1856 – 1924 / German symbolist & impressionist painter
Dora Hitz’s love of freedom took her – for a women of her era – a very long way. Born not far from Nuremberg, she would later enjoy considerable success in France and on the international exhibition circuit. During her early years, Dora’s parents struggled to finance their talented daughter’s artistic education. At the age of just 13, she began attending a women’s art school in Munich. She subsequently went on to study at the Munich Academy. It was there that she made the acquaintance of Elisabeth zu Wied, who would later become Queen of Romania and who was at the time an author working under the pseudonym of Carmen Sylva. Elisabeth introduced Dora to the Romanian royal court, and she subsequently worked as a court artist creating wall frescoes, book ornamentation and oil paintings until 1882.
Despite her privileged and secure post as a court artist, in 1880 Dora Hitz decided to move to Paris where she adopted a bohemian lifestyle for the next decade. She quickly gained a reputation as an artist in Paris and her works were shown in international exhibitions. She was a member of several prominent artists’ associations in France, Belgium and Germany – among them the Société Nationale des Beaux Arts Paris, the Société des Artistes Français, the Association du Champs de Mars, the Novembergruppe and the Berliner Lokal-Verein der Deutschen Kunstgenossenschaft.
Dora Hitz’s early works were in the symbolist manner, though she went on to adopt the impressionist style. She created numerous portraits of women, girls and mothers. In Germany, where she lived from 1891 onwards, Hitz gained access to upper-middle class circles where she enjoyed great popularity as a portrait painter.
In 1894 Hitz founded a women’s art school in Berlin. As a member of the Verein der Berliner Künstlerinnen (VdBK), the Vereinigung der XI, the Deutscher Künstlerbund and co-founder of the Berliner Secession, Dora Hitz was unquestionably well connected on the Berlin art scene. Yet despite her large circle of acquaintances, as she grew older she became increasingly isolated. Plagued by illness and financial woes, Dora Hitz died in Berlin in 1924.