1884 – 1956
Born in West Prussian (now Krojanke Germany), Erich Wolfsfeld grew up in Berlin . He studied at the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts 1902-13 with Konrad Böse and mastered etching and drypoint etching techniques under Hans Meyer. In 1906 he studied with Jules Lefebvre at the Académie Julien in Paris and 1908-09 he lived and worked in Rome, learning from German expatriate Otto Greiner. In 1911 won the Kaiser Wilhelm Gold Medal for his picture The Archers and by 1914 Wolfsfeld was exhibiting in Berlin, Leipsig and Vienna and his success was reflected in illustrated articles on his work in Die Kunst and Kust fur Alle.
From 1916 he taught at the teaching institute of the Kunstgewerbemuseum Berlin and in 1920 he was appointed Professor of Painting and Etching . His Berlin students include Ida Köhne , Lotte laser stone, Herbert Häfner, Gottfried Meyer and Arno Mohr .
In 1928 he traveled to Turkey, Morocco, Egypt and Palestine. This trip led to a publication of an account of his travels Impressions of an Oriental Journey; arabic and oriental scenes are among his best-known motifs.
In 1936, under Nazi pressure, Wolfsfeld was dismissed from his teaching position. In 1939 he managed to emigrate to England – initially interned as Enemy Alien – he initialy settled in Sheffield and later moved to London.
He became an associate member of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers in 1956.
1939 Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield.
1943 Royal Academy (and then annually until 1953) – his exhibit in ’43 of a portrait etching from the Roman period so impressed the sculptor Goscomb John that he commissioned a portrait from Wolfsfeld which was later acquired by the National Portrait Gallery.
1953 Derby Museum and Art Gallery solo show.
1977 Belgrave Gallery
Two years after Wolfsfeld’s death, a memorial exhibition of his work was mounted at the Ben Uri Art Gallery in London, and later exhibitions of his work were held at the Jewish Community House in Berlin in 1962 and at Turner House in Penarth in 1978.
His work is represented in the National Portrait Gallery, Victoria & Albert Museum, Imperial War Museum, Ferens Art Gallery in Hull, Germanisches National Museum in Nuremburg, Albertina in Vienna, Gambinetto Nazionale della Stampe in Rome, Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York, Israel Museum in Jerusalem amongst others.