Open 11–18 today

Mary Warburg

‘Moments of freedom and happiness’
Pastels, drawings, sculpture
13 February – 12 June 2022


“One day I’d like to paint a picture that grants anyone who looks at it moments of freedom and happiness.”

Mary Warburg, 1894

The Hamburg native Mary Warburg, née Hertz (1866–1934), is one of today’s largely forgotten modernist artists. During her lifetime she was overshadowed by her well-known husband, the distinguished art historian Aby Warburg (1866–1929), who became famous for his Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek (library of cultural studies) and the pioneering visual atlas Mnemosyne.

The Ernst Barlach Haus now pays homage to Mary Warburg with an exhibition of around 50 works from almost as many years – during which she continually had to assert her artistic ambitions against social conventions and family duties. The presentation includes drawings, pastels and sculpture, and the selection follows the artist’s main interests. In her atmospheric travel pictures, views of Hamburg and portraits of relatives and friends, Warburg shows herself to be a sensitive observer with a sharp eye and a skilled hand.

The exhibition is based on an extensive monograph edited by Bärbel Hedinger and Michael Diers. Published in 2020, it introduces the work of Mary Warburg in essays and an annotated catalogue raisonné (536 pages with 900 colour illustrations, German, hardcover, Hirmer Verlag, €68).