Magda Langenstraß-Uhlig

1924–1926 Bauhaus student

© Potsdam Museum / © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Portrait of Magda Langenstrass-Uhlig, photo: unknown, around 1933

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Born on 11 November 1888 in Zillbach/Thuringia, the artist attended the Secondary School for Girls in Bad Berka between 1895 and 1903. Her interest and talent for painting was discovered and promoted here. She then lived at a boarding school for girls in Erfurt and continued receiving instruction in drawing there. Because her parents moved to Weimar in 1904, she was able to attend its Grand-Ducal Drawing School and various facultative courses at the Grand-Ducal Art School from 1905 to 1906. Langenstrass-Uhlig was enrolled at the art school starting in 1907. She completed her studies with Schneider, Mackensen, Melcher and Olde on 21 June 1911 with a diploma in painting. The following year, the painter moved to Jena in order to work freelance there. This is where she married Karl Langenstrass, a doctor in training in 1914 and lived in Ilsenburg with him until 1918. During the First World War, she accompanied her husband to the various military hospitals where he worked as a medical officer and drew what she saw there. In January of 1918, she came into contact with Herwarth Walden, which resulted in a new artistic orientation for her. The works of Klee and Kandinsky and German Expressionism became important to her. In June of 1919, Magda Langenstrass-Uhlig exhibited in the STURM Gallery together with Kurt Schwitters.

 

Karl Peter Röhl Stiftung, Weimar / © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Exercise from Paul Klee’s Colour Class, author: Magda Langenstraß-Uhlig, 1925

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In 1920, the couple moved to Egloffstein near Nuremberg. The daughters Sinje and Gudrun were born that same year and in 1923. After Karl Langenstrass immigrated to the USA, Magda studied at the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau from 1924 to 1926. She attended the preliminary course taught by Albers and Moholy-Nagy, the courses on the theory of form and colour by Klee and Kandinsky, as well as Joost Schmidt’s classes on typography. In addition, she was active in the weaving workshop under Muche and Gunta Stölzl.

Her education at the Bauhaus was followed 1926–1927 by courses at the Painting and Sculpting with Arthur Lewin-Funke in Berlin. During this time, she moved to Rehbrücke near Potsdam. Langenstrass-Uhlig was involved with abstract painting up to the time of the National Socialist seizure of power. After 1933, the artist – who had been a member of the Berlin artist association of the International Association of Expressionists, Futurists, Cubists and Constructivists/The Abstracts/The Contemporaries from 1925 to 1932 – withdrew from the public world of art. However, study trips to Italy (1934) and the USA (1935) attest to her continuing interest in art.

The increasing bombing danger in Berlin forced Magda Langenstrass-Uhlig to move to Bavaria with her children in 1944–1945. Following the war, she returned to Rehbrücke in East Germany and reconstructed the Bauhaus theory of colour in 1951–1952. In 1952, Langenstrass-Uhlig moved to West Germany and lived in places like Frankfurt a.M. and Marburg. On 2 October 1965, Magda Langenstrass-Uhlig died in Wehrda. 

  1. Literature:
  2. Götzmann, Jutta & Anna Havemann (2015): Künstlerinnen der Moderne. Magda Langenstraß-Uhlig und ihre Zeit, Berlin.
  3. Siebenbrodt, Michael (2002): Magda Langenstraß-Uhlig. Von der Großherzoglichen Kunstschule in Weimar zum Bauhaus, Weimar.
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