Historical information

Slawa Horowitz-Duldig) was both an artist and a designer, and both aspects of her practice are represented in the collection. There is an archive of approximately 255 drawings by Slawa dating from 1917 until 1922. Slawa’s sketchbooks from this period provide an insight into her early training and demonstrate the artist’s early interest in portraiture. A number of the drawings have been framed, but the majority remains 'in situ'.

Slawa was a student at the Viennese Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen (the Viennese Art School for Women and Girls) (KFM) from 1917 until 1921, and in 1922 she became a student of Anton Hanak. The KFM School had been established in 1897 as a private school, and it was highly regarded both for its teaching staff and academic curriculum. By 1918 it had introduced stringent admission policy similar to those of the Austrian Academy of Fine Arts, and obtained government funding for its academic program, and began to focus on students seeking to pursue careers as professional artists. In 1921 when Slawa applied to the Austrian Academy of Arts for a place in its program, her application was unsuccessful, as her work was considered advanced, and a place in the third or fourth year of the program was not available. In 1922 she became a private student of Anton Hanak.

Many of the portrait images from this early period concentrate on capturing the physical appearance of the face of the model. A number of these studies, in which the subject is not identified, display an academic approach to the genre. Her technical skills in capturing precise facial features of the model, the expression of eyes and the texture of hair are evident. These drawings were perhaps completed in the studio of the KFM School.

There are also portraits of friends and family members, including her sister Rella and others, perhaps parents and grandparents, who have yet to be identified conclusively. It is these images of family and friends that particularly demonstrate Slawa’s confidence with pen, charcoal and crayon on paper. Amongst the group are several portraits that indicate the artist’s interest in conveying the inner psyche of a subject, as well as capturing a likeness.

Ann Carew 2016


The drawings from this period give us an insight into the artist’s early training, and the teaching methods of Viennese Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen, one of the first professional art schools for women in Vienna. The drawings and sketchbooks have artistic, interpretative and research significance as records of the art education of women in Vienna in the early 20th century.

Ann Carew 2016

Physical description

Charcoal over pencil sketch on paper of Slawa's sister Rella.

Inscriptions & markings

Artist signature in the bottom left corner.