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Franz Emanuel Hecht  German artist

Hecht Franz Emanuel

Franz Emanuel Hecht was a German artist born in 1877 and died in 1964. He was a German expressionist. Graphic artist Franz Hecht was born into a Jewish family in Brunswick, Germany on 5 April 1877 and trained in Munich and Paris. His graphic work was commissioned in the second and third editions of the prestigious 'Der Ganymed-Mappe' ('The Ganymed Portfolio'), a collection of independent engravings by artists including Max Beckmann, Wassily Kandinsky and Lovis Corinth, published in Munich in 1922 and 1923. Hecht was also immersed in Munich’s lively music scene and known equally for his regular performances as a trained opera singer and actor at the popular cabaret club, Die Elf Scharfrichter, where he performed under the name Emanuel Franz. In 1934, three of his watercolours were included in the 'Exhibition of German-Jewish Artists' Work: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture' organised at the Parsons Gallery, London by German-Jewish émigré dealer, Charles Brunswick, which included in total 221 artworks by 86 artists suffering persecution under the Nazi regime.

Following the increasing deportation of Jews from Germany, Hecht sought support from Lord Ivor Spencer-Churchill, a known patron of the arts and cousin of Sir Winston Churchill, and fled to England with his wife, Helene (née Würzburger), a pianist, in 1939. Little is known about Hecht’s life and work after coming to England including the place and date of his death. Several sources, including the Getty Research Institute, give 1964 as his date of death, but accounts of Helene’s death indicate that she was already widowed when she died in 1956, and it is possible that his death was in fact 1946, accounting for the lack of information on his later life. Helen died in Devon, England but Biographisches Gedenkbuch der Münchner Juden, 1933–1945, suggests that Franz returned to Munich and it seems more likely that he died in Germany. In the UK, his work is held in the UK in the Ben Uri Collection and the British Museum and five of his prints were posthumously included in Ben Uri’s picture shows in 1970, 1971, 1976, 1985, and 1988. (From benuricollection.org.uk)