Helene Funke (1869-1957)


Helene Funke was born on September 3, 1869, as the second of five children of a merchant’s family in the German city of Chemnitz. In 1899 she left her upper-middle class home to continue her studies in Munich at the Ladies Art Academy of the Munich Künstlerinnenverein.
From 1906 to 1913 she painted in Paris, in the South of France and the Bretagne, where she came to know Impressionism and Fauvism. In those years she took part in the Salon d’Automne and the Salon Indépendants in Paris and exhibited her paintings together with those of such artists as Matisse, Braque and Vlaminck.
From 1911/12 until her death on July 31, 1957, she lived in Vienna. In spite of all the hostile criticism on the part of the male-dominated cultural scene, Funke established herself as an artist in her own right. In 1928 she received the Austrian state award and her work was regularly presented at the exhibitions of important local artist's associations as well as at the Secession in Munich, Berlin, Dresden and Chemnitz.
National Socialism banished all Modern art and in those years Helene Funke`s work fell into oblivion. After the Second World War Funke was rewarded with the honorary title of professor. But it was not until the impressive retrospective organized by the Lentos Art Museum in Linz in summer 2007 that her work received again public recognition.

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