Ida Kerkovius

(Riga 1879 - 1970 Stuttgart)

Ida Kerkovius was born on August 31, 1879 in Riga, Latvia.
She spent her childhood and youth in the Baltic States and attended a private school in Riga. After graduating from college, she moved to Berlin. Fascinated by an exhibition of a Hölzel student, in 1902 she decided to continue her studies in Dachau near Munich, where the German painter and art historian Adolf Hölzel had founded a private painting school. In 1908 she moved to Stuttgart and studied at the local art academy, becoming a master student of Hölzel. Later she joined his circle, which included representatives of Stuttgart Modernism such as Oskar Schlemmer, Max Ackermann, Richard Adolf Fleischmann and Willi Baumeister.

In 1920 she went to the Bauhaus in Weimar. There she met the Swiss painter and important art historian Johannes Itten. Ida Kerkovius became a student of Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky at the Bauhaus.
In 1933 Ida Kerkovius and her works were defamed as "degenerate". The artist was banned from exhibiting her work. She retreated to Stuttgart and continued to work there as a painter and tapestry weaver. Despite the strong influences of Adolf Hölzel, Ida Kerkovius found her own pictorial language. From Hölzel she adopted the bright colors and the two-dimensional style of composition in order to achieve the greatest possible pictorial harmony.

After the war, her works became known to a wider public. She gained a reputation as an important representative of German Classical Modernism. Her motifs included still lifes of flowers, figures and landscapes, which she executed with a cubist pictorial character and expressive coloring. From 1950 onwards she traveled frequently, to the south of France, Lake Garda and Ischia. In 1954 she was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit First Class and her work was honored with numerous large exhibitions.
In 1958 she was appointed professor, honorary member of the State Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart and honorary board member of the German Artists' Association.
Ida Kerkovius died on June 7, 1970 in Stuttgart.


born in Riga as the 4th of 12 children
Diploma from the private Jung-Stilling Painting and Drawing School in Riga
Studies with Adolf Hölzel in Dachau
Private painting school of Adolf Mayer in Berlin. Continued studies at the "Königlich Württembergische Akademie der bildenden Künste" in Stuttgart with Adolf Hölzel.
Master student and assistant of Hölzel with own studio at the academy
Johannes Itten becomes her student
With the outbreak of World War I, as a Russian citizen, her master studio and teaching license are withdrawn, she moves into a new studio at Urbanstraße 53, Stuttgart, and loses most of the family fortune.
1915 - 1918
During the war years, Hanna Bekker vom Rath takes private painting and drawing lessons from her, later she becomes one of her most important gallerists. 1916, participation in the exhibition "Hölzel and his circle" at the Freiburg Kunstverein.
1920 - 1923
Student at the Bauhaus in Weimar, takes courses with Johannes Itten, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and others, learns the craft of weaving, participates in the Bauhaus exhibition of 1923
1924 - 1932
Participation in numerous renowned exhibitions, 1930 first solo exhibition at Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart. 1924/25 and 1931/32 travels to Paris, Hofheim am Taunus, Tyrol, Latvia, Switzerland and northern Italy
1933 - 1938
After the Nazis seized power, two of her works were removed from public collections. The oil painting "Bild I" (Visions) is put on display in the Munich exhibition "Degenerate Art" in 1937, yet she is not banned from working or exhibiting her work
1938 - 1945
In addition to handicraft work, Kerkovius earns a living with private art lessons, her studio becomes a meeting place for the Stuttgart art scene, In 1944, the studio is destroyed by bombing and many of her works are destroyed.
two important solo exhibitions: at the Frankfurt Kunstkabinett Hanna Bekker vom Rath and at the Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart, Kerkovius advances to a sought-after artist
1950 - 1954
Member of the German Artists' Association, 1954 State Prize and Federal Cross of Merit, First Class
Award of the title of professor
80th birthday exhibition at Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, Galerie Maercklin with Erich Schurr is the most important gallerist for Ida Kerkovius besides Hanna Bekker vom Rath
1960 - 1963
Honorary member of the State Academy of Fine Arts, Stuttgart as well as the Esslingen Artists' Guild
Study trips several times to S. Angelo/Ischia, among others also to Brittany and Lake Garda
On her 90th birthday she is honored with several exhibitions, among others at the Württembergischer Kunstverein and at the Maercklin Gallery in Stuttgart
Ida Kerkovius dies in Stuttgart on June 8
erste Einzelausstellung bei Galerie Döbele (damals Kunstpassage beim Obertor) "Ida Kerkovius. Ölbilder, Pastelle, Aquarelle, Zeichnungen, Mischtechniken"