Ilna Ewers-Wunderwald. Rediscovering a Master of Art Nouveau

28 February to 16 June, 2019

Blackbox #6

Ilna Ewers-Wunderwald (1875–1957) was a master painter, an illustrator of periodicals and books, a translator of French novels, an innovative furniture and clothing designer, and a cabaret performer: a truly universal artist of the Belle Époque. Before the First World War, her works were a sensation at major exhibitions like the Berlin and Munich Secessions. Her illustrations were highly in demand, and books designed by her were very successful.

Exotic animals, fantastic plants, and strange mythical beings populate Ilna Ewers-Wunderwald’s visual cosmos. Inspired by art nouveau and symbolism, the artist created poetically enigmatic, highly decorative works that oscillate between ornamental superficiality and illusionistic representation. Rooted in pen-and-ink drawing, her artful technique transgresses the lines between painting, drawing, and printmaking. Her travels with her husband were an important source of inspiration. Stays in South America, the Caribbean, Australia, India, and the Far East awoke an interest in non-European mythology and motifs early on.

Beginning in the 1920s, Ilna Ewers-Wunderwald increasingly retreated from the public. Art nouveau remained her stylistic home, but her work was then forgotten. With this exhibition, Bröhan-Museum would like to contribute to the rediscovery of this artist.

Curator: Dr. Anna Grosskopf
Advertising motif: Gerwin Schmidt, 2019