* 27 February 1878 in Hamburg; † 17 May 1962 in Hamburg
Painter and graphic artist
Gretchen Wohlwill was one of the founding members of the Hamburg Secession in 1919, in whose exhibitions she participated until the forced dissolution of the association in 1933. Her studio was a meeting place for the Secessionists and other artist friends in the 1920s and early 30s. After her dismissal from the school service in 1933 by the National Socialists, the painter, who came from a Jewish family, retired to the Elbe island of Finkenwerder, where she had a studio built right next to the workplace of her lifelong artist friend Eduard Bargheer. Artistically, she explored various styles until 1930, when she turned to a two-dimensional painting style with linear elements. Only fragments of the painter's oeuvre have survived.
Gretchen Wohlwill attended the Valeska Röver ladies' art school in Hamburg from 1894 and continued her training in Paris with Henri Matisse and others at the Académie Matisse. In order to be financially independent, she worked as an art teacher in Hamburg. From 1912 Gretchen Wohlwill participated in exhibitions in the Hanseatic city. The 1920s and early 30s brought her success, recognition and fame. Among other repressive measures, the National Socialists banned the artist from painting. In 1940, the 62-year-old emigrated to her brother in Lisbon, where she lived a life of privation after he moved to the USA. In 1952, Gret-chen Wohlwill returned to Hamburg and resumed her artistic activities.
In 2019/20, paintings by Gretchen Wohlwill are included in the exhibition "100 Years of Hamburg Secession" at the Hamburger Kunsthalle. Works by her can be found in the Hamburger Kunsthalle and the Schleswig-Holstein State Museum, among others, as well as in private collections.