Portrait of Charlotte Lichtblau

by Julia Logothetis, 1982 

Born in Vienna in 1925, Charlotte Lichtblau came to the United States in 1940 with her parents and sister.  She lived and worked in New York City from 1943 until her death in 2012.

 

After emigrating to America, she returned repeatedly to Austria, primarily to Vienna and to her childhood summer home in Altaussee, in Austria’s Salzkammergut region.

 

For six decades, Lichtblau exhibited her works in galleries, museums, universities, and churches in New York City and throughout the United States. She had two major career retrospective exhibitions in Austria, one at the Palais Palffy in Vienna (1994) and the second in the Pfarrheim Arts Center in Bad Aussee, near Altaussee (2002). 

For the artist, the discipline of painting was a way of exploring, expressing and communicating the passion of human existence.  A significant portion of her work is focused on biblical themes, most notably the Passion of Christ.  Here, the visual transformation into imagery addresses familiar religious themes internally and directly.  While her paintings of religious subjects are boldly contemporary, they honor both the history of ecclesiastical imagery and the artistic traditions of German Expressionist painting.

 

A career retrospective in 2000 led to the publication of Origin and Transformation: Life and Art of the Painter Charlotte Lichtblau by Albert Lichtblau (no relation to the artist) and Bruce Payne.  Many of her works were published in Fr. Patrick Ryan’s books When I Survey The Wondrous Cross: Scriptural Reflections for Lent (1989) and The Coming of Our God: Scriptural Reflections for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany (1999).  For more than four years, she had drawings published weekly in the Jesuit publication America Magazine. 

 

Lichtblau was an art critic as well, writing for The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Herald Tribune, Arts Magazine, and other publications.  Her collected reviews are archived at the Smithsonian Institution. 

 

Charlotte Lichtblau’s work is represented in museums and private collections across the United States and Europe.  

©2019 by Hayden Smith