5 June 1896 in Hannover; † 31 July 1945 in Sulzburg (Baden)
German paintress and graphic artist
Martel Schwichtenberg’s oeuvre is heterogeneous: an expressionistic beginning is followed by a two-dimensional, decorative style, and that is again replaced by an abstract phase.
She studies in Düsseldorf from 1913 to 1916 at the private art school of Kunowski and later at the Kunstgewerbeschule. In 1916 she exhibits at the Folkwang museum. One year later she returns to Hannover. Here, she is commissioned by Hermann Bahlsen with commercial graphic work for his biscuit factory. This is the beginning of a cooperation which is to last for decades. She spends the summers of 1918 and 1919 in Worpswede, together with Bernhard Hoetger and Heinrich Vogeler. In 1920 she rents a studio in Berlin-Charlottenburg and marries her painter-colleague Willy Robert Huth. She joins the Deutschen Werkbund and becomes a member of the November Group, taking part in their exhibiions. In the early 1920s, Martel Schwichtenberg turns to the style of the Brücke-artists and is sponsored by Max Pechstein and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. Later in the 1920s, she has her greatest success with still lifes and portraits painted in a neo-realistic style. From 1929 on, she exhibits her works in renowned Berlin art galleries, in London, Detroit, Chicago and New York. In 1933 she emigrates to South Africa via Italy. A fire in her apartment and studio in 1938 destroys about 400 of her works. In August 1939 she returns to Germany. When World War II breaks out, she can no longer leave the country, and she lives henceforth in the south of Germany. One year before her death, she discovers monotype as her new technique. With landscapes and flowers, she finds back again to her artistic expressiveness.