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 Malva Schalek  (1882 - 1944)

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Lived/Active: Czech Republic      Known for: Painting

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Ad Code: 4
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Biography from Tiroche Auction House:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Malva Schalek was born in Prague.  She earned her living as a painter in Vienna, in her studio above the Theater an der Wien, until July 1938, when she was forced to flee from the Nazis, leaving her paintings behind.  Only some 30 works from this period have been recovered; two were found in the Historisches Museum Wien.  One of these, a nearly life-sized oil portrait of the actor Max Pallenberg, will be returned to the family by the restitution authority.

Schalek was deported to Terezin (Theresienstadt) ghetto in February 1942, where she produced more than 100 drawings and watercolors portraying fellow inmates and their life there.  Because of her refusal to portray a collaborationist doctor, she was deported to Auschwitz on 18 May 1944, where she perished.

Her drawings have been described by Tom L. Freudenheim, director of the Baltimore Museum of Art, as ”perhaps the finest and most complete artistic oeuvre to survive the Holocaust.”  Recovered after the liberation, most are in the art collection of the Ghetto Fighters’ House museum at kibbutz Lohamei HaGeta’ot in Israel.

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