An Exquisite Realm: The Art of Freda Kohler

The German artist Freda Köhler produced a body of compelling visionary paintings and drawings. Only a fraction appear to have survived. She signed her works, ‘Sieg-bert’, which in old German means ‘bright victory’; a sign of the revelatory messages in her art and, perhaps, the name of her spirit guide. It is tempting to read her untitled portrait drawing of a woman (fig.1) as either a selfportrait or a visionary likeness of Sieg-bert. The titles written on the front of many of the works, and the hand-written ‘explanatory’ text on the verso of some of them, certainly strongly suggests a mediumistic source. Botanical forms dominate (figs.2-5). They metamorphose and reveal cosmic messages. They are similar in many ways to much work from 20th Century Central European spiritualist circles, by artists like Anna Häckel, Anna Zemánková and Cecilie Marková.

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