Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Nell Walden (1887 Karlskrona/Sweden – 1975 Bern)

My grateful thanks to Penelope Monkhouse in Germany for her hard work in finding German women poets.    I am deeply indebted to Penelope for her continuing support of this commemorative project.

Nell was born Nell Roslund. She was an artist and writer, daughter of a pastor. The family moved to Landskrona in 1903.  Nell studied music in Lund, receiving her diploma as an organist in 1908. She went to Berlin to study German, where she lived until 1911.  In Berlin Nell met Herwarth Walden, the editor of Der Sturm.    The couple married the following year in London and travelled widely in Europe.

Nell Walden then met Klee and Kandinsky, who encouraged her to paint.  When The First World War broke out, Nell worked as a journalist and collected works of the “Sturm”-artists, Swedish art as well as African and Oceanic art. In 1916 she attended painting classes in the newly founded “Sturm”-art school and the following year exhibited for the first time. In 1923 she ended her work for Der Sturm and divorced Herwarth Walden.

From 1932 Nell worked as a painter, poet, translator and art collector. Her second husband, the doctor Hans Hermann Heimann whom she married in 1926, was murdered by the Nazis. In 1940 she married the Swiss teacher Hannes Urech. From 1944 the couple lived in Schinznach-Bad AG. In 1957, for her 70th birthday, Nell's paintings were shown in a special exhibition in Aarau and a volume of her pictures and poems was published, edited by Hannes Urech and Lothar Schreyer.

Hannes and Nell moved to a new house “Seehalde” in Seengen in 1962, where her husband died the following year. In her last years, Nell travelled to Israel and Ibiza. She is buried next to her third husband in Aarau in Switzerland.

Penelope Monkhouse (*1952) is a German-British scientist living in Schwetzingen/Germany and is a granddaughter of the novelist, dramatist and literary critic Allan Monkhouse. Literature of the early 20thcentury is presently one of her chief non-scientific interests; she is presently engaged on a comparative study of German and English poetry of this period. She also writes poetry of her own and translates poetry to and from German and English.