ⓘ Carola Giedion-Welcker


ⓘ Carola Giedion-Welcker

Carola Welcker was born in Cologne in 1893 as the daughter of the banker Carl Welcker 1848–1928 and his American wife Mary Legien 1865–1919. She studied art history in Munich with Heinrich Wolfflin and with Paul Clemen in Bonn, where she received her doctorate in 1922. During her studies, she met the Swiss colleague Sigfried Giedion, whom she married in 1919. In 1923 the couple met Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, who introduced them to Hans Arp a year later. Arp imparted her knowledge of the literature of Lautreamont, Rimbaud, and Jarry and led her to the 1925 Surrealists exhibition in Paris. Through Arp she met Piet Mondrian and Constantin Brancuși, whom she visited in his studio in 1928 and later wrote a monograph on him.

In 1925 the Giedion couple moved to Zurich. Her home became a meeting point for modern artists such as Hans Arp, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Kurt Schwitters and Max Ernst. Irish writer James Joyce was also one of her guests. Giedion-Welcker met Paul Klee in Bern personally knew and wrote a biography of him. A year before her death 1946, Paul Klees widow Lily Klee-Stumpf had in her will the care of her husbands artistic estate through a commission that was carried out next to her son Felix Carola Giedion-Welcker and the Bern collectors Werner Allenbach, Rolf Burgi, Hans Meyer-Benteli and Hermann Rupf should also belong.

Giedion-Welcker published about 280 articles in magazines on modern painting, sculpture and poetry and wrote 17 books, including Moderne Plastik, Poetes à lEcart and the anthology Schriften 1926–1971, published in 1973 by Reinhold Hohl.

In 2007 the Kunsthaus Zurich dedicated an exhibition curated by Catherine Hug to Carola Giedion-Welcker. It showed how the artist from Zurich, as an art historian, author, and curator, shaped the cultural life of the city and influenced the art houses purchasing policy. About 40 works from painting, sculpture and graphics, photos and letters formed the exhibits of the exhibition.


1. Writings selection

  • Bayrische Rokokoplastik. J. B. Straub und seine Stellung in Landschaft und Zeit. DuMont Reiseverlag, Ostfildern 1973, ISBN 3-7701-0630-X

2. Literature

  • Iris Bruderer-Oswald, Iris, Das neue Sehen: Carola Giedion-Welcker und die Sprache der Moderne". Benteli Verlag, Zurich 2008, ISBN 9783716514504.
  • Regula Krahenbuhl ed.: Avantgarden im Fokus der Kunstkritik. Eine Hommage an Carola Giedion-Welcker 1893–1979. Files of the interdisciplinary symposium in Zurich, 22/23 October 2009 = outlines volume 6. Zurich 2011, ISBN 978-3-908196-78-5