Elisabeth Faulhaber was born in south west Germany in 1890.
By the time she was admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Doesen near Leipzig in 1914, she had worked in a factory, been a chambermaid and a waitress, and had had a child out of wedlock. She was an inmate of the hospital for six years, dying of tuberculosis in 1921, at the age of 31.
She wrote, she drew and -
A handful of her drawings survive, and six small notebooks. These now form part of the Prinzhorn Collection, Heidelberg.
The notebooks show Elisabeth Faulhaber to have been intelligent and questioning. She was also often muddled to an extreme. Her work is imbued with sensibility. The notebooks’ varied subject matter and range of graphic invention show a wonderful artistic talent.
Sarah Jacobs’ rendition of the notebooks contains more than 500 drawings by Faulhaber and a freely translated extract of part of the texts but, although the rendition contains one page for every page of the notebooks, it is not a facsimile. Instead, black and white photographs of the drawings have been reversed, and then partly erased so that what is presented is both faithful to the original, and insistently the opposite.
Freely translated extracts from the Faulhaber’s texts have also been included, together with a selection of the poems and songs which Faulhaber copied into her notebooks. These have been left in the original German.
The rendition has been produced in association with Sammlung Prinzhorn, Heidelberg, and contains a foreword by Thomas Roeske.
Drawn from the Inventory is available from bookartbookshop, London, from Sammlung Prinzhorn, and from good bookstores everywhere.
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