Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Mela Koehler-Broman

I love to look at the inspirational and colourful prints and postcards of the Viennese artist, Mela Koehler-Broman.  The delightful illustrations  of  this painter, graphic artist and illustrator are surprisingly modern even though Koehler began her career in the Edwardian era.

Born on November 18, 1885, Leopoldina Melanie Koehler studied at the Hohenberger art school and the Vienna Arts and Crafts School.  She was a student of Kolomon Moser, an important person in the Viennese art world, and the confident and talented young woman even held an exhibition in London while she was studying.

The Viennese workshop, Wiener Werkstatte, employed Koehler.  Founded by Josef Hoffman and Moser, the workshop had a philosophy that artists should create well-designed and beautiful objects that would be part of everyday life.  Koehler is mostly famous for her fashion illustrations on postcards and in fashion magazines..  These often featured women in large picture hats in delicate floral prints walking their dogs. Many of them can be seen at the collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York.  Her beliefs in women's suffrage and the Reform Dress movement influenced her designs. However, Koehler also illustrated postcards with bright holiday themes, and she also worked on books of fairy tales.

The artist emigrated to Stockholm in 1931 and married in 1932.  She continued working and she even designed costumes for the Swedish Royal Academy.  Koehler-Broman died in 1960.