The Witch (Die Hexe)

Lea Grundig-Langer (1906-1977), The Witch (Die Hexe), 1935, drypoint, signed and dated in pencil lower right, titled lower left. In excellent condition, printed on a heavy cream wove paper, the full sheet, 9 3/4 x 13, the sheet 18 1/2 x 23 inches. Reference: Ladengalerie 75.

Provenance: Galerie St. Etienne, New York, with their label on the mat verso.

A fine fresh impression, printed with carefully drawn plate tone.

Children follow the witch, lower left; the depiction is suffused with the horror of Nazi Germany in the mid-’30’s.

Lea Langer was born in Dresden in 1906 where her family was part of the Jewish community. She studied at the city’s Decorative Arts and Crafts Academy before progressing, in 1924, to the prestigious Saxon Art Academy: here she was admitted into the Masterclass of Otto Gussmann where fellow participants included Otto Griebel, Wilhelm Lachnit und Hans Grundig. At the Academy she also got to know Otto Dix, whom she would come to regard as one of the most influential of her mentors.

She remained at The Academy till 1926, when she left the Jewish Community, joined the Communist party, and shortly thereafter married Hans Grundig. Her work was banned by the Nazis, who put her in prison for a short time; she later emigrated to Palestine, then back to Europe and eventually East Germany, where she was active politically while teaching and practicing her art.