Hedwig Grossman Lehmann

1902Berlin, Germany | 1998Givatayim, Israel
Hedwig Grossman Lehmann — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Portrait of Hedwig Grossman Lehmann

Israeli ceramic artist, sculptor, and woodcut artist.

Born into a Jewish industrialist family, as a child Hedwig Grossman Lehmann began to draw, paint, and sculpt. After completing her teaching studies, she decided to follow her passion for pottery and sculpture with the intention to later bring this expertise to Palestine. H. Grossman Lehmann studied at the Municipal Arts and Crafts School of Berlin in the departments of ceramic, sculpture, and graphic arts where she met her lifelong partner, the artist Rudi Lehmann (1903-1977). To deepen her technique in potter’s wheel she went to Bunzlau in eastern Germany (present-day Bolesławiec in Poland), a region with hundreds of pottery workshops, and researched ceramic raw materials. H. Grossman Lehmann also studied ceramics at the Arts and Crafts school Halle Giebichenstein, an extension of the Bauhaus.

By 1930 H. Grossman Lehmann opened her own ceramic workshop in Berlin, teaching and producing ceramic pieces, while exhibiting her work in various shows. In 1933 H. Grossman Lehmann and her partner immigrated to Palestine where she opened her first ceramic workshop in Haifa and started to teach. There were only few ceramic artists in the country when she arrived with her solid artistic expertise and excellent understanding of materials and techniques. In 1937 H. Grossman Lehmann and her partner moved to Jerusalem and opened their studio for art ceramics and sculpture. She initiated courses for children, adults and teachers. She advised the archaeological department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem about ancient methods, techniques and raw materials and helped to develop the Hebrew vocabulary for ceramic terminology with the Academy of the Hebrew Language. H. Grossman Lehmann exhibited her works extensively in arts and crafts, sculpture, and woodcuts and in 1954 she received the Silver Medal at the Triennial for Applied Arts in Milan, Italy.

In 1953 H. Grossman Lehmann and her partner were among the founders of the artists’ village Ein Hod near Haifa. In the early 1960s the couple moved to Givatayim a city on the Israeli coastal plain. H. Grossman Lehmann collaborated with the city in opening the Artistic Institute of the Municipality of Givatayim (today the Art Institute Shneiderman House) under her management. People of all ages came from all over the country to study ceramic and sculpture courses as well as drawing, illustration and woodcut.

H. Grossman Lehmann’s ceramic arts were unique to the geographic region of Israel. She used special colours produced from natural ingredients of the region and was the first to work only with local materials. She was inspired by the regional light, materials and the country’s landscapes, and applied her thorough understanding of ancient local traditions to create her modern ceramic art.

In 1966 the ceramic pavilion at the Ha’aretz Museum in Tel Aviv opened with a retrospective exhibition of H. Grossman Lehmann’s work, signifying her major contribution as a pioneer and founder of the craft of pottery and ceramic arts in Israel.

H. Grossman Lehmann continued to work and teach many students in her home and studio through her eighties. She participated in exhibitions in Israel and abroad and contributed to the creation of a new generation of artists in the ceramic field in Israel.

Mayrav Lanski Shenhar

A notice produced as part of the TEAM international academic network: Teaching, E-learning, Agency and Mentoring

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