Johanna Ey

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Portrait of Mother Ey by Hugo Erfurth (1930)

Johanna Ey , b. Stocken, known as Mutter Ey (born March 4, 1864 in Wickrath (today a district of Mönchengladbach), † August 27, 1947 in Düsseldorf ), was an important gallery owner and promoter of modern painting during the 1920s .

Live and act


Mother Ey's bakery shop, Ratinger Straße 45
Ratinger Strasse around 1920 with a view to the west. The first house on the left is number 45; Photo Julius Söhn

Johanna Ey came from a humble background. When she was nineteen she came to Düsseldorf. She was married to the master brewer Robert Ey and had twelve children, eight of whom died young. After their marriage was divorced, she opened a bakery shop near the Düsseldorf Art Academy on Ratinger Straße 45 in 1907 and a coffee shop in 1910, which developed into a meeting place for actors, journalists, musicians and especially painters.

Ey was known for giving credit to artists and students. In 1927 she visited the Spanish poet and painter Jacobo Sureda (1901-1935) on his home island Mallorca . She stayed there for some time and returned to the island in 1933.

Young art - Mrs. Ey

During the First World War , Johanna Ey opened a gallery at Alleestraße 11 (now Hindenburgwall, today Heinrich-Heine-Allee ), where she initially exhibited pictures from the Düsseldorf Academy of Painting . After the war, the gallery under the programmatic name Junge Kunst - Frau Ey became the focus of the artist group Das Junge Rheinland . Ey did not choose this art for theoretical or economic considerations, but because she was personally friends with the artists. In the summer of 1920, three issues of the magazine Das Ey, About New Painting appeared with articles and woodcuts by Otto Pankok and Gert Wollheim .

Portrait of the art dealer Johanna Ey
Otto Dix , 1924
Oil on canvas
Art collection NRW, Düsseldorf

Link to the picture
(please note copyrights )

Immortalized in portraits and group pictures by numerous painters, among them Otto Dix , Johanna Ey became famous as the most painted woman in Germany . Various verses and poems were also written in this context that describe Eys' relationship to the young and rebellious artists. For example, Max Ernst wrote in 1929 on her 65th birthday from Paris: "big ey we praise you, ey we praise your strength, the rhineland leans in front of you and likes to buy your works cheaply!"

In the course of the global economic crisis that began in 1929 , which also brought Galerie Ey into a financial crisis, the city of Düsseldorf made rooms available to Johanna Ey free of charge.

With the seizure of the Nazis and due to the direct circuit practically all the painting from the vicinity Johanna Eys at a stroke than were considered " degenerate "; most of them were also political opponents of National Socialism and some were active in the resistance . As a result, numerous pictures from the store and collection of Galerie Ey were confiscated and destroyed in 1933. The gallery owner had to give up the new space and, like her artists, endure numerous reprisals from the new rulers. In April 1934 Johanna Ey gave up her gallery. In 1939 she wrote in a letter: "I am the red rag for the officials of the city of Düsseldorf, because soon they will all piss their pants when my name is mentioned".

Mother ey

Johanna Ey with Josef Haubrich and Museum Director Klug in Cologne

After the end of National Socialism in May 1945, Johanna Ey was once again highly regarded in Düsseldorf in the last two years of her life. The nickname " Mother Ey" became established , which was already above the article with which Max Osborn introduced the catalog of the Ey Düsseldorf collection, which was published by Frau Ey around 1930 . In July 1947, Johanna Ey reopened her art center. At the event were Otto Pankok , Robert Pudlich , Werner Heuser with daughter Ursula present and wife Mira. In addition to a permanent art exhibition and a small artist café, the artists' rooms also housed the Kom (m) ödchen stage for writers, painters and actors . However, "Mutter Ey GmbH", founded in Düsseldorf in 1946, was unable to follow up on its old successes.

Johanna Ey's grave of honor is located in the Düsseldorf North Cemetery . The city of Düsseldorf named a street in the old town after her in 1966, and in October 2017 a square in the Andreas Quarter, also in the old town.

Unveiling of the sign "Mutter-Ey-Platz" in 2017 by the Mayor of Düsseldorf Thomas Geisel (3rd from left)

One of the most recent monuments to Mother Ey was designed by the artist Bert Gerresheim and inaugurated in September 2017. It is located on a newly created “Mutter-Ey-Platz” on Neubrückstrasse on the edge of the Andreas Quarter, opposite the entrance to the underground car park of the North Rhine-Westphalia Art Collection . The Andreas-Quartier ( former district and regional court on Mühlenstraße) opened in October 2017 houses a Mutter-Ey-Café on Neubrückstraße at “Mutter-Ey-Platz” with the 2 × 3 meter large, luminous slogan “The mother EY lives! ”and the“ Mother Ey ”illuminated image by the artist HA Schult, also created in 2017 as a homage .

In addition to sculptures in Düsseldorf, the city of Wickrath also honored her in 1989 with a sculpture made by Peter Rübsam from Bentheim sandstone .

The Heimatverein Düsseldorfer Weiter awards a "Johanna-Ey-Medal" to courageous fellow citizens.

Artists associated with the "Junge Kunst - Frau Ey" gallery (selection)

Jankel Adler , Mathias Barz , Paul Bindel , Theo Champion , Adolf Dell , Otto Dix , Max Ernst , Fritz Feigler , Bruno Goller , Adolf de Haer , Hein Heckroth , Werner Heuser , Baptist Hermann Hundt , Ernst Gottschalk , Peter Janssen , Arthur Kaufmann , Curt Lahs , Julo Levin , Ulrich Leman , Franz Monjau , Otto Pankok , Robert Pudlich , Hans Rilke , Jupp Rübsam , Jean Paul Schmitz , Karl Schwesig , Bernhard Sopher , Jacobo Sureda , Adalbert Trillhaase , Adolf Uzarski , Gert Heinrich Wollheim .

Media coverage

On December 2, 2018, an episode of the NDR's Lieb & Teuer program was broadcast, moderated by Janin Ullmann and filmed in the Kupferstichkabinett of the Hamburger Kunsthalle . In it, two sculptures were discussed with the art historian Stefan Schwarzl, which depict Johanna Ey and were created by Hermann Hundt and Zoltan Székessy .


Opera / film / theater

  • Ratko Delorko (composition) and Kai Metzger (libretto): Die Ey. Opera, world premiere in Düsseldorf 1991.
  • Peter Kern : Johanna's passions. Feature film, 2000.
  • Theater FLIN with the Aurora-Theater Düsseldorf: stage free for mother Ey , 2007 (on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of her death)

Web links

Commons : Johanna Ey  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Mutter Ey , article from November 6, 1958 in the portal , accessed on November 26, 2015
  2. ^ Johanna Ey , website in the portal (Stadtmuseum Landeshauptstadt Düsseldorf), accessed on March 2, 2014.
  3. In the beginning there was Ey. Article from March 1, 2014 in the portal , accessed on March 2, 2014.
  4. Jacobo Sureda, painter, poet, Majorca / Spain, with German gallery owner Johanna Ey in Palma, April 1927 published in cross section 12/1928
  5. ^ Das Ey: sheet about new painting, Düsseldorf , digital collection, University and State Library Düsseldorf
  6. ^ Lothar Fischer: Max Ernst . Rowohlt, Reinbek 1969, ISBN 3-499-50151-1 , p. 76
  7. ^ Photographer Hans Berben: Opening of the new art center by Johanna Ey . Johanna Ey (center), front right is the artist Otto Pankok, on the left with glasses the painter and stage designer Robert Pudlich, behind Ey the academy director Werner Heuser. (Photo ZMB) , from, accessed on April 29, 2017
  8. More pictures than baked goods . In: Der Spiegel . No. 28 , 1947, pp. 21 ( online - 12 July 1947 ). Quote: “It was done, but it also took 1 1/2 year to clear away 1000 cbm of rubble in the rubble old town of Düsseldorf and, almost unnoticed, to build the bright, beautiful rooms in which Mother Ey and her pictures and a lot more have now moved in. ... "
  9. ^ Henrike Schulte: 60th anniversary of Johanna Ey's death at Remmert and Barth, Düsseldorf: dedicated to Ey . 2007 on artnet
  10. ^ Online article Neue Rhein Zeitung of October 26, 2017 [1]
  11. Online article Rheinische Post from October 11, 2017 [2]
  12. ^ Sandra Labs: Johanna Ey and the avant-garde of the Düsseldorf art scene . Grin, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-656-18246-7 (Master's thesis in art history from Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf).
  13. Video sculptures with images of Johanna Ey on