Self. Determined: The Painter Ottilie W. Roederstein
13 MAY TO 5 SEPTEMBER 2021
Press preview: 18 May 2021, 11:00 am
Ottilie W. Roederstein (1859–1937) devoted her entire life to art. As a freelance portrait painter, she was one of the most successful female artists of her time. She achieved financial independence and captured areas of social freedom that were denied most of her female contemporaries. Her paintings were presented in exhibitions in Germany, France, England, the United States and Switzerland and achieved international acclaim. Roederstein settled in Frankfurt in 1891 together with her companion Elisabeth Winterhalter, the first female surgeon in Germany. Winterhalter advocated the founding of a girls’ secondary school and supported the women’s rights movement in Frankfurt. In 1902, the Städel acquired its first work by a contemporary female artist: Roederstein’s painting Old Woman Reading. Today, she is largely unknown to a broader public, despite her regular exhibition activity and her former renown. From 19 May to 5 September 2021, the Städel Museum is devoting a special exhibition to Ottilie W. Roederstein. This is her first retrospective in Germany for more than 20 years. With about 75 paintings and drawings, it provides a concentrated overview of the artistic development of the painter, whose style was extremely versatile. The exhibition is based on the collection of the Städel Museum, which, alongside the Kunsthaus Zürich and the Städtische Kunstsammlung Hofheim am Taunus, with 28 works has one of the most important body of works by the artist. The focus of the exhibition is Roederstein’s specific style of painting; however, it will also shed light on her role and impact as a networker and artist as well as her close connection with Frankfurt and the region. This becomes powerfully apparent based on a wealth of historical documents, photographs and letters from the artist’s estate that were transferred to the Städel Museum in 2019 from the heirs of her biographer Hermann Jughenn. The appraisal of the Roederstein-Jughenn archives brought previously unpublished information to light that will be incorporated into the exhibition and the accompanying catalogue.
The exhibition is a cooperation between Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, and Kunsthaus Zürich.
Curators: Dr Alexander Eiling (Head of the Collection of Modern Art, Städel Museum), Eva-Maria Höllerer (Research Assistant, Collection of Modern Art, Städel Museum)
Archive: Dr Iris Schmeisser (Head of Provenance Research and the Historical Archives, Städel Museum)
Supported by: Gemeinnützige Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain GmbH, Friede Springer Stiftung, Max Ernst von Grunelius Stiftung
Ottilie W. Roederstein, Portrait of a Painter in a Parisian Studio, 1887
Ottilie W. Roederstein in her studio at the Städelsches Kunstinstitut, ca. 1894
Roederstein-Jughenn Archive in the Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Photo: Roederstein-Jughenn-Archiv im Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main