International Women’s Day 8 March 2023

The Fitzwilliam Museum and the Women’s Art Collection at Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge, have explored one of the many connections between the two collections. Take a closer look at Marie-Louise von Motesiczky’s At the Dressmaker’s (1930) and Portrait of Elizabeth (1990) with curator Harriet Loffler and learn more about the unique collection at Murray Edwards, Europe’s largest holding of works by women. At the Dressmaker’s is currently on display at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Women: Makers and Muses.

© The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. Film by Storya.

Commemorative Plaque in Hampstead,
London for Marie-Louise von Motesiczky and Elias Canetti


Unveiling at 6 Chesterford Gardens, London NW3 7DE 3

pm Friday 24 June 2022

Canetti plaque for 6 Chesterford Gardens

The Heath & Hampstead Society together with the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Trust are proud to be commemorating the lives and work of Marie-Louise von Motesiczky and Elias Canetti with a plaque. They were émigrés, impelled to leave Vienna because of their Jewish heritage when Hitler marched into Austria on 12 March 1938. Marie-Louise who arrived in 1939 via Holland, became a British citizen in 1948; Canetti who came from Prague in 1938, did so in 1952. Their relationship developed in Amersham during the Second World War, continuing for almost thirty years, with a correspondence over fifty years, testimony to the vital role they played in each other’s lives. Canetti consistently encouraged Marie-Louise as an artist and she gave him a safe haven where he could keep his library and write, most notably one of the works that contributed to his citation for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1981: Crowds and Power, 1960.

Elias Canetti lives on through his published work and his papers in the Central Library in Zurich, where he died in 1994. Marie-Louise’s paintings and drawings can be found in museum collections across Great Britain and Europe. In London and its environs these are the Amersham Museum, British Museum, Burgh House, Hampstead, the Freud Museum, the Garden Museum, National Portrait Gallery, and Tate where her archive was donated in 2012. This includes both sides of the correspondence with Canetti, from which a selection was published in 2011. Marie-Louise presented a portrait of Canetti that she painted in 1992 to the National Portrait Gallery to express her thanks to Britain ‘for giving a home to my mother and me’. In 2016 the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust presented her self-portrait of 1959 that had been Canetti’s favourite.

Notes to editors:
See www. for information on Marie-Louise and the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust.

Select Bibliography

Ed. Ines Schlenker and Kristian Wachinger, Elias Canetti und Marie-Louise von Motesiczky. Liebhaber ohne Adresse. Briefwechsel 1942-1992, Munich, 2011

Ines Schlenker, Marie-Louise von Motesiczky 1906-1996. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings, Manchester and New York, 2009

Jill Lloyd, The Undiscovered Expressionist. A Life of Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, New Haven and London 2007

Elias Canetti, Party in the Blitz. The English Years, translated from the German by Michael Hofmann with an afterword by Jeremy Adler, New York, 2005

Elias Canetti, The Tongue Set Free. Remembrance of a European Childhood, The Torch in my Ear, and The Play of the Eyes, translated from the German by Joachim Neugroschel, London 1988, 1989 and 1990

Max Beckmann’s painting Apollo (1942) acquired by Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam

Max Beckmann's painting <em>Apollo</em> (1942) acquired by Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam 1

The Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust is delighted to announce the acquisition of the Max Beckmann painting formerly belonging to  Marie-Louise by the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, as the result of a part sale and part gift by the Trust. The purchase was supported by funding in the Netherlands from the Rembrandt Association and the Foundation for the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen.

Max Beckmann became a close friend and mentor of Marie-Louise’s from 1920 onwards, meeting his second wife Mathilde von Kaulbach (‘Quappi’) at the Motesiczkys’ apartment in Vienna. When the Beckmanns left Germany for Amsterdam in 1937 Marie-Louise did her best to assist them, even after the German occupation of the Netherlands in 1940, through her aunt Ilse Leembruggen who lived in the Hague. She saw the Beckmanns in 1938 after leaving Vienna following the Anschluss and had her first solo exhibition in the Hague in January 1939. Marie-Louise returned in 1947 just before Max and Quappi went to the United States. Apollo, which Beckmann dedicated to his wife, was bequeathed by Quappi to Marie-Louise in 1986. 

In September 1941 Beckmann spent a few days in the town of Valkenburg where he visited the Gemeentegrot (municipal caves), which housed a facility that belonged to the champagne house Piper Heidsieck. When he entered this space he found approximately four metre-high replicas of champagne bottles installed alongside built-in walls, with a relief and a fountain. This provided the inspiration for the setting for his painting Apollo which he substantially made in December 1941, completing it in January 1942. The caves were used by the Resistance in Valkenburg during the War, the population taking refuge there in September 1944 immediately prior to the Allied Liberation.

Although Beckmann spent ten years of his life in the Netherlands, hitherto there have been just five paintings by him in Dutch museums, including a portrait of the Lüjtens family from 1944 that was acquired by the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in 2008. In 2017 the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust made a gift of eleven of Marie-Louise’s paintings and nine works on paper to the Boijmans in recognition of their enthusiasm for her work and her close ties to Holland. Therefore it seemed an ideal context for the painting by Beckmann which speaks of his time in the Netherlands and of Marie-Louise’s friendship with him and Quappi, with whom she is shown bottom right in the right hand panel of one of Beckmann’s masterpieces, the triptych Actors (1941-42, Harvard University Art Museums).

In Memoriam
David Scrase 1949-2020

It is with great sorrow that the Trustees announce the death of David Scrase on 31 October 2020. David was one of the founding trustees of the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust and formerly Deputy Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. His knowledge of Marie-Louise and his contribution to the Trust were invaluable. He was a wonderful colleague, an outstanding connoisseur of the visual arts and music, and a peerless friend.

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