Press Release

Marie-Louise von Motesiczky

Tate Liverpool  Second floor galleries
11 April – 13 August 2006

Tate Liverpool is the first of four European venues to present an exhibition that celebrates the 100th anniversary of Marie-Louise von Motesiczky's birth. Widely acclaimed as one of the most talented and original artists of her era, several major museums (including Tate) have collected fine examples of Motesiczky's work. Despite this, she still remains relatively unknown. This exhibition provides an opportunity to discover a highly talented woman artist of the 20th century, whose remarkable work illuminates the troubled history of her times.

The exhibition provides a survey of Motesiczky's most powerful work from the 1920s–1990s. The exhibition will present 60 paintings and a number of drawings, and will explore the transition from her hard-edged realist style of the twenties to the poetic realism of her later work. Motesiczky is particularly known for her portraits, including compelling self-portraits and a moving series devoted to her ageing mother recording her decline. Related to her portraits are her figurative 'fantasy paintings', dream-like compositions which formed a significant part of her work in 1950s and 1960s. These magical visions blur fantasy and reality in a complex personal allegory. Motesiczky painted intimate still-lives and poetic landscapes throughout her entire career.

Marie-Louise von Motesiczky was born in Vienna in 1906 into a wealthy and distinguished Jewish family - her grandmother was one of Sigmund Freud's earliest patients. As a young woman, she studied at the Städel art school in Frankfurt with Max Beckmann, a life-long friend and mentor. When the Nazis marched into Vienna in 1938, Motesiczky fled with her mother, first to Holland, then Switzerland, finally arriving in England in 1939. Her brother Karl remained in Austria, where he sheltered Jewish friends. In 1943 he was sent to Auschwitz, where he died. In England, Motesiczky lived and worked in a highly gifted community of exiled artists.

The exhibition will tour from Tate Liverpool to Museum Giersch, Frankfurt (September 2006 - January 2007), Wien Museum, Vienna (March – June 2007) and finally Southampton City Art Gallery (September – December 2007).

The exhibition has been organised in collaboration with the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust.