Erich Wolfsfeld

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Erich Wolfsfeld (* 27 April 1884 in Krojanke; † 29 March 1956 in London) was a German painter, graphic artist and professor of etching.

Life and work

Born in a small town in West Prussia, Erich Wolfsfeld grew up in Berlin. In 1902-13 he studied at the Berlin Hochschule für die Bildenden Künste, among others with Konrad Böse, a student of Menzel, and devoted himself specifically to the technique of etching and drypoint, which he brought to artistic perfection with works in large format. He also spent study visits in London and Rome, where he met Otto Greiner. Later he studied for some time with Jules Lefebvre at the Académie Julian in Paris.

A lively reception of Wolfsfeld’s graphic work began as early as around 1915. From 1916 he taught at the Unterrichtsanstalt des Kunstgewerbemuseums Berlin, and in 1920 he was appointed professor of painting and etching there; in 1924 his college merged into the Vereinigte Staatsschulen für Freie und Angewandte Kunst under the direction of Bruno Paul. Wolfsfeld succeeded Max Slevogt as director of the Berlin Etching Society for several years. Erich Wolfsfeld was also a member of the Deutscher Künstlerbund.[1] His Berlin students include Ida Köhne, Lotte Laserstein, Herbert Häfner, Gottfried Meyer and Arno Mohr.

In 1928 he travelled to Turkey, Morocco and Egypt; Arab and oriental scenes are among his best-known motifs. In 1935 he married the dancer Ilse Fackenheim (Illa Walter). In 1936 Erich Wolfsfeld was dismissed from his teaching position because of his Jewish background. In 1939, the couple managed to emigrate to England, where Wolfsfeld was initially interned as an Enemy Alien on the Isle of Wight. In England he later had widely acclaimed exhibitions, he became an associate member of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers in 1956.


  • 1910 Kaiser-Wilhelm-Medal in Gold for the etching Archers


  • Adolph Donath: Erich Wolfsfeld. Berlin 1920.
  • Wolfsfeld, Erich. In: Hans Vollmer (ed.): Allgemeines Lexikon der Bildenden Künstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart. Founded by Ulrich Thieme and Felix Becker. Vol. E. A. Seemann, Leipzig, p. 620
  • Wolfsfeld, Erich. In: Hans Vollmer (ed.): Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler des XX. Jahrhunderts. Volume 5: V-Z . Supplements: A-G. E. A. Seemann, Leipzig 1961, p. 164.
  • Elizabeth Furness: The Etchings of Erich Wolfsfeld. London 1979 (authoritative catalogue raisonné of the graphic works)
  • Werner Röder, Herbert A. Strauss (eds.): International Biographical Dictionary of Central European Emigrés 1933-1945. vol. 2, 2nd Saur, Munich 1983, ISBN 3-598-10089-2, pp. 1264 f.

Web links

Individual references

  1. Ordinary members of the Deutscher Künstlerbund since its foundation in 1903 / Wolfsfeld, Erich(Memento of 4 March 2016 in the Internet Archive) (retrieved 22 November 2016)