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Madge Gill (1882-1961)

  • Ohne Titel. Tusche auf Papier, 15. Januar 1942
  • Ohne Titel. Tusche auf Papier, 30. August 1942
  • Ohne Titel. Tusche auf Papier, September 1942
  • Ohne Titel. Tusche auf Papier, um 1942 a
  • Ohne Titel. Tusche auf Papier, um 1942

Alle Bilder: © Elmar R. Gruber

Small Madge bio Gill

At the age of 37, in March 1919, Madge Gill experienced her vocation as a mediumistic artist. An illness left her blind in one eye and she experienced a postnatal depression after the stillbirth of a daughter. One of her three sons had died the year before. In order to alleviate her suffering, she tried to get in touch with her dead children through spiritualist séances. The result was an unrestrained burst of creative power. Her works, which she produced with seemingly boundless imagination for years, count among the most important examples of mediumistic work and fascinate not only the art world to this day.

Madge Gill was born as Maude Ethel Eades in 1882 in London. Since she was an illegitimate child, she was expelled, put in an orphanage, and then taken to a farm in Canada as a maid. In 1903 she returned to London and worked as a nurse. She came into contact with spiritualism through her aunt. When she entered into her severe life crisis, she began to knit, sing, write and draw automatically at night, in the dark, guided by an otherworldly being called "Myrninerst."

With cheap ink she drew on cloths, paper rolls, postcards. She produced densely crowded scenes, energetic geometric patterns into which the viewer's gaze is inevitably drawn into an unreal scenery, without depth, without hold, into a vortex of circles, checkered patterns, and cross-hatchings that may be stairs, corridors, colonnades, or neither. And usually a female face appears from a gap in the congested sheet, with big eyes and a small nose, a wide hat, and the intimation of a large robe. It becomes the trademark of the oeuvre of Madge Gill.

Her paintings were exhibited already in her lifetime, but she would not sell them, because she regarded the works to be the property of "Myrninerest" and not her own. Today, Madge Gill’s works are represented in many major collections and museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York.