Acht Künstlerinnen

Catalog of the exhibition 8 Women Artists and their Guests at Salon Pisko 1904
© Bibliothek des Belvedere, Wien

List of exhibiting artists at the exhibition 8 Artists and their guests
© Bibliothek des Belvedere, Wien

A new, informal association of eight renowned women artists formed on the Viennese art scene around 1900. This group of women artists repeatedly exhibited their works at the Pisko Gallery until the 1910s. The group Acht Künstlerinnen is today considered a trailblazer for later organizations of women artists, such as the Austrian Association of Women Artists.

Around the turn of the 20th century, a new, independent exhibition group formed in Vienna – largely unnoticed by the media – encompassing Austrian women painters and graphic artists as well as sculptresses. The group grew out of the women’s network of the Association of Women Writers and Artists Vienna (VSKW). Apart from Olga Wisinger-Florian, who had repeatedly been invited to participate in exhibitions at the Vienna Künstlerhaus and the Vienna Secession in the past, the founding members of the group Acht Künstlerinnen included Marie Egner, Eugenie Breithut-Munk, Marianne von Eschenburg, Susanne Granitsch, Marie Müller, Bertha von Tarnóczy as well as the sculptress Teresa Feodorowna Ries.

Exhibitions at the Pisko Gallery
From 1901, the group Acht Künstlerinnen held their own exhibitions almost annually at the Pisko Gallery in Vienna’s city center. These exhibitions frequently also served as charity functions. The events, which were always titled “8 Künstlerinnen und ihre Gäste” [“8 Women Artists and Their Guests”], also provided an opportunity for other women artists from Austria and abroad to present their works to the general public.

According to various media articles, the women artists themselves welcomed their many visitors, who paid an admission fee of one crown, and gave them tours of the exhibition. Die Frauen-Zeit reported in February 1909:

“In the most amiable manner, the women artists themselves act as hostesses, answering any questions and creating an intimate atmosphere between themselves and the visitors.”

The women artists repeatedly welcomed many members of Vienna’s high nobility among their visitors, including Archduke Ludwig Victor, Archduke Rainer, Princess Pauline von Metternich-Sandor and Archduchess Marie Valerie.

Media Reception and “Disappearance”
The Acht Künstlerinnen elicited quite positive reactions with the exhibitions they organized: In 1902, the Linzer-Tagespost admired that the women artists no longer wanted to be hangers-on at the events of their male fellow artists and the Arbeiter-Zeitung wrote on 5 January 1902:

“It has cost them much effort to secure a place on Vienna’s exhibition scene; but now they occupy it and will not lose it anytime soon.”

Despite their growing success, reports about the group of women artists and their events became rare in the Austrian press in the early 1910s. The exact circumstances of their “disappearance” from the Viennese art scene remain unknown. In 1910, however, a similar interest group had been founded with the Austrian Association of Women Artists.

Literature and sources

  • Julie M. Johnson: The Memory Factory. The Forgotten Women Artists of Vienna 1900, West Lafayette 2012, S. 260-293.
  • Wiener Hausfrauen-Zeitung, 02.02.1902, S. 44.
  • Frauenleben, 01.02.1901, S. 12-13.
  • Sport und Salon. Illustrirte Zeitschrift für die vornehme Welt, 09.03.1912, S. 5.
  • Wiener Salonblatt, 02.02.1906, S. 5.
  • Linzer Tages-Post, 16.02.1902, S. 1.
  • Arbeiter-Zeitung, 05.01.1902, S. 7.
  • Neues Wiener Tagblatt, 27.01.1901, S. 7.
  • Neues Wiener Tagblatt, 18.01.1902, S. 6.
  • Neues Wiener Tagblatt, 31.01.1904, S. 5.
  • Neue Freie Presse, 21.01.1902, S. 7.
  • Neue Freie Presse, 06.01.1903, S. 12.
  • Die Frauen-Zeit. (Beiblatt Die Zeit), 02.01.1909, S. 15.
  • Franziska Alberti: Aus Kunst und Natur. Acht Künstlerinnen und ihre Gäste, in: Neues Frauenleben, Heft 2 (1909), S. 52-54.
  • Wiener Abendpost. Beilage zur Wiener Zeitung, 16.01.1902, S. 5.
  • Stella Rollig, Sabine Fellner (Hg.): Stadt der Frauen / City of Women. Künstlerinnen in Wien 1900–1938 / Female Artists in Vienna 1900–1938, Ausst.-Kat., Lower Belvedere (Vienna), 25.01.2019–19.05.2019, Munich - New York - Vienna 2019.
  • Die Kunst für Alle. Malerei, Plastik, Graphik, Architektur, 17. Jg., Heft 12 (1902), S. 282-283.