portäts 7000 Mark bekomme.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Henriette von Motesiczky, 4 October [1967]: Motesiczky archive. provenance Artist; Kees Leembruggen (for whom purchased 1966); Philip Leembruggen (inherited). exhibition Munich 1967, no. 54 (ex catalogue), shown as Porträt Kees Leembruggen.

Fig. 161 Presentation of the portrait to the sitter during the anniversary celebration in the Stadsgehoorzaal in Leiden, 1966, photograph (Motesiczky archive)

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Still-life with Cyclamen Stilleben mit Cyclamen 1967 Oil on canvas, 358 × 454 mm Signed (top right): M.M.67. Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Before the sombre background of a darkened room two candles burn brightly, illuminating a small round table in the foreground. On top of it is a vase of pink cyclamen, while a postcard showing snow-covered mountains is propped up against the candles. Along the right edge of the picture, Motesiczky sketchily included an African sculpture. The original wooden figure from the artist’s collection, 48 cm high, seems to be scaled up and is not easily recognizable. Its face, however, with its marked widow’s peak, is distinct. It has been suggested that the sculpture might be a staff-head from the Wodabe tribe, nomadic herdsmen who farmed the southern Sahara. The linguist, a senior tribal figure, would carry a staff when attending the ritual dances during which the young tribesmen try to attract prospective brides. The staff-heads could also double as incense

burners, the open mouth of the sculpture being used to expel the aroma of burned dried dung from within the body of the carved head. The presence of the African sculpture creates a slightly sinister atmosphere which is further enhanced by the last item on the table: a smallish grey rat. The only other rat in Motesiczky’s oeuvre appears in Nude with a Rat and Books (no. 246) of around the same time, where it could be interpreted as representing Elias Canetti. In the context of this still-life, no satisfactory explanation for the rat has been found. A black-and-white photograph in the artist’s archive shows an earlier stage of the painting, in which an unidentified egg-shaped object sits next to the rat. At a later date and for unknown reasons, Motesiczky overpainted this mysterious object (and probably also added the signature).

Since cyclamen flower in late summer or autumn, it is fair to assume that the painting was created only a short while before its first public showing. Like the other paintings of 1967 that were exhibited ‘ex catalogue’ at Motesiczky’s solo exhibition at the Galerie Günther Franke in Munich in the autumn of that year (Orchid and Clay Figure, no. 212; The Hour, no. 211; Fiesta, no. 207; Henriette von Motesiczky with Dog and Flowers, no. 213) Still-life with Cyclamen has a very simple grey frame, possibly homemade and produced in a hurry to enable the paintings to be shown at such short notice. exhibition Munich 1967, no. 53 (ex catalogue).

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Fiesta 1967 Oil on canvas, 759 × 653 mm Signed (top right): M.M.67. Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

After a trip to Spain in summer 1966 Motesiczky started on this depiction of the festivities she witnessed there. On 27 April 1967 she noted in her diary the imminent completion of Fiesta and her doubts about its success: ‘Today I want to finish the picture of the Spanish dancer. Will it really work – as Pio [Elias Canetti] thinks? Or does he only want to encourage me?? Parts are good – parts small, dull, dirty’.1 Despite the artist’s doubts, on completion, the painting was immediately included in her Munich exhibition that autumn. In the picture, celebrations at a Spanish party or public holiday are in full swing. A figure clad in a white flowing top and blue trousers with matching decoration dances centre-stage. At first glance it is impossible to determine the gender of the dancer. On the one hand, the exaggerated black stubble on the white make-up appears to be painted on, suggesting a female dancer. On the other hand, Motesiczky refered to the dancer as male (Tänzer) – she probably would have used the female version (Tänzerin) if she had actually depicted a woman. Surrounding the dancer are several individuals and groups of people, some watching the performance, others taking part. On the left, a dwarf, wielding a sword, moves awkwardly to the music. Behind him sits a mother with a naked infant on her lap. The pair, enveloped by an aura of sadness, are curiously reminiscent of another common subject in art, the Madonna and Child. On the right, a group of children are huddled together.

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One little girl, clutching her doll, shies away from the dancer, apparently afraid. A slightly older, blonde girl protectively shields her from the frightening sight. Behind the group, another young dancer, grimacing, waves a large wooden fork. At the back, a musician appears to be playing the harp. At odds with the apparently joyous occasion, the picture seems to portray a gloomy atmosphere. Although it is difficult to interpret and make sense of the individual scenes, the inherent danger, subtle threat and indefinable sinister undertones of the painting are inexplicably palpable. Like the other paintings of 1967 that were exhibited ‘ex catalogue’ at Motesiczky’s solo exhibition at the Galerie Günther Franke in Munich in the autumn of that year (Orchid and Clay Figure, no. 212; The Hour, no. 211; Henriette von Motesiczky with Dog and Flowers, no. 213; Still-life with Cyclamen, no. 206) Fiesta has a very simple grey frame, possibly homemade and produced in a hurry to enable the paintings to be shown at such short notice. note 1 ‘Heute will ich das Sp. Tänzer Bild fertig machen. Ob’s wirklich was ist – so wie Pio meint? Oder will er mich nur ermutigen?? Stellen sind gut – Stellen klein Trüb schmutzig’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 27 April 1967: Motesiczky archive. exhibition Munich 1967, no. 57 (ex catalogue). bibliography Vorderwülbecke 1999, p. 42, illus. p. 98.


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Fiesta 2

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Fiesta 3

1967

1967

Oil on canvas, 1016 × 710 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Oil on canvas, 913 × 711 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Fiesta 2 is an unfinished, probably earlier version of Fiesta, 1967 (no. 207). A trip to Spain in summer 1966 must have inspired Motesiczky to re-create the celebrations at a Spanish party or public holiday she attended. Although the painting was abandoned in an, in places, unfinished state, it gives a closer view of the dancer, who is now placed in a more prominent position. He is looking towards a group of people to his left, which perhaps includes a self-portrait of the artist in their midst.

Like Fiesta 2 (no. 208), Fiesta 3 is an unfinished variation of Fiesta, 1967 (no. 207). It was probably inspired by Motesiczky’s trip to Spain in summer 1966, where she must have seen similar scenes at a Spanish party or public holiday. More experimental and sketchy than the finished version, Fiesta 3 demonstrates that Motesiczky had already arrived at the composition she retained in the final painting. The central dancer, the group of children, the dwarf and the mother and child are already present in the composition.

Fig. 162 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, study for Fiesta, 1967, charcoal, watercolour and pastel on paper, 210 × 157 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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Swimming Pool Schwimmbad vor dem Meer 1967 Oil on canvas, 767 × 1271 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

A trip to Spain in the summer of 1966 gave Motesiczky inspiration for this unusual painting. She started on it back home in London, using photographs she had taken of the pool (fig. 163). On 23 February 1967, right in the middle of the work, she noted in her diary her doubts about the painting’s success: ‘Will the bathing picture work?’1 A few days later she was more optimistic yet wondered if her energy would last: ‘I think the bathing picture will work – would be great! Now I should start another one – yes – mother takes away a lot of strength and I haven’t got it – not enough for work + mother’.2 By the middle of March Swimming Pool seems to have been finished: ‘The bathing picture has come out quite well. I think Pio [Elias Canetti] likes it although you never really know!’3 The composition imitates the photographs which show an empty swimming pool in front of the sea on a cloudy day. Motesiczky adopts the same view, which includes one corner of the pool, and several of the details such as the bushy trees and the sunshades with their straw roofs. The picture plane in the painting is divided horizontally into two equal halves by the edge of the pool. In comparison with the photographs Motesiczky completely altered the mood of the scene. Instead of the sombre grey reflection of undisturbed water, her swimming

pool is densely populated with gently comic figures, almost caricatures, of all shapes and sizes (figs 164, 165 and 166). Some naked or only half-dressed, they are swimming, diving, playing or wallowing in the water. The young woman in a blue bathing suit, sitting on the edge of the pool and looking over her shoulder to watch the goings-on, may be the artist herself. Motesiczky, a keen swimmer, produced many, often humorous, drawings (fig. 167) and several paintings of beach and bathing scenes (see for example Beach Scene, early 1970s, no. 247, or Nudes at Hampstead Pond, 1988, no. 291). Swimming Pool is her largest and probably most ambitious picture of this kind. Despite its witty overtones and comparatively mundane character, the painting cannnot hide its association with the idea of a Fountain of Youth, especially that by Lucas Cranach (fig. 168), as the toddler, playing in the grass in the centre of the picture, and the small fountain, bubbling at the edge of the pool, might indicate. Motesiczky once explained that, aware of the British public’s difficulties with the rather serious style of German art of the twentieth century, she attempted to create a more light-hearted composition with Swimming Pool that might be more to the taste of her adopted country.

sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Daniele Grassi, typescript, c. 1986, p. 8: ‘Ich streife hier nur im Vorübergehen ein Bild, das die Welt des Divertissement schildert, nämlich “Im Schwimmbad” von 1967, wo sich alles auf den zwei übereinandergelagerten Ebenen des Schwimmbades und des Meeres abspielt; wo die Natur ebenso humoristisch in die Breite gezogen ist wie die Figuren, die naiv im Wasser planschen – eine sehr moderne Vision in rascher Technik mit den im Genre-Stil hingetupften Gestalten, wie man sie bei manchen primitiven Malern zwischen Siena und Florenz antreffen kann.’ notes 1 ‘Ob das Badebild was wird?’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 23 February 1967: Motesiczky archive. 2 ‘mir scheint das Badebild wird bissel was – wär schön! Jetzt müsst ich noch anderes beginnen – ja – Mutter nimmt sehr viel Kraft und ich hab sie nicht – nicht genug für Arbeit + Mutter’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 4 March 1967: Motesiczky archive. 3 ‘Das Badebild ist bisschen was geworden. Ich glaube es gefällt Pio obwohl man’s ja nie wirklich weiss!’: MarieLouise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 19 March 1967: Motesiczky archive. exhibitions London 1985, no. 57, illus. p. 48 (col.); Cambridge 1986, no. 57, illus. p. 48 (col.); Vienna 1994, no. 41, illus. (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 69, illus. p. 219 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 69, illus. p. 219 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 69, illus. p. 219 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 69, illus. p. 219 (col.). bibliography Calvocoressi 1985, p. 63; Cohen 1996c, illus. p. 62; Fallon 1996, illus. n.p.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 218.

Fig. 163 Swimming pool, Spain, photographs, 1966 (Motesiczky archive)

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Fig. 164 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, sketch, c. 1967, ballpoint pen on paper, 124 × 176 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

Fig. 165 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, sketch, c. 1967, ballpoint pen on paper, 124 × 176 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

Fig. 166 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, sketch, c. 1967, ballpoint pen on paper, 124 × 176 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

Fig. 167 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Female Swimmer with Fish, undated, brush and ink on paper, 178 × 228 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

Fig. 168 Lucas Cranach the Elder, Der Jungbrunnen, 1546, oil on wood, 1225 × 1865 mm (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Gemäldegalerie)

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The Hour Die Stunde 1967 Oil on canvas, 714 × 917 mm Signed (bottom right): M.M. 67. Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Not unlike Parting, 1957 (no. 149), The Hour depicts an intimate scene between two lovers. While the earlier work has a certain intensity about it, this painting shows the artist’s mellower side. A seated white-haired, middleaged woman, who resembles Motesiczky, looks down on her companion. He is kneeling in front of her, embracing her and resting his head against her bosom. His make-up, costume and cap mark him out as an actor. The couple are surrounded by discarded musical instruments, while a clock shows 10 minutes past 10 o’clock, perhaps suggesting that the evening’s performance has finished. With The Hour, Motesiczky created a melancholy picture of closeness and trust. According to the title, it takes place in a rare or especially treasured moment. A handwritten note indicates that Elias Canetti seems to have thought about alternative titles for The Hour. The suggestions capture different aspects of the painting, or attempt an interpretation:

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The Hour The Silent The Lute Player The Refuge Memory Closeness and Distance The Silent Lute The Unquenchable1 Just after its completion, Motesiczky showed The Hour to Günther Franke who was in the process of hanging her exhibition at his gallery in Munich. She recollects his reaction: ‘Franke happy with the new pictures – approving grunts – especially “The Hour” and “The Way”’.2 The picture was shown in the exhibition but arrived too late to be included in the catalogue. Like the other paintings of 1967 that were exhibited ‘ex catalogue’ at Motesiczky’s solo exhibition at the Galerie Günther Franke in Munich in the autumn of that year (Orchid and Clay Figure, no. 212; Fiesta, no. 207; Henriette von Motesiczky with Dog and Flowers,

no. 213; Still-life with Cyclamen, no. 206), The Hour has a very simple grey frame, possibly homemade and produced in a hurry to enable the paintings to be shown at such short notice. notes 1 Die Stunde Die Verstummten Der Lautenspieler Die Zuflucht Erinnerung Nähe und Ferne Die stumme Laute Das Unstillbare (Motesiczky archive) 2 ‘Franke mit den neuen Bildern zufrieden – beifälliges grunzen – besonders “die Stunde” und “der Weg”’: MarieLouise von Motesiczky to Henriette von Motesiczky, 24 September [1967]: Motesiczky archive. exhibitions Munich 1967, no. 60 (ex catalogue); London 1985, no. 59, illus. p. 84.


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Orchid and Clay Figure Orchidee und Tonfigur 1967 Oil on canvas, 251 × 304 mm Signed (bottom left): M.M.67 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

In this simple juxtaposition of a figurine and a single blossom, Motesiczky again used objects from her immediate surroundings. The small clay figure in indigenous dress, propped up against the wall, was probably brought back from the artist’s trip to Mexico in 1956. During the artist’s lifetime it was displayed on the mantlepiece in the living room. Dominating the composition is a single yellow and lilac orchid. A few blades of grass and little twigs complete the arrangement. While the flower is presented with a pale background, the doll, in contrast, poses before a dark one. This device of dividing the background of a portrait or still-life was repeatedly employed

by Motesiczky (see for example Portrait of a Russian Student, 1927, no. 16). Like the other paintings of 1967 that were exhibited ‘ex catalogue’ at Motesiczky’s solo exhibition at the Galerie Günther Franke in Munich in the autumn of that year (Still-life with Cyclamen, no. 206; The Hour, no. 211; Fiesta, no. 207; Henriette von Motesiczky with Dog and Flowers, no. 213) Orchid and Clay Figure has a very simple grey frame, possibly homemade and produced in a hurry to enable the paintings to be shown at such short notice. exhibition Munich 1967, no. 59 (ex catalogue).

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Henriette von Motesiczky with Dog and Flowers Henriette von Motesiczky mit Hund und Blumen 1967 Oil, pastel and charcoal on canvas, 613 × 763 mm Signed (top right): M.M.67 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Motesiczky’s diary for 1967 contains the following belated entry on 25/6 June: ‘At some point around this time I painted mother with flowers and dog. I think it is good. Pio [Elias Canetti] finds it excellent. But Milein [Cosman] doesn’t like one eye. Mother the nose. Painting portraits is a difficult art! No, I painted mother in July!’1 Henriette von Motesiczky, the artist’s mother, is shown in an everyday, domestic scene that must have been utterly familiar to the artist. On purchasing the house in Chesterford Gardens in 1959, Henriette von Motesiczky had moved in with her daughter who would continue to look after her until her death in 1978, aged 96. Here, the artist’s mother, in her mid-eighties, is still an impressive, though frail figure. Seated at a table decorated with a bunch of pink flowers, Henriette von Motesiczky is dressed in a blue-green coat, perhaps a dressing gown. A blue scarf covers her head. The artist faithfully depicts her mother’s characteristic bulbous nose, disliked by the sitter, and her shiny dark eyes. One eye, however, not quite so successfully rendered, is hidden by the shadow of the nose. On a plate in front of her lies a bun or scone which she is in the process of eating.

Fig. 170 Henriette von Motesiczky at the table with her dog, photograph, late 1960s (Motesiczky archive)

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As if pausing thoughtfully in the middle of her meal, her hand hovers above the plate. Her Italian greyhound Bubi (also called Wixi) has positioned himself at her shoulder, expectantly eyeing the food on the table and waiting for his share. A sketch of Henriette von Motesiczky, seated at a table in the same position, was found among the artist’s drawings (fig. 169). It probably originates from Motesiczky’s preparations for the portrait, but omits the dog and the objects on the table. A photograph in the artist’s estate shows a scene extremely similar to the one in the portrait (fig. 170). Like the other paintings of 1967 that were exhibited ‘ex catalogue’ at Motesiczky’s solo exhibition at the Galerie Günther Franke in Munich in the autumn of that year (Still-life with Cyclamen, no. 206; The Hour, no. 211; Fiesta, no. 207; Orchid and Clay Figure, no. 212) Henriette von Motesiczky with Dog and Flowers has a very simple grey frame, possibly homemade and produced in a hurry to enable the paintings to be shown at such short notice.

Das Portät malen ist eine schwere Kunst! Nein ich hab Mutter im Juli gemalt!’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 25/6 June 1967: Motesiczky archive. exhibitions Munich 1967, no. 58 (ex catalogue), shown as Portrait Henriette v. Motesiczky; Liverpool 2006, no. 66, illus. p. 215 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 66, illus. p. 215 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 66, illus. p. 215 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 66, illus. p. 215 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 66, illus. p. 215 (col.). bibliography López Calatayud 2005, pp. 10, 12, 15, 17, 20 f., 26, 28 f., 32 (also referred to as Portrait of Mother with Dog and Flowers, Portrait of Mother, Flowers and Dog, Mother with Flowers and Dog, Mother with Dog and Flowers), illus. n.p. (full and numerous details, col.); Lloyd 2006, pp. 40 f.; Sander 2006, pp. 122 f.

note 1 ‘Irgendwann um die Zeit hab ich Mutter gemalt mit Blumen und Hund Ich glaube es ist gut Pio findet es grossartig. Aber Milein mag ein Aug nicht. Mutter die Nase nicht

Fig. 171 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, sketch, c. 1967, charcoal and pastel on paper, 234 × 344 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

Fig. 169 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Henriette Seated, late 1960s, black chalk on paper, 170 × 235 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)


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Couple Promenading on the Sea Front 1967 Oil and charcoal on canvas, 407 × 509 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Landscapes are rare in Motesiczky’s oeuvre. Here, she depicts a view of the sea or of Lake Geneva which she visited several times in the 1960s. Large hills in the background frame a calm expanse of blue water which a low railing separates from the promenade. This is adorned with flowerbeds and a large palm tree which dominates the picture. A couple can be seen strolling along the waterfront, while a lone figure (not quite completed) rests on a bench at the far left. Next to him, a lamp-post has been partially overpainted. Motesiczky experimented with several more figures to the left of the palm tree, and these are visible as faint charcoal outlines (see fig. 172). Several paintings by Max Beckmann show similar waterside scenes. The most striking comparisons are Kleine italienische Landschaft, 1938 (fig. 135), and Hafen bei Bandol (grau) und Palmen, 1939 (fig. 136). Motesiczky must have been familiar at least with the former since it was in the possession of her aunt Ilse Leembruggen.

Fig. 172 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, sketch, c. 1967, ballpoint pen on paper, 124 × 178 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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Still-life with Peach Pfirsich 1967 Oil on canvas, 255 × 355 mm Signed (top right): MM. 67 Michael Black

In January 1967 Motesiczky happily noted in her diary: ‘Started small Peach Still-life!’1 Within a few months the simple but quietly beautiful work was finished. A delicious pinkishyellow peach is placed in the middle of a gently curving wooden bowl. An oval silver hand mirror behind it reflects the fruit and echoes the shape of the bowl with only the handle of the mirror disturbing the symmetry of the composition. The single peach is presented like a precious object. Not untypically for Motesiczky, this still-life has a rather curious provenance. In 1974 the artist gave it to Fritz Karsten, a friend and at one point her lawyer, as a token of her thanks for his friendship and help during the difficult times when she learned of the new family Elias Canetti had started in Zürich: ‘The small picture, with gratitude for non-professional spiritual help. I won’t let the blasted old year

go out without asking Dr Karsten to organize a happy new one for us all – he can do that – because he does it with such a soft voice.’2 In 1993 Fritz Karsten gave back the painting, which, in his mind, was not typical of Motesiczky’s oeuvre, and asked for another, possibly a figure scene, in exchange. Despite several reminders Motesiczky never gave him a substitute or returned the still-life. After her death, the painting was handed back to him and subsequently sold to another owner. sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Fritz Karsten to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 3 November 1992: ‘ich schreibe Ihnen, weil ich die Bildangelegenheit lieber schriftlich erledigen will damit Sie nicht das Gefuehl bekommen, dass ich Sie zu etwas haben will, was Sie nicht tun wollen. Ich lege

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Ihnen eine Fotokopie des Briefes bei, den Sie mir 1974 geschrieben haben als Sie mir das schoene Stilleben schenkten. Ich will es austauschen, weil ich es jetzt schon so viele Jahre jeden Tag gesehen habe und weil es ausserdem meiner Ansicht nach kein wirkliches charakteristisches Motesiczky Bild ist. Da sie mir keinen Vorschlag gemacht haben, muss ich selbst einen machen. Was waere mit dem franzoesischen Cafehaus Bild?’ Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Fritz Karsten, 28 December 1992: ‘In den schrecklichen Tagen in denen ich erfuhr dass Canetti Frau und Kind in Zürich hat und alle es wussten ausser ich, bin ich Ihnen begegnet oder besser gesagt ich suchte Sie auf und Sie waren so taktvoll und wunderbar zu mir (einer fremden Person) und wenn ich nicht durch Sie die Kraft bekommen hätte Canetti lange nicht mehr zu sehen so weiss ich nicht wie ich es überstanden hätte. Jeder Mensch der mit mir befreundet war in all den Jahren weiss wie gut Sie zu mir waren. Als ob es eine Legende wäre … Ein kleines Bild welches ich sorgfältig für Sie aussuchte weil es sich in jeder Sammlung gut halten kann wollen Sie gegen eines was Sie nicht kennen umtauschen.’ Fritz Karsten to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 29 April 1993: ‘Was das Bild anlangt, was ich Austauschen will, so ist kein Zweifel, dass es ein ausgezeichnetes Bild ist aber Ihre wirkliche Besonderheit nicht ausdrueckt, deshalb wollte ich es eintauschen.’ Fritz Karsten to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 14 July 1994: ‘dies ist ein freundlicher und liebenswuerdiger Brief, den ich nur sende weil Sie ueber das Stilleben nicht sprechen wollten, das ich gegen ein womöglich figurales Bild eintauschen wollte. Sie sollten sich nicht darueber aergern oder kraenken. Das Bild, welches Sie mir vor 15/16 Jahren schenkten, ist sehr gut, es wuerde sich in jedem Museum gut ausnehmen – mein Wunsch hat nichts mit der Qualitaet des Bildes zu tun. Ich moechte mir auch van Goghs “Sessel” nicht staendig ansehen wollen oder neuere Bilder, die iene oder andere einzelne … Sachen zeigen. Das war der Grund warum ich es umtauschen wollte, nicht Unzufriedenheit mit dem Werk selbst.’ Fritz Karsten to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 12 August 1994: ‘Ich habe von Ihnen noch nicht wegen meines Bildes gehoert. Bitte, lassen Sie mich wissen, wie Sie sich die Sache ueberlegt haben.’ Fritz Karsten to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 10 October 1994: ‘Jetzt zur Bildergeschichte. Ich sehe, dass Sie mir kein anderes Bild geben wollen statt des Stillebens, das

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Sie mir seinerzeit geschenkt haben. Unter diesen Umstaenden bitte ich Sie, nun mein Bild zu retournieren. Da ich es jetzt so lange nicht hatte, wird es mich bestimmt sehr freuen es wiederzusehen.’ Fritz Karsten to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 24 February 1995: ‘ich hoffe, dass Sie mein Bild inzwischen gefunden haben und dass ich es bald abholen kann. Es fehlt mir jetzt nach so langer Abwesenheit und ich freue mich darauf es wieder zu sehen.’ Fritz Karsten to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 10 March 1995: ‘Es freut mich, dass Sie ein anderes Bild fuer mich heraussuchen werden, “welches besser zu mir passt.” Es war sehr interessant zu hoeren, dass Rembrandt niemals ein Stilleben gemalt hat und ich freue mich, dass Sie mich verstehen. Dem neuen Bild sehe ich mit grossem Interesse und Neugier entgegen.’ Fritz Karsten to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 18 May 1995: ‘Sie haben mir vor ein paar Monaten gesagt, dass ich Sie nicht draengen moege, Sie wuerden mir ein schoenes, von Ihnen seinerzeit gemaltes Bild aussuchen, im Umtausch fuer mein von Ihnen gemaltes Bild, welches sich bei Ihnen seit 1½ Jahr befindet. Ich habe Sie nicht gedraengt. Wie dem auch sei, jetzt glaube ich doch, dass die Zeit gekommen ist Sie zu erinnern. Ich weiss, dass Sie immer sehr beschaeftigt sind und oft auch leidend, aber ich bitte Sie zu bedenken, dass ich doch noch einige Jahre Freude an dem Bild haben moechte. Wenn es Ihnen tatsaechlich zu beschwerlich sein sollte ein Bild auszusuchen, kann ich gerne helfen. Wenn Sie sich die Sache aber ueberlegt haben sollten, so moechte ich gern mein Bild zurueckhaben, welches Sie mir vor 16 Jahren geschenkt haben.’ notes 1 ‘Kleines Pfirsichstill. begonnen!’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 31 January 1967: Motesiczky archive. 2 ‘Das kleine Bild, In Dankbarkeit für unprofessionelle Seelenhilfe. Ich lass das verflixte alte Jahr nicht auskommen ohne dass ich den Dr Karsten bitte dass er uns allen ein glückliches neues verschafft – er kann das – weil er es mit einer so sanften Stimme tut.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Fritz Karsten, 31 December 1974: Motesiczky archive. provenance Artist; Fritz Karsten (gift 1974); artist (1993); Fritz Karsten (1996); Michael Black (purchased late 1990s). exhibition Munich 1967, no. 55 (ex catalogue).


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The Way Der Weg 1967 Oil on canvas, 484 × 663 mm Signed (top right): M.M.67. Private collection, Switzerland

Inspiration for this mysterious painting of the artist’s mother, Henriette von Motesiczky, may have come from a poem she had written in Amersham in 1949, entitled ‘Der kleine Weg’ (‘The Little Way’). Motesiczky juxtaposed this poem, which expresses her mother’s ambivalent feelings towards a familiar footpath, with an illustration of the painting The Way in the handmade booklet that commemorates Henriette von Motesiczky’s life: Dear friend, maybe you can tell me why I so much hate the little dark way between the long wooden plank and the dense bushes, and yet love it so? Maybe it is enchanted, this awful little way? Sometimes when I have already walked past, I turn around, because it attracts me magically. Yet I fear it, since no other way has tormented me so much mentally and physically. Especially at the beginning, where the old stake stands, sometimes a grief and a depression comes over me, so that I could cry and don’t know why. And when I then, full of fear, rush to the other end, I feel my clumsiness, my bodily weakness, to escape all that, only so slowly. On foggy days, when the air, the trees, the bushes are dripping with moisture, I tramp through the black puddles on the little deserted way. Sometimes a ghost appears in the dense grey, it quickly glides past me, it averts its face as if it hated me. It resembles a woman with a pale face and jet-black hair. I smile at it, I believe to entrance it like that. I want to ask: ‘Madame, how are you, why so cross, it is fatal that we always have to walk the same way.’ I have never spoken to it, the figure has already disappeared in the fog. Yet there are winter days, when ice and snow on the little way do not want to melt, and I stroll, extremely happy, as if over crevasses, towards the village, and only have to make sure that I do not fall.

All the ivy bushes are covered in glass, there are children who have chosen this little way of all places for their small sledges. And when in the spring light rain falls, then it smells of earth and of leaves. Behind the wooden plank lie small and large gardens. I breathe, I feel the spring more on this little way, which gives me the magic of the hidden, more than if I stood in one of these gardens in full sunshine. Birds chirp in the dense bushes, they are never closer to me than on this way. The little way, … I hate it, I do not want to see it ever again, I love it, and I never want to part from it. Enchanted, awful, familiar little way.1

Seeing her mother take slow walks in their Hampstead garden may also have inspired the painting (fig. 173). Motesiczky intended to finish this portrait for her solo exhibition at the Galerie Günther Franke in Munich in October 1967. She was working unsuccessfully on a first version of the painting in May of that year and noted her struggle: ‘In the morning oh it goes very very badly, how will I manage for the exhibition. 4 weeks’ work garden picture in vain. And I don’t know why. How will it go on’.2 In June she painted ‘an improved garden picture’.3 The familiar balding figure of her mother, dressed in a light brown skirt and yellow jacket, is seen from behind, walking along on what appears to be a raised wooden garden path towards the darkness of a lush green forest. Leaning on her stick she shuffles past a burning brazier. A wood pigeon is startled by the human intrusion and flies off into the trees. The contrast between the lush vegetation and the frail figure creates a sombre mood in this painting that hovers between reality and imagination. Yet it perfectly captures the mother’s unfailing wish to be part of the natural surroundings she so loved, as expressed in a letter to her daughter:

Fig. 173 Henriette von Motesiczky walking down a path in the garden, Chesterford Gardens, photograph, 1960s (Motesiczky archive)

Now it starts to get warm and lovely and I yearn for the countryside. Oh, Piper Piper, I think I cannot live in a town any more, I would die there! Mountains hills, meadows fields, Trees flowers, birds forests Dunghills also in the garden All these things wait All these things are my life I want to give everything for them No, I can never be without them I give up love and kissing Dew and earth I must have, There you can bury me.4

Perhaps alluding to the story of the Chinese artist who painted such a perfect landscape that he was then able to walk into it, Motesiczky creates the appropriate landscape for her mother to merge into. Family tradition has it that Motesiczky was especially proud of this painting. In her diary she noted: ‘I really like the figure of mother. She is beautiful’.5 In 1988 she counted this painting among the two most important paintings of her 373


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Fig. 174 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, study for The Way, 1967, ink, charcoal and pastel on paper, 230 × 290 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

mother.6 Elias Canetti also admired it, causing Motesiczky to note proudly in her diary: ‘Pio likes it very much.’7 After his visit to the Munich exhibition he wrote a glowing report: ‘Especially beautiful was the large room in which the “Way” hangs, too. The wall with the “Way” is the climax of the exhibition. There I could have gazed for hours. It is really remarkable how paintings can praise each other to the skies.’8 sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Henriette von Motesiczky, 24 September [1967]: ‘Franke mit den neuen Bildern zufrieden – beifälliges grunzen – besonders “die Stunde” und “der Weg” letzteres bist Du im Garten.’ Eva Marie Kallir to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 5 February 1983: ‘Der geliebte, gehasste Weg, und Dein Bild so ein vollkommener Ausdruck, zugleich märchenhaft und wirklich.’ Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Milli [Kann?], 3 November 1988: ‘Etwa 40 Jahre habe ich, erst ein zwei Bilder dann schliesslich 5 meiner besten Bilder Soph zur Verfügung gestellt, wie eine Schwester, weil sie die Bilder lieb gehabt hat und sie gut behandelt hat. Schliesslich hat sie die Bilder gekauft für einen kleinen Preis auf anraten von Percy … Diese Bilder sind das Beste und zwar ein Viertel des Besten was ich in 60 Jahren Arbeit leisten konnte. Ich war eingeschrenkt durch Mutter und C. und konnte nicht mer leisten. Noch dazu sind die zwei wichtigsten Bilder von Mutter – das grosse Portrat und der kurze Weg darunter … die Spanierin (vielleicht (?) der beste Kopf den ich je gemalt habe (und die wir retteten))’ notes 1 Lieber Freund, vielleicht können Sie mir sagen, warum ich den kleinen dunklen Weg, zwischen der langen Holzplanke

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und dem dichten Gebüsch, so sehr hasse und doch so liebe? Ist er vielleicht verzaubert, dieser abscheuliche kleine Weg? Wenn ich manchmal schon vorbeigegangen, kehre ich um, weil er mich magisch anzieht. Dabei fürchte ich ihn, denn kein andrer Weg hat mir seelisch und physisch so viel Qualen bereitet. Grade am Anfang dort, wo der alte Pflock steht, kommt manchmal ein Weh und eine Depression über mich, dass ich weinen könnte und weiss nicht warum. Und wenn ich dann voll Angst dem andern Ende zu eile, dann fühle ich meine Unbeholfenheit, meine körperliche Schwäche, dem allen, nur so langsam, zu entrinnen. An Nebeltagen, wenn die Luft, die Bäume, die Büsche von Feuchtigkeit triefen, dann stapfe ich durch die schwarzen Pfützen auf dem kleinen menschenleeren Weg. In dem dichten Grau taucht manchmal ein Gespenst auf, es huscht an mir vorbei, es wendet sein Gesicht ab, als würde es mich hassen. Es gleicht einer Frau mit blassem Gesicht und pechschwarzem Haar. Ich lächle es an, ich glaube es damit zu bannen. Ich möchte fragen: ‘Madame, wie geht es Ihnen, warum so böse, es ist fatal, dass wir immer den gleichen Weg gehen müssen.’ Ich habe es nie angesprochen, schon ist im Nebel die Gestalt verschwunden. Doch gibt es Wintertage, wo Eiss und Schnee auf dem kleinen Weg nicht schmelzen wollen, da wandle ich, hochbeglückt, wie über Gletscherspalten, dem Dorfe zu, und muss nur achtgeben, dass ich nicht falle. All die Efeubüsche sind mit Glas überzogen, Kinder gibt es, die sich grade diesen Weg für ihre kleinen Schlitten ausgesucht haben. Und wenn im Frühling leichter Regen fällt, dann duftet es nach Erde und nach Laub. Hinter der Holzplanke liegen kleine und grosse Gärten. Ich atme, ich fühle den Frühling mehr auf diesem kleinen Weg, der mir den Zauber des Verborgenen gibt, mehr, als wenn ich mitten im Sonnenschein in einem dieser Gärten stünde. Vögel zwitschern in den dichten Büschen, nie sind sie mir so nah als auf diesem Weg. Der kleine Weg, … ich hasse ihn, ich möchte ihn nie wiedersehen, ich liebe ihn, und möchte mich von ihm nie trennen. Verzauberter, abscheulicher, vertrauter kleiner Weg. (Motesiczky archive) 2 ‘Morgens Oh es geht sehr sehr schlecht wie werd ich durchkommen bis zur Ausstellung 4 Wochen Arbeit umsonst Gartenbild Und ich weiss nicht warum. Wie wird

3 4

5 6 7 8

Fig. 175 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, study for The Way, 1967, ballpoint pen and pastel on paper, 180 × 250 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

es weitergehen’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 30 May 1967: Motesiczky archive. ‘ein verbessertes Gartenbild’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 26 June 1967: Motesiczky archive. Nun fängt es an warm und schön zu werden u. ich bekomme die Landsehnsucht. Ach Piper Piper, ich glaube ich kann nicht mehr in einer Stadt leben, da komme ich um! Berge Hügel, Wiesen Felder, Bäume Blumen, Vögel Wälder Düngerhaufen auch im Garten Alle diese Dinge warten All die Dinge sind mein Leben Alles möcht ich dafür geben Nein ich kann sie nimmer missen Ich verzicht auf Lieb u. Küssen Tau und Erde muss ich haben, Dorten darfst Du mich begraben. (Henriette von Motesiczky to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 31 March 1956: Motesiczky archive) ‘Mir gefällt die Figur von Mutter wirklich. Die ist schon’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 26 June 1967: Motesiczky archive. Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Milli [Kann?], 3 November 1988: Motesiczky archive. ‘Pio gefällt’s sehr.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 26 June 1967: Motesiczky archive. ‘Besonders schön war der eine grosse Raum, wo auch der “Weg” hängt. Die Wand mit dem “Weg” ist der Clou der Ausstellung. Da hätte ich stundenlang schauen können. Es ist schon erstaunlich, wie Bilder einander gegenseitig herausstreichen können.’: Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 31 October 1967: Motesiczky archive.

provenance Artist; Sophie Brentano (purchased at 1967 exhibition); Ursula Brentano (inherited). exhibitions Munich 1967, no. 56 (ex catalogue); London 1985, no. 58, illus. p. 49 (col.); Cambridge 1986, no. 58, illus. p. 49 (col.); Liverpool 2006, no. 68, illus. p. 217 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 68, illus. p. 217 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 68, illus. p. 217 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 68, illus. p. 217 (col.). bibliography Anonymous 1985, n.p.; Calvocoressi 1985, p. 63; Zimmermann 1985, n.p.; Anonymous [Jeremy Adler] 1996, n.p.; Tate Gallery, 1996, p. 504; Schlenker 2006b, pp. 204 f.; Schlenker 2006d, p. 259; Lloyd 2007, p. 194.


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Allerseelen 1967/8 Oil on canvas, 800 × 680 mm Location unknown

In the Roman Catholic Church 2 November, Allerseelen or All Souls Day, is the annual day of remembrance of the faithful departed, those baptized Christians who are believed to be in purgatory because they have died with the guilt of lesser sins on their souls. It is customary to pay special tribute to the suffering souls in purgatory, easing their pain and helping cleanse these souls by offering masses and prayers and by practising almsgiving. In this painting, Motesiczky shows an urban place of the dead, a cemetery surrounded by a dark mass of houses in the background. Only an occasional window is illuminated. The cupola of a church, possibly St Paul’s Cathedral, against the red evening sky offers sanctuary. An elderly female figure, clad in a long black coat with a white shawl wrapped around her head, walks down a path towards the viewer. Framed on both sides with metal railings, the occasional branch of a tree overhanging, the path seems to be leading through the graves. The woman, said to have been inspired by a person Motesiczky had seen in the cemetery in Holly Walk, Hampstead, carrying wood, is holding an armful of large flowers, presumably intended for a grave. This custom is more traditionally associated with All Saints Day on 1 November when, in the afternoon, graves are decorated with flowers, mainly asters and chrysanthemums, and with candles. Curiously and slightly unnervingly, the woman has a smile on her face as if relishing her encounter with the dead. Behind the lower fence on the left a little group, probably a young family of father, mother and baby, can be discerned. The religious aura that surrounds the trio is not unlike that of the mother and child in Fiesta (no. 207), painted in 1967. Here, the eery, almost unreal atmosphere of their surroundings contributes to the ambiguity of the scene. From their grey colouring and seeming stillness they appear almost to be made of stone, like statues on a grave rather than living creatures. The suggestion of tiny wings gives rise to a further suspicion that here one might be dealing with 376

the souls of the dead. According to old popular belief, on All Souls Day the souls of the dead escape from purgatory to earth for a while to take a brief rest from their punishment. With Allerseelen Motesiczky produced a work that, with its openly religious theme, is unique in her oeuvre. A baptized Jew with no strong religious beliefs, she chose to depict a Catholic day of commemoration of the dead. Some aspects she depicted correctly while others were imported from another holiday,

Fig. 176 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, study for Allerseelen, 1967/8, black chalk and pastel on paper, 245 × 210 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

thus perhaps attempting to imbue the work with a more universal meaning. During the artist’s lifetime the whereabouts of Allerseelen had already become obscure. Motesiczky thought it no longer existed and had no recollection of where it had gone: a remark on an index card indicates that she might even have overpainted it. The painting must probably be considered lost now, with only a colour slide and a drawing (fig. 176) as records.


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Benno Reifenberg Bildnis Benno Reifenberg 1968 Oil on canvas, 695 × 895 mm Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main (2113)

Benno Reifenberg (1882–1970; fig. 177), art historian, journalist, publicist and co-editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, had met the young Motesiczky in Frankfurt in the 1920s, presumably at the house of the hospitable Heinrich Simon, editor-in-chief of the Frankfurter Zeitung. During their long acquaintance Reifenberg and Motesiczky shared numerous friends, among them Max Beckmann and Oskar Kokoschka. Even Elias Canetti, often a rather critical judge of character, called Reifenberg ‘a fine human being’.1 In the autumn of 1963 Reifenberg and Kokoschka discussed the possibility of a portrait. Kokoschka seemed reluctant and Reifenberg was not convinced that he really intended to paint him. In early 1964 Motesiczky offered to mediate and convince Kokoschka to start the work. She remarked in a letter to Reifenberg: ‘I find the combination of humility and objectivity that you have towards your face so disarming that I can hardly imagine that a human being with Kokoschka’s humour can resist it.’2 The matter rested for a couple of years. Then, in 1966, Reifenberg wrote an introduction to Motesiczky’s exhibition catalogue which Motesiczky found particularly sensitive and intelligent. In 1967, when Kokoschka still had not embarked on the portrait, Motesiczky had another suggestion: ‘I would like to paint you – just because O.K. and Beckmann have never even tried – this is a challenge – I think – if it doesn’t work I don’t have to show it – and if it does your son shall have it – do you agree? I know sitting is the worst part of it – I don’t think I can already do it this autumn – but I could come and look for a moment?’3 Reifenberg liked the idea: ‘I want to tell you from the start that I feel happily inclined if you wanted to paint me … Besides, I was fully aware that my face did not inspire Kokoschka to paint my portrait when he came to see me after all those years. I would love to put myself into your hands.’4 Soon afterwards Benno Reifenberg received a donation from the city of Frankfurt to honour his seventy-fifth birthday 378

Fig. 177 Benno Reifenberg, photograph, 1960s (Motesiczky archive)

and commissioned Motesiczky to paint his portrait. In July 1968 Motesiczky travelled to Kronberg, near Frankfurt, to paint Reifenberg. At first, she seemed to have trouble with the painting itself and instead tried her hand at a few drawings. She confessed to a friend that after three weeks she found it ‘very hard work’.5 Yet it was not the fact that the model did not sit enough that caused the difficulties. A letter from Siegfried Sebba, an old friend from the Frankfurt days and a fellow artist, whom, after decades, Motesiczky had met again during her stay in Kronberg, reveals the true nature of the problem – the sitter’s illness and drastically altered looks: ‘What I was not at all happy about was your worries about the portrait, which have spoilt your stay here. – When I saw Benno enter … I was really alarmed: an old man! This is not the person we know. How can you now paint him from nature? No-one can do that. But of course we did not know that. You simply came too late for this task. You can only paint him from memory! You have to erase again what you have just seen with your eyes. Let someone show you photos and press

cuttings from former times, and refresh your memory. The red cheeks are unnatural, they are from today (blood pressure, heart) good for the red spot of paint, (a joke of the brush) don’t do that! Paint him as he looked formerly. He (is) was a handsome man. Something like that one can’t depict … What I have noticed with our dear Benno is his blue, guileless eyes, which have a slightly melancholic expression (caved-in, frog-like). Of course not the same right and left. Look carefully! Benno is forgiving, idealistic, therefore the mouth is not grim, not aggressive. There is nothing to gain there. Nothing evil! Nothing demonic! Nothing for painters!’6 Motesiczky eventually came to terms with her worries, resolved the difficulties and made good progress. Elias Canetti wrote encouragingly: ‘I am very proud of you, dear painter Mulo, that you have persisted. This is a sort of last knighting for you as a painter, that in a different atmosphere and under such difficult circumstances you did not give up. I am totally convinced that the painting turned out well. Your self-criticism is always too great, and you have never let anything of yours pass without being right about it. Now I only beg you, Muli, stand firm when you show it.’7 The half-length portrait of Benno Reifenberg is a tribute to a public persona as well as a private declaration of friendship. Seated at a desk, gesturing with the elegantly long fingers of his right hand, Reifenberg, slightly stooped, is intently observing his surroundings. The honesty with which Motesiczky depicts the sitter’s features, often praised for their harmony and beauty and now altered through illness, is deeply moving. Motesiczky managed to capture the two different halves of his face, the left one deformed and the right one still recalling the noble features of the young man. A fragile and visionary air surrounds the sitter, enhanced by a sketchy figure in the background who emerges as a white silhouette over his left shoulder. The figure respresents Liselotte Maria, Reifenberg’s sister. Motesiczky had


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Städel collection. Motesiczky triumphantly commented on her successful creation of the portrait: ‘I was lucky that O.K. painted the Towerbridge and I was allowed to paint Benno Reifenberg!’8 sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Benno Reifenberg to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 19 February 1968: ‘Was macht unser Porträt?’ Henriette von Motesiczky to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 3 July 1968: ‘Was macht das Bild von Reifenberg, es ist sicher schon auf der Leinwand.’

Fig. 178 Oskar Kokoschka, Michael Croft, 1938/9, oil on canvas, 762 × 637 mm (private collection)

probably met her in the 1920s in Frankfurt. They certainly knew each other in Berlin in the late 1920s. In early summer 1968, just before Motesiczky started work on the portrait, Liselotte Maria visited the artist in London. Her inclusion may be a final tribute to Kokoschka who had not taken up the commission. Kokoschka had employed such a device to indicate an added dimension to the sitter in several of his portraits, most notably that of Michael Croft (fig. 178) which she most likely knew. In the early 1940s, Kokoschka had tried to act as a matchmaker between Michael Croft and Motesiczky. Reifenberg loved his portrait and was proud of the artist. The City of Frankfurt purchased this painting for DM 20,000 on the occasion of the sitter’s seventy-fifth birthday and presented it to the Städelsches Kunstinstitut, where Reifenberg served as president of the administration until his death. Since legal reasons prevented paintings owned by the gallery from being lent for exhibitions, it was shown only once outside Frankfurt before it entered the 380

Henriette von Motesiczky to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 11 July [1968]: ‘Binn froh das Deine Zeichnung von Reifenb. wenigstens gelungen! Heute früh die Löwen [Edith Loewenberg] angerufen, die grade mit Dir gesprochen u. sagte, das es auch mit dem Mahlen besser geht.’ Benno Reifenberg to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 4 August 1968: ‘Ich denke viel und gerne an unsere Sitzungen und ausgedachten – sicher notwendigen – Posen meinerseits … Habe ich Ihnen noch von Holzinger berichtet, dass er in seinem Zimmer sich ständig angesehen fühlt von meiner Person? … Er und ich sind was die Aufnahme des Porträts in das Städel angeht einig. Das ist die Hauptsache. Fraglich bleibt noch der Termin diesen Beschluß öffentlich zu machen. Dazu gehören a) Zustimmung der Administratoren, b) Besichtigung durch den Stadtrat von Rath um den Senat zu unterrichten und c) die Regelung der Auszahlung durch die Stadt-Kassa. Ich hoffe wir werden diese drei Bedingungen vor Holzingers Urlaub erledigen. Wenn nicht müssen wir (d.h. Sie und ich) bis Ende August gedulden. Aber schon jetzt gilt alea jacta sunt: Sie haben einen Sieg, einen glänzenden, errungen.’ Ada Brunthaler to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 13 August 1968: ‘Was ich einmal wissen möchte: Haben Sie wohl manchmal Sehnsucht nach dem Bild? Ist es nicht, als ob man sich von seinem Kind hat trennen müssen? aber es ist in guten Händen, Dr. H. [Holzinger] scheint sich sehr damit zu befreunden. Übrigens ist Ihr glückliches Model sehr stolz auf Sie.’ Helga Hummerich to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 19 August 1968: ‘selten hat mich etwas so stark beschäftigt wie Ihr Bild von BR. Um es gleich zu sagen, es ist ein

großartiges Bild … Es ist erschütternd, wie Sie den ganzen Menschen erfasst, durchschaut haben. Das Gesicht hat zwei verschiedene Hälften die eine (linke) zeigt die Veränderung nach der Krankheit u. ihre Spuren, die andere hat noch den jungen Menschen in sich oder gar den Wiedergenesenden. Der Blick ist visionär, kann es aber nur sein, weil Sie selbst mit visionärer Kraft gemalt haben … Hingerissen bin ich auch, daß u. wie sie die Haut gemalt haben, wunderbar die Details, das Haar oder das weiße Schälchen um den Hals. Sie haben ein herrliches Werk geschaffen, das man nicht müde wird, anzusehen u. zu durchforschen, das unerhört Aufschluß gibt + doch sein Geheimnis behält. Wie schön, daß das Porträt seinen Platz im Städel finden wird.’ Liselotte Maria Reifenberg to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 2 September 1968: ‘Der Benno schrieb sehr angetan von deinem Bild and sagte dass er (als er den Brief schrieb) gerade mit dem massgebenden Mann … gesprochen habe und dass der auch sehr begeistert sei. Nun MUSS ich das naechste mal ins Museum gehen um dich, den Benno und mich zu sehen. Auch wenn keiner mich erkennt so macht mir die Idee irgendwo im Hintergrund herum zu spuken grosse Freude. Vielen Dank.’ Gretl Rupé to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 15 September 1968: ‘Es freut mich so sehr, daß Dir das Portrait von Reifenberg so gut gelungen ist und er selbst so glücklich darüber ist und die anderen auch!!! Ich verstehe gut, wie unendlich wichtig das für Dich ist!!’ Irma Simon to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 29 September 1968: ‘Wie lange hast Du schließlich an dem Portrait gemalt und wann war es fertig? An das linke Auge kann sogar ich mich erinnern, glaube ich – es stammte wohl von der Operation? Das Bild hat wohl nicht Marylas Abneigung erzeugt – es muß sie aber schmerzen.’ Renée Cushman to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 1 October 1968: ‘Siehst Du wie alles schön wird: jetzt auch Bestellungen auf das Porträt hin! Bist Du Dir auch wirklich im Klaren, wie fantastisch es ist dass Du Dich sozusagen selbst und nur mit Deiner Kunst durchgesetzt hast in einem Zeitalter wo alles nur mit Reklame, Impresario und Geld gelingt?? An Deiner Stelle wäre ich einfach fürchterlich stolz und von mir selbst begeistert. Und noch dazu wo Deine Malerei kein gefälliger Kitsch ist der sich dem Geschmack der Banausen anpasst. Also – ich bin begeistert und hocherfreut dass wenigstens einmal auf dieser Welt der Erfolg rechtzeitig an den Richtigen kommt.’


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Benno Reifenberg to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 28 December 1968: ‘Das Porträt wird Ihrem Wunsch gemäß gerahmt. Der rote Fleck wird nicht verschwinden. Er wartet darauf, im Museum der Öffentlichkeit gezeigt zu werden. Quappi Beckmann, die eine Photographie sah, war, wie sie mir schrieb, ganz begeistert.’ Benno Reifenberg to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 8 February 1969: ‘Inzwischen möchte ich doch sehr wünschen der sich wiederholenden Frage ledig zu werden, warum Sie noch nicht über das Honorar verfügt haben, trotz mehrfacher Erkundigung des Direktors. Ich gebe ihm an: Devisenschwierigkeiten augenscheinlich. Ich kann aber unmöglich in die Lage kommen dass ich persönlich an Ihrer Disposition interessiert erscheine. Es wäre für alle Beteiligten fatal, dass jemand glauben könnte ich hätte aus anderen als rein künstlerischen Gründen, Sie als meine Porträtmalerin ausgewählt. Nämlich materiellen, aus der von der Stadt vermachten Dotierung persönlich zu profitieren. Sie wissen genau, dass so etwas überhaupt nicht bei meiner Wahl in den Sinn gekommen ist.’ Daniele Grassi, typescript, c. 1986, p. 6: ‘wie scharf beobachtend in seiner Zurückhaltung [ist] Benno Reifenberg’ sources from the deutsches literaturarchiv, marbach, estate benno reifenberg Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Benno Reifenberg, 11 April 1968: ‘Ihr Brief, er schein mir schon wieder sehr lange her, hat mich froh gemacht auch weil Sie unser Porträt nochmals erwähnten. (Als ich Sie ursprünglich darum bat, kam ich mir wirklich lästig vor damit.) Nun fahre ich am 25. nach dem Haag und hätte so grosse Lust einen kleinen Abstecher nach Frankfurt – das heisst Kronberg zu machen. Ein zwei Nächte – gerade nur um Sie zu begrüssen und zu besprechen wann eine gute Zeit zum malen wäre. Sie denken vielleicht, wenn ich doch später wieder komme ist das gar nicht nötig aber wahrscheinlich gefällt mir der Gedanke so gut – weil es gar nicht nötig ist. Das wäre in den ersten Tagen Mai – am 5. muss ich wieder zurück sein, zum Geburtstag meiner Mutter. Wenn aber diese Zeit Ihnen ungelegen ist, so schreiben Sie mir ein Wort. Ich habe gar keine Pläne in den nächsten Monaten. Vielleicht sollte ich dann wirklich schon gleich kommen um das Bild zu malen?’ Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Benno Reifenberg, 1 May 1968: ‘Vielen Dank für Ihren lieben Brief, der mir in den Haag nachgeschickt wurde. Wie lieb dass Sie mich am 17. empfangen wollen aber nun denke ich es ist

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besser ich warte bis Lieselotte nach London kommt. Ich freue mich ungeheuer auf ihren Besuch!! Dann bespreche ich alles mit Lieselotte und wir rufen Sie gleich zur Begrüssung aus London an. Wenn Sie mir später wirklich für das Porträt sitzen (ich finde es ja eine Schande dass man es nicht auswendig machen kann) so wäre es das Beste ich hätte ein Zimmer in Ihrer Nähe (Pension, Hotel, was immer) so dass ich mehr ein “Einwohner” von Kronberg bin und Sie mich gar nicht als Gast empfinden um den man sich kümmern muss.’ Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Benno Reifenberg, 11 January 1969: ‘Ich hatte Hemmungen dem lieben Professor Holzinger zu schreiben dass ich auch die Farbe des Rahmens nicht richtig finde. Es ist so ein goldiger Ton, der etwas kunstgewerblich, das Bild weiter malt. Aber bitte nicht ihm sagen dass ich’s geschrieben habe. Wenn Sie aber “zufällig” so ein Auge darauf haben könnten? Eine klare Abgrenzung – eine Farbe die nicht im Bild vorkommt – gewöhnliches Holz zum Beispiel – wäre besser. Ich fand schon ein bischen komisch dass ich den roten Fleck erwähnte – Holzinger soll doch nicht denken dass ich gar so zimperlich bin mit meinem “lieben Bild” Aber ich dachte, wenn’s schon wirklich ein neuer Rahmen wird’ notes 1 ‘ein feiner Mensch’: Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, [May 1963]: Motesiczky archive. 2 ‘Ich finde die Kombination von Bescheidenheit und Sachlichkeit die Sie ihrem Gesicht gegenüber haben so entwaffnend dass ich mir schwer vorstellen kann dass ein Mensch mit Kokoschkas Humor dem wiederstehen kann.’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Benno Reifenberg, 17 January 1964: Deutsches Literaturarchiv, Marbach, Estate Benno Reifenberg. 3 ‘ich möchte Sie gerne einmal malen, – just – weil der O.K. und Beckmann es nicht einmal versuchten – das ist eine Herausforderung – ich denke mir – wenn’s nix wird brauch ich es ja nicht zeigen – und wenn’s was wird bekommt es Ihr Sohn – einverstanden? Ich weiss, das Sitzen ist das Schlimmste dabei – ich denke nicht dass ich’s schon machen kann diesen Herbst – aber schauen kommen könnte ich doch einen Augenblick?’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Benno Reifenberg, 1 September 1967: Deutsches Literaturarchiv, Marbach, Estate Benno Reifenberg. 4 ‘Schon im vornhinein will ich Ihnen sagen, dass mir recht freundlich zu Mute wäre, wenn Sie mich malen wollten … Im übrigen: mir war vollkommen deutlich, dass mein Gesicht dem Kokoschka, als er mich nach langen Jahren wiedersah, keine Aufforderung gab mich zu portraitieren. Ihnen will ich mich gerne anvertrauen.’: Benno Reifenberg to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 14 September 1967: Motesiczky archive. 5 ‘sehr schwere Arbeit’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Theo Garve, 24 July 1968: Motesiczky archive. 6 ‘Was mich gar nicht freute, war Dein Kummer über das

Porträt, das Dir den Aufenthalt hier verdorben hat. – Als ich Benno hereinkommen sah … habe ich mich erschreckt: Ein Greis! Das ist nicht der Mensch, den wir kennen. Wie kannst Du ihn jetzt von der Natur abmalen? Niemand kann das. Aber das haben wir ja nicht gewusst. Du bist eben zu spät gekommen für diese Aufgabe. Du kannst ihn nur malen aus der Erinnerung! Du musst das wieder ausradieren, was Du jetzt mit den Augen gesehen hast. Lass Dir doch Fotos und Zeitungsausschnitte von früher zeigen, und frische Dein Gedächtnis auf. Die roten Backen sind unnatürlich, die sind von heute (Blutdruck, Herz) gut für den roten Farbfleck, (ein Pinselspass) mach das nicht! Male ihn, wie er früher aussah. Er (ist) war ein schöner Mann. So etwas kann man nicht darstellen … Was mir an unserem lieben Benno aufgefallen ist, das sind seine blauen, treuherzigen Augen, die einen etwas melancholischen Ausdruck (verblasen, froschartig) haben. Natürlich ungleich rechts und links. Sieh genau hin! Benno ist versöhnlich, idealistisch, also ist der Mund nicht verbissen, nicht aggressiv. Dort ist nichts zu holen. Nichts Böses! Nichts Teuflisches! Nichts für Maler!’: Siegfried Sebba to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 22 July 1968 (postmark): Motesiczky archive. 7 ‘ich bin wirklich stolz auf Dich, lieber Maler Mulo, dass Du durchgehalten hast. Das ist eine Art letzter Ritterschlag für Dich als Maler, dass Du in einer andern Atmosphäre und unter so schwierigen Umständen nicht locker gelassen hast. Ich bin ganz sicher, dass aus dem Bild etwas geworden ist. Deine Selbstkritik ist immer zu gross, und Du hast noch nie etwas von Dir gelten lassen, ohne dass Du Recht hattest. Jetzt bitte ich Dich nur sehr, Muli, lass Dich ja nicht beirren, wenn Du es herzeigst.’: Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 19 July 1968: Motesiczky archive. 8 ‘Zu meinem Glück hat O.K. die Towerbridge gemalt und ich durfte Benno Reifenberg malen!’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, undated note on Benno Reifenberg to MarieLouise von Motesiczky, 18 September 1963: Deutsches Literaturarchiv, Marbach, Estate Benno Reifenberg. provenance Artist; Benno Reifenberg; Städelsches Kunstinstitut (presented by the City of Frankfurt 1968). exhibitions Bremen 1968, ex catalogue; London 1985, no. 60, illus. p. 84, dated 1967, not shown; Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 70, illus. p. 221 (col.). bibliography Albrecht 1968, n.p.; Helmolt 1980, n.p.; Black 1997, p. 993 (dated 1967); Schulze 1998, p. 115, illus. p. 115 (col.); Vorderwülbecke 1999, p. 54 f.n., illus. p. 111; Crüwell 2006b, n.p.; Crüwell 2006c, n.p.; Klein 2006, n.p.; Sander 2006, pp. 122 f.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 220; Schlenker 2006d, p. 259; Sternburg 2006, n.p.; Weinzierl 2007, n.p.

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Lorette in the Studio Lorette im Atelier 1968 Oil on canvas, 1017 × 762 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Motesiczky presents a scene in a crowded studio where two artists are painting a model, a common subject in art. With a few exceptions (see for example Studio with Nude Model, 1970, no. 239), Motesiczky does not seem to have worked with fellow artists; indeed she probably rejected any offers of collaboration. Moreover, she rarely shows herself as a painter (see for example Self-portrait with Palette, 1960, no. 168). Yet here, she depicts herself, seated on the left in front of an easel with a small canvas, busily at work. The focus of the painting is on the exotic-looking, black-haired model, who sits on library steps in the centre of the composition. Her name is Lorette Lugten. Of DutchIndonesian origin, she was born in Batavia (now Jakarta), Indonesia, in 1944 and lived in London from 1967 to 1970. Lorette Lugten recalled in an interview in 2001 that, while she was window-shopping in Hampstead one day, Motesiczky approached her. They struck up a friendship and the artist invited Lorette Lugten to sit for her. The sittings, which took place once a week, resulted in several drawings, one of them clearly a study for this painting (fig. 179), and two paintings, Lorette in the Studio and Lorette as Painter, 1968 (no. 220). During her time in London, Lorette Lugten intended to become an artist, doing some painting and drawing, which is the subject of Lorette as Painter. Here, in contrast, she works as the model and not the artist. Dressed in black tights, a short blue skirt and a colourful red and orange top, she squats at leisure on the elegantly curving steps whose central column forms the middle axis of the composition. Her face is beautifully captured and probably the part of the picture that Motesiczky took most care with. In the background, a red-haired, bearded man is at work on another portrait of the sitter. Curiously he is depicting her from behind. Like Motesiczky, he is equipped with a palette and an array of brushes. Peeping around his large canvas, mounted on an easel directly behind the model, he takes a look at the sitter. The large canvas partially blocks the 382

view through the window in the background beyond which the dark night sky and a few brightly twinkling stars are visible. Unfortunately, the identity of Motesiczky’s fellow painter is not recorded and Lorette Lugten does not recall him. He may be a former neighbour from Compayne Gardens called Oliver Jacobs who, presumably in the late 1950s or early 1960s, approached Motesiczky several times about ‘joining our painting party’1 which he suggested holding at her house. It is not known if Motesiczky really took up his offer to work in the company of others. Alternatively, he may simply be invented. Since Motesiczky had always been reluctant to show her paintings, especially while work was still in progress, Lorette Lugten did not see the painting for some time. In 2001 she confirmed that, when she eventually saw this work, she found her depiction in the painting a good likeness of herself. note 1 Oliver Jacobs to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, [1959]: Motesiczky archive.

Fig. 179 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Lorette Seated, 1968, charcoal on paper, 505 × 405 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)


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Lorette as Painter Lorette als Malerin 1968 Oil on canvas, 715 × 559 mm Signed (top right): m. motesiczky 1968. Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Lorette Lugten was born in Batavia (now Jakarta), Indonesia, in 1944. From 1967 to 1970 she lived in London where, while windowshopping one day, Motesiczky approached her and started talking to her. Always in need of a model, Motesiczky asked Lorette Lugten to sit for her. Accepting the offer, Lorette Lugten became a paid model, sitting once a week. As well as several drawings, some of them very accomplished (fig. 180), Motesiczky completed two paintings of this model, Lorette as Painter and Lorette in the Studio, 1968 (no. 219). Lorette Lugten, who at the time wanted to be an artist and did some painting and drawing, recalls how Motesiczky inspired her to create her own artworks. Equally, the sitter’s passion for painting may have stimulated the artist to depict her in the chosen pose. Motesiczky empathetically presents a fellow artist, holding the tools of her trade, a palette and a brush. As if to match her long black hair, she is dressed all in black, possibly a painter’s smock. Her dark eyes gaze intently at something outside the picture, perhaps the subject matter of the painting she is working on. The background is bare except for a small chest of drawers with a vase of flowers, next to which Motesiczky suggests the outlines of two brushes leaning against the wall. exhibitions London 1987, ex catalogue; Dublin 1988, no. 14.

Fig. 180 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Head of Lorette, 1968, charcoal on paper, 560 × 380 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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French Restaurant Französisches Restaurant 1968 Oil on canvas, 458 × 636 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

The French cellar restaurant, Le Cellier du Midi, in Church Row in Hampstead, was a favourite eating place of Motesiczky and her mother. They enjoyed having their meal there especially on the housekeeper’s day off: ‘Now I am going to the “French” [restaurant] with mother, Thursday – Pauzen’s leave’.1 Motesiczky captures a busy scene in the restaurant. In the back, behind a counter, food is being prepared by the chef, a friend of the Motesiczky family called Guy Monier. In the same year Motesiczky painted a portrait of him (The Cook, no. 222) in his working outfit and with the frying pan as an additional, identifying accessory. Here, a waiter is arranging the cooked fish on a plate while another waiter (possibly the same model) carries in a lobster on a tray which is intended for the couple, a young woman and an elderly man, seated at the table in the foreground with their two dogs. Preparatory drawings reveal that Motesiczky toyed with a more intimate scene between the woman and her companion (fig. 181). Considerably younger, he bends down low to kiss her regally extended hand. It has been suggested that the figures represent the artist and Oskar Kokoschka, who, several years earlier, had apparently made advances to her. note 1 ‘Jetzt geh ich mit Mutter in’s “Französische” Donnerstag – Pauzenausgang’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 25 June 1964: Motesiczky archive.

Fig. 181 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Man Kissing a Woman’s Hand, c. 1968, black chalk on paper, 180 × 232 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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The Cook Der Küchenlehrling 1968 Oil on canvas, 610 × 410 mm Walter Elkan, London

Guy Monier, born in France in 1947, stayed with the Motesiczkys in Hampstead in 1968/9 while working in a local restaurant, Le Cellier du Midi, in Church Row. He had been introduced by his godmother Renée Cushman, an old friend of the artist from Vienna. Motesiczky’s portrait shows Guy Monier wearing the clothes of his trade, a chef ’s hat and white coat. As an additional prop defining the sitter’s occupation Motesiczky placed before him a heavy black frying pan, under which red flames are burning fiercely. It may have been added as an afterthought to define clearly the craft of the sitter, who, posing in front of a window in the artist’s studio, appears isolated from his work environment. The restaurant Le Cellier du Midi is also the subject of another painting, French Restaurant, 1968 (no. 221), of which this portrait seems to be an enlarged detail. After his apprenticeship in Hampstead, arranged by Motesiczky, Guy Monier became a well-known chef and an expert on truffles. He is now the proprietor of the venerable La Maison de la Truffe in Paris. According to the portrait’s current owner, Motesiczky, who must have valued it highly, wanted to show it in the 1994 exhibition at the Vienna Belvedere. This did not happen due to a misunderstanding about the work’s availability. provenance Artist; Walter Elkan (gift after 1988). bibliography Lloyd 2007, p. 209.

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Old Woman with Flowers and Page Boy 1968 Oil on canvas, 1012 × 761 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Old Woman with Flowers and Page Boy is a rather mysterious, almost dreamlike composition that is difficult to interpret at first glance. Several seemingly unrelated persons appear, the focus being on the central figure of an elderly, white-haired woman. She is dressed in a grey outfit, a little hat perched on top of her head. She holds a wrapped bunch of flowers in her arms (thus resembling the lonely cemetery visitor of Allerseelen, 1967/8, no. 217) and gazes intently on the path in front of her. Her brow is furrowed as if deep in thought. On the left, a young woman with long red hair and wearing a yellow dress, walks to the right. She seems to be accompanied by a pink ibis. On the right, walking towards her, is a young black-haired man, carrying an unidentifiable object (maybe a ladder, rolled-up wire, a parcel or a stick) over his shoulder and supported with his left hand. In front of the man, who exists only in outline, a little page boy in a red and gold uniform seems to be walking a little Pekinese dog that is half hidden behind the old woman’s legs. In Old Woman with Flowers and Page Boy, Motesiczky presents a snapshot of a chance encounter in a public place. As the low brick wall, the large glass front, what might be a pavement and a lamp post suggest, the scene probably takes place outside a shop on a busy street, where people, hurrying to and fro, go about their business. The ibis is perhaps the decoration in a shop window. The painting is probably unfinished, including only the sketch of the figure of the man. Furthermore it still shows the large green head of a young woman, just above the old woman’s head, which must belong to an earlier painting underneath that Motesiczky failed to obscure by overpainting. A compositional sketch (fig. 182), albeit very smudged, includes all the major human figures of the painting. Only the dog is a later addition. In the painting the focus has shifted away from the old woman whose white hair provides the only highlight in the drawing. According to the drawing, the man probably carries a pair of skis. 386

Fig. 182 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Street Scene, 1968, charcoal and white chalk on paper, 260 × 202 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)


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Miriam Rothschild 1968/9 Oil on canvas, 813 × 958 mm Signed (bottom left): M.M Private collection

This portrait of the British zoologist Miriam Rothschild (1908–2005) was commissioned by the sitter’s cousin and close friend Alix de Rothschild in August 1968. The following month Alix de Rothschild wrote to Motesiczky admitting that at the time she could not afford to pay more than £ 1,500 for the portrait. Motesiczky must have agreed. The eventual price paid, however, is not documented. According to Miriam Rothschild, Alix de Rothschild, who supported numerous refugees, among them several artists, during and after the Second World War, intended to help Motesiczky financially. This commission therefore came with the hidden agenda of seeing to it that Motesiczky received some money without making her feel it was charity. Wearing an elegant dress and a heavy golden necklace, Miriam Rothschild is seated in an armchair in front of an oval mirror. Her compelling physical presence is enhanced by a streak of grey hair and a stern facial expression. The sitter, who, at the time, was working in a laboratory in Oxford, is surrounded by animals

and objects that testify to her interest in natural life which is represented by an exotic pink blossom and a bunch of sketchy flowers and leaves. An owl is looking on from the back of the armchair and was, in fact, the sitter’s pet owl Moesje which she had raised from a chick and had looked after for twenty years. A dog, the sitter’s collie Foxi, one of many dogs Rothschild has kept, delicately places a front paw on his mistress’s leg. A magnifying glass in her lap may allude to Rothschild’s close study of fleas on which she published several books. In an interview in spring 2001 Miriam Rothschild admitted that she did not enjoy being painted. The initial sittings for the portrait took place in Oxford when Motesiczky came to stay with Rothschild for a while. Later, presumably, photographs (fig. 183) helped to refresh Motesiczky’s memory while finishing the portrait in her studio in Hampstead. Rothschild, who was not allowed to see the work in progress, did not consider her portrait to be a particularly good one. Yet she remembered that Motesiczky thought the portrait was

Fig. 183 Miriam Rothschild, polaroid photograph, c. 1968 (Motesiczky archive)

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Fig. 184 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Miriam Rothschild, 1968/9, charcoal on paper, 228 × 178 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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‘all right’ and was particularly proud of the owl. During the sittings the artist and the sitter became close and saw each other frequently. In spring 1969 they holidayed together in Israel. Rothschild described Motesiczky, whom she nicknamed ‘Madame Mott’, as a fascinating person with many idiosyncracies who came into her life quite out of the blue. Their friendship, which lasted until Motesiczky’s death, probably also led to the creation of the rather curious painting Confrontation in the Forest, c. 1970 (no. 240). The date for the creation of this portrait has so far incorrectly been given as 1965. Since the commisison came only in summer 1968, the correct date is presumably 1968/9. Benno Reifenberg, art historian, journalist, sitter and family friend, wrote to the artist on 16 April 1969, enquiring about the portrait which had presumably just been finished: ‘I am very curious … how the portrait of the learned woman looks.’1 sources from the archive of the marie-louise von motesiczky charitable trust Alix de Rothschild to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 12 August 1968: ‘You know that I always wanted to commission a portrait of Miriam Lane and I should very much like to know how much you ask for a portrait. Eventually I have also a second commission but that is not yet sure Miriam Lane’s address is: Elsfield Manor, Elsfield, Oxford It is about 3 miles from Oxford, the telephone is: Stanton St. John 213. I gave her your address and I hope you will get somehow together though she is always terribly busy. For the moment she is anyhow in Oxford.’

Alix de Rothschild to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 13 September 1968: ‘Was den Preis anbelangt – so ist der Frankfurter Preis sicher der Richtige. Aber ich kann leider momentan nicht so viel dafür bezahlen, ich bespreche es mit Miriams Kindern deren Trustee ich bin. Ich dachte an £ 1500 20 000 DM. Sind 5000 Dollar. Wenn das Portrait Guy gefällt wird er sicher auch für Dich sitzen. Und dann kannst Du ruhig 5000 Dollar verlangen. Du weisst ja selber dass man ein Kunstwerk nicht in Dollar u. Cents werten kann. Ein gutes Portrait von Miriam ist den Kindern u mir viel mehr wert als 5000 Dollar, aber wir müssen halt offen reden über das was wir zahlen können.’ Daniele Grassi, typescript, c. 1986, pp. 5 f.: ‘Die Dame, fest placiert zwischen der spitzen Schnauze eines Luxushundes und der schläfrigen Wachsamkeit eines Käuzchens, eingerahmt von Schnörkeln eleganter Blütenblätter zur Rechten und Linken eines ovalen Gemäldes oder Spiegels im Hintergrund, kann das Gewicht des Goldgeschmeides, das an ihrem Hals hängt, nicht vertuschen; vor allem der bittere Zug um ihre Mundwinkel und der intensive Blick ihrer schwarzen Augen verraten, wer sie ist, ohne einen Namen nennen zu müssen.’ note 1 ‘Ich bin sehr gespannt … wie das Portrait der gelehrten Frau ausschaut.’: Benno Reifenberg to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 16 April 1969: Motesiczky archive. provenance Artist; Miriam Rothschild; Charlotte Lane. exhibitions London 1985, no. 54, illus. p. 47 (col.), dated 1965; Cambridge 1986, no. 54, illus. p. 47 (col.), dated 1965; Dublin 1988, no. 13, dated 1965. bibliography Calvocoressi 1985, p. 63; Winterbottom 1986, p. 11; Pyle 1988, illus. n.p.; Schmidt 1994a, p. 7 (dated 1965); Tate Gallery, 1996, p. 504 (dated 1965); Cohen 1996a, n.p.; Black 1997, p. 993; Black 2006, p. 57.

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In a Chinese Restaurant 1960s Oil on canvas, 506 × 610 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This mysterious scene takes place in a Chinese restaurant with dim lighting. Three orientallooking people are sitting round a table. A fourth person, probably a waitress, appears to have approached the table carrying a tray of food which she places before the guests. One guest, the woman on the left, eyes wide, eyebrows raised and covering her mouth with her hand, admires the food in surprise. Motesiczky treats the composition sketchily, using decorative swirls of colour and highlights in unusually bright fresh colours, yet leaves the surroundings and many details unclear.

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Woman with Umbrella 1960s Oil on canvas, 608 × 408 mm Verso: still-life with palette and flowers Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

An unknown young model in oriental garb is the subject of this study. She is seated on a short divan in front of a bright orange background, wearing light blue trousers, a lilac coat and a matching turban that covers her hair entirely. Her legs are crossed, one bare foot dangling playfully. A small umbrella is suspended behind her. This unusually colourful work is sketchily executed, as seen for example in the model’s hands and feet. Yet every inch of the canvas has been used. While the verso shows a still-life with palette and dahlias, the heavily worked recto possesses evidence of underpainting suggesting that the artist reused an old canvas, discarding the previous image.

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Duck Flying over a Meadow 1960s Oil on canvas, 357 × 455 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Depictions of animals are rare in Motesiczky’s oeuvre. Apart from the family’s Italian greyhounds, which regularly put in an appearance, especially in portraits of the artist’s mother, very few animals have been depicted (see for example Cat with Flowers, 1949, no. 86, and Koala, 1954, no. 128). Here, in front of the grey, misty silhouettes of high mountains, a duck is flying low over a meadow of yellow flowers. Having just taken off, the bird’s wings are working hard to manoeuvre its plump body.

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Female Profile and Bird 1960s Oil and charcoal on canvas, 355 × 459 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This apparently unfinished work seems to have been painted on top of a discarded earlier image. The head of a female figure on the left, seen in profile, fills most of the canvas. There are no personal accessories to identify the sitter, but her bare shoulders and colourfully decorated brown hair suggest an otherworldliness. Faintly smiling, she looks at an object close to her. Difficult to read and mostly only suggested, this may be the white slender neck and head of a swan. With its beak open, the animal seems to be in conversation with the woman. It has been suggested that this intimate little scene in fact depicts the mythical encounter of Leda and the Swan.

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Dog Coiffure 1960s Oil on canvas, 408 × 555 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Both Motesiczky and her mother loved dogs and owned a succession of various species throughout their lives. It is, however, not known if Motesiczky ever took any of her pets to a dog parlour where she might have experienced a scene like the one depicted here. Centre of attention is a fawn Afghan, proudly standing on a raised platform. It is patiently accepting the ministrations of the coiffeuse who, wielding a brush, carefully combs its long hair. Other dogs are probably waiting for

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their turn. Behind the Afghan, a large grey one (perhaps a poodle, as suggested by its elaborate head-dress) stands on its hind legs while its front legs rest on a stool and its head is raised high. A third dog sits on the right, its sleek line ending in a decoratively curving bushy tail. Two flamboyantly dressed women with hats, almost caricatures and presumably the owners of the dogs, watch the proceedings from the back of the room.


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Woman Holding a Fish 1960s Oil on canvas, 407 × 354 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This is a portrait of an unknown, probably Indian, model, clutching a small fish in her raised left hand. As if trying to emulate the model’s dark skin the artist has used an unusual dark brown priming. In various places, particularly on the face, neck, hand and clothes, it shows through clearly. Framed by unidentified objects above (perhaps a basket she is carrying on her head) and on the right, the model’s serious face, surrounded by short, black hair, is turned towards the viewer. Her black eyes calmly observe the viewer. The overall sombre tone of the portrait is broken only by the red of her slightly parted lips, the pink of her blouse and the vivid combination of bright tones in the fish. Woman Holding a Fish may be Motesiczky’s version of a Beckmannesque motif. Several paintings by Max Beckmann show a fish being held by a human figure, for example Der Wels, 1929 (fig. 185), and Die drei Schwestern, 1935 (fig. 186). Yet, while Beckmann’s rather large fish radiate strength and even sexual prowess, Motesiczky’s small creature in contrast appears tame, probably even dead, relegated to being a mere prop.

Fig. 185 Max Beckmann, Der Wels, 1929, oil on canvas, 1250 × 1255 mm (private collection, Chicago) Fig. 186 Max Beckmann, Die drei Schwestern, 1935, oil on canvas, 1350 × 1000 mm (private collection, Switzerland)

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Still-life with Brush and Strawberries Stilleben mit Pinsel und Erdbeeren 1960s Oil on canvas, 507 × 761 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

In this unusually elongated still-life, Motesiczky presents an arrangement of familiar objects on a bare table top which occupies more than half the canvas and seems to be tilted towards the viewer. She adopts an extremely close-up viewpoint, thus enlarging the objects to an almost monumental size. Laid out on the table are ten strawberries, a sugar shovel, a large brush and a jar, silhouetted against the bare wall like the oval silver platter next to it. Propped up against the back of chair, its projecting corners just visible, the platter’s shiny surface reflects part of the arrangement on the table, especially

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three of the strawberries. In Still-life with Peach, 1967 (no. 215), Motesiczky also employs the platter as a mirror for the painting’s main focus, the large fruit. Just as in Still-life with Peach, here the bright tones of the shiny, fresh fruit provide a welcome contrast to the overall grey-beige colour scheme. exhibitions Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 73, illus. p. 225 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 73, illus. p. 225 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 73, illus. p. 225 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 73, illus. p. 225 (col.). bibliography Sander 2006, pp. 126 f.


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Two Nude Women and Tent 1960s Oil on canvas, 535 Ă— 710 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

In front of a background of waves gently rolling ashore and a sky colourfully illuminated by a sunset, Motesiczky presents us with a leisurely beach scene. Two nude women, sitting beside a yellow tent, are having a lively conversation. The one on the right is animatedly gesturing with her hands. Above her sketchily painted face a white cap covers her unruly hair of which a few strands nevertheless have escaped. The woman on the left, much lighterskinned than her companion, is serenely reclining against a tuft of grass, listening. Her distinct hooked nose, piled-up red hair, voluminous thigh and small breasts are also captured in several sketches Motesiczky made of this unknown model, one almost exactly mirroring the position adopted in the painting (ďŹ g. 187).

Fig. 187 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, sketch, 1960s, black chalk on paper, 234 Ă— 344 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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Portrait Suzanne van Thijn 1960s Oil, charcoal and pastel on canvas, 735 × 508 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Suzanne van Thijn, a Dutch journalist and librarian, was a friend of the artist. Born c. 1904 and of Jewish origin, she fled from Amsterdam in 1940, allegedly cycling through the Netherlands and hitch-hiking through occupied France in an SS car. She eventually came to England, settling in Oxford and later in London. Although she moved back to the Netherlands after the war, she kept in touch with her friends in England. Her autobiography, entitled Mijn Spaanse grootmoeder, was published in 1955. Suzanne van Thijn died c. 1983. Motesiczky and Suzanne van Thijn shared a number of friends, most importantly Nell and Arthur Clegg, and Henri Wiessing (1878–1961), journalist, art critic, editor, part of a left-wing intellectual Dutch circle and a significant political figure, whose mistress Suzanne van Thijn was for many years. The idea of doing a portrait of Suzanne van Thijn must have been conceived in the early 1950s. In 1952 Henri Wiessing enthusiastically and mock-accusingly wrote to Motesiczky from Amsterdam: ‘The thought that you want to paint Suzanne has thrilled me. It will be possible when you are here. So, Marie Louise, come. I love you, but you don’t love me, otherwise you would have written to me when you were still in The Hague’.1 The bond of friendship must have been strong between the women. Suzanne van Thijn confessed to her friend: ‘Marie-Louise it really is great fun to have a person like you in the world. I am most myself with you.’2 A mutual acquaintance, Jocelyn Kingsley, suggested that the women’s closeness originated in the common tragic fact that they both loved men they could not possess or rather men who lived in a world they could not enter (both Elias Canetti and Henri Wiessing were married). When Suzanne van Thijn and Henri Wiessing visited London in 1953, staying in the artist’s flat, Motesiczky noted down her first and most striking impression of her Dutch friend: ‘there they stood … Suzanne with her crown of hair à la Empress Elisabeth and the 396

suit close-fitting at the waist’.3 During this visit, the artist gave Henri Wiessing one of her paintings, Still-life with Yellow Fan and Cherries (no. 118), which has proved impossible to find now and of which no pictorial record exists. A series of photographs have survived in the artist’s estate showing Suzanne van Thijn posing in the artist’s garden and studio (fig. 189). The pictures were taken at 6 Chesterford Gardens, which the artist bought in 1959. So this portrait, which has so far been dated 1950, must have been painted after the Motesiczkys’ move to Hampstead. The photographs are so close to the final portrait in composition and posture, the sitter looking up from reading a newspaper, that the resemblance cannot be Fig. 189 Suzanne van Thijn, photograph, 1960s (Motesiczky archive)

Fig. 188 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, sketch, 1960s, pen and ink on paper, 233 × 180 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

Fig. 190 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, sketch, 1960s, graphite on paper, 355 × 230 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)


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a mere coincidence and that the assumption that the photographs served as aides-mémoire in the absence of the sitter is a fair one. In this half-length portrait Suzanne van Thijn is depicted as an elegantly dressed, middle-aged woman, calmly gazing at the viewer. She is seated at a table, probably in the artist’s studio as the objects behind her, perhaps painting paraphernalia, suggest. While her left elbow is propped up on the table, her left hand raised animatedly, her right arm rests on the table – together they almost create a frame for the head which Motesiczky carried out carefully. She concentrated on the sitter’s extraordinary hairstyle, long plaits of hair wound round her head several times, creating the impression of a crown. It is unclear why the portrait was abandoned in an unfinished state. Motesiczky did not complete the lower half and clearly could not decide on the position of the hands. Several charcoal versions overlay the originally painted right hand, and the position of the left hand was also altered by subsequent charcoal lines. notes 1 ‘Der Gedanke, daß Du die Suzanne malen willst hat mich begeistert. Es wird möglich sein, wenn Du hier bist. Also Marie Louise, komme. Ich habe Dich lieb, aber Du hast mich nicht lieb, sonst hättest Du mir geschrieben, als Du noch im Haag warst’: Henri Wiessing to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 3 March 1952: Motesiczky archive. 2 Suzanne van Thijn to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 25 October 1953: Motesiczky archive. 3 ‘da standen sie … Suzanne mit ihrer Haarkrone à la Kaiserin Elisabeth u. dem in die Taille geschnittenen Kostum’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Elias Canetti, 21 October 1953: Motesiczky archive.

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Two Women Drinking Wine 1960s Oil on canvas, 634 × 763 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

In Two Women Drinking Wine Motesiczky combined a figurative scene with a still-life. The artist provides a glimpse of a celebratory meeting of two women, seated opposite each other in yellow armchairs. Each is holding a full glass of white wine, raised in their manicured hands as if toasting. The identities of the women are unknown, yet they seem carefully selected for the obvious difference in character: while the woman on the right sports short black hair, the one on the left boasts a long blonde mane (and resembles the women in Chemist’s Shop, 1964, no. 196, for which the same model may have posed). On the table in the foreground is a brown jug with a rhododendron branch. Two large white flowers, each with a dense ring of leaves and just past their prime with a few petals already fallen onto the pink tablecloth, almost obscure the human beings in the background. In fact, one part of the branch seems to be deliberately bending as if opening up the view to the scene behind. Placed in the centre of the composition, the floral motif, in its closeness to the viewer and the resulting monumentality, seems to be the main object of the painting with the figural part adding an additional interest.

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Basket of Fruit 1960s Oil and pastel on hardboard, 610 × 610 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

In this still-life, Motesiczky placed a shallow woven basket with a tall handle, filled with apples in various sizes and green grapes, in a window. The comparatively dark interior of the room is indicated by the black frame surrounding the window on three sides. Through the window, with its narrow beige curtains, and past some colourful flowering bushes and trees, the artist presents a view of the gables of two houses on the opposite side of the road (possibly Chesterford Gardens). Motesiczky made good use of the hardboard, an unusual support for her, by leaving the texture of the board visible in several places, for example, when depicting the houses and the basket.

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Still-life with Azalea and Teapot 1960s Oil on canvas, 506 × 610 mm Signed (bottom left): motesiczky Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Motesiczky here depicts a selection of personal items on her writing desk. They are placed next to the window which allows a view of the cloudy night sky interspersed with occasional light from illuminated windows. On the upper shelf of the writing desk are a letter opener, a small potted pink azalea in a saucer and a white teapot that has survived in the artist’s estate. The lower part displays a red quill and a green pencil in a container on an elaborate, four-legged stand as well as a selection of the artist’s correspondence, including a letter, an envelope with a red stamp and postmark and a postcard showing a lake and moutains under a cloudy sky. This painting, which has so far been undated, was probably done in the 1960s as the view from the window resembles that from the artist’s living room on the first floor at Chesterford Gardens in Hampstead. In 1960, the artist and her mother had moved into their new home on a hill, looking down over London towards the west. 399


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Self-portrait with Canetti Selbstporträt mit Canetti 1960s Oil on canvas, 509 × 818 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This double portrait is a poignant comment on the sometimes strained relationship between Motesiczky and the author and 1981 Nobel Laureate Elias Canetti (1905–94). Having both left Austria in the wake of the Anschluß they had met in England in 1939 and spent the war years in Amersham. In the 1950s a room in Motesiczky’s flat in West Hampstead, London, belonged to Canetti – a tradition that was carried on when the artist moved into her house in Hampstead. Upon the death of Canetti’s first wife Veza in 1963, Motesiczky hoped in vain that the writer would marry her. Now both in late middle age and greyhaired, they have grown accustomed to each other. Set in his ways, Canetti refrains from making concessions to his companion. Having completed her work, her brushes washed and neatly arranged like arrows for use in the anticipated struggle, Motesiczky depicted herself patiently waiting for Canetti to finish reading his newspaper. He, however, is thoroughly engrossed in and virtually hiding behind his reading, while enjoying a cigarette, elegantly placed in a black holder, and does not notice his expectant companion who looks on without much hope. The tension between the two

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characters and the palpably awkward atmosphere is exemplified by a shaft of light and two quills in a jar which divide the composition in two. The instruments could be used by both the painter and the author in their respective professions. The sad lack of communication is echoed by the palette of muted earth colours with Canetti’s cigarette providing a rare highlight. While the overwhelming emphasis of the composition is on Canetti with the right part of the canvas constituting a completed, wellbalanced portrait, the painter has squeezed herself in at the extreme left margin, as if used to leaving centre stage to the author. exhibitions Liverpool 2006, no. 71, illus. p. 223 (col.); Frankfurt am Main 2006, no. 71, illus. p. 223 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 71, illus. p. 223 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 71, illus. p. 223 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 71, illus. p. 223 (col.). bibliography Phillips 2001, p. 32; Michel 2003, p. 67, illus. Abb. 99 (col.) (Mit Canetti, lesend, c. 1965); Schlenker 2003, p. 111, illus. p. 109 (col.); Canetti 2005b, illus. p. 90; Canetti 2005c, illustrated on cover (col.); Schlenker 2005, pp. 137, 139, illus. p. 138; Wachinger 2005, illus. p. 94; R. Gries 2006, n.p. (dated 1960); Huther 2006a, n.p.; Huther 2006b, n.p.; Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, exh. booklet 2006, illus. n.p. (col.); Schlenker 2006b, pp. 200 f.; Schlenker 2006c, p. 222; Stadler 2006, n.p.; Lloyd 2007, p. 190.


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Cow Stretching over Hedge in Field 1960s Oil on canvas, 406 × 510 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Apart from the frequently appearing family dogs, especially the Italian greyhounds, of which the Motesiczkys possessed three over the decades, animals rarely appear in the artist’s works. Exceptions are, for example, Cat with Flowers, 1949 (no. 86), and Koala, 1954 (no. 128). Here Motesiczky created a humorous scene showing a meadow in a gentle landscape of trees and bushes. Behind the hedge a cow, of whom only the head, the upper portion of its back and part of the tail can be seen, is trying to eat the grass on the other side. The strain of vigorously sticking out its large pink tongue makes her eyes widen with effort.

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Studio with Nude Model Atelier mit Aktmodell 1970 Oil on canvas, 512 × 512 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

By the late 1960s Motesiczky and her friend and fellow artist Milein Cosman (born in 1921) were almost neighbours, living only a few streets apart in Hampstead. They met frequently yet only occasionally worked together, according to Cosman. On 31 January 1968, for example, Motesiczky noted in her diary: ‘2 [p.m.] nude Milein’. 1 It is one of these occasions of shared creativity that Motesiczky depicts here. In the background, Cosman’s husband, the musicologist Hans Keller (1919–85), half-hidden behind a folding screen, is busily studying papers or, probably, some music. His wife, placed at the opposite end of the picture, stands in front of an easel. Her brush poised, she carefully observes the nude model on the chaise longue in the centre of the room. In comparison to Cosman and Keller, who are almost caricatured, the model seems fleshy and solid, dangling a slipper on her left foot in an attempt to relieve her boredom. Cosman, who used her repeatedly, recalls that she was called Joanna (fig. 191). In this painting, Motesiczky ignores spatial relations and imaginatively extends observed reality: impossibly, the legs of Cosman’s easel stand in front of the chaise longue, while the painting it holds and the artist working on it are situated behind the piece of furniture. This lack of clear spatial definition creates the impression that Cosman is floating gracefully above the floorboards. note 1 ‘2 Akt Milein’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, diary entry for 31 January 1968: Motesiczky archive. bibliography Schlenker 2006b, pp. 202 f., illus. p. 203 (col.).

Fig. 191 Milein Cosman’s drypoint of Joanna (280 × 345 mm, Milein Cosman, London) dates from around 1970

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Confrontation in the Forest c. 1970 Oil on canvas, 556 × 761 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Rather wittily, this mysterious painting almost certainly comments on an episode in Motesiczky’s life. In a dark wood, with only a few rays of sunlight coming through the dense foliage, the white-haired, startled artist finds herself fighting off an unusual attacker. Her only weapons are the tools of her profession, a huge palette and a handful of brushes (not unlike those in Self-portrait with Canetti, 1960s, no. 237) which she wields like a shield and arrows. As if in awe of a religious apparition or overwhelmed by the sheer sight in front of her, she has fallen to her knees. Her opponent, sitting on an enormous tree branch that sprouts from between her legs, is a rather ambiguous figure, a cross between a real menace and a caricature. In fact, the amazonian figure is a friend of the artist, the botanist Miriam Rothschild (1908–2005) – identifiable by the characteristic grey streak of hair (see Miriam Rothschild, 1968/9, no. 224). The close link between Rothschild and Motesiczky was probably forged during the creation of Rothschild’s portrait. It did not go unnoticed and led Godfrey Samuel, whom Motesiczky painted in 1976/7, to the following wry, suggestive comment: ‘M…e-L….e Has only to sneeze And M….m Contracts delirium’.1 In this picture Motesiczky is seen defending herself against her friend’s lesbian advances. What happened between the two women is alluded to in a long letter Motesiczky wrote to Rothschild, which exists in draft form. The artist was flattered by Rothschild’s approaches. In view of her longstanding relationship with the author Elias Canetti, however, Motesiczky felt obliged to refrain from accepting: ‘Dear Miriam, I admired you when I got to know you in Oxford. I still do. I put you very highly Since I have Canetti I did not come across such a person. You are all I am – not. One part of my true nature could say to you: I am not a lespian but if it makes you happy that I should be one

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I will trie – I will never be such a good one as you, but I will trie my very best. – Smile – but there is an other side of me – I can’t and don’t want to hurt people I love. I belong to Canetti for 30 years – we did hurt each other of course – but the good things prevailed. Would I only play with the idea that a completely new cind of adventure is in my reach – I would not only distroy the present but all the past as well. I would distroy the picture he has of me for ever. There is such a thing as “Tabu” there is a thing you probably call nature. The furst one is the privileg of man. You kant fight both. You cant fight God. You did not say that you wanted to. But in this respect I am like a girl of 17. If I hear the words “I fell in love with you” I think I have to say “yes or no” And I say no at the risk of being a funny old thing flattering myself to be taken much more serious as in fact this may be the case. Think of an other thing … compared with you my life has the nature of an Askimo wer as yours compairs to the Cardinal Richiu [Richelieu] If I dont oil my skin and have my fish and follow my old habits I die. Wer as you have competely different possibilities – not less dangerous perhaps – not easier but your escapes are manyfold – in your work in love in every thing … I would so much like you to be my friend You said: you had all that – friendship for going to antique markets and goodness knows what But perhaps there wasn’t an Escimo among them. Maybe he to has to offer you something.’2 notes 1 Godfrey Samuel to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 30 July 1969: Motesiczky archive. 2 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Miriam Rothschild, [c. 1970]: Motesiczky archive. exhibition Liverpool 2006, ex catalogue. bibliography Lloyd 2007, pp. 182 f.


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Slideshow with Piero della Francesca c. 1970 Oil on canvas, 404 × 508 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

In the late 1960s, Motesiczky attended adult art appreciation classes at Kynaston Technical School (now Quintin Kynaston School) in Swiss Cottage. The classes, specializing in the Renaissance, were given by Marina Hoffer, a Czech artist, author and book illustrator (figs 192 and 193). A short-lived, intense friendship seems to have developed between Motesiczky and Marina Hoffer which inspired this painting. Although the nature of the friendship was described by Miriam Rothschild as a crush, it is more likely to have been of a professional kind. After a while, however, Motesiczky stopped going to the classes which she allegedly found ‘boring’. By the mid-1970s she reportedly considered Marina Hoffer to be a ‘prima donna’. Elias Canetti mockingly referred to her as ‘our famous art beholder’.1 In the painting Marina Hoffer’s lecture is in full swing. In a corner of the darkened room a clock gives the time as 9 o’clock while the skeleton suggests that the classes are taking place in the biology department. On a low table in front of the lecturer, a water jug and glass stand on a book. The letters ‘PI’ are visible, probably part of the title of a book on Piero della Francesca. Wielding a pointer, Marina Hoffer, white-haired and wearing an elegant blue coat-dress, explains the slide projected on the screen. The image is Motesiczky’s adaptation of a fresco from Piero della Francesca’s Legend of the True Cross in the Cappella Maggiore of the church of San Francesco in Arezzo (fig. 195). The fresco depicts the Queen of Sheba who, on her journey to see King Solomon, is about to cross a stream via a bridge that has been manufactured from the wood on which Jesus Christ will be crucified. When, by a miracle, she learns this, she kneels in devout adoration. Motesiczky adopts the mountain range in the background of this scene but, omitting all other characters, concentrates on two figures from the fresco, a horse and the Queen of Sheba. In the resulting curious juxtaposition the original story becomes obliterated since the Queen of Sheba, facing 406

in the opposite direction, now seemingly adores the horse. It is difficult to imagine how Marina Hoffer would have given meaning to this distorted image which is probably the result of Motesiczky’s mischievous attempts at spicing up the lectures. In three coloured and numerous other sketches Motesiczky experimented with the composition (fig. 194), including the audience and projecting different images on the screen, probably also variations on the fresco by Piero della Francesca. note 1 ‘unsere berühmte Kunstbetrachterin’: Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 21 November 1976: Motesiczky archive. bibliography Michel 2003, p. 32, illus. Abb. 39 (col.) (Diashow mit Piero). Fig. 193 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Marina Hoffer, 1980s, charcoal on paper, 508 × 310 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

Fig. 192 Marina Hoffer, photograph, 1983 (Motesiczky archive)


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Fig. 194 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, study for Slideshow with Piero della Francesca, c. 1970, graphite, watercolour and pastel on paper, 176 × 254 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London) Fig. 195 Piero della Francesca, The Queen of Sheba Adoring the Wood of the Cross, from The Legend of the True Cross, 1452–66, fresco (San Francesco, Arezzo)

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Hampstead Garden c. 1970 Oil on canvas, 455 × 915 mm Private collection

When, in the early 1970s, the space hopper, a large inflatable jumping ball, swept the nation, Motesiczky became a fascinated fan. A visitor to Chesterford Gardens would be invited to a turn on the space hopper in the garden after tea. In this oblong, panoramic view of the artist’s sun-filled Hampstead garden, the Gummiball, as Motesiczky called it, takes centre stage. A red-haired girl is bouncing across the grass on the space hopper. Apart from being the star in this garden scene it will also become the object of the artist’s new painting. The

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grey-haired artist, palette in hand, can be glimpsed at her easel behind a border of flowers and shrubs that runs the length of the picture. She is apparently working on the scene in front of her, carefully observing the girl at play. On the left, next to the Motesiczkys’ Italian greyhound Bubi, a woman in a flowing lilac gown seems to emerge from a grotto. Her grey streak identifies her as Miriam Rothschild whose portrait the artist was painting in 1968/9. While the right part of the canvas appears to be realistic, the left half has a dreamlike quality

not unlike that other imaginary scene involving Miriam Rothschild, Confrontation in the Forest, c. 1970 (no. 240). Her compelling presence seems to cast a spell on the proceedings in the garden and determine the actions of the participants. provenance Artist; Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust; private collection (2008). bibliography Lloyd 2007, p. 182.


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Still-life with Lily of the Valley and Pansy Stilleben mit MaiglĂśckchen 1972 Oil on canvas, 406 Ă— 305 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

The focal point of this simple arrangement is the bulbous grey vase displaying a bouquet of lilies of the valley and two lilac and yellow pansies, one of which is almost hidden by the mass of lilies. Next to the vase lies a miniature closed book. A pencil marks the page where its reader has abandoned it. The vase stands on what appears to be a sheet of white paper, presumably a letter, covered with blue writing. The relatively small size of the vase and the book make the letters appear tantalizingly large. They cannot, however, be deciphered.

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Mrs Owen 1973 Oil on canvas, 1194 × 635 mm Signed (bottom right): m.motesiczky. 73. Private collection, Thailand

Russian by birth, Beatrice Owen grew up in Vienna and Paris. Her grandmother, Freifrau von Stein, knew Henriette von Motesiczky, the artist’s mother, well and her father was a friend of the family. Beatrice Owen came to England as a Foreign Office wife, and later she and her children became frequent visitors in Amersham and Chesterford Gardens. In the early 1990s Beatrice Owen settled in Hong Kong where she ran an antiques shop. In a letter written in 2000 she fondly recalled her memories of the Motesiczky household which she called ‘my refuge’, ‘enchanted with all the beautiful things, which were simply part of life … rather than the result of a decorator’s expensive efforts’. There she ‘found … the atmosphere of central Europe, the elegance and style that was totally natural, the values with which I had grown up … It was a magical household then, always full of the most gifted people of their time, who could forget their fame in M-L’s company and inspire each other.’1 In 1970 Elias Canetti wrote to Motesiczky: ‘The news of the portrait of Mrs. Owen is good: I can imagine how wonderful she will be to paint … I am happy, very happy that you got a commission.’2 According to the sitter, however, this portrait of a family friend was not a commission but came into being when Motesiczky suggested Beatrice Owen should sit for her. The project apparently took a few years to carry out, with sittings commencing only in 1972. According to the sitter’s recollection, after a series of male portraits, painting a female model other than her mother seems to have been a welcome change for Motesiczky. At the time of the creation of the portrait both women were experiencing an unsettled period in their relationships, according to Beatrice Owen, ‘my marriage was difficult … Marie Louise and Elias were causing each other pain’.3 The artist’s empathy with her sitter is clearly expressed in this portrait which, in its unusual vertical format, is reminiscent of some of her early works (for example Self-portrait with Comb, 410

1926, no. 13). Enveloped in an environment of warm yellow-brown hues, the 30-year-old sitter seems to be sitting on the bare wooden floor in front of a wall which appears to be illuminated by a spotlight behind her – almost as if the radiance was emanating from the sitter herself. Beatrice Owen, her blonde hair tidily parted in the middle, wears a long white skirt and a brown blouse. Her left hand rests on her drawn-up knees, prominently displaying her wedding ring, which symbolizes the source of her current troubles. The sitter’s questioning look and the lack of a smile contribute to the air of sadness and serenity that characterizes this work. Motesiczky had been pleased with the progress of the work and was especially proud of the unity of the finished portrait. When she finally showed it to the sitter, Motesiczky was overwhelmed by Beatrice Owen’s tremendous enthusiasm and appreciative comments.4 Henriette von Motesiczky, who spent many hours with Mrs ‘Ohen’, commented favourably on her daughter’s depiction: ‘You really worked magic.’5 Motesiczky intended to exhibit the portrait in her solo exhibition in Vienna in 1994 and organized its transfer from the sitter’s estranged husband to her home in Hampstead. It appears, however, that it eventually did not travel to Austria. The artist kept the work for a while before the sitter was able to move it to Hong Kong. notes 1 Beatrice Owen to Jill Lloyd, 21 July 2000 (original in capitals): Motesiczky archive. 2 ‘Das ist ja eine gute Nachricht mit dem Porträt der Owen: ich kann mir vorstellen, dass sie sich wunderbar malen lässt … Ich bin froh, sehr froh, dass Du einen Auftrag hast.’: Elias Canetti to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 16 September 1970: Motesiczky archive. 3 Beatrice Owen to Jill Lloyd, 21 July 2000 (original in capitals): Motesiczky archive. 4 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky to Peter Verdemato, 6 June 1973: collection Peter Verdemato. 5 ‘Du hast wirklich gezaubert.’: Henriette von Motesiczky to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, [1974]: Motesiczky archive. provenance Artist; Beatrice Owen (purchased c. 1975).

Fig. 196 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, sketch, c. 1973, graphite on paper, 216 × 170 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)


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Still-life with Azalea and Clock Stilleben mit Azalee und Uhr 1974 Oil on canvas, 508 × 610 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

In her reflections on her life and work, published in the catalogue of the GoetheInstitut exhibition in 1985, Motesiczky recounts a sudden realization that struck her as she was looking at paintings in Apsley House and led to a remarkable experience while creating this still-life: ‘A year ago I went to see the collection of paintings in Apsley House at Hyde Park Corner. Visiting this house is like visiting a private house with large windows looking on to the Park. There are no crowds; just wonderful pictures on the walls hanging so close together that their frames almost touch. And yet these pictures do not intrude on one another. But you have to get quite close to look at them properly. You cannot tell from 20 yards away who painted each picture. In this collection I discovered a painting by Duyster, a 17th century Dutch master [fig. 197] … Elegant figures, minutely painted clothes, buttons, lace – you could identify every detail but something strange was going on. The catalogue entry read: a picture of distinctly dubious company. So you can paint in this way and yet convey

something peculiar, I thought I learnt something and went home uplifted by what I had seen, and turned at once to a still life I was engaged on and in which I thought I had gone into too great detail. It was a painting of a deserted writing-desk with a small azalea and a gold clock of Empire style on it. There were also some other small objects. I felt I had succeeded with the dull gold of the clock and the greenish-black shadows, but where the colour was at its best there was something wrong with the form and where the form was good the colour was less good. If you try to correct something in a painting you can very easily lose everything. In my eagerness I got hold of my little hand mirror (such as painters often use) and on it I got the reflection of the clock in my picture. What I saw in the mirror pleased me and from the whole there radiated great tranquillity. The blackish gold tones were right, the form was pleasing. I won’t change a thing, I thought to myself, I’ve caught it. I put the mirror down and – to my horror I discovered that in my excitement I had caught the

reflection on the real clock which stood near my picture. Anyone reading these words may think that the painter’s inner compass which after all is his guide-line, points to absolute realism. I don’t believe this. Is it not more the total readiness to accept reality and to reinvent it for the canvas? This alone gives the artist the joyous feeling that he has succeeded and that through this achievement the spectator is able to feel what he has felt.’1 Although Motesiczky struggled with doubts and confessed that it was ‘not easy to make all the objects look like a simple unity’,2 it might be argued that she eventually succeeded in creating the illusion of coherence. A golden clock, adorned by a dolphin above the face, stands next to a potted pink azalea and dwarf narcissi in a vase on a window-sill. On the left, the miniature portrait of Anna von Lieben (1847–1900; fig. 3), the artist’s maternal grandmother and an early patient of Sigmund Freud, is displayed in its delicate metal frame (fig. 198). The oval image, which had always been in the artist’s possession, shows a young woman, probably in her teens, with long brown plaits, painted by an unknown artist. The magnifying glass and the open book in front of it suggest that the desk’s occupier has just left. An undated sketch (fig. 199), probably made in connection with this still-life, captures a window-sill on which the ‘dolphin clock’ stands side by side with a vase of flowers, bowls and a figurine. notes 1 Motesiczky 1985, p. 14. 2 ‘Nicht leicht das alles in eine einfache Einheit zu kriegen’: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, notebook entry for 10 April 1985: Motesiczky archive. exhibitions Vienna 2004b, illus. p. 206 (col.); Vienna 2007, ex catalogue; Passau 2007, ex catalogue; Southampton 2007, ex catalogue. bibliography

Fig. 197 Willem Cornelisz Duyster, A Musical Party, c. 1630, oil on oak panel, 486 × 807 mm (The Wellington Collection, Apsley House, London)

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Motesiczky 1985, p. 14; Michel 2003, p. 77, illus. Abb. 123 (col.) (Stilleben mit Azalee und Standuhr, 1984); Lloyd 2004, pp. 205 f., illus. p. 206 (col.); Lloyd 2006, pp. 42 f., illus. p. 42 (col.); Lloyd 2007, pp. 18, 140, illus. fig. 4 (col.).


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Fig. 198 Miniature portrait of Anna von Lieben by an unknown artist (now in a private collection in Amsterdam), photograph (Motesiczky archive)

Fig. 199 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, undated sketch, graphite on paper, 116 Ă— 175 mm (MarieLouise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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Nude with a Rat and Books Akt mit einer Ratte und Büchern Early 1970s Oil on canvas, 407 × 712 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This witty and sarcastic, yet slightly disturbing, painting can be interpreted as a commentary on the artist’s relationship with Elias Canetti. It must be seen in the context of Self-portrait with Canetti, 1960s (no. 237), which was probably painted slightly earlier. In the early 1970s Motesiczky finally learned, via friends and relatives, of Elias Canetti’s second marriage and the birth of his daughter, which he had kept secret from her for several years. She felt deeply betrayed and wounded and at first could not bear his presence. After a period of non-communication, their friendship – albeit altered in its nature and more distant – tentatively resumed.

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In a modification of the traditional motif of Leda and the Swan, a female nude (clearly a self-portrait of the artist) is reclining on a long, low bed which fills the unusual horizontal canvas. Between her drawn-up legs stands a rat (who can be identified as Elias Canetti) with a strong, curving tail. Resting its claws on her abdomen, it is engrossed in reading a book and a newspaper propped up against the reclining nude’s torso. Robbed of any space to move and of any chance of attracting the rat’s attention, her face has taken on a resigned, long-suffering expression while the rat, preoccupied with its studies, is seemingly unaware of and uninterested in her plight. A further

spiritual dimension is added by the presence of a little mirror under the nude’s left foot and a desiccated apple on the floor nearby – both classic attributes of Venus, the goddess of love. Now the mirror is virtually being crushed and the apple has long lost its beauty.1 note 1 This interpretation was also suggested by Michel 2003, p. 67. exhibitions Liverpool 2006, ex catalogue; Vienna 2007, ex catalogue; Passau 2007, ex catalogue; Southampton 2007, ex catalogue. bibliography Vorderwülbecke 1999, p. 45, illus. p. 103; Phillips 2001, p. 32 (dated late 1960s); Michel 2003, p. 67, illus. Abb. 100 (col.) (Akt und Ratte, c. 1965).


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Pagina 415

Beach Scene Early 1970s Oil on canvas, 505 × 635 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

This beach scene was probably inspired by scenery Motesiczky saw on her holiday in Tunisia in 1973. Back home in London, she used a photograph taken on the trip (fig. 200) and several drawings of the site (fig. 201) as an aide-mémoire for the work on the painting. The artist presents a beach in a Mediterranean country under a cloudless blue sky. Compared with the photograph of the original site the beach in the painting is rather deserted and seems far removed from civilization, as if in a state of natural solitude. The secluded little bay lies under a large white building which looms on top of the cliff. Underneath, a road or railway track disappears into the rock via the black hole of a tunnel. A solitary boat drifts on the waves of the calm sea which laps on to the beach in large waves. Across the water the distant shore is hazy. A few people, some rendered as caricatures, enjoy the sun on the beach. A couple, of whom we see only their legs, lie under a large pink and white sunshade. The solitary figure of a man with a hat is sitting on a rock further up the beach and in the bottom left corner a head seems to pop up out of nowhere.

Fig. 200 Beach and cliff, Tunisia, photograph, 1973 (Motesiczky archive) Fig. 201 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, study for Beach Scene, 1973, charcoal on paper, 230 × 290 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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Mother in the Garden Mutter im Garten 1975 Oil, pastel and charcoal on canvas, 814 × 509 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Depicted here three years before her death, Motesiczky’s aged mother Henriette von Motesiczky is the model for this portrait. She is placed among plants in front of a brick wall that resembles the back wall in the Motesiczkys’ Hampstead garden (the same wall, with its ornamental sculpture of a cellist and without the missing bricks can be seen in The Short Trip, 1965, no. 204). As if illuminated by a mysterious light, Henriette von Motesiczky’s shadow is visible on the wall although the effects of direct sunlight are not discernible anywhere else in the picture. Almost bald and dressed in what may be a white nightgown, she appears weak and fragile. Her stooped figure apparently attempts to take a walk, her bare feet half hidden in the grass, with her arms helplessly stretched out reaching for support as if moving in the dark. As in numerous other portraits, Henriette von Motesiczky’s faithful companion, the Italian greyhound Maxi, is included. However, the artist does not seem to have been certain about the dog and sketched only his outline, running towards his mistress from the right, looking back over his shoulder. Motesiczky experimented with the composition in an unusually large number of preliminary drawings. Most are vague sketches of Henriette von Motesiczky in alternative garden settings. Some incorporate other figures, for example lying in a deckchair or swimming under the mother’s scrutiny. Others, imaginatively and magically, have the mother pass by human heads arranged as flowers on a stem (fig. 202). They can be identified as the artist herself, her mother’s friend Liss Gray (depicted in The Old Song, 1959, no. 158) and a big-eared monster. In all the drawings Motesiczky focuses on her mother in a standing position and wearing a long, undefined, loosefitting garment. In some Henriette supports herself with a stick. The final painting discards the various different settings and omits all distractions, concentrating on the lonely figure of Henriette von Motesiczky (fig. 203).

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Fig. 202 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, sketch, c. 1975, pen and ink on paper, 228 × 175 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

Fig. 203 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Henriette von Motesiczky in the Garden, 1975, black chalk and pastel on paper, 230 × 205 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

exhibitions

bibliography

Liverpool 2006, no. 76, illus. p. 229 (col.); Vienna 2007, no. 76, illus. p. 229 (col.); Passau 2007, no. 76, illus. p. 229 (col.); Southampton 2007, no. 76, illus. p. 229 (col.).

Michel 2003, pp. 31, 72, illus. Abb. 35 (col.) (Mutter, im Garten stehend); Lloyd 2006, pp. 40 f.; Sander 2006, pp. 122 f.


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Man with Green Scarf Mann mit grünem Schal 1975 Oil on canvas, 608 × 506 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

John Sandmeyer, who died in 1990, was a lodger in the Motesiczky house in Chesterford Gardens in the early 1970s; he lived in the basement. Motesiczky asked him to sit for her when he came back for a visit, having found lodgings elsewhere. Several photographs were taken of Sandmeyer, posing in the artist’s studio, and they must have been used for the portrait since some bear paint smudges (fig. 204). In this half-length portrait, Sandmeyer is shown seated in the red leather armchair that was kept in the studio. Apart from the plug and lead that can be made out above his left shoulder and which was attached to the artist’s kettle, the background cannot be clearly read. The sitter is clad in his outdoor clothes, a grey jacket and a scarf, and is calmly reading what looks like a book or newspaper. The sun, coming in from a window on the right, throws half his face into shadow, producing highlights on his balding forehead and on the frames of his glasses.

Fig. 204 John Sandmeyer posing for his portrait in Motesiczky’s studio, photograph, 1975 (Motesiczky archive)

Fig. 205 Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Head of John Sandmeyer, c. 1975, graphite and white chalk on paper, 560 × 380 mm (Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London)

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Mother in Green Dressing Gown Mutter im grünen Morgenrock 1975 Oil on canvas, 661 × 560 mm Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, London

Mother in Green Dressing Gown is among the last paintings in the long series of intimate portraits Motesiczky made of her mother, Henriette von Motesiczky, documenting her descent into extreme old age. At 93 years old, the once formidable lady appears shrunken. She is wearing a green dressing gown over her nightgown, and her bald head is covered with a white scarf. Despite the now sunken cheeks, the characteristically large eyes – with one eyelid slightly drooping – and bulbous nose convey the air of a presence still to be reckoned with since, as one critic succinctly put it, she ‘has lost most of her hair but none of the zest in her gaze’.1 Henriette von Motesiczky is sitting at a table, looking straight at the viewer, with her faithful Italian greyhound Maxi by her side. The young creature is daintily placing his front legs on the white tablecloth of the low table, as if wanting to be part of the action. A slender white vase stands on the table, holding delicate pink buds, one of which the sitter is holding in her hand. Apart from a small magnifying glass, the combination of objects on the left