GROSS-BETTELHEIM, Jolan

American (1900 – 1972)

High Level Bridge with Cuyahoga River, ca 1940

Lithograph on wove paper, full margins with deckled edges. Same print is also titled “Twin Bridges”.
Signed in pencil.
11 5/16 x 15 5/8 in.; 28.7 x 39.7 cm.


Selected as Collector’s Choice at the London Original Print Fair by Digby Warde-Aldam, a freelance journalist and writer who writes the Art Section for The Week Magazine. “Jolan Gross-Bettelheim, High Level Bridge With Cuyahoga River, c.1940, Catherine Burns : I’ve spent quite a lot of time travelling between the East Coast and Midwest of the USA, but I doubt I’ll ever be anything but awestruck at the sight of the region’s extraordinary industrial architecture. Though much of it is now in an advanced state of decay, the factories, bridges and leviathan grain silos that dot the landscape stand as towering, utilitarian monuments to American dynamism and past economic might. Jolan Gross-Bettelheim, a Hungarian emigrant who arrived in Ohio in the 1920s, envisions one of the colossal railway bridges crossing the Cuyahoga river as a structure pregnant with energy, so vast that it defies the confines of the image; the river below seems puny by comparison. Quite how she felt about it is ambiguous: is the light illuminating the cantilevers the glow of progress or the glimmer of hellfire?”


The Hungarian-born Gross-Bettelheim lived in the U.S. from 1925-1956. She studied painting at the Budapest School of Fine Art, the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna, the Akademie der Bildenden Künst in Berlin, and the Académie de Grande Chaumière in Paris from 1922-24. In 1925 she married a Hungarian-born doctor, Frigyes Bettelheim and settled in Cleveland, relocating to New York City in 1938. Her work was widely exhibited in the U.S. throughout the 1930s and 40s. She returned to Hungary after 1956 where she died in 1972. Her bold lithographs reflect the early modernist influences of German Expressionism, Constructivism, and Cubism.