Born January 17~ Melitta Auwaerter Schnarrenberger

Melitta Sleeping by Wilhelm Schnarrenberger, 1934

Self-portrait with Melitta by Wilhelm Schnarrenberger, 1936

The painter who signed her name “Melitta” created most of her artwork beginning when she was in her late sixties. Melitta Auwaerter was born in Pforzheim, Germany, in 1909. In 1915, her father sold his jewelry factory and moved the family to Karlsruhe. Melitta studied painting at Karlsruhe’s Academy of Fine Arts from 1927 to 1930. This is where she met her future husband, painter and professor Wilhelm Schnarrenberger (1892-1966). They married in 1930. Only a few drawings, watercolors and pastels are known to exist from the years of her marriage. The couple’s daughter Vera was born in 1931, and in 1933 the family moved to Berlin after Wilhelm lost his job at the Academy for political reasons. By 1938, the couple decided that the political situation meant it was time to move again. They went to Lenzkirch, a municipality in the Black Forest, where they opened a guesthouse. Melitta and Wilhelm divorced in 1946, and Melitta subsequently managed the guesthouse on her own. She became active in politics and social work, and from 1959 to 1977 was a member of the municipal council of Lenzkirch. As her political career wound down, Melitta at long last began to paint again. Between 1977 and her death she created over 150 paintings, mostly oils, and exhibited in a number of solo and group exhibitions. Melitta painted primarily landscapes, still lifes, and portraits. Melitta Schnarrenberger died in Lenzkirch in 1996. A memorial exhibition was held in 1997 in Schluchsee-Seebrugg.

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