Interesting Women: Ida Kerkovius

When she received the title “Professor” in 1958 and became honorary member of the Staatliche Akadmie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart in 1962 she was 80, respective 84 years old. Her works, both paintings and weaving, were of intense colourfulness, one could easily guess that they were works of younger persons.
Ida KERKOVIUS (1879-1970) (Ger.; but I recommend this site with images of her, her work and literature) was born – as fourth child of twelve – into the family of a land owner in Latvia (Ger., Eng.), she grew up on the family estate (since 1878)  “Saadsen” near Riga (Ger., Eng.). After regular school she acquired a certification as teacher for drawing and painting. She traveled in Italy in 1902, and then stayed in Dachau near Munich in the artist colony of Adolf HÖLZEL (1853-1934) (Ger., Eng.), who is one of those people, who gained more importance by their teaching and encouraging students, than by the own artistic production – see the list of his students.
Her first visit to HÖLZEL was short, she had to return to Latvia and stayed with her parents until 1907. She went for a short time to Berlin to study there, but it did nothing for her. So she followed HÖLZEL, who since 1906 was teaching composition (Kompositionsklasse) at the academy in Stuttgart. She entered his masterclass, became his assistant and from 1911 she taught private students, who were not yet accepted by the academy. She had her first solo-exhibition in the Sturm-Galerie (Ger., Eng.) of WALDEN (Ger., Eng.) 1912, and saw in 1912 the first exhibition with works of CEZANNE, van GOGH and others – the moderns. She was an independent and established artist since then.
She took part in an 1916 exhibition “Hölzel und sein Kreis”, together with BAUMEISTER (Ger., Eng.), SCHLEMMER (Ger., Eng.) and ITTEN (Ger., Eng.). In the years 1920 to 1923 she spent the winter semesters in Weimar at the Bauhaus (Ger., Eng.) as student. She met KANDINSKY (Ger., Eng.), KLEE (Ger., Eng.) and of course ITTEN again and learned the fine art of weaving in the classes of Gunta STÖLZEL (Ger., Eng.). The correct German term btw is Bildwirker. KERKOVIUS always returned to her Stuttgart atelier and had her first great single exhibition in the Württemberger Kunstverein in 1930.
Of course her work was labeled Entartete Kunst after 1933. She traveled a lot through Europe and started to paint landscapes. 1939 her family lost the estate near Riga and a part of her works perished. Through the war she lived quietly and secluded, earning her living with teaching and the weaving of tapestry. In March 1944 her atelier is completely destroyed. Most of her early oeuvre is burned. She stays with friends, and paints. Since 1950, she’s 70 then, the honours arrive in dribs and drabs, she starts traveling again – Bretagne, Ischia, Lago di Garda.
She never was afraid of colour. Learning from HOELZEL and then meeting KLEE, KANDINSKY, ITTEN and SCHLEMMER was crucial for her development. She painted on anything available, from postcards to wallpaper. She was always ready to learn something new, receptive. Like her teacher HOELZEL, she had a large number of students. Her credo as artist was, that the finished work is not the most important thing, but the way to reach it; that means to study and learn rhythm and concentration.
I found no details of her personal live on the web. An interesting woman.

10 thoughts on “Interesting Women: Ida Kerkovius

  1. Thank you for sharing! I would have not know of this woman otherwise. I have a Brother-in-Law who paints in a similar style of bold colors. He is not famous yet, but some of his work has been purchased by strangers, that is an important step for any artist, to have your work appreciated by people who have no sense of obligation to be nice towards you.


  2. I do not belive you Eryl, with that not finishing work – I have the impression that you get things done. After all – a cake is a cake, a seminar is a seminar … there are tons of unfinished, unconnected possibilities … vita brevis, ars longa. Teaching, art, whatever one does – it is selecting possibilities, making things happen – and always thinking aboutb the “what if” … no, I think that you finish things. Your way.

    Her tapestries are really colourful, Nurse Myra. I would like to see an earlier picture of her, from the 1920s or 1910s.

    Im glad to see you Wanda – and thank you for dropping by! Did you paint recently? I would like to see more of your works.

    Yeah, I think it is a big step, when some stranger really buys one of one’s works, Melanie! I’ll never forget when I sold my first text. For whatever reason, but it is something another person is ready to give something worthwhile to, – and exactly here art is killed, isn’t it? Can recognition be expressed in dollares? Yes and no, of course, but is art a goods? I can seriously say that I hate money. I wish all the best to your relative – but who where when etc. limits the worth, the amount? It’s exactly the problem described in the former post about the forgers and exactly the same about the rotten Guttenberg – it’s all about Werte, value and worth.

    Oh dear … thank you von LX … I feel humbled … have no idea whether I’d be a good teacher, i doubt.

  3. Wow. New template and another interesting person to discover.

    I was about to write, I also wish you’d taught me history, but that’s exactly what you’re doing here.


  4. Yes, money and art do make strange bedfellows. It is like finding the balance between peace and competitiveness to advance human knowledge or a particular nation-state. On my darkest days, I feel like humanity is not worth saving, but most of the time, I hold tight a grain of hope that we are. This comes from my contstant internal discussion about our place in the Universe. I find the strongest fibers are often weaved with opposing forces. Resistance, in its many forms is often necessary for survival, whether it be neural pathways or art. What succeeds and what fails is not entirely “dumb luck”, but alas these balances are delicate and often under-appreciated..


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