En Plein Air

En Plein Air


Lotte Laserstein (German/Swedish School 1898-1993)
Lotte Laserstein was born in Preussich-Holland, Prussia, and was one of the first female students to study at the Berlin Academy from 1921-27. Laserstein was taught by the painter Erich Wolfsfeld. Through Wolfsfeld, Laserstein encountered the paintings firstly of Adolph Menzel, with their meticulous realism; and of Wilhelm Leibl, the major 19th century German realist painter. Laserstein was also influenced by studying the 16th century court portraits of Hans Holbein.
Laserstein won the Academy's Gold Medal in 1925 and after leaving the Academy in 1927 set up her own studio in Berlin. She exhibited during the late 1920s and 1930s at the Prussian Academy of Art, the Glaspalast, Munich and the Berlin Women Artists Association. In 1931 she held her first solo exhibition at Gurlitt's, Berlin. Many of her portraits depict independent women in urban settings or in leisure pursuits, emblematic of the 'Neue Frau' or 'New Woman' of the 1920s and 30s.
In 1934 however, labelled under new Nazi racial laws as 'Three quarters Jewish', Laserstein was barred from exhibiting in public, and 1935 she was forced to abandon her studio. Finally, in 1937, she emigrated to Sweden. Cruelly this came just as her work began receiving critical acclaim, with two paintings hung in the 1937 Salon in Paris and an exhibition the same year at the Galerie Moderne, in Stockholm.
Laserstein continued to paint in exile although in a much softer style, and throughout the war and beyond she managed to secure numerous commissioned portraits and landscapes, gained through influential Swedish supporters. In the 1950s and beyond however, her life and reputation slipped into obscurity, within a changing post war climate of modernism and abstraction. She lived to see long overdue recognition however, via exhibitions in 1987 at the Belgrave Gallery and Agnew & Sons, London; this continued with a follow-up exhibition in 1990 at the Agnew & Sons gallery.

Oil on board. Signed & dated lower right.


Height 33.5 cm / 13 "
Width 38.5 cm / 15 "
Framed height 48.5 cm / 19 14"
Framed width 56 cm / 22 "

Oil on panel (mahogany/oak/ply/pineetc)