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Lisa Rodewald Collection

Identifier: AR 25916

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of four small series, which give insights into the life and work of the artist Lisa Rodewald. Only a small number of papers originate from her time in Germany. Most of the documents are from the 1970s.

Series I contains personal documents from Lisa's life in Germany and the U.S. such as a Curriculum Vitae, her passports, a brief text from Lisa describing her path into the arts, and notes for a memorial speech by her friend Hilda Wilcox.

The correspondence of the collection can be found in Series II, including letters related to the film which was made about Lisa in the 1970s together with part of the script.

Series III includes many photographs of Lisa Rodewald, her family, friends, and work. A few were taken in Germany, but most of them were during her time in the U.S. It also contains photographs of her son Claude and his wife Faith.

Series IV holds ads, brochures, and newspaper clippings related to Lisa’s art. It also includes an article written by her in 1971 called "Stitchery. You can do it too."


  • Creation: 1912-1981
  • Creation: bulk 1970s


Language of Materials

The collection is in German and English.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection.

Biographical Note

Lisa Rodewald (née Thon) was born on December 1st, 1895 in Breslau, Germany (today Wrocław, Poland) as an only child to a Catholic mother and a Jewish father. After working as a teacher for two years, she enrolled at the Royal Academy of Art in Breslau in 1914 where she worked together with Otto Mueller (a member of the movement “Die Bruecke”, one of the big groups within Expressionism). She married the architect Ernest Rodewald in 1921, and they had a son, Claude (December 25th, 1921- July 1st, 1953). Ernest passed away in 1925.

In 1936, Lisa and Claude fled Germany and went to England. She later managed to get her mother out of Germany and sent Claude to the U.S. while staying in England. During the war, Lisa worked in munitions plants. After the war, she designed embroideries for haute couture houses. Lisa followed her son to the U.S. in 1947 or 1949 where she received a scholarship to study at the Penland School of Handicrafts in North Carolina. She taught handicrafts at the New York Guild for the Blind in White Plains for seven and a half years until she retired in 1962. She lived in New York City until she moved to Cooperstown, New York, in 1973, where she died on November 13th, 1979.

Lisa started painting in oil and watercolor but later switched to embroidery and needle paintings. She exhibited her work in Germany and England as well as in the U.S. (Cooper Union and The Contemporary Craft Museum). After she started to suffer from severe psoriatic arthritis, she worked on watercolors on tissue paper.


0.5 Linear Feet

1 Folders (1 oversized folder in a shared oversize box)


The collection holds material on the life and art of the German artist Lisa Rodewald. It includes official documents, letters, newspaper clippings, photographs, part of a film script, and brochures, which give insights into her personal and professional life as an artist in the U.S. Her focus was embroidery, needle paintings, and watercolors on tissue paper.


The collection is arranged in four series:

  • Series I: Personal undated, 1931-1933, 1966, 1973-1980
  • Series II: Correspondence 1912, 1948, 1970s?, 1976-1981
  • Series III: Photographs undated, 1949, 1955, 1963, 1970s
  • Series IV: Art shows 1964-1977

Separated Materials

Five artworks were moved from the archival collection to the LBI Arts and Objects Collection: "Portrait of Ernst Rodewald" by an unknown artist, and "Summer Flowers," "Bowl of Flowers," "Blue Lupin," and "Family at Play," which were all made by Lisa Rodewald.

Processing Information

The collection has been divided into four series.

Guide to the Lisa Rodewald Collection
Processed by Mareike Hennies
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States