Lil Picard

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Lil Picard
Lil Picard portrait 1978.jpg
Picard while filming "Lil Picard" by Silvianna Goldsmith, 1978
Native name
Lilli Elizabeth Benedict
Born(1899-10-04)October 4, 1899
Landau, Germany
DiedMay 10, 1994(1994-05-10) (aged 94)
MovementCountercultural art, Avant-garde art

Lil Picard, (born Lilli Elisabeth Benedick October 4, 1899 – May 10, 1994) was a cabaret actress, artist and critic born in Landau, Germany in 1899, who took part in several generations of Counterculture and Avant-garde art in Berlin and in New York City.


Early life[edit]

Lil Picard was born Lilli Elisabeth Benedick October 4, 1899 in Landau, Germany.[1] She was the only child of Jakob, a wine producer and merchant, and Rosalie Benedick. She spent her childhood and adolescence in Strasbourg, Germany, which is now in France.[2] Seeking solace from her parents, Lil found meaning in books. Westermann's Monashefte introduced her to art and inspired her to draw at an early age.[1]

Marriages and Life in Berlin[edit]

Upon completing high school, Lil studied literature and art in Berlin.[2] In 1918, at the age of 19, Lil met Fritz Picard, an antiquarian bookseller[3] and intellectual with whom she lived in Berlin against her parent's wishes. Surrounded by dynamic artists, writers, composers, and filmmakers who moved to Berlin after World War I, the couple married in 1921. Lil Picard became a cabaret performer, acting in a small part in the film Variété.[1] Picard also became involved in the Berlin Dadaist movement, associating herself with Dadaists George Grosz, Hugo Ball, and Richard Huelsenbeck and artists Bertolt Brecht, Otto Dix, and Hans Hoffman.[2]

In 1926, she separated from Fritz Picard. Struggling with the skin condition shingles, her career in show business ended and Picard turned her attention to journalism.[1] She wrote feuilleton for the Berliner Börsenkurier and worked as a fashion designer and model. In 1933, the year of Hitler's accession to power, she became fashion editor of Zeitschrift für Deutshe Konfektion, and a cultural reporter for the fashion and women's supplements of the Berliner Tageblatt, among other publications.[1][4]

In 1935, Picard married banker Hans Felix Jüdell.[1] Due to the persecution of Jews and Hans' career pursuits, he changed his name to Henry Odell or O'Dell.[1]

New York[edit]

In November 1936, Picard and her husband immigrated to New York City following the revocation of Picard's press credentials due to her Jewish heritage and growing anti-Semitic policies.[1][4] In New York, Picard began to paint and exhibit works, and also worked as a journalist for over three decades, writing for Arts Magazine, East Village Other, and Interview.

In the 1960s, Picard produced painting, collage and assemblages, and was known as a frequenter of Andy Warhol's Factory. Her 1967 performance, "Construction-Destruction-Construction," at the Judson Church Gallery, was filmed by Andy Warhol. She also participated in feminist performance art with Carolee Schneemann and Yoko Ono.[5]

In New York, Lil Picard dated Al Jensen and Ad Reinhardt.


  • Solo Show. David Anderson Gallery. 1960. (first solo show)
  • Protest-Action. With Wolf Vostell at the Italian Pavilion at the 34th Venice Biennale, 1968.[6]
  • Goethe House. 1976.
  • Ronald Feldman Gallery. 1976.
  • Holly Solomon Gallery. 1976.
  • Neue Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin. 1978.
  • "Lil Picard and Counterculture New York." Grey Art Gallery, NYU. 2010 (premiere). University of Iowa Museum of Art. Spring, 2011.[7][8][9]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Papers of Lil Picard". University of Iowa Libraries. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Smith, Roberta. "Lil Picard, 94, Artist and Critic Who Was Once a Hat Designer". New York Times. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  3. ^ Bloch, Mark. "July 2011, Lil Picard and Counterculture New York". Whitehot Magazine. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  4. ^ "Gotham Art and Theatre."
  5. ^ Lil Picard Papers, University of Iowa Libraries.
  6. ^ “Lil Picard and Counterculture New York.” UI
  7. ^ "First American Museum Retrospective of Lil Picard Debuts at Grey Art Gallery."
  8. ^ "Lil Picard and Counterculture New York." Brooklyn Rail.

External links[edit]