Hanna Bekker vom Rath. A Rebel for Modern Art

The exhibition Hanna Bekker vom Rath. A Rebel for modern art honours an important pioneer of modernism.
Born and raised in a time when women did not have the right to vote and were only allowed to work with their husbands’ permission, Hanna Bekker vom Rath (1893-1983) led a self-determined and emancipated life. As a passionate collector, courageous exhibition organiser and enthusiastic mediator and dealer, she was tirelessly committed to modern art and artists.


With some of them - above all the artist and initiator of the Brücke Museum Karl Schmidt-Rottluff - she shares a lifelong friendship. Bekker vom Rath supported him and other artist friends, such as Alexej von Jawlensky, Ida Kerkovius and Emy Roeder, by acquiring and selling their works. She also offered them space to work and shelter in the Blue House, her home in Hofheim im Taunus. This illustrates her fearless commitment, especially during National Socialism.
During this difficult time, her exceptional courage was also evident in a series of “secret exhibitions” of artists discredited by the National Socialists, which she organised in her private flat in Berlin.


After the Second World War, she continued her engagement for art and modern artists. For example, in her gallery Frankfurter Kunstkabinett Hanna Bekker vom Rath, founded in 1947, which quickly became a meeting place for the artistic avant-garde; or on her numerous international exhibition tours, some of which lasted several months, which she undertook from 1952 onwards.


The exhibition and an accompanying catalogue are being created in cooperation with the Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz, where the exhibition will be presented from 7 July to 20 October 2024.


Even though Hanna Bekker vom Rath lived in a very different world from ours there are strikingly many connections that feminists can draw on today. After all, she was emancipated before the term made waves in the New Women’s Movement. The exhibition is accompanied by an intersectional, discursive programme. Empowerment workshops, readings, and feminist salons will take place under the title Feminist Perspectives. This programme is curated by Sonja Eismann (editor of Missy Magazine) and Josephine Papke (author and journalist).

With works from: Alexander Archipenko, Alexej von Jawlensky, August Macke, Christian Rohlfs, Emil Nolde, Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Ernst Wilhelm Nay, Ida Kerkovius, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Käthe Kollwitz, Kurt Schwitters, Lyonel Feininger, Max Beckmann, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Willi Baumeister, a.o.