Woman Artist – Self Portrait

Woman Artist – Self Portrait

MARGARETE KOEHLER-BITTKOW  (1887-1964)

Artist Self-portraits are so intriguing.  Magarete Koehler-Bittkow began her career in Germany then fled Nazi Germany to become an American citizen with her family in the 1930’s.  This 1916 self portrait make’s one think of a young, confident artist about to begin her artistic career.  She went on to be a remarkable talent in woodcut, tapestry and watercolor.

In 1919 Bittkow was admitted to the highly selective and brand new Bauhaus school of Art in Weimar. She was involved at root level in a movement in art and architecture that would grow to be highly influential in the history of art and architecture. Bittkow attended during a time before the Bauhaus style became streamlined and distinct. This afforded her a wider range of mobility in her work, and because it was at the beginning of an era in art, the excitement that buzzed through the school shows through her pieces from this stage in her life. For example, although the Bauhaus was, in may respects, a reaction against the melodrama and melancholy of the German Expressionist movement, Bittkow’s work incorporated elements of both styles. Bittkow studied in the weaving workshop at the Bauhaus in Weimar where most of the women at the school chose to work. Although women were theoretically afforded the same kind of freedom as men in the Bauhaus, very few were admitted and most worked as weavers. Here she was exposed to some of the most influential modernist artists and architects. She studied directly under Paul Klee and Lyonel Feiniger at the school, and they remained friends later in life as all three eventually emigrated to America.