Item #CL202-28 Kinderzug [Children’s Train, Vienna]. Emma Bormann, 1887–1974 Austrian.
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Kinderzug [Children’s Train, Vienna]

c1920s. Hand-coloured woodcut, initialled in block centre right, titled and signed in pencil in lower margin, 18.2 x 47.6cm. Crinkles, soiling and slight foxing to margins.

During the interwar period, from 1919 to 1925, a Danish humanitarian committee was involved in relocating approximately 20,000 to 30,000 children from Vienna to Denmark to help disadvantaged children affected by the severe economic crisis that hit Austria and especially Vienna after WWI. Some of the children transported to Denmark in the Kinderzug were subsequently adopted.

Vienna-born artist Emma Bormann initially studied at the University of Vienna, receiving a doctorate in prehistory in 1917. While at university she also took classes in graphic art, focusing on etching and lithography. She went to Munich in 1917 and became an art teacher and began making woodcuts. Self-taught, she developed a “unique style that blended expressionism and impressionism and combined respect for traditional woodcut craft with a more modern sensibility.” She had her first solo exhibition at the Kunstlerhaus, Vienna in 1920. In 1924 she married Eugen Milch, a physician and artist, who went to China on a medical mission. Eventually Bormann and their two daughters joined him and experienced considerable hardship during the war years. Despite this, she continued her artistic activity and had a solo exhibition in 1947 at the Smithsonian, where the graphic arts curator stated “Dr Bormann-Milch is unquestionably one of the outstanding woodcutters of our time. Aside from her phenomenal skill in suggesting tone and atmosphere in this intractable medium, the artist possesses a certain heroic and monumental quality of design.” After 1950 she travelled widely, and her work was exhibited frequently during her lifetime. Bormann did not date her prints. Numerous international institutions hold her work, including the Albertina; British Museum; V&A; Metropolitan Museum of Art; National Gallery of Victoria. Ref: Danish Peace Academy; British Museum; Wiki.

Item #CL202-28

Price (AUD): $1,850.00  other currencies

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