Project title
Bettina Encke von Arnim
Object description

*3 May 1895 in Zernikow; † 23 August 1971 in Waldbröl
German paintress
Bettina Encke von Arnim, née Bettina von Arnim, is the great-granddaughter of the German Romantics Bettina von Arnim and Achim von Arnim. She studies from 1917 to 1920 in Berlin, at the painting school of the Society of Female Artists and Friends of Art, with the Berlin Secessionists Leo von König and Martin Brandenburg and with Johann Walter-Kurau. In 1921 she gets married to Walther Encke, who expresslvely supports her in her artistic work. The couple’s home becomes a cultural and political salon. She maintains close and friendly relationships with quite a number of personalities. At the time of National Socialism, their closest friends, so the Bauhaus artists Fritz Kuhr, Iwan Katz and many others are disqualified from their profession, defamed and persecuted. Together with her husband she manages to give them support, to hide them, or to help them to escape. Sometimes their meetings take place at the mansion of Wiepersdorf, the residence of the von Arnims‘. After her husband’s death, during the air raids on Berlin, the artist completely transfers her place of residence there. In those years, Bettina Encke von Arnim paints mainly neo-realistic portraits and landscapes. In 1945, the mansion is pillaged and in danger of being pulled down. Thanks to the commitment by the artist and Iwan Katz, a former member of the Reichstag, the building is given a future as a place of work for writers. In 1947, she is expelled from Wiepersdorf. She takes up residence in Überlingen (Lake Constance), where her art becomes the focus of her life. In addition to oil paintings, watercolours and monotype prints, she creates collages of dyed Japanese paper by means of a technique invented by her. Portraits, landscapes and architecture are her favoured sujets. In the region of Lake Constance, the artist exhibits her works and frequently goes on study trips all over Europe. On the occasion of her 120th birthday, an extensive presentation of her works takes place at the Wiepersdorf mansion. She is presented in the exhibition ‚Female Artists in Dialogue‘ at the Hidden Museum in Berlin.