Else Lasker-Schüler (1869–1945) was not only an outstanding poet, but she also produced an extensive œuvre as a draftswoman. The exhibition ELSE LASKER-SCHÜLER – THE PICTURES represents the most comprehensive tribute to her work as a visual artist to this day. On show are well-known images as well as a number of works exhibited for the first time.
Else Lasker-Schüler is closely connected to Berlin. Born as the daughter of a banker in Wuppertal-Elberfeld, the artist is recognized as the most important exponent of Expressionist literature. She published her first poems in 1899 in Berlin. It was here, too, that in 1903 she married the writer Georg Lewin, who owes his alias Herwarth Walden to her. With his magazine DER STURM, published from 1910, and his Berlin gallery of the same name Walden became a central figure of the artistic avantgarde. Else Lasker-Schüler also left her mark on the Berlin bohemia of the 1920s. She counted Franz Marc, Karl Kraus, and Gottfried Benn among her closest friends and supporters. Having been awarded the Kleist Prize in 1932, Else Lasker-Schüler emigrated in April 1933, first to Zurich, then in 1939 to Palestine where she died in 1945 and was buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
Early on in her work, Else Lasker-Schüler had created the literary figure of “Youssouf Prince of Thebes”. With this imaginary name she signed cards and letters. Over again she drew Youssouf – albeit herself – in profile, with outlines as crisp and severe as in ancient Egyptian portraits. The expressive, mostly coloured drawings by Else Lasker-Schüler visualize a fascinating independent imagery that contains references to her artist friends of the Blauer Reiter as well as fantastic visions of life in the orient.