Anita Rée was a leading artist in Weimar-period Hamburg. No avant-gardist, this devotee of Paul Cézanne, Paula Modersohn-Becker, and the Italian Renaissance was ambivalent about Picasso and dismissive of abstract art. Her portraits, the largest part of her oeuvre, are close in spirit to Neue Sachlichkeit, but more broadly her art was in accord with efforts to reconcile tradition and modernity internationally, from Diego Rivera to Duncan Grant to the Novecento Italiano. Born in 1885 to a Jewish father and a Venezuelan Catholic mother, though raised a Protestant, Rée seems always to have been something of an exotic among the local bourgeoisie, to which she nonetheless belonged. She was drawn particularly to the company of writers and intellectuals, among them the art historians Aby Warburg and Carl Einstein and the poet Richard Dehmel. An inveterate traveler, she visited Paris before
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