Norbertine von Bresslern-Roth was born on November 13, 1891 in Graz, Austria. She grew up in Graz, on Klosterwiesgasse Street. Her mother Aloisia Roth was the daughter of a riding school owner from Vienna. Norbertine’s artistic talent was already recognized in the Volksschule by her teacher who encouraged her. From 1907 onwards she was allowed to participate free of charge in the drawing and painting lessons of the Styrian Landeskunstschule under its director Alfred Schrotter and during the summer months of 1909 and 1910, she attended a school in Dachau near Munich, Germany that specialized in painting animals.
In 1911, Roth left Rothschorn to study with Professor Ferdinand Schmutzer at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. Schmutzer was also so impressed by the talent of the young artist that he took her to his studio at the academy after only one year, although women were not allowed to study officially at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts until 1921. As early as 1912 she received the Silver Medal of the City of Graz as the first honor in her hometown. After a successful exhibition in the Vienna Secession in 1916, she returned to Graz to settle down as a freelance artist, where she enjoyed a successful career. In 1918 she married Georg Ritter von Bresslern.
In the 1920s she began working with printmaking, preferring to use the relief method of color linocut to create her prints. From 1921 to 1952 she created numerous animal images using this technique. She found many of her subjects in zoos throughout Europe.
During the build-up to World War II, she was considered a “half-Jew” and was considered part of the “cultural resistance” by the Nazis because she created some images which were classified as regime-critical.
Norbertine von Bresslern-Roth is regarded worldwide as an important modern animal artist, especially the later works, which are less of an anatomical study than an artistic one and are considered unrivaled. With her linocuts, she created outstanding and progressive prints, with which she attained recognition for herself in the international art scene during her lifetime. In 1952 an exhibition of her works in Graz was visited by the then unimaginable number of 10,000 people. Works by Bressler-Roth are owned by the Neue Galerie Graz and the collection of the provincial capital of Graz.
Norbertine von Bresslern-Roth died on November 30, 1978 in Graz, Austria.
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