Passport photograph of Helene Funke
 
Helen
e Funke (painter, graphic artist)
Born on 3.9.1869 in Chemnitz. From 1899 Helene Funke studied art in Munich at Friedrich Fehr’s painting school and at the Ladies’ Academy with Angelo Jank. From 1905 to 1913 she lived in Paris and in the South of France. Here she studied Impressionism and Fauvism. It is said that she exhibited in France together with Matisse, Georges Braque and Maurice de Vlaminck and her work featured in the Parisian Salon d’Automne between 1905 and 1913. The majority of her work from this period in France is unknown to scholars. From 1913/14 until her death in 1957 she lived in Vienna where she soon became established, in spite of continual hostile criticism from male art critics. In 1920 her painting "Music" was purchased by the Austrian state (today it is missing). In 1928 she was awarded the Austrian State Prize for "Tobias and the Angel" (oil on canvas, today in the art collections of Chemnitz – collection of painting and sculpture).

Until 1934 her works featured in exhibitions of the following artist associations: Hagenbund, (Free) Movement (Bewegung), and Kunstschaugruppe. She was also an active member of the National Organization of Austrian Women in the Visual Arts (Vereinigung bildender Künstlerinnen Österreichs, known as VBKÖ) and Association of Female Artists and Craftswomen (Vereinigung bildender Künstlerinnnen und Kunsthandwerkerinnen Wiener Frauenkunst), known as Wiener Frauenkunst.From 1904 pictures by Funke could be seen in Munich, Berlin, Dresden and Chemnitz.

The avant-garde associations of female artists were ruthlessly suppressed after 1938 and Helene Funke’s work increasingly sunk into obscurity. Two exhibitions at the Galerie Welz and the Konzerthaus and the award of a professorship after the Second World War reestablished the artist’s name. Yet it is only in recent years that Funke’s work has been rediscovered for exhibitions and by the art market.