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ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y., April 3, 2012 — An exhibition of works by the late Claire Wagner Kosterlitz, who studied at the famous Bauhaus school of architecture and design in Germany before fleeing Europe in 1938, opens Friday, April 20, at St. Bonaventure University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts.
The opening in the second-floor Beltz Gallery includes a 3 p.m. talk by the artist’s daughter, Dr. Ruth Rider, who owns the collection of works. The exhibition comes to St. Bonaventure following a two-month run at the Jewish Museum of New Jersey.
Born in Germany in 1903, Kosterlitz attended the renowned Bauhaus in Dessau, Germany. The Bauhaus was founded in 1919 with the idea of creating a “total” work of art in which all arts, including architecture, would be brought together. It had a profound influence that is still felt today on developments in art, architecture and design.
Kosterlitz would put her ambitions as an artist on hold in 1926, however, when she married a physician. He did not want his wife to have a career, insisting that she look after their home and family while he practiced medicine.
The couple fled Nazi Germany in 1938, eventually settling in New Jersey, where Kosterlitz had even less time for art. In addition to raising two children and caring for her mother and mother-in-law, Kosterlitz was serving as her husband’s office nurse and receptionist.
It wasn’t until 1948, when her husband hired an office nurse and her son joined the Army, that she was able to resume painting in earnest.
Kosterlitz studied at the Art Students League in New York City, at Fairleigh Dickinson University, and at the New Jersey Center for the Visual Arts.
After her husband’s retirement in 1974, the couple moved to Baden, Switzerland. Kosterlitz continued to paint and her reputation grew. Her art was exhibited in both one-woman and group shows in Switzerland and the United States.
Today, her works are part of the permanent collections at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Bauhaus Archives in Berlin, and Duke University’s Nasher Museum.
She and her husband returned to the U.S. in 1981, settling in Morristown, N.J. Kosterlitz died in 1997, 10 years after the death of her husband.
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