GERDA FRÖMEL 1931-1975
Gerda was born in Czechoslovakia in 1931, the daughter of German parents; her family returned to Germany after the war and she studied sculpture at the Arts Schools in Stuttgart, Darmstadt and Munich from 1948-1952. In 1956 she came to Ireland and the following year exhibited in the Irish Exhibition of Living Art, an association which continued till 1975. She exhibited at the Independent Artists Exhibition 1962 and 1963, had a solo show at The Dawson Gallery in 1964, and a joint show with Michael Scott at The Dawson Gallery in 1967. She was awarded the Waterford Glass Company Award at the 1970 Oireachtas Art Exhibition and that same year had another solo show at The Dawson Gallery. She took several commissions including the well-known piece for P.J.Carroll and Son, Dundalk, and also worked in stained glass for churches in Ireland and Germany.
These days her work is little known since it has not been seen since a retrospective at the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, Dublin the year after her untimely death in 1975. It is rarely offered at auction. But this merely reflects the high regard in which her work is held by those collectors fortunate enough to have acquired some. As a busy young mother she had other things to do than produce art in any quantity. And she was, in Brian Fallon’s words... “ a fastidious craftswoman, devoted to finish and technical perfection.” Fallon saw ‘the poetic gentleness and inward quality’ of Reimenschneider and Viet Stoss as leaving their mark on Fromel’s work. Contemporary influences were Giacometti, Brancusi and Barbara Hepworth. Fallon sees her style as always refined and reserved, not shy of feeling, and at times carrying real emotional intensity.
Thirty years after her death, we can only imagine where she would have taken her work by now. But time has not dated what we see today. The drawings in this show demonstrate her carver’s approach to sculpture, yet the bronzes would claim her as a modeller. Her feminine touch shines through these works and this is a gentleness that suggests her work would be a welcome source of calm in today’s rapid pace of life.
See more drawings at The Norman Gallery >