Project title
Alma del Banco
Object description

* December 24, 1862 in Hamburg; † March 8, 1943 in Hamburg
 
Paintress
 
In 1919 Alma del Banco was one of the founding members of the Hamburg Secession, to which she belonged until the forced dissolution of the artists' association in 1933. In the Hamburg of the inter-war period, the avant-garde artist was also an esteemed portraitist of many well-known Hamburg personalities. She undertook numerous trips to southern Europe, including one to Italy in 1922 with her painter friend, the Secessionist Gretchen Wohlwill. The oil painting "Taormina", which bears the name of a hill town near Mount Etna, probably goes back to this trip. It shows the style typical of the artist in the years around 1920, which represents an independent contribution to the avant-garde: Influenced by Cubism, she renders her pictorial motif slightly distorted; a thin application of paint that only faintly covers the underdrawing lead to an intended sketchy overall impression.
Alma del Banco comes from a wealthy assimilated Jewish merchant family. At the age of 33, she turned to painting and trained at the Valeska Röver Ladies' Art School in Hamburg from 1895 to 1905. Shortly before the beginning of World War I, she continued her education in Paris, where she became acquainted with modern art, especially Cubism, Expressionism and the early work of Fernand Léger. In 1914 Alma del Banco returned to Hamburg, where she worked successfully as a freelance artist. In the early 1930s, the 70-year-old artist once again changed her style, moving away from the sketchy.
During the Nazi dictatorship, Alma del Banco was banned from exhibiting and placed under house arrest from 1938. In the "Degenerate Art" campaign, 13 of her works are removed from the Hamburg Kunsthalle and nine paintings are destroyed. The 81-year-old painter felt too weak to leave Germany. To escape the announced deportation to Theresienstadt, she chooses suicide. Works by Alma del Banco can be found in the Hamburger Kunsthalle, the Altonaer Museum in Hamburg, the Jewish Museum in Rendsburg and in private collections.