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Mina Kocherthaler

Artist 7 of 12

Kocherthaler, Mina, 1921–1996: “Old Walls By The Sea,” between 1960 and 1969, Leo Baeck Institute Art and Objects Collection, 2005.101.

Mina Kocherthaler (1921–1996)


Kocherthaler predominantly worked in acrylic, watercolors, and casein. Her artworks feature a realistic style which often included symbolic motifs. This painting, shown at the Olympics in Mexico in 1968, depicts walls in an old, run-down building on the seashore. Each section is marred: the first has two areas of exposed wood, the second has cracks from top to bottom, and the third has a hole with a view of the sky. Art critics discerned a certain sense of loss and uprooting within the overall composition and interpreted it as metaphor for Kocherthaler’s life: dark patches and bare wood on the first wall representing her youth in Munich; cracks and fractures on the second wall symbolizing her survival in war-time London; and the third wall signifying her life in New York.

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Philo-Atlas: Handbuch für die jüdische Auswanderung (Philo-Atlas: Manual for Jewish Emigration), Berlin: Philo GmbH, 1938.


Mina Kocherthaler was born in Munich, Bavaria in 1921. She escaped Nazi Germany to London on a Kindertransport, which was an effort to save Jewish children from Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia by sending them unaccompanied to Great Britain from December 1938 to September 1939. She later immigrated to the United States, settling in New York, where she attended art courses at the National Academy School of Fine Arts. She became a student of Ralph Fabri, a Hungarian-born artist teaching in New York since the late 1920s. Kocherthaler received various awards, including the Lorillard Wolfe Art Club’s Katherine A. Lovell Memorial Award. Her works were exhibited in Mexico and the US, including in an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1966.