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Bele Bachem

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Bele Bachem

*  1916 Düsseldorf
† 2005 München


Bele Bachem (her real name was Renate Gabriele Böhmer) was a painter, drawer, book illustrator, set designer and writer. She was born on May 17, 1916, in Düsseldorf. Her father, Gottfried Maria Bachem, who plays a very important role in her life, is a painter and encouraged his beloved daughter to dedicate her life to art and painting. Bele Bachem left her hometown to study at the Kunstakademie in Berlin from 1934-1938. Even during her time as a student, Bele Bachem's paintings attracted a lot of attention. But the National Socialiststs place a ban on Bachem's art so that she had to stop her painting activities for a while. In 1940, Bele Bachem married the art historian Günther Böhmer with whom she had a daughter, Bettina. In 1943, Bele Bachem designed her first stage setting in Munich. She worked as a stage designer on different theatres and published drawings in the magazin "Der Simpl". The artist wrote and illustrated books, desgined movie-posters and book covers. In 1947, she moved to Munich, where she would stay for the rest of her life. Bachem is regarded as the only female surrealist in German post-war literature. She was awarded with numerous prizes e.g. the poster-award of the city of Vienna, the award of the graphic collection, Munich and the "Schwabinger Kunstpreis für Malerei". Retrospectives were held in Munich and in the Bodley Gallery in New York. Bele Bachem was given the Federal Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1997. She died on June 5, 2005 in Munich.