Marlow Moss


Marlow Moss: Lost Works

Moss and Nijhoff at Gauciel
Marlow Moss and Netty Nijhoff
at Gauciel c. 1937

There were two major losses of her works, one during her lifetime in World War 2, the other at some point following the Arnhem exhibition of 1994-95.


Moss and her partner, Nettie Nijhoff, having spent the previous decade in Paris, bought Château d'Evreux in Normandy, described by Dr. Howarth (LH),

Moss and Nijhoff filled the walls with their collection of paintings; Moss's own, as well as works by Mondrian, Gorin and Van Doesburg … The house was situated in a walled compound or garden, edged with small buildings to accomodate guests. Stefan Nijhoff [Nettie's son] lived there when he wasn't in Paris with Man Ray … According to [the actor Albert Mol, a frequent visitor], the guest residents of the Château d'Evreux were welcomed to the main house, where only Moss, Nijhoff and sometimes Martinus Nijhoff dwelled, at 11.30 for lunch, and at 5.30 for an aperitif followed by dinner. At midnight they were all to leave for their beds, taking with them breakfast for the next morning.

When the war broke out, Moss and Nijhoff moved to the latter's house, Antoinette near Biggekerke, Holland, expecting to return within months, but when Germany invaded Holland in 1940, Moss (being partly Jewish) fled, alone, to London.

The French air force had requisitioned the chateau in spring 1940 and in 1944 it was destroyed in a bombing raid. Howorth states,

All of Moss's works, apart from the few paintings that were already in collections, or stored elsewhere were lost. At the age of 55, she had barely a thing to show for her career as an artist.
[and in a footnote]
Approximately 28 works from before 1940 are documented … although it is likely there were many more and only 18 of these are known, or likely, to still exist.

I'll check the lists and try to come up with a display of all the pre-1940 works for which images are available.

Arnhem ex.
Arnhem exhibition 1994-95

The Gimpel exhibition works

One of the three papers in Marlow Moss, A Forgotten Maverick (FM) is The Construction of a New Reality by Ankie de Jongh-Vermeulen in which she describes part of her research for an earlier work. She visited the Moss archive (in Dutch ownership) and was told of a collection of Moss's works in Switzerland. The details of that section are summarised here in bullet form.

  • The Gimpel and Hanover Galerie in Zurich, run by Anne Rotzler, held a large exhibition of Moss's work in 1973-4. After she died, Willy Rotzler (a writer on art) was left in charge of the residual works of art, including those by Moss.
  • Ankie de Jongh-Vermeulen describes a visit to Willy Rotzler's Switzerland home in 1993, where she saw "three paintings, one sculpture and one drawing by Marlow Moss". (There is an editorial note stating that ownership of the works was not established.) The works are identified in a footnote, via the Gimpel catalogue as PR8, PR20, PR54, SC17 (the works on paper shown at Gimpel were not listed in the catalogue).
  • Rotzler also showed works stored at the Mobël Transport AG Depot in Zurich, described as "nine … paintings, three reliefs, six sculptures (two made of wood and one of plastic) and four drawings … Many works had been soiled and neglected". See below for the identification
  • Not long after the Switzerland viewing, many of these works were shown at the 1994-5 Arnhem exhibition, then returned to Switzerland.
  • Willy Rotzler died in 1994 and Mobël Transport would have disposed of all its relevant records after 10 years.
  • When enquiries were made in 2016 (presumably in preparation for the 2017 Zurich exhibition) there was no trace of the works.

The listing of the works in storage is quite convoluted.

  • Seven Mobël Transport paintings were shown at Arnhem - PR43, PR49, PR53, PR55, PR69, PR76, PR74
  • Two Mobël paintings, PR30 and PR40, were not shown at Gimpel, Zurich in 1973-74 but at the Hanover Gallery, London. It is not clear yet whether these were shown at Arnhem.
  • Two of the three reliefs at Mobël are in Gimpel PR31 and PR30?. and White Black and Yellow (1949) (PR47) was not exhibited.
  • The six sculptures are in the Gimpel catalogue, SC5 and SC20 (both wood and plastic), SC11, SC9 and SC14.
  • There were four large drawings at Mobël and one at Rotzler's home, these are not specified.
  • Four photographs of reliefs are also mentioned.

I'll check the translation of Gimpel to Catalogue numbers and then put up a page of the lost works.

LH (vol.1 pp. 79-83), FM (p. 51)

Page created 01-Nov-2017 | Page updated 26-Apr-2020