The Berlin painter Lotte Laserstein (1898–1993) made a name for herself with sensitive portraits of her contemporaries in the late years of the Weimar Republic. She successfully participated in numerous exhibitions and competitions. Critics found hymnic words to sing her praise, calling her a ‘passionate painter by nature’ and attesting her ‘skills of remarkable dimensions’. Following the artist’s early recognition, her career came to an abrupt halt, however: the political situation under the National Socialist regime increasingly excluded the painter with a Jewish background from the cultural scene. Laserstein found herself forced to leave Germany in 1937. With the artist cut off from the international arena, her work was largely ostracised from public perception. Today, Laserstein’s œuvre ranks among the major rediscoveries of recent years.
The Städel Museum’s exhibition paying tribute to the painter will be on display in Frankfurt from 19 September 2018 to 17 March 2019. It will be the first solo presentation of the artist’s work to take place outside of Berlin. The show will build on the Städel’s holdings, which has acquired important works by the artist over the past few years: the paintings “Russian Girl with Compact“ of 1928 and “Boy with Kasper Puppet (Wolfgang Karger)“ of 1933. Assembling about fifty works, the exhibition looks into Laserstein’s development as an artist, focusing on her works of the 1920s and 1930s, which mark the highlight of her production. Laserstein’s central concern was portraiture. She rejected traditional role expectations and developed new, especially female images for identification in many of her works. These images found their expression in athletic and fashion-conscious women in control, who reflected the type of the New Woman. The exhibition offers a unique opportunity to become acquainted with this long-forgotten artist’s fascinating work.