My wife brandishes circle and line

Anne Wagner

  • Sophie Taeuber-Arp and the Avant Garde: A Biography by Roswitha Mair, translated by Damion Searls
    Chicago, 222 pp, £41.50, September, ISBN 978 0 226 31121 0

The Swiss artist Sophie Taeuber grew up without a father. Carl Emil Taeuber, a pharmacist, succumbed to tuberculosis in 1891, two years after her birth. Her mother, another Sophie, never remarried. Instead she moved back to Trogen, her birthplace, and designed a new house for her young family; supervising its construction, planting and tending its garden, and looking after a series of paying guests. She taught her two daughters to sew, knit, crochet, embroider, quilt and make lace. In her spare time, such as it was, she learned photography, including processing and printing. Then, in 1906, she fell ill. Two years later she was dead.

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