A Reencounter in Ahrenshoop

with Elizabeth Shaw (1920–1992)

The Ahrenshoop Art Museum commemorates Elizabeth Shaw in its special exhibition from 3 July to 19 September 2021. 

On display are around 80 pen and ink drawings, lithographs and pastels from the life's work of the artist, who became known and popular with her satirical draughtsmanship and illustrations, especially in the field of children's books.

Allow me to introduce ... by Elizabeth Shaw (1920-1992)Ahrenshoop Art Museum

"Allow me to introduce ...", 1968, Pen drawing

The focus of the show is on sheets from Ahrenshoop - the place that the Irish-born artist visited many times with her husband, the German artist René Graetz, to relax and work.

©Kunstarchiv Graetz und Shaw

Elizabeth Shaw grew up in Belfast, which was shattered by the civil war, before she enjoyed her artistic education at the Chelsea School of Art in London. In 1942, Shaw met the German artist René Graetz, who worked as a sculptor, painter and graphic artist in London. In 1946, the couple moved to Berlin.

Journey to Berlin by Elizabeth Shaw (1920-1992)Ahrenshoop Art Museum

Journey to Berlin, 1946, Pen drawing

When Elizabeth Shaw moved to Berlin with her husband it was "a romantic adventure" for both artists, as neither spoke much German. Shaw described their first impressions and experiences on arrival in Berlin in this caricature, which is laid out as a sequence of images in the manner of historical picture arcs.

©Kunstarchiv Graetz und Shaw

Shaw's distanced view as a foreigner of everyday German life in Berlin is spiced with a pinch of dry humour and - despite all the hardships of the times - takes the discouraging out of the portrayed, gives it something light. 

©Kunstarchiv Graetz und Shaw

Bertolt Brecht by Elizabeth Shaw (1920-1992)Ahrenshoop Art Museum

Bertolt Brecht, 1956, Pen drawing

In the 1950s, Elizabeth Shaw was commissioned by the German Writers' Guild to draw portraits of its members. The result was a series of pen and ink drawings with portrait caricatures, which were published by Aufbau Verlag in 1956 under the title "Zunftgenossen-Kunstgefährten".

©Kunstarchiv Graetz und Shaw

Living room - Spies House by Elizabeth Shaw (1920-1992)Ahrenshoop Art Museum

Living room - Spies House, 1980, Pen drawing, Watercolour

Away from the pulsating life of the big city, Elizabeth Shaw found a haven of peace in Ahrenshoop without having to forego intellectual exchange. The house of the composer Leo Spies, where Shaw lived again and again later, became a refuge for her family.  

©Kunstarchiv Graetz und Shaw

Spies House, Wash Day by Elizabeth Shaw (1920-1992)Ahrenshoop Art Museum

Spies House, Washing Day, 1968, Pen drawing, Watercolour

With loose, light strokes, Elizabeth Shaw captured life in the Spies House in watercolour pen and ink drawings and delicate pastels, sometimes with a love of detail. Interiors and views of the garden and the expanse of the Bodden landscape speak of the feeling of carefree existence.

©Kunstarchiv Graetz und Shaw

Althagen - Bodden by Elizabeth Shaw (1920-1992)Ahrenshoop Art Museum

Althagen - Bodden, 1975, Pastel, pencil

After the death of her husband René Graetz, Elizabeth Shaw rarely went to Fischland. But when she stayed here, she drew, even outdoors, directly in front of the subject. She produced simple drawings, landscape watercolours and pastels, such as the pastel "Althagen - Bodden", which captures the quiet Bodden landscape in an impressive way.  

©Kunstarchiv Graetz und Shaw

Althagen in hibernation by Elizabeth Shaw (1920-1992)Ahrenshoop Art Museum

Althagen in hibernation, 1968, Pen drawing, Watercolour

The winter pictures, watercolour pen and ink drawings of Ahrenshoop, unfold their very own charm. The melancholy mood of cloudy winter days is softened and enlivened by small accents. 

©Kunstarchiv Graetz und Shaw

A catalogue has been published to accompany the exhibition, 72 pages with numerous illustrations. Further information can be found at kunstmuseum-ahrenshoop.de.

Credits: Story

Artwork: ©Kunstarchiv Graetz und Shaw

Text: Birgitt Sandke und Dr. Katrin Arrieta, ©Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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