painting of woman with artwork in background

Lotte Laserstein, Self Portrait before “Evening over Potsdam”, 1950 Photo: Albin Dahlström/Moderna Museet ©Lotte Laserstein
Bildupphovsrätt 2023

Chronology of the Artist’s years

Follow the life of Lotte Laserstein year by year. Starting in 1898 in what is now Poland, to her death in Kalmar in 1993. In addition we listed a selection of exhibitions, and other events concerning the artistry.


Lotte Laserstein is born in Preussisch-Holland (now Pasłęk, Poland) on November 28, the first daughter of Hugo Laserstein, a prosperous pharmacist, and his wife, Meta, née Birnbaum.


Following the death of her father, Lotte moves with Meta and her younger sister, Käte (born in 1900), to Danzig (now Gdańsk), where they share a household with Meta’s mother, Ida Birnbaum, and sister, Elsa.


Takes first art lessons in Elsa Birnbaum’s private school of painting.


The family moves to Berlin.


Studies philosophy and art history at Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin, where she also attends a school of applied arts.


Private art training with the renowned painter Leo von König (1871–1944).


Studies at the Berlin Art Academy under Erich Wolfsfeld (1884–1956), from 1925 to 1927 in his master class.


Meets her model Traute Rose.


Receives a medal for artistic achievement from the Ministry of Art and Science.

two women one with brush in her hand
Lotte Laserstein, I and My Model, 1929/30 Photo: Lotte-Laserstein-Archiv Krausse, Berlin ©Lotte Laserstein Courtesy of Agnews, London
Bildupphovsrätt 2023
artist painting nude model
Lotte Laserstein, In My Studio, 1928 Photo: Lotte-Laserstein-Archiv Krausse, Berlin ©Lotte Laserstein
Bildupphovsrätt 2023


Moves into the first studio of her own, where she also runs a private painting school.


Very productive years during which she produces most of her masterpieces.
Participates in more than twenty exhibitions and performs well in various competitions.


The City of Berlin purchases her painting “In the Tavern”.


Solo exhibition at Galerie Gurlitt in Berlin.


Lengthy summer trips to the country with her pupils.


Because of her Jewish ancestry, the Nazis label her a “three-quarter Jew.” She is gradually excluded from public art activities.


Her private teaching studio is closed. She is not allowed to exhibit, sell works, or buy paint and materials. She takes a job as an art teacher at a private Jewish school.


Emigrates to Sweden.
Her exhibition at Galerie Moderne in Stockholm in December results in prestigious portrait commissions.

man sitting with hands crossed
Lotte Laserstein, The Émigré (Dr. Walter Lindenthal), 1941 Photo: Helene Toresdotter/Malmö Konstmuseum ©Lotte Laserstein
Bildupphovsrätt 2023
lady sitting dressed in red and a fur coat
Lotte Laserstein, Lady in a Fur Coat (The Gallerist Signe Schultz), 1941 Photo: Michelangelo Miskulin ©Lotte Laserstein

Bildupphovsrätt 2023


Pro forma marriage to Sven Marcus to obtain Swedish citizenship.
Despite tireless efforts she is unable to obtain Swedish residence permits for her mother and sister.


Meets Margarete Jaraczewsky (known as Madeleine), another exile from Germany, who becomes a close friend and sits for the artist for many years. That summer Laserstein’s mother obtains a visa to visit for several weeks. Two days after the outbreak of war, Meta returns to Berlin out of concern for her younger daughter, Käte.


Meta Laserstein is arrested in Berlin and is murdered the following year in Ravensbrück concentration camp. Käte goes into hiding, surviving the war and persecution in Berlin.


Resumes contact with her friend Traute Rose and Traute’s husband, Ernst, in Germany. Traumatized by her wartime experiences, Käte Laserstein moves to Sweden to be with her sister.

The 1940s and 1950s

Exhibitions and commissions in Stockholm and many other parts of Sweden.


Visits her former teacher Erich Wolfsfeld in England.


Spends three months working in Provence, France, in the company of Madeleine Jaraczewsky. Travels to Bremerhaven for her first visit to Traute and Ernst Rose. Travels on to Berlin, her first trip to the city since the war.


Käte Laserstein returns to Germany.
Purchases a prefabricated summer home on the island of Öland. The house is finished in May 1955.


Another visit to Erich Wolfsfeld, who dies the following year.


Moves from Stockholm to Kalmar.

The 1960s

Trips to France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Israel, and the United States. Lengthy stays in Ascona, Switzerland.

painting of woman with buildings in background
Lotte Laserstein, Self-Portrait in the Studio on Friedrichsruher Straße, ca 1927 Photo: Lotte-Laserstein-Archiv Krausse, Berlin ©Lotte Laserstein Bildupphovsrätt 2023


Joins the Konstnärernas Riksorganisation, the Swedish Artists’ Association.


Her sister Käte dies.


Receives the Culture Prize from the City of Kalmar.


Laserstein’s eightieth birthday is marked by a major retrospective in Kalmar.


Another retrospective celebrates her eighty-fifth birthday.


Successful commercial shows at Agnew’s and the Belgrave Gallery in London.


Lotte Laserstein dies in Kalmar on January 21 at the age of ninety-four.


The retrospective “Lotte Laserstein: My Only Reality” at the Ephraim Palais in Berlin is the first event to honor Laserstein at a museum in Germany, heralding a rediscovery of her position in art history.


The Nationalgalerie in Berlin purchases Laserstein’s opus magnum “Evening over Potsdam”.

The 2010s

Streets are named after Lotte Laserstein in Berlin and Potsdam.

Starting in 2013

Several fictional works centered on Laserstein are published in Sweden and Germany. In 2013 Fredrik Sjöberg brings out “Ge upp i dag—i morgon kan det vara för sent” (Give Up Today—Tomorrow Might Be Too Late). The stage play “Abend über Potsdam” (Evening over Potsdam) by Lutz Hübner and Sarah Nemitz premieres in 2017 and appears in print in 2021. The novel “Meine Freundin Lotte” (My Friend Lotte) by Anne Stern is published in 2021.


The Städel Museum in Frankfurt am Main puts on the widely acclaimed exhibition “Lotte Laserstein: Face to Face” which then travels to Berlin (2019) and Kiel (2019–20). This show fosters a broad awareness of the artist in Germany.

artist painting with nude model in front of mirror
Lotte Laserstein, At the Mirror, 1930/31 Photo: Lotte-Laserstein-Archiv Krausse, Berlin ©Lotte Laserstein Courtesy of Agnews, London
Bildupphovsrätt 2023
two women at one with palette in hand
Lotte Laserstein, The Painter and Madeleine at the Easel, 1947 Photo: Lotte-Laserstein-Archiv Krausse, Berlin ©Lotte Laserstein
Bildupphovsrätt 2023

More about this exhibition