Important Dates

Chronology of the life of an artist who turned challenges to a quest for the essence of being, constantly sketching, painting, and producing works in various materials. She was an artist, published books, did stage design, produced book covers, worked with TV, taught, and was awarded a series of awards for her artistic output.

The life of Lenke




Lenke Rothman was born in Kiskunfélegyháza, Hungary, becoming the eldest of eight siblings.


12 years old, she starts as an apprentice in her mother's hairdressing salon, enjoying drawing hairstyles.


The disaster of World War II affects the family. The mother and children are deported to Auschwitz, the father to Austria. Only Lenke and the eldest of her brothers survive. Enormously weak she is released in April 1945 in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, later arriving in Sweden on 4 July with a Red Cross transport. Brother Alexander is liberated in the Buchenwald concentration camp and comes to Sweden in 1947 after treatment in Switzerland.


Lenke repeatedly stays in hospitals due to severe tuberculosis. She draws and paints, participating in 1951 as the youngest participant in the Artists' House's (Sw. “Konstnärshusets”) exhibition “Foreign Artists in Sweden”. The same year she starts as a student at the Konstfack art school in Stockholm and also gets to know the future Nobel laureate Nelly Sachs, to whom she becomes a close friend. The author Sivar Arnér lives in the same house as Nelly, and they often meet.


Lenke becomes a Swedish citizen, marries Herman Abrahamsson. Participates in the exhibition Young Illustrators at the National Museum.


Studies at the Accademia di Belle Arte in Ravenna, Italy, to learn the techniques of the Byzantine mosaic. Participates in the exhibition Young Artists in Rome.


Teaches in mosaic, paints with a group of children in Bagarmossen where she lives. Divorce from Herman Abrahamsson.


Marriage with Sivar Arnér.


First solo exhibition with curator Majalisa Bringert at Sturegalleriet, Stockholm. Travel to Amsterdam and Delft in Holland and Sæby in Denmark, where Lenke sits by the water, paints and draws seaweed and grass.

Separate exhibition at the Gallery Contemporary Art (Sw. “Nutida konst”) in Uppsala.


Exhibition at Gallery-54 in Gothenburg, later also 1964, 1973


Exhibition at Gröna Paletten, Stockholm, later also 1965, 1991.


Separate exhibition at Oxelösund City Hall at its inauguration. Travel to Austria visiting her father's grave, and Split in Yugoslavia where Lenke paints the “stone faces” of strange stones she finds on the beach.


The son Elias is born.


Exhibition at Galleri Burén, Stockholm, later also in 1970 and 1974.


Exhibition at gallery Anders Tornberg, Lund, later also in 1979.


Retrospective exhibition at the Academy of Fine Arts, Stockholm, with works curated by Carlo Derkert. Elected as a member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts.


Exhibition at Galerie Aronowitsch, later also in 1980, 1984 and 1991.


Makes the traveling exhibition “Together with Elias” for Riksutställningar, which was shown in Scandinavia until 1989. Interviewed by Olle Eriksson for Swedish television, which lead to the program “A box full of collected things”.


The Swedish television channel TV1 makes an artist portrait of Lenke. Scenography for August Strindberg's Easter on Dramaten's big stage, Stockholm. Publishes the book Quality of Life at the Kalejdoskop publishing house.


Receives a scholarship for a one-year stay in New York in the Swedish studio at PS1 in Long Island City. Exhibition at Elise Meyer Inc Gallery West Broadway. TV recordings in New York, including a 50-minute conversation between Lenke and Andy Warhol.


Publishes together with the photographer Tana Ross the book OK OK NO NEW YORK, printed by the Kalejdoskop publishing house, Åhus. Invited as the first Swedish artist to stay and work at The Djerassi Foundation, Woodside, California.


Separate exhibition “The Art of Lenke Rothman” at the Judah Magnes Museum, Berkeley, California, further at the Goldman Fine Arts Gallery, Washington DC, and The Jewish Quarter Inc. Gallery, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles.


Separate exhibitions: Jewish Museum, New York, Gallery Augusta, Suomenlinna, Finland, Ernst Museum, Budapest, Hungary, Gallery Nyhagen, Orust, Sweden.


Awarded Inez Leander's Prize for Prominent Female Artist by the Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm. The exhibition “Expressions of Life”, Malmö Art Gallery.


The exhibition “Expressions of Life” is shown in Gothenburg Art Gallery. The book “Rain” is published by the publishing house Arena AB, receiving the Bonnier prize for that year's book in Sweden.


Receives the Prince Eugene Medal from the King of Sweden, “For outstanding artistic work”.


“Rain” is published in paperback edition of the publishing house “A Book For All”. Studying traditional handmade paper making in the village of Imadate, Japan Receives the Academy of Fine Arts' watercolor award.


Travel to Auschwitz to prepare a memorial with the support of the Swedish Arts Council and the Ethnographic Museum as recipients. The book “Lenke Rothman” is published by Arena, with texts by Torsten Ekbom and Lenke herself, illustrated with a large selection of pictures. Separate exhibition in Dalarna's museum, Falun.


Exhibition at Sotheby’s, Stockholm. Inauguration of Sweden's first memorial to Raoul Wallenberg “To remember the good deed” in Sweden's parlament building. In connection with this assignment, Lenke meets Ambassador Jan Lundvik, who from the year 2000 will be her life companion.


Exhibition at the Historical Museum, Stockholm. Deputy professor at HDK, Gothenburg.


Publishes the book “Stygn” (Eng. “Stitches”) with the Gidlunds publisher. Exhibition at Vänersborg Art Gallery.


Inauguration of “Spår” - a memorial at the Gothenburg Art Museum. The first broadcast of “Stygn” in Swedish Radio's theater series White Nights.


Exhibits at the Museum of Modern Art in the series Odd Weeks with, among other things, new works from the Azores and interviews that are recorded and broadcast throughout the exhibition.


Separate exhibition at Mora culture house.


Between Fågel Blå and Freud's sofa, graphics exhibition in Lidingö Art Gallery, City Hall.


The exhibition “Gifts” at Dunkers kulturhus, Helsingborg, with an extensive highly illustrated catalogue.


Lenke Rothman passes away on November 27, 2008, after a period of illness in acute myeloid leukemia.

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