Eugen Spiro

1874 Breslau –  1972 New York

1874 Eugen Spiro is born the son of the synagogue cantor Abraham Baer Spiro.

1892 to 1894 he studies painting at the Academy for Art and Crafts in Breslau (today Wrocław in Poland).

1894 He moves to the Academy of Visual Arts in Munich.

1895 Spiro becomes one of the first students personally selected by Franz Stuck.

1897 He is accepted into Stuck’s master class and is given his own studio in the Villa Stuck.

until 1933, Spiro is a member of the Munich Secession and helps to organise numerous exhibitions in the Munich Glass Palace.

1906 Spiro also joins the Berlin Secession. He focuses on portrait painting.

1906 He moves to Paris, where he makes contact with the circle of artists at the Café du Dome. He becomes friends with Hans Purrmann, and teaches at the Académie moderne and the Académie des Beaux Arts. He participates in exhibitions in the Salon des Tuileries.

1914 Spiro moves back to Berlin, where he teaches portrait painting in his own studio.

1915 He is elected a member of the committee of the Berlin Secession. Until 1931, he regularly participates in the large-scale Berlin art exhibitions.

until 1935, Eugen Spiro undertakes many trips to northern Italy, Paris, the south of France, Spain and New York. He travels to Lake Constance to visit his friend Hans Purrmann and is often on the island of Hiddensee. He has contact with Gerhart Hauptmann. He enjoys the highpoint of his career in the Berlin of the golden twenties.

1933 He gives up all his official positions because of anti-Semitism.

until 1935 Spiro only participates in exhibitions abroad.

October 1935 He emigrates to Paris.

1936 He takes up residence in Sanary-sur-Mer, a meeting point for emigrant intellectuals.

1936 He becomes a co-founder of the “Union des artistes libres” (“Union of free artists”), an association of German-speaking emigrant artists, and is its chairman from 1938 to 1939. Its members include Max Beckmann, George Grosz, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Oskar Kokoschka, B. Krauskopf, Anton Räderscheidt and G. H. Wollheim.

1938 Together with Paul Westheim, a German writer on art, he organises a large-scale exhibition of proscribed artists in Paris. It is his direct answer to the Nazi propaganda exhibition of “degenerate art” in Munich in 1937.

1940 After the Germans invade France, Spiro is placed on the list of artists to be arrested. He flees via Biarritz to Marseille. It is only thanks to the support and intervention of Thomas Mann, who appeals directly to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, that Spiro and his family are given exit visas to enable them to leave for the USA.

1941 Spiro takes up residence in New York, where he dies in 1972. He paints numerous portraits of prominent European emigrants.