Austrian-born artist Norbertine von Bresslern-Roth (1891-1978) forged a path for printmaking during the first half of the 20th century. Growing up in modest circumstances, Bresslern-Roth had an appreciation early in life for animals and garden scenes, and during her career often imbued her work with their sense of beauty. 

Prints & Multipples. Leonard Joel Auctions
NORBERTINE VON BRESSLERN-ROTH (Austrian, 1891-1978)
Flood
woodblock, 26.5 x 29.5cm
Sold for $1,500

At the young age of ten, her talent was recognised as she received a recommendation to study under the renowned art teacher and master painter, Alfred von Schrotter-Kristelli. In 1911, Schrotter-Kristelli introduced her to Ferdinand Schmutzer, who taught at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. It was in this same year that Bresslern-Roth found herself studying unofficially under the famed photographer and printmaker. While women were barred from attending the Academy, Bresslern-Roth, along with many of her female counterparts, sought training and guidance through indirect avenues. A lucky few had access to affluent art schools that were dedicated exclusively to young women. 

In 1920, Bresslern-Roth was one of the first Austrian women to become intensively involved with the linocut printing process. She mastered her own unmistakable technique of portraying animals in motion. Using multiple woodblocks, the artist would use a richly inked palette on each plate, revealing the most intricately layered details. Furthering her travels to Africa, between the years of 1921 and 1952, she created a unique body of work that portrayed everything from fierce lions to exotic peacocks, fluffy house cats, and birds in flight.

Prints & Multipples. Leonard Joel Auctions
NORBERTINE VON
BRESSLERN-ROTH (Austrian, 1891-1978)
Zebera Finches 1922
linocut, 9 x 19cm
Sold for $2,250

Creating a name for herself, she quickly became a strong influence for other printmakers, particularly women.
Bresslern-Roth’s works remain vibrant and highly sought-after to the present day.

Since her death in 1978, her progressive works have become highly coveted on the art market, admired for their bold colours and compositional style.

HANNAH RYAN / Art Specialist

Banner Image (detail): NORBERTINE VON BRESSLERN-ROTH (Austrian, 1891-1978) Zebera Finches 1922, linocut, 9 x 19cm. Sold for $2,250

May 2022