Erika Giovanna Klien
* 1900 Borgo di Valsugana/Trentino
† 1957 New York
Erika Giovanna Klien went to the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna in 1919 to study under Victor Schufinsky, Frank Cizek, Rudolf Larisch and Reinhold Klaus. She graduated in 1925. The artist began exhibiting works as early as 1923, first with presentations of her works made in Cizek's class in 1923 and 1924, then exhibitions in Holland, Paris, New York and then the exhibition at the IV. International Congress of Art Education in Prague in 1928. The poet L. W. Rochowansky and his wife, the dancer Katja Kandinski, encouraged Klien to attend acting classes in 1922/23. During this period Klien began working on a "kinetic marionette theatre". Art education continued to be an important issue even after Klien's studies under Cizek, with whom she still kept in touch, and she earned her living among other things with designing toys. In 1926 Klien was appointed to run the drawing school at the Elisabeth-Duncan school in Kleßheim/Salzburg where she stayed until 1929. In this year the artist decided to go to New York where she taught at different schools and organised regular exhibitions of works produced in her classes as well as her own works. In 1930 she began painting her first cityscapes of New York and Chicago and had exhibitions at the New School for Social Research and at the Art Center in New York. In 1933 Klien began working on her abstract series of birds in flight and intensified her occupation with art education, working on a modern method of art education. A trip to New Mexico in 1934 awakened an interest in Indian culture. Artistically this is reflected in a synthesis between primitive and kinetic forms. Klien worked on a light instrument for the stage and to animate the abstract bird flight and then integrated these bird flights and light analyses in linoleum cuts. An illness forced Klien to leave the Spence-School in 1940 and she tried working as a graphic artist. Erika Giovanna Klien taught again for a short period from 1946 but soon had to give up teaching altogether and continued working as an independent artist until 1956.