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Artists Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

German-American Sculptor, Photographer, Poet, and Performance Artist

Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven Photo

Born: July 12, 1874 - Swinemunde, Germany (now Świnoujście, Poland)

Died: December 14, 1927 - Paris, France

"Every artist is crazy with respect to ordinary life."

Synopsis

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, the Baroness as she was known, became a living legend in the bohemian enclave of New York City's Greenwich Village in the years before and after World War I. A provocateur and essential catalyst for New York's burgeoning Dada movement, the Baroness obliterated the boundaries of conventional norms of womanhood and femininity and upended notions of what was considered art.

Along with the infamous French artist Marcel Duchamp, she pioneered the use of the readymade, and she stretched and manipulated the English language to create avant-garde poetry. Her penchant for cross-dressing and incorporating found objects into her wardrobe made going out in public a daily Dada performance. The Baroness was a radical proto-feminist who critiqued patriarchal norms but was largely overshadowed by her male colleagues. Her daringness was largely ascribed to female eccentricity, and she became a footnote in the annals of New York Dada. It has only been recently that her contributions to the avant-garde have been recognized for their innovativeness.

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