Margarete Berger-Hamerschlag: A Lifetime of Passionate Endeavour

21 May 2010 – 30 Jul 2010

Austrian Cultural Forum

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • 9,10,52,C1
  • Knightsbridge

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This exhibition will reflect the artistic life of the Austrian artist Margarete Berger-Hamerschlag (1902-1958) and her remarkable images of youth clubs in post-war London in particular. Studying at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna in 1921 Berger-Hamerschlag was influenced by modernist movements including the New Objectivists (exponents of this movement were artists such as Georg Grosz and Otto Dix), a style she would return to in her later Youth Club works. In 1922 she married the modernist architect Josef Berger. She continued to paint in Greece, Lebanon and in 1936 they both moved to Palestine where Josef Berger had architectural commissions. In 1936, unable to return to Vienna due to the political situation, they chose to emigrate to the UK. In London, Berger-Hamerschlag continued to work as a portrait and landscape painter as well as an illustrator. Post War austerity made her work more difficult to sell, and so around 1950 she began teaching in Youth Clubs. The young people she taught there had a profound effect on her life, leading to a determination to set down her experiences there both in paint and in print. The latter activity led to her book Journey into a Fog, with which she had considerable success, as the book ran to several printings, was widely reviewed, and was published both in paperback in the UK as well as the USA. Her illustrations and writings act as a fascinating social record of working class youth in postwar Britain.

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