Dada Portrait of Berenice Abbott by Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

Dada Portrait of Berenice Abbott
Gouache, metallic paint, and tinted lacquer with varnish, metal foil, celluloid, fiberglass, glass beads, metal objects, cut-and-pasted painted paper, gesso, and cloth on paperboard
The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Bernice Abbot was a lifelong friend of the Baroness. They met in New York in 1919 and Abbott was taken with the Baroness’s performance transgressions. The portrait is rich with references to Abbott’s appearance and life and captures the close relationship they shared. The Baroness’s dog is pictured at the bottom of the canvas, symbolic of the animal’s fondness for Abbott.

Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven 1874-1927


Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven
Dada, Performance Art, Readymade and The Found Object, Modern Photography, Proto-Feminist Artists
Born: 12 July 1874, Swinemunde, Germany
Nationality: German-American
Died: 14 December 1927, Paris, France

The Baroness, as Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven was known, was a living legend in the bohemian enclave of Greenwich Village, New York in the years before and after the First World War. She was a catalyst and provocateur of the burgeoning Dada movement in New York, and the Baroness obliterated the conventional boundaries and norms of woman hood and femininity whilst upending the notions of what was considered to be art