Paula Rossler Biography

Paula Rossler




Printmaker and painter Paula Rösler was born in Bavaria in 1875. The daughter of a prosperous developer in Rodach, Rösler was able to receive a private education, her interests greatly influenced by her artistic mother and her parents' wealthy social circle. Despite her father's attempts to dissuade Rösler's desire to pursue art beyond the confines of the home, she moved to Munich in 1902 with the express goal of attending higher education. At the time, women were still not allowed to attend the main art academy in Munich. Undeterred, she attended the Women's  Academy of the Munich Artist's Association. She studied printmaking, painting, and pastel drawing, as well as paper-cutting. With a keen sense of both fine and decorative arts, she became a freelance illustrator and artist. Her first exhibition took place in 1914.

in 1915 Rösler moved to Achenmüle in Chiemgau, a rural enclave which had begun to attract artists with its picturesque landscape and the lack of distraction that Munich presented. There, she joined the Chiemgau Artist's Association, with its exhibition and networking opportunities. It wasn't long after her arrival that the group began splintering, as political and economic upheaval began to creep into the borders of Northern Europe. This presented its own opportunity, though, as Rösler and several of her closest compatriots founded "Die Weller" (The Wave), a progressive artist's group loosely based on the subversive free-thinking formats that came out of Berlin and other cities. Rösler would remain the only woman in the group. Die Weller lasted from the years 1922 to 1933, disbanding with the rise of Nazi Germany and its persecution of "free thinking" artists and writers.


Rösler appears to have exhibited with Die Weller regularly, and gained recognition as a pioneering contributor to paper-cut works as well as German Symbolism. Her drive to learn and develop her own techniques was undeterred by encroaching poverty, as her family's fortune diminished quickly throughout the teens and, finally, left her mostly destitute in the early 1920s. However, despite her gains in recognition, the war took its toll on emerging artists throughout Europe, and by the time of her death in 1941, Rösler's stature as a known artist had diminished greatly. Her works remain relatively rare, and her story somewhat forgotten.