Eichmann, Dr. Ingeborg (also Pudelko-Eichmann)
The art historian, critic, and collector Dr. Ingeborg Eichmann began acquiring Cubist and other modernist art during the 1930s while pursuing her graduate studies in art history at the University of Zürich. Her collection included several seminal Cubist works by Georges Braque, Juan Gris, Fernand Léger, and Pablo Picasso.
Eichmann was born in Sudetenland (then part of the multinational Austro-Hungarian Empire but later under Czech and German rule), and after studying law at the University of Vienna and the University of Freiberg-Breisgau, in 1929 she moved to Zürich to study art history with Konrad Escher, Joseph Gantner, Heinrich Wölfflin, and Josef Zemp. She earned a doctorate in 1935 with a thesis on Paul Cézanne and the development of French painting in the nineteenth century. In the years following her dissertation, Eichmann studied the work of Henri Rousseau in preparation for a catalogue raisonné, but the long-term project ceased at the outbreak of World War II and never resumed.
Around 1928 Eichmann was introduced to the German collector Dr. Gottlieb Friedrich Reber, the father of her classmate, Gisela Reber. The two began a romantic relationship and Dr. Reber introduced Eichmann to the German dealer Alfred Flechtheim and the Swiss art historian Gotthard Jedlicka. In the early 1930s, Eichmann obtained several seminal Cubist paintings from Dr. Reber when the textile magnate was forced to sell his extensive collection as the result of financial hardship.
Known for her sharp intellect and perceptive eye, by 1932 Eichmann had acquired a number of works by Picasso, including an early Landscape (1908; Private collection), several Cubist pictures, and Woman in an Armchair (1927; Private collection). She also lent works to key exhibitions, including Picasso’s first museum show, which took place in 1932 at Galeries Georges Petit in Paris and at Kunsthaus Zürich, and the International Surrealist Exhibition in June 1936 at New Burlington Galleries in London. All three venues included Woman in a Chemise in an Armchair (1913–14; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Promised Gift from the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection), a seminal canvas that remained in Eichmann’s possession until 1967. In addition to Picasso, Eichmann owned a number of Cubist works by Braque and later paintings by Gris. Successive acquisitions such as Léger’s Still Life with Fish (1927; present location unknown)—which she probably purchased directly from the Galerie Louise Leiris in Paris some time before March 1950—indicate that Eichmann continued to collect until at least the early 1950s.
In 1938 Eichmann traveled to the United States and toured museums and private collections with her friend and fellow Cubist collector, the art historian Douglas Cooper, to whom she had been introduced by Dr. Reber. When Germany annexed Czechoslovakia that same year, Eichmann became stateless. She eventually settled in Italy where she remained (living in Florence and Venice) until at least the mid-1950s. During this period, Eichmann wrote about contemporary Italian art for periodicals that included Magazine of Art and was instrumental in organizing exhibitions such as Junge italienische Kunst (1953) at the Kunsthaus Zürich. In 1955 she married the German art historian Dr. Georg Pudelko (also known as Giorgio Pudelko), a specialist in early Italian Renaissance art whose previous wife had been Gisela Reber.
For more information, see
Daix, Pierre, and Joan Rosselet. Picasso: The Cubist Years, 1907–1916. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings and Related Works
. London: Thames and Hudson, 1979.
Richardson, John. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: Picasso, Provence, and Douglas Cooper. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999.
Zervos, Christian. Oeuvres de 1926 à 1932. Vol. 7 of Pablo Picasso. Paris: Éditions “Cahiers d’Art,” 1954.
For further information on the history of the collection of G. F. Reber and Dr. Ingeborg Eichmann, see: Archiv Christoph Pudelko, Bonn