Paula Lauenstein

(Dresden 1898 - 1980 Crostau)

One almost has the impression that Paula Lauenstein knew that the Second World War would put an end to her artistic work, which had been lively until then. The speed and certainty with which she managed almost without the line for her portraits and landscapes already impressed Max Feldbauer, a teacher at the renowned Dresden School of Arts and Crafts whom she admired dearly. There, in 1916, the talented young artist was one of the first women ever to begin her studies. A few years later she followed Feldbauer to the Academy of Fine Arts.
In her landscape studies, she oriented herself on a late Impressionist painting culture and Cézanne's world of color and light, whereas in her portraits, which she preferred to draw in pencil or black chalk and in exceptional cases also in ink, she was close to the neo-Saxon portraits of Otto Dix, who was seven years younger. Unlike the latter, however, Lauenstein was interested in objective observation - social criticism and acrimony were far from her mind. It is this sensitive power of observation and her honest interest in the fates of her models, which include Mrs. Möller, a tuberculosis sufferer, and the young Hans Nötzel with a deformed head, that make her portraits so haunting and unique.
In 1935 Lauenstein followed her teacher Feldbauer to Munich and set up a studio. After this was bombed out during the war and Feldbauer died a few years later, Lauenstein ended her artistic career and, with a few exceptions, never again became active in art.
Exhibitions and commercial recognition followed only posthumously. Lauenstein celebrated her greatest success with the painting "Opuntia", for which she was awarded a state prize in 1923. Today, the painting is still in the possession of the National Gallery in Berlin. (EDL)


born in Dresden, attended the "Städtische Höhere Töchterschule" (municipal secondary school)
1916 - 1919
Studies at the Dresden School of Arts and Crafts with Max Feldbauer, Margarete Junge and Paul Rößler
1920 - 1923
Studies at the Academy of Fine Arts Dresden with Max Feldbauer, whose favorite student she becomes
State Prize of the Academy of Fine Arts for the painting "Opuntia" (National Gallery Berlin), creates mainly portrait series after sick people, women and children
Two paintings at the 95th Great Art Exhibition of the Kunstverein Hannover
Exhibition of drawings in the Bautzen City Museum
Landscapes in the Bavarian Allgäu, drawings and paintings after musicians commissioned by Bavaria-Verlag Munich are created
1934 - 1936
Longer stays in Munich, Berlin and Wetro near Bautzen
The city of Rosenheim buys a "still life of cactuses"
Painting alpine landscapes in Bavaria, Allgäu and Vorarlberg, short stay in Salzburg
1938 - 1941
Through the mediation of Max Feldbauer, sets up a studio in Munich-Pasing, which is destroyed by bombs during the war
Participation in exhibition of portrait drawings and watercolors at the Great German Art Exhibition in the Haus der Kunst in Munich
Lives in her parents' country house in Wetro near Bautzen. Due to the traumatic loss of almost her entire oeuvre through the bombing of her Munich studio, she is now only occasionally active as an artist
died in Crostau, Upper Lusatian Mountains