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  • THE MESMERISING VALESKA GERT
    Dancer – actor – cabaret performer – bar owner

    Valeska (1892 − 1978) always stunned her audiences, even at her first public performance in 1916. She pushed her body, her face and her voice to the limits. Her “Tontänze” (sound dances) were ungraceful, grotesque depictions of urban characters. She lent expression to existential conditions such as birth and death. From the mid-1920s she also took on roles in silent movies like “The Joyless Street” in 1925 and “The Threepenny Opera” in 1930/31. Kurt Tucholsky, Bertolt Brecht and Serge Eisenstein were enthusiastic fans of the eccentric performer. Paintings, drawings and photographs by Jeanne Mammen, B. F. Dolbin, Umbo and others reveal Gert not only in theatrical poses but as a specimen of her era.

    After 1933 Valeska Gert was banned from working due to her Jewish origins.
    In 1938 she emigrated via Britain to the United States.
    In 1946 she opened the Beggar Bar in New York.
    In 1947 she returned to Europe.

    From 1950 to 1956 Valeska Gert ran a cabaret bar in Berlin called “Hexenküche” (Witches’ Kitchen) in
    Wilmersdorf, which was soon a popular haunt for insiders. She performed acts from her pre-war
    programme and offered a stage to talented youngsters like Klaus Kinski.
    In the 1960s and 1970s she played roles in avant-garde feature films by Federico Fellini, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Volker Schlöndorff and Ulrike Ottinger.
    From 1951 until her death in 1978, Valeska Gert spent every summer at her night club “Ziegenstall” (Goat Shed) in Kampen on the island of Sylt. Like her stage acts and her autobiography, which ran into several editions, Gert’s bars were an expression of her artistic identity.

    Even at a ripe old age, Valeska Gert inspired young people who rebelled against conventions in their chosen lifestyle or their art. In West Berlin’s alternative art scene of the early 1980s, Gert was still a key reference after her death, influencing the world of punk music through people like Frieder Butzmann and Wolfgang Müller, founder of the band “Die Tödliche Doris”.

Exhibited Objects

Results:  20

Valeska Gert
  • 1978
  • Öl auf Leinwand
  • 130 x 120 cm (Bildmaß)
Portrait of Valeska Gert
  • 1978
  • Materialcollage
  • 41,5 x 29,5 cm (Gesamtmaß)
Valeska 1976, in Kampen/Sylt
  • 1976
  • Silbergelatinepapier
  • 28,2 x 27,5 cm (Bildmaß)
My last photo of Valeska, 1976, Kampen
  • 1976
  • Silbergelatinepapier
  • 34 x 23,2 cm (Bildmaß)
Valeska Gert
  • 1976
  • C-Print
  • 33,9 x 26,4 cm (Bildmaß)
Folder for the Werner Kunze edition, Berlin 1978: Valeska Gert, 10 sheets with 20 photographs from the years 1952-1976 by Herbert Tobias
Valeska Gert in Paris in 1952, back from exile, waiting …
  • 1952
  • Silbergelatinepapier
  • 26,2 x 26,7 cm (Bildmaß)
Valeska at a “jour fixe” at Maywald’s in Paris in 1952 with, among others, painter Ernst Fuchs, Vali …,
  • 1952
  • Silbergelatinepapier
  • 4 Abb. à 8,3 x 9,7 cm (Bildmaß)
Valeska etwa 1960 in Berlin
  • um 1960
  • Silbergelatinepapier
  • 25,7 x 26,2 cm (Bildmaß)
Valeska and her team at the “Ziegenstall”
  • um 1957
  • Silbergelatinepapier
  • 33,7 x 27,3 cm (Bildmaß)
Valeska Gert at the “Hexenküche” in the mid-fifties
  • um 1955
  • Silbergelatinepapier
  • 34,5 x 34,5 cm (Bildmaß)
Valeska at the “Ziegenstall”
  • um 1955
  • Silbergelatinepapier
  • 26 x 26,4 cm (Bildmaß)