Marie-Louise von Motesiczky (1906-96) was an artist born in Vienna, who held several critically acclaimed exhibitions demonstrating her prowess in portraiture, still-life, landscape and allegorical painting. She created the Charitable Trust to provide a vehicle after her death for the conservation and promotion of her art, as well as for other charitable objects. The Trust is now engaged in distributing her work to public collections, largely in the UK and Europe, while her archive has been given to Tate Britain where the Archive Gallery has been named in her honour.
*Image courtesy of the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust
In a story not dissimilar to the history of the Warburg Institute, Marie-Louise left Vienna after Austria’s annexation by Nazi Germany, the Anschluss, in March 1938. She and her mother Henriette arrived in England in 1939, where they made their home for the rest of their lives; her brother Karl remained in Vienna, dying of typhus in Auschwitz in June 1943.
As the only academic institution saved from Nazi Germany surviving in Britain today, the Warburg Institute, part of the University's School of Advanced Study, was and still is, a hub for émigré scholars, curators and artists, one of whom was Marie-Louise.
She became a friend of the Institute’s esteemed director, Sir Ernst Gombrich, after an introduction from Karl who knew Dea Gombrich, a violinist with whom he had played his cello at musical evenings in the Gombrichs’ house in Vienna before the War. Through Gombrich, Marie-Louise came to know the Institute and the scholars associated with it, including another Viennese émigré, Ernst Kris, the subject of a painting called The Psychoanalyst by Marie-Louise now in the Freud Museum in London.
On behalf of the Trustees of the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, the Chair Frances Carey, says, “The £500,000 donation has been made in honour of Marie-Louise, her life, friendships and European heritage.
The Warburg Institute represents a distillation of the intellectual and cultural life she always admired.” The Institute is honoured to recognise the grant with the planned creation of the ‘Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Teaching Suite’.
Artist impressions of the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Teaching Suite: