The faith in a mother’s art

Gitl Braun’s journey from full-time mother to artist is as remarkable as her work.

From The Times
August 4, 2007
After the Camp David accord of 1979, three lifesized sculptures were made of the signatories. One went to Jimmy Carter, and is now in America; the second went to Menachem Begin, and is in Israel; the third was intended for Anwar Sadat of Egypt, but he was assassinated before it was completed. It now sits in the London sitting room of Marton Braun, a collector of Jewish art who bought the piece in Jerusalem a few years ago.


Thrilling Modesty

The Photography of Gitl Braun

David Breuer-Weil,
artist and ex director of Sotheby’s
London, January 2007
Art has a life of its own. For decades now critics have predicted the demise of art but it stubbornly refuses to lie down. Like seeds in a wasteland, artists find the fertile soil from where to imagine new thoughts and create new images.

Gitl Braun is an orthodox Jewish mother from Stamford Hill, who, bravely and uniquely, decided to embark on a course of fine art and graduated a five years course at the Central Saint Martinís School of Art, where I trained as well. For me it was a little frightening to enter that world of artistic posturing and every kind of pretension and perversion, especially after having grown up in North London. I cannot imagine what it was like for Gitl, someone at least twice the age of most of her fellow students. But she remained focused on her goal, and gained considerable respect from her peers due to her integrity and sense of artistic purpose. With more years came greater maturity. Her fellow students noted her regal bearing and entitled her ‘The Lady’ while some of them credit her for being a source of inspiration and say that Gitl was their counterweight to the despair of self-doubt which caused two thirds of their colleagues to give up and leave.


Haredi mother of eight makes her art

Debut with exhibit at London gallery

Jerusalem Post | By Jonny Paul
January, 22, 2007
The inaugural exhibition of sculptor and photographer Gitl Wallerstein-Braun opened on Sunday at Riccardo Giaccherini, a top central London art gallery.

Gitl Wallerstein-Braun is no ordinary artist. As a 56-year-old mother of eight children from the Stamford Hill haredi community, she took up art only 10 years ago.

However, due to a great natural talent and sheer persistence she secured a place at the leading art school in the country, Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Last year she graduated with distinction in Fine Arts and is rapidly rising to become one of the most exciting new artists in recent years.


The female gaze

By Jackie Wullschlager
FT’s chief visual arts critic and author of the acclaimed biography: Chagall, Love and Exile
March 7, 2009
Is women’s art different from men’s? At the 1845 Salon, Baudelaire praised Eugénie Gautier because “her painting has nothing to do with woman’s painting”. A century later, critics applauded Georgia O’Keeffe because “she paints like a man”. Then came the feminist revolution. Annette Messager, born in 1943, came of age in the 1970s in France when “it was so difficult for a woman to be an artist. I wanted to say all the time, ‘I am an artist and I am a woman. I will not do male work.’ “

Isa Genzken, born in Germany in 1948, made a similar decision; so did Gitl Braun, born in 1950 in Jerusalem, Berlinde de Bruyckere (Ghent, 1964), and Rebecca Warren (London, 1965). All are sculptors, all deconstruct the human figure. Messager’s and Genzken’s drooping, mutilated fabric creatures and the puppets reconfigured and manipulated by Messager and Braun subvert the female medium of textiles; de Bruyckere’s elongated Gothic parodies and Warren’s shape-shifting clay grotesqueries pull traditional figuration awry. All have solo shows in London this month; taken together, their work argues that women are evolving a language and materiality that is original, oppositional, malleable, and fascinatingly contrasts with work by men.


No folds barred

The Guardian | By Ellie Levenson
March 13, 2007
How does a deeply religious artist explore sensuality? With fabric, photographs and a pomegranate, reveals Ellie Levenson

In the Hassidic Jewish community of Stamford Hill in north London, artists are as rare as women who work outside the home. So to find a woman artist living here is particularly unusual. But then, by her own admission, Gitl Wallerstein-Braun is “unorthodox orthodox”. Now aged 57, she graduated from London’s Central Saint Martins last year and is already achieving international success with her photographs of her sculptures.


Gitl Braun

GitI Braun takes an Orthodox approach to photography

Jewish Chronicle
January 2007

After almost two decades looking after her children, the Stamford Hill mother-of-eight has taken to new career: photography.

Gitl Braun, 57, tells People: “What I am doing is very rare in our Orthodox community, but I always thought about what I would do after my children were grown up.” Ms Braun began her secular education in her late forties, completing an art foundation course at Central St Martins in Shoreditch, London, and finding “[her] own artistic language as a sculptress and photographer” She is now preparing to exhibit at Riccardo Giaccherini. Newman Strcel, Central London, from this weekend.