Teresa Feoderovna Ries

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Teresa Feoderovna Ries
Teresa Ries - Self Portrait.jpg
Self-portrait, 1902
Born 1874
Moscow, Russian Empire
Died 1950 (aged 75–76)
Known for Sculpture, painting

Teresa Feoderovna Ries (also known as Theresa Feoderovna Ries) (1874–1950)[1] was a Russian-born Austrian sculptor and painter.

Life and work[edit]

Teresa Ries was born in Russia to a Jewish family. She attended the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. She was expelled for showing disrespect toward a professor in one of her classes.[2][3] She moved to Vienna at the age of 21, where her first exhibition at the Vienna Künstlerhaus included Witch, a sculpture of a nude woman clipping her toenails.[4] This piece caught the attention of Kaiser Franz Joseph I,[3] and she soon became highly celebrated throughout Vienna.[4] The exhibition was also attended by Gustav Klimt, an active member of the Vienna Secession movement, who asked her to exhibit with them.[3] She sought out Edmund Hellmer as a mentor; at first he refused, saying that "it was pointless to teach women since they married anyway".[1] Hellmer eventually relented and helped her to exhibit her work and to gain commissions.[1]

In 1900 Ries exhibited at the Paris World's Fair and the 1911 World's Fair in Turin on the invitation of both Russia and Austria.[3] Prince Aloys of Liechtenstein offered her the use of a suite of rooms beside his own picture gallery as a studio.[3]

Working in stone, marble, plaster, and bronze,[5] Ries produced both private and public works during her career. Some of her well-known nude sculptures are Sleepwaker (pre-1894),[6] Lucifer (c. 1897),[7] and Death (1898).[8] She produced sculptures and busts for public spaces; her Bust of Jaromir Mundy (1897) is mounted on the outside of the Vienna Fireman's Association building.[9] She is perhaps best known for photographing and creating a bust of Mark Twain during the time he resided in Vienna.[10][11][12]

According to art critic Karl Kraus, "her exhibitions received too much publicity".[3] Ries published her memoir, Die Sprache des Steines (The Language of Stone) in 1928.[13] In 1938 she was evicted from her gallery and studio space due to the Nazi policy of Aryanization. She continued to work in Vienna until 1942[3] and then immigrated to Lugano, Switzerland.[5][12]

Personal life[edit]

Ries married, lost a child, and divorced while still a teenager in Moscow.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Ben-Eli, Birgit (1 March 2009). "Austria: Jewish Women Artists". Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. Jewish Women's Archive. Retrieved 26 June 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Johnson 2012, p. 205.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "The Forgotten Women Artists of Vienna 1900". 24 June 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Johnson 2012, p. 209.
  5. ^ a b Johnson 2012, p. 203.
  6. ^ Johnson 2012, p. 207.
  7. ^ Johnson 2012, pp. 1–2.
  8. ^ Johnson 2012, pp. 203–204.
  9. ^ Johnson 2012, p. 208.
  10. ^ Johnson 2012, pp. 218–219.
  11. ^ "Literary Pickups". Book Notes: A Monthly Literary Magazine and Review of New Books. 1: 288. November 1898. 
  12. ^ a b Ivry, Benjamin (12 January 2013). "Turn-of-Century Vienna Artists Deserve Second Look". The Forward. Retrieved 26 June 2016. 
  13. ^ Johnson 2012, p. 2.