Kurwenal’s mistress

Foto: Louis Held / © Stadtmuseum Weimar
Mathilde v. Freytag-Loringhoven in class with her dachshund Kurwenal, probably 1930

[Translate to English:] Absatz 1

Her head tilted to the right, with a stern hat over her blonde hair, a banded scarf around her neck, her back bent, a walking stick in one hand and a briefcase in the other: the portrait of Mathilde Baroness von Freytag-Loringhoven painted by Hildegard Arminius presents a confident, but sceptical woman. No frills undermine the controlled impression. Her clothes are an outright ode to the colours grey and blue. But it is above all her regard that speaks volumes: her eyes are pinched together, keeping the object of her attention at a distance. The artist and journalist perceived the Bauhaus with the same scepticism. Von Freytag-Loringhoven was a self-confessed and passionate critic of the avant-garde and Modernism, a “scourge” to the Bauhaus, indeed one with influence. For she expressed her aversion in the Arts sections of the city’s journals and presided over the Arts Committee of the Weimar Municipal Council.

 

Stadtmuseum Weimar
Mathilde v. Freytag-Loringhoven, Photography by Ella Bayer-Held, 1930s
Klassik Stiftung Weimar
Mathilde v. Freytag-Loringhoven in ihrem Atelier im Haus Marienstraße 18, 1930er Jahre

[Translate to English:] Absatz 2 – 3

Her own image world consisted mainly of landscapes, portraits and flowers. She was one of the first women to study at the Weimar School of Art. The Baroness was the only student of Karl Buchholz. Like him, she remained entirely dedicated to Post-Impressionism throughout her life. So it is no surprise that the ideas of the Bauhaus masters were deeply disconcerting to her notion of beauty and aesthetics. She generally had her very own opinion on many things and refused to be limited to a single talent. Baroness Mathilde von Freytag-Loringhoven was an author, amateur actor and animal psychologist. Her own dachshund was incidentally one of two “talking dogs” that were paraded on the streets of Weimar at the time. The inscription on his gravestone is as follows: “Kuno von Schwertberg, known as Kurwenal, the cleverest and noblest of all dogs, the world-famous mathematician, philosopher and speaker.”  

Von Freytag-Loringhoven was therefore many things, but it would be unfair to call her simply bizarre. Until January 12, the exhibition at the Stadtmuseum Weimar provides insight into her multifaceted personality, her art and her relationship to the Bauhaus. It presents her etchings, graphics and paintings, which she produced in opposition to the influences of Modernism until the very end. Many of her privately owned pictures are presented to the public for the first time. Forest paths, meadows, sunlight on bark, the sea and mountain streams: it is a peaceful, velvety world.

    [TF 2019; Translation TBR]

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