“Lotte Laserstein ranks among the very best of the younger generation of painters”, raved the press in 1929. Her shining ascent in the late 1920s came to an abrupt end, for in 1933 the artist – who had graduated as a woman from the Berlin Academy and had Jewish roots – was banned from taking part in public cultural life. In 1937 she emigrated to Sweden, where her work fell by and large into oblivion.
Portraits were Lotte Laserstein’s principal theme. Schooled in professional technique by the Academy, her painting displayed a continuity with the German Naturalism of the late nineteenth century. But her portrayals were unique: sober in their depiction and modernist in their framing. While Laserstein’s art betrays elements of New Objectivity, her style is neither objectifyingly cool nor heatedly socio-critical.
The exhibition Face to Face compiled by the Städel Museum in Frankfurt and shown there in autumn 2018 will move to the Berlinische Galerie in 2019 with the addition of further loans. The focus is on her output in the 1920s and 1930s, seen as the heyday of Laserstein’s career. Major works from the emigration years will also be on show.
Selected works from the Berlinische Galerie collection, not least by Christian Schad, Jeanne Mammen, Anne Ratkowski and Georg Neuschul, will complement the Laserstein exhibits, placing them in the context of portrait and nude painting in the era of New Objectivity and at the same time highlighting her independent take on realism.