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Anita Kühnel

(b Magdeburg, June 29, 1900; d Posteholz, nr Hameln, May 27, 1980).

German painter and draughtsman. He studied at the Bauhaus in Weimar under Johannes Itten (1921–5). His early work was influenced by Constructivism, but Oelze was soon impressed by Neue Sachlichkeit, with which he became familiar while living in Dresden (1926–9). At this time he also became acquainted with Otto Dix and his work. His pictures from the late 1920s, for example Still-life with White Plate and Coloured Balls (oil on panel, 1928–9; Berne, priv. col.), show a clear concreteness and strong composition and reflect the trance-like state found in works of Magic Realism. During this period he also visited the Bauhaus in Dessau for several months. On a trip to Ascona in 1929 he saw reproductions of the works of Max Ernst and Hans Arp for the first time. In 1933 he moved to Paris, where he remained until 1936 and made contact with the Surrealists. By the 1930s dreams and premonitions were becoming themes in his work, and his paintings increasingly featured dream-creatures, combinations of animal and plant, plant and human, human and animal. In the painting ...

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Whitney Chadwick

(b Berlin, Oct 6, 1913; d Berne, Nov 15, 1985).

Swiss painter and sculptor of German birth. She studied in Basle at the Kunstgewerbeschule from 1929 to 1930. After seeing an exhibition of Bauhaus work, including that of Paul Klee, at the Basle Kunsthalle, Oppenheim produced her first Surrealist work, a series of pen-and-ink drawings in a school notebook. Oppenheim’s earliest works reflect the influence of Klee and the artists of Neue Sachlichkeit. She moved to Paris in 1932 and studied briefly at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière before meeting the Surrealists through Alberto Giacometti and Hans Arp the following year. Oppenheim quickly became known as the perfect embodiment of the Surrealist woman, the femme-enfant, who through her youth, naivety and charm was believed to have more direct and spontaneous access to the realms of the dream and the unconscious. She was celebrated by the Surrealists as the ‘fairy woman whom all men desire’. Man Ray posed her nude with an etching press in a celebrated series of photographs that includes ...