Partner Gustl Kaiser, Charlotte (Lotte) Boltze
St Andreas Kirche, Magdeburger Str. 1, 39221 Biere
Hedwig Marquardt (28 November 1884 – 14 April 1969) is one of a relatively small number of women artists whose work belongs to the German expressionist tradition. Gustl Kaiser died in poverty, unable to find work because of her openly lesbian relationship with artistic collaborator Hedwig Marquardt.
HHedwig Frieda Käthe Marquardt was the daughter of Johann Friedrich Marquardt and Hedwig Franziska Marquardt. Her father was the village doctor in Biere, near Magdeburg, Germany. She initially trained as an art teacher in Kassel, but went on to study art at the Kunstgewerbeschule Magdeburg and then, under Professor Engels, at an academy in Munich in 1906–09. Very few of her pictures before the 1920s survive. The earliest show the influence of contemporary German landscape painters, particularly those of the Worpswede School, and, in her figurative painting, that of Käthe Kollwitz. By 1912 Marquardt was living in Berlin and studied for a time under Lovis Corinth. The art of the avant garde she saw here (in particular the work of artists such as Franz Marc, Wassily Kandinsky and Lyonel Feininger) allowed her to develop the artistic idiom that she followed, broadly speaking, for the rest of her life in her painting and graphic work. The figure of the horse, a symbol of energy and the free spirit, a recurrent image in her work, may derive from her country upbringing but also owes much to Marc. She exhibited in the Juryfreie Kunstschau in Berlin in 1911 and 1913 and the Magdeburg Kunstschau of 1912. In 1914 she painted a large crucifixion for the village church at Biere.
As for so many women artists, Marquardt found it hard to make a living from her art, particularly in the troubled period after the First World War. She turned to ceramics, leaving Berlin in 1921 and moving to Karlsruhe, where she worked at the Grossherzogliche Majolika Manufaktur as a ceramic painter, decorating the work of others, particularly the popular figurines of birds by Emil Pottner. In 1922 she met the sculptor and ceramic artist Augusta Kaiser, who called herself Gust Kaiser from 1922 on and who was also working at the time as a ceramics painter at the Karlsruhe factory.
In 1924 she was invited by Philip Danner, who had himself left Karlsruhe factory to lead a new company producing ceramic art in Kiel, to join the Kieler Kunst-Keramik. Marquardt was only employed for a year at Kiel, but in this short time produced a significant body of original work that is well documented and regarded as very fine examples of ceramics produced at the height of the art deco period. However, her ceramic work owes as much to her background in expressionist painting as it does to the more purely decorative language of art deco. She was joined in this enterprise by her partner and artistic collaborator, the highly talented Augusta Kaiser. Never a person who found personal relations easy, Marquardt fell out with her employers and, with Kaiser, left Kiel on 31 March 1925. The two tried for a time to survive as independent artists, producing small ceramics, embroidery and illustrative and commercial art, but in 1927 Marquardt accepted a teaching post at a school in Hanover, a position she held until her retirement in 1949. After the early death of Kaiser in 1932, Marquardt shared her life with the artist Charlotte (Lotte) Boltze, a close friend ever since they had studied together in Munich.
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