Jolan Gross Bettelheim Biography

Jolan Gross Bettelheim




Jolan Gross Bettelheim was Born in Hungary in 1900. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest, Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna, and the Academic fur bildende Kunst in Berlin. In 1925 she married a Hungarian/American and moved to Cleveland, Ohio where she studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art School.

She submitted prints to the annual contest sponsored by the Cleveland Museum of Art, from 1928-1937, wining several prizes. During the 1930s, she exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and later at the National Academy of Design, the Library of Congress and many other museums nationwide.
Bettelheim created 12 prints for the Graphics Workshop of the W.P.A. Federal Arts Project from 1935-36, producing some of her most ground breaking works of urban/industrial and machine age subjects.

She moved to Queens, New York City in 1938 and did not exhibit prints again until 1942. Her only one-woman show in New York was hosted by the Durand-Ruel Galleries in 1945, which mounted an exhibition of her

Prompted by the death of her husband, psychiatrist Frigyes Bettelheim, and the anti-Communist political climate of McCarthyism, the artist returned to Hungary in 1956.

Her birthplace, which had politically changed hands between Czechoslovakia and Hungary, was Hungarian again, but she arrived just one month before an attempted overthrow of the Soviet system there. Her pro-Communist views made her an outsider in her own country, and she apparently lived the rest of her life disheartened and in semi-seclusion. There is no evidence that she ever made prints again. She died in Budapest in 1972.

Bettelheim created a total of only about 40 prints in her lifetime. Most of her prints were not editioned but printed as proofs only. No catalog raisonne yet exists on her work.

"Imperialism" represents a culmination of Bettelheim's modernist explorations and stands as one of American printmaking's most powerful anti-war statements. The formal perspective of the composition–an assembly line of war weapons and regimented figures–pulls theviewer into the image . The skull-like gas masks look out to the viewer, hollow-eyed in warning. The repetition of the shapes and abstraction of the figures emphasize the inhumanity of the war machine and makes poignant the paradox of man's vunerability in the face of his own creation. Although this lithograph was created during WWII, the image feels absolutely contemporary, as relevant today as it was when first produced.

Source: Keith Sheridan Fine Prints