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Else Blankenhorn (First Draft)

Werk Else BlankenhornB&W

German artist

Born 1873 in Karlsruhe, Germany  

Died 1920 in Pirna, Germany 

Biographical Detail: 

Grew up in a bourgeois family 

Attended the Victoria-Pensionat and received education and 

training as a musician and artist; studied painting, photography and music

Played the piano and sang until she lost her voice at the age of 26 

Suffered from neurasthenia and later from hypochondria and nightmares; showed signs of schizophrenia when she claimed to be the wife of the German Emperor Wilhelm II 

From 1899 Lived in the Swiss sanitarium “Bellevue”, located at the Bodensee, where her major body of art developed; tried to keep her works secret, but they attract attention, besides other of painter Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and the psychiatrist Hans Prinzhorn (Heidelberg)

After  1920 works are curated and shown as part of the Prinzhorn collection

Artistic Work: Gouache works,  drawings, poems, compositions and sketches/drafts for bank notes 

portraying scenes from her imaginary life

Movement/Style: Expressionism

Selection of Works: 

Ohne Titel (Sängerin)  (before 1919) (gouache)

Die zweifache Tochter (audio piece)

Sources:, Else Blankenhorn (Link to Website), Else Blankenhorn (Link to Website)

 Further literature about Else Blankenhorn:

Doris Noell-Rumpeltes: »Else Blankenhorn – Vom Projekt der Versöhnung des Unversöhnlichen«, in: Expressionismus und Wahnsinn«. Hg. von Herwig Guratzsch u.a. München u.a. 2003.

ungesehen und unerhört. Künstler reagieren auf die Sammlung Prinzhorn. Bd. 2: Literatur, Theater, Performance, Musik. Hg. von Ingrid von Beyme und Thomas Röske. [Mit 4 CDs]. Heidelberg, 2014.

Artist’s Estate: 

Sammlung Prinzhorn, Heidelberg, Germany (Link to Website)

Story map of the artist’s life: