Current exhibition

Else Meidner. Melancholia

Cabinet Exhibition / 05/24/2024 - 03/02/2025

In the “Art in Exile” room in the Jewish Museum’s permanent exhibition, we present an exhibition of drawn portraits by the artist Else Meidner (1901–1987).

Portraits and self-portraits constitute a large part of painter and illustrator Else Meidner’s oeuvre. In many of these works, the artist uses gestures to subtly heighten the intensity of expression. In particular, the gesture of melancholy — with subjects resting their heads in their hands — carries throughout her entire body of work. The portraits oscillate between meditative contemplation, resignation, and grief.

Else Meidner

Else Meidner, née Meyer, was encouraged by Käthe Kollwitz and Max Slevogt to pursue an artistic career. For a long time, she remained in the shadow of her famous husband, the Expressionist Ludwig Meidner. She was his student and later his wife and companion during their period of exile in London, where the artist couple lived in modest circumstances. Unlike her husband, who returned to Germany in 1953 and once again found recognition as an artist, she refused to move back permanently.

Else Meidner’s artistic work focuses on portraits and self-portraits, as well as on landscapes and still lifes. In the mid-1960s, she gave up painting for health reasons, but also out of discouragement.

The showcase exhibition explores the subtle gestures in Else Meidner’s psychologically intense portraits. Through March 2025, in three consecutive hangings, we will be showing a total of 57 large-format haunting portrait drawings by the artist.

The exhibition was curated by Erik Riedel of the Jewish Museum Frankfurt’s Ludwig Meidner Archive, which manages Else Meidner’s artistic estate of approximately 1,300 works.


We’re pleased to open the “Else Meidner. Melancholia” cabinet exhibition on May 23 at 7 p.m. with a short lecture on the artist by Erik Riedel, the exhibition’s curator. This is followed by a reading with actress Anja Becker from Else Meidner’s autobiographical texts and a guided tour through the exhibition of the artist’s haunting portraits, which hover between contemplation and sadness.

In our online collection you will find numerous other digitized works by Else Meidner.

Screenshot from the Jewish Museum's online collection of works by Else Meidner

Event location:
Jewish Museum Frankfurt

Opened today: 10:00 – 17:00

  • Museum ticket (permanent exhibition Jewish Museum+Judengasse) normal/reduced
    12€ / 6 €
  • Kombiticket (temporary exhibition+ museum ticket) normal/reduced
    14€ / 7€
  • Temporary Exhibition
  • Family Card
  • Frankfurt Pass/Kulturpass
  • Kids under 18
  • Every last Saturday of the month ("Satourday")
  • Entrance to the building (Life Deli/museum shop/library)

  • Reduced entry for:

  • Students / Trainees (from 18 years)

  • People with disabilities from 50 % (1 accompanying person free)

  • People doing military or alternative civilian service / unemployed

  • Owners of the Frankfurt Card


  • Free entry for:

  • Members of the Society of our Friends and Patrons association

  • Birthday children of all ages

  • Children and teenagers up to 17 years

  • Students of the Goethe University / FH / HfMDK

  • Apprentices from Frankfurt

  • Refugees

  • Holders of Museumsufer-Card or Museumsufer-Ticket

  • Members of ICOM or Museumsbund

Link to location Link to location

Bertha-Pappenheim-Platz 1, 60311 Frankfurt am Main

Plane route