Helene Funke (1869 – 1957)
I too am a lonely Steppenwolf (Helene Funke to Hermann Hesse, 1944)
With Helene Funke the Lentos Art Museum presents an Austrian artist, whose work has still to be rediscovered. Funke belongs to the generation of artists from the early 20th century, whose impact has not yet been honoured as it deserves.
The painter, born in 1869 in Chemnitz, set out from Munich in 1906 to join the “wild ones” in Paris, and moved to Vienna in 1913, where she remained until her death in 1957. Helene Funke, whose work is presented now for the first time in a museum exhibition, was a loner, significant portions of her oeuvre were destroyed, lost in fires or disappeared, and her life is only fragmentarily documented and thus remains enigmatic.
The retrospective of this “classic artist of modernism”, comprising 125 works, impressively shows the life work of the artist in the field of tension from the late Impressionism, Fauvism, Classical Modernism to its successors. Work groups from the turn of the century to the 1950s offer an overview of continuity and transformations in the developments of characteristic styles. The exhibition offers insights into the previously hidden creativity of one of the most important women painters of the first half of the 20th century, who was involved throughout her life in various associations of women artists.
The retrospective that has been made possible through scholarly support from Peter Funke, is curated at Lentos by Elisabeth Nowak-Thaller and enhanced with loaned works from the Austrian Gallery Belvedere, the Leopold Museum Vienna, the Vienna Museum, the State Museum of Lower Austria, Art Collections Chemnitz, art dealer Hieke Vienna, and through 30 private collectors and 10 galleries.
A first representative catalogue will be published for the exhibition with about 150 colour illustrations and introductory texts by Elisabeth Fischer, Peter Funke, Julie Johnson, Tamara Loitfellner, Elisabeth Nowak-Thaller, Sabine Plakolm-Forthuber and a preface by Stella Rollig.