REVOLT, THEY SAID.
a project by Andrea Geyer. 2012 - ongoing
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BIOGRAPHIES OF WOMEN NAMED / LAST NAMES IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER
Nina Kadinsky (c.1889 - 1980) managed the art and publicity of her late husband Wassily Kadinsky. Kadinsky grew up in Moscow where she completed courses in history and philosophy at university, although she appreciated the arts of painting, photography, and music, she did not pursue them professionally. In 1921, they moved to Berlin where Wassily was offered a job at the Bauhaus in Weimar. Following Wassily’s death in 1944, Nina Kadinsky founded the Prix Kadinsky in support and promotion of young artistic talent. Kadinsky continually managed the sale and display of Wassily’s works by calculating the appropriate time and museums to which his works were to be sold and in addition, she would curate exhibitions in his memory. In 1976 Kandisky published her memoirs Wassily and I.

Frida Kahlo (1907–1954) was born Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón just three years before the Mexican revolution. Her work has been celebrated internationally as emblematic of Mexican national and indigenous traditions, and praised by feminists for its uncompromising depiction of the female experience and form. Many consider her one of the most significant artists of the twentieth century. Kahlo’s life began and ended in “La Casa Azul,” the Blue House in Mexico City. As a child she contracted polio and suffered from spina bifida, and in 1925 she suffered nearly fatal injuries in an accident that left her in a full body cast, immobilized for nearly one year. The permanent damage to her health caused pain, hospitalization, and miscarriages throughout her life. To occupy her time, Kahlo painted self-portraits influenced by Mexican popular culture. In 1927 she joined the Mexican Communist Party (PCM), and was introduced to a circle of political activists and artists, among them Diego Rivera, with whom she would have a volatile marriage. Following the invitation of André Breton, Kahlo went to Paris in 1939 for an exhibition of her paintings. When the Louvre purchased one of the pieces, her work became the first by a twentieth-century Mexican artist to enter an internationally renowned museum collection. Afterwards she traveled throughout the United States with Rivera, an experience that proved productive for her artistic practice. Back in Mexico, she joined the Fourth International and befriended Leon Trotsky as he sought political sanctuary from the Soviet Union. Her affair with Trotsky was one of several, reportedly with both men and women. In the 1940s, Kahlo’s paintings continued to garner attention in the United States and Mexico, and she became a founding member of the Seminario de Cultura Mexicana, a group of twenty-five artists commissioned to spread public knowledge of Mexican culture. In the 1950s, Kahlo’s health declined drastically, yet she ontinued to paint. After her death at the young age of forty-seven, her body was taken to the Palacio de Bellas Artes, where it lay in state under a Communist flag.

Gertrude Käsebier (1852–1934) was an influential American photographer. She began studying and practicing photography at the age of thirty-seven, when she moved her family to Brooklyn and enrolled in the Pratt Institute of Art and Design. She briefly continued her studies in Europe, then returned to Brooklyn to work as a photography assistant. Käsebier quickly achieved success, exhibiting her work at the Boston Camera Club and the Photographic Society of Philadelphia. Her portraiture, especially her depictions of Native Americans, earned critical acclaim. Käsebier pursued commercial success in order to support herself and her family, a condition that strained her relationship with the art photography community. In 1910 she established the Women’s Professional Photographers Association of America, later helping to found the Pictorial Photographers of America. Her later career focused on portraiture of notable American figures, such as art patron Mabel Dodge. She also lent work to the 1913 Armory Show. In 1929 Käsebier was given a major solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences.

Helen Keller (1880–1968) was an American author and activist, famed for her intellect and formidable achievements in the face of total blindness and deafness, which struck her at the age of nineteen months. Her childhood tutor and mentor Anne Sullivan, also visually impaired, served as Helen’s instructor and, eventually, her companion of forty-nine years. With Sullivan’s help, Keller learned to communicate through speech, sign language, and braille. As a young woman, she enrolled in the Perkins Institute for the Blind, subsequently attending schools for the blind in New York City and entering Radcliffe College. When she graduated in 1904 she was the first deaf and blind person to earn a bachelor’s degree. Keller worked as a successful lecturer, author, and activist for people with disabilities, women’s suffrage, antiwar causes, and birth control. A radical socialist, she joined the Industrial Workers of the World and helped to found the American Civil Liberties Union in 1920. Her publications include two autobiographies and a book of essays on Socialism. In 1961, after suffering a number of strokes, she retired to her home in Easton, Connecticut. Three years before her death in 1968, Keller was elected to the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Florence Kelley (1859–1932) was a social and political reformer who advocated against sweatshops and for the minimum wage and eight-hour workdays. A devoted follower of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Kelley translated Engel’s The Conditions of the Working Class in England into English. Kelley moved to Chicago, where she joined fellow female social reformers at Hull House. There her magnetic, vehement personality drew the attention of John Peter Altgeld, among many others. As governor of Illinois, Altgeld recruited Kelley as Illinois’s first chief factory inspector. Together the two were able to enact legislation on child labor. Kelley also sought equality for women in the workforce, and in 1899 she established the National Consumer’s League (NCL), which worked to standardize a minimum wage and limitation of working hours for both women and children. The NCL instituted the White Label that listed approved employers and urged for the boycott of those that did not meet their guidelines. Kelley later helped form the Intercollegiate Socialist Society, whose purpose was to “throw light on the world-wide movement of industrial democracy known as socialism.” In her later life she upheld a pacifist mentality and was starkly against U.S. involvement in World War I. This persuaded her to join the Women’s Peace Party and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. In addition to her involvement in socialist politics, Kelley also helped create the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Frances Kellor (1873–1952) was an American social reformer from Columbus, Ohio. After attending the University of Chicago and earning a law degree from Cornell in 1873, Kellor studied at the New York Summer School of Philanthropy. Kellor advocated for progressive social change through the improvement of living conditions for immigrants and the poor. Her work led to influential positions at the New York State Immigration Commission and the Bureau of Industries and Immigration of New York State. In 1910 Kellor became the managing director of the North American Civic League for Immigrants. During World War I, she served as director for the National Americanization Committee, advocating for the “Americanization” of immigrant workers. Kellor shared a home with her partner Mary Dreier, who also played a significant role in New York’s progressive movement, for over forty years.

Victoria Kent (1898–1987) was a member of the Radical Socialist Republican Party in Spain. In 1931 she became a member of the first Parliament of the Second Spanish Republic and was appointed the Director General of Prisons, a position she held until 1934. Kent expressed controversial views regarding women’s right to vote, arguing that they were not educated enough to avoid being swayed by the opinions of Catholic priests. In 1933 once women had achieved the vote in Spain, Kent lost her Parliamentary seat. After the republicans with whom she was associated were defeated in the Spanish Civil War, Kent was exiled to the United States. Once settled in New York City, she began publishing the Iberica review with her companion Louise Crane, the daughter of Museum of Modern Art founder Josephine B. Crane. Iberica featured news for Spanish exiles in the United States and remained in print from 1954 to 1974.

Ida Kerkovious (1879–1970) was one of twelve children born to an upper class German family. She was taught piano at an all-girls secondary school before she attending a private institution in Riga. In Riga she studied with Adolf Holzel and grew to have an acute understanding of paint and color. She became an assistant and theorist at the Königlich Württembergische Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Stuttgart before losing her citizenship, and thus her place at the academy, during World War I. Kerkovious then taught foreign students in similar positions and registered at the Bauhaus, where she eventually joined the weaving workshop. Her income between the wars came primarily from the weaving workshop and through the secret sale of Kerkovius’s art by art dealer Bekker vom Rath. Her studio in Stuttgart was bombed during World War II, destroying many of her existing paintings. She was later named a member of the artists’ guild of Esslingen/Neckar and was awarded first prize for work in the 1955 exhibition Ischia im Bilde deutscher Maler.

Ellen Key 1849–1926) was a teacher and prominent feminist writer. She was homeschooled before accompanying her father in his nursery school studies. Her first foray into teaching occurred when Key she started a Sunday school for the working class children on her family’s estate. She was highly absorbed by the writings of Elisabeth Barrett Browning in the feminist journal Tidskrift för hemmet (Home journal). While working at private girls’ schools Key developed an analytical view of traditional teaching and fostered an understanding of aesthetics as an integral part of society. Defining it as “the beauty of daily life.” Key held appearance as one of the most important components of character, and she expounded her views in writings and teachings such as Barnets a rhundrade (1900; Century of the child) and Lifslinjer (1903–1906; Lifelines). Her books received mixed reviews, as did her suggestions that children were the key to this reform and that the twentieth-century family structure would change in favor of women. Key’s work exposed such radical sentiments to much debate. She spent her final years in the Strand, a self-designed home in Sweden.

Ragnhild Keyser (1889–1943) was a prolific Norwegian painter who studied in Paris under Fernand Léger. During and after her studies, Keyser developed a style that, while largely concerned with still lifes and landscapes, reflected principles of radical abstraction in keeping with the Dutch movement De Stijl. Keyser’s paintings were later collected by Katherine Dreier for the Société Anonyme. She is considered one of the foremost exponents of modern and abstract painting in early-twentieth-century Norway.

Stefi Kiesler (1900–1963) was an artist and theorist connected with the Dutch movement De Stijl, also called neoplasticism, which sought to express a universal order or harmony by transcending individualist aesthetics and returning to fundamental principles of color and geometry. Kiesler proposed a movement away from painting toward new creative methods such as “typoplastic” drawings (created using a typewriter), some of which she published in De Stijl’s journal under the name Pietro de Saga. In 1927, Kiesler successfully transitioned to a career as a librarian, working for the next thirty-two years in the French and German sections of the New York Public Library, where she assisted Société Anonyme’s Katherine Dreier with research and cataloging.

Edith Louise Mary King (1871–1962) was a South African painter who worked primarily with watercolors, concentrating on landscapes and other still-life subjects. Characterized by a high level of botanical detail, her paintings combine advanced planning and signification with a kind of stylistic innocence. King supported herself as an art teacher and, later, as headmistress at the Eunice School in Bloemfontein, South Africa. After retiring from teaching, King lived, traveled, and painted with her sister, encouraging friends and family in their artistic pursuits as well as organizing and participating in exhibitions. Five of her paintings were shown at the 1913 Armory Show. Since her death in 1962, King’s work has been featured at the Tatham Gallery and the mobile Everard Phenomenon exhibition in South Africa.

Erika Giovanna Klien (1900–1957), an artist and educator, was born in Italy and studied at the Vienna School of Applied Arts, where she graduated in 1925. During her studies, she was heavily influenced by the emerging style of Viennese Kineticism, which was similar to Cubism in its concentration on movement. Klien was passionately committed to the development of Kineticism, eventually becoming one of its main proponents. Her work was shown at the Paris Decorative Arts Exhibition of 1925 and the International Exhibition of Modern Art at the Brooklyn Museum in 1927. Katherine Dreier collected Klien’s work and included it in the Société Anonyme. Unable to survive economically as an independent artist, Klien began teaching fine arts and working as a graphic artist. In 1929 she moved to New York City, carving out a lengthy and respected career as an arts educator.

Melanie Klein (1882–1960) was an Austrian-born advocate of psychoanalysis, who built upon the findings of Sigmund Freud and later focused on therapeutic techniques for children. The deaths of her two siblings during her childhood impacted her tremendously and led to depression that carried on throughout her life. This tragedy also seemed to fuel the interest in the psyche of children that anchored her life’s work. Klein traveled extensively and took to learning languages and reading as much as possible, leading her to the momentous study of psychoanalysis. In 1917 she met Freud during her reading of “The Development of a Child” at the Austrian and Hungarian societies. Klein later moved to Berlin and opened a psychoanalytic practice for children and adults, where she helped many emotionally distressed individuals. She became a patient to Karl Abraham until his death almost a year later. Klein continued Abraham’s work, analyzing herself to gain a better understanding of her theses. Her work was held to much criticism, especially as she worked with her own children, something the Berlin Society deemed questionable. Klein presented her first paper in 1925 before giving a six-lecture series in England. These lectures would go to serve as the foundation for her book The Psycho-Analysis of Children (1932). Klein was welcomed much more openly in England and continued to study psychoanalysis, developing her own therapies such as the play technique and depressive position.

Hermine E. Kleinert (1880–1943) was a figurative and landscape painter. Kleinert exhibited in the Armory Show in 1913. She was a member of Woodstock Artist Alliance and was included in exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art and other major institutions.

Anna Elizabeth Klumpke (1856 -1942), was an American portrait and genre painter, who grew up partly in Germany and studied and lived in Paris. She is perhaps best known for her portraits of famous women. Her works were shown in the Paris Salon in 1884 and 1887. As a girl, Anna had been given a "Rosa" doll, styled after the French animal painter Rosa Bonheur—so famous at the time that dolls were made in her image. Anna became fascinated and inspired by the woman artist. Intent on painting Bonheur's portrait, she met Rosa Bonheur on October 15, 1889, under the pretext of being the interpreter for a horse dealer. The two women were soon living together at Bonheur's estate in Thomery, near Fontainebleau, and their relationship endured until Bonheur's death in 1899. Klumpke was named as the sole heir to Bonheur's estate and oversaw the sale of Bonheur's collected works in 1900. She founded the Rosa Bonheur Prize at the Société des Artistes Français and organized the Rosa Bonheur museum at the Fontainebleau palace. Klumpke was a meticulous diarist, publishing in 1908 a biography of Bonheur, Sa Vie Son Oeuvre, based on her own diary and Bonheur's letters, sketches and other writings. In 1940, at the age of 84, Klumpke published her own autobiography Memoirs of an Artist. She died in 1942 at the age of 86 years in her native San Francisco.

Georgina Klitgaard (1893–1976) was a painter, muralist, and etcher who studied at the National Academy of Design and at Barnard College in New York City. Klitgaard’s work, primarily landscapes and still lifes, is characterized by a subtle folk art primitivism combined with expressive personal symbolism. Klitgaard was given awards from the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, the Pan-American Exposition, and San Francisco Art Association, among others. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1933. Klitgaard enjoyed a prosperous career, exhibiting regularly at the Carnegie Institute, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., as well as painting Depression-era Works Progress Administration murals in post offices across the East Coast. She was a member of the Audubon Artists and the American Society of Painters, Sculptors, and Gravers. Today her work can be seen at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and Brooklyn Museum, New York, among others.

Mary Knoblauch worked closely with Margaret Sanger as a birth control activist, and together they were dedicated to promoting the principle of intelligent and voluntary motherhood. Knoblauch worked alongside Sanger as the Managing Editor and writer of the The Birth Control Review, which was a magazine/scholarly journal that publicized the importance for women to take ownership of their own bodies.

Mary Tarleton Knollenberg (1905–1992), a sculptor, worked primarily with bronze and stone, specializing in the female form and female nudes. Her work was exhibited in numerous galleries in New York—including the National Academy of Design, the Whitney Museum, and the Architectural League—and at Yale University in Connecticut. In 1933 Knollenberg won a Guggenheim Fellowship that allowed her to travel to Paris to study. Her studies also took her to New York and Washington, D.C. Knollenberg felt that growing up as a tomboy, isolated from other children on her grandfather’s estate in Great Neck, New York, drew her to the female form later in life. “I’ve always had this feeling I didn’t know what it meant to be a woman,” she said, “and I think a part of this doing a woman’s figure is a way of educating myself—a search for identity.” A 1981 exhibit of her work drew strong praise from the New York Times, who called her figures “vivid” and “arresting.” Her last exhibit was held at the Chester Art Gallery in 1989, when she was 73.

Benita Koch-Otte (1892–1976) was a German textile artist and teacher. In 1920 she left her teaching position at the Municipal Secondary School for Girls in Uerdingen to study at the Bauhaus. After 1925 she became an employee of the weaving workshop at the Bauhaus. Together with Gunta Stölzl, Koch-Otte was among the most gifted female students of the weaving mill at the Bauhaus, and she made a name for herself with designs for the interior of Haus am Horn, a house built for the 1923 Weimar Bauhaus presentation. From 1925 to 1933 Koch-Otte directed the weaving department at the workshops of the City of Halle, State-Municipal School of Applied Arts at Burg Giebichenstein, Germany. In 1934 Koch-Otte found a new assignment and a new home at the Bodelschwingh Foundation Bethel. She became the director of the weaving mill, passed the corresponding Master Craftsman Examination in 1937 at the Bielefeld Chamber of Crafts, and continued to teach after her retirement in 1957. In 1969 Benita Koch-Otte moved to the von-Plettenberg Foundation in Bielefeld.

Bernice Kolko (1905-1970) was a polish-born, American photographer. After working as an independent photographer in New York in the 1930s and enlisting in the Women Army Corps as a photographer in 1944, she travels to Mexico in 1951. There she established a close relationship to Frida Kahlo, Olga Costa, among others, and starts on her expansive portraiture project “Women of Mexico.” This project was shown at the Bellas Artes National Institute in 1955 and made her the first woman photographer to exhibit at this institution. She died unexpectedly in Mexico City, while preparing for a trip to South America.

Käthe Kollwitz (1867–1945) is regarded as one of the most important German artists of the twentieth century. A painter, printmaker, and sculptor, her work offered an eloquent and often searing account of the human condition and the tragedy of war in the first half of the twentieth century. From 1898 to 1903 Kollwitz taught at the Berlin School of Women Artists, and in 1910 she began to create sculpture. In 1914 her son Peter was killed, and the loss contributed to her socialist and pacifist political sympathies. During the 1920s, Kollwitz produced a series of works reflecting her concern with the themes of war, poverty, working class life and the lives of ordinary women. In 1932 a memorial to her son (The Parents) was dedicated at Vladslo military cemetery in Flanders. Kollwitz became the first woman to be elected to the Prussian Academy of Arts, but when Hitler came to power in 1933, she was expelled from the Academy. In 1936 she was barred by the Nazis from exhibiting, her art was classified as “degenerate,” and her works were removed from galleries. Today, two museums, one in Berlin and one in Cologne, are dedicated solely to her work. The Käthe Kollwitz Prize, established in 1960, is named after her.

Wera Koopman was a Berlin-based artist and member of the Arbeitsrat für Kunst, a Dada-inspired workers’ art council that was founded in 1919.

Hedda Korsch (1890–1982), born Gagliardi, was a socialist education reformer and lecturer at Wheaton College in Massachusetts. She was the granddaughter of German feminist and author Hedwig Dohm. In 1913 she married Marxist theoretician Karl Korsch and became closely involved in his theoretical work. From 1916 to 1921 Korsch was a teacher under Gustav Wyneken at the Freie Schulgemeinde Wickersdorf.

Elza Koveshazi Kalmar (1876–1956) was a Hungarian painter, sculptor, and industrial designer, and a member of the artists group KÉVE. She was known for her Art Nouveau sculptures in stone and ceramic. Kalmar studied first in Vienna and then in Munich. In 1900 she began making work in Paris and later continued in Florence. In 1914 she moved back to Hungary where she stayed until her death.

Lee Krasner (1908–1984) was an influential American Abstract Expressionist painter. She attended the Women’s Art School of Cooper Union and the National Academy of Design before graduating in 1932. The Great Depression hindered her work, like many others at the time, and she took to waitressing and other means of employment to support her artistic endeavors, including working as a mural painter for the WPA. She refined her studies under the guidance of Hans Hoffmann and later joined the American Abstract Artists through her mentor’s atelier. Married to painter Jackson Pollock, Krasner lived in his shadow for the majority of her life, with little recognition for her own artistic practice. She relocated to New York in the 1960s, where her health suffered. Six months after her death, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, held a major exhibition of her work; she was only the second woman to have a retrospective at the museum.

Germaine Krull (1897–1985), a photographer and activist, was born in East Prussia in 1897. Krull’s family moved around Europe, and she was primarily home-schooled in her early years. From 1915 until 1918 Krull studied photography at the Lehr- und Versuchanstalt fur Photographie in Munich and opened a studio there. Until 1921, she was very politically active and was arrested and imprisoned for Communist activities. After being expelled from both Bavaria and Russia for her activism, Krull returned to Berlin and focused on fashion photography, nudes, and portraits. She moved to Paris in 1926 and befriended many popular artists including Sonia Delaunay and Colette. By 1928 she was noted as one of Paris’s leading photographers, specializing in photojournalism. She published a collection of nude photographs in 1930 entitled Études de Nu, which is still well known today. During World War II, Krull left France under the Vichy Regime and attempted to join the Free French Forces in Africa but was detoured through Brazil due to visa issues. Following the war, Krull traveled to Southeast Asia as a war correspondent and eventually became the co-owner of the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, while continuing to publish her photographic work.

Edwina Kruse (1848-1930) was an African American educator who established schools in the rural districts of Delaware, later becoming the principal of the only high school open to African Americans in the entire state of Delaware. Her 30 year tenure at Howard High brought rigorous education to the area, establishing higher standards for the education of black citizens than were common at the time. She established a demanding curriculum, small classes and extensive mandatory academic courses. The school hosted an impressive list of educators including Alice Dunbar-Nelson, who was Kruse’s lover for a number of years. Kruse later established a home for the elderly in Wilmington and became the first woman to receive an honorary doctorate from Lincoln University in 1947.

Helene Kröller-Müller (1869–1939), an art collector and philanthropist, was born to a wealthy industrialist family in Essen, Germany. In the early 1900s she was one of the wealthiest women in the Netherlands and one of the first European women to amass a significant art collection. She collected many notable European modern painters as well as work on paper. In 1910 Kröller envisioned the idea of opening a museum-house, and she opened much of her collection to the public in 1913. Kröller privately published Observations on Issues in the Development of Modern Painting in 1925, in which she theorized that the development of art could be seen through the tension between movements of idealism and realism. Through her collection of both historical and contemporary works she hoped to show that “abstract art is not something insurmountable but that it has always existed.” In 1935 Kröller donated the entirety of her collection to the Dutch people. The Dutch government opened the Kröller-Muller Museum in 1938 to house the collection.

Katherine Kuh (1904–1994) was an art consultant, curator, and critic based in New York and Chicago. She studied art history at Vassar College and completed graduate work at the University of Chicago as well as New York University. An early advocate of modern art, Kuh founded Chicago’s first commercial modern and avant-garde art gallery. With limited sales Kuh held art history courses in order to keep the gallery running. In 1943 she began working at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she headed the museum’s Gallery of Art Interpretation and worked to develop an appreciation for modern art among the general public through exhibitions that compared avant-garde pieces with more established work. Kuh became the Art Institute’s first curator of modern painting and sculpture in 1954, and helped acquire some of the Art Institute’s most significant modern works. After leaving in 1959 she worked as a collections adviser in New York. Her books on modern art include Art Has Many Faces (1951), Break-Up: The Core of Modern Art (1965), and The Open Eye: In Pursuit of Art (1971).

Sophie Küppers (1891–1978), born Sophie Schneider, was a German art historian, patron of the avant-garde, author, and art collector. She was the artistic director of the Kestner Society in Germany. In 1927 she moved to the Soviet Union and collaborated on a number of large-scale exhibition projects with her second husband, artist and designer El Lissitzky. She later wrote El Lissitzky: Life, Letters, Texts (1967). Before moving to the Soviet Union she loaned some thirteen works, including a Klee painting, to the Provinzial Museum in Hanover. In 1937 the Nazis seized the loaned works from the museum as part of the their “degenerate art” campaign. The Nazis sold the works abroad for foreign currency, and the Küppers-Lissitzky collection was dispersed throughout the world. In 1944, three years after Lissitzky died, Kuppers was deported as an enemy foreigner to Novosibirsk, where she lived for the next thirty-four years.

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