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Ingeborg ten Haeff

Inner Realms, an exhibit of paintings and drawings by Ingeborg ten Haeff that ran at the Nabi in May and June, 2004, also marked the publication of ten Haeff, a book about the artist and her work.

Aware, oil on canvas, 70x82, 1963

“Ten Haeff’s paintings,” wrote the critic Harold Rosenberg, “are an extraordinary kind of inward thinking. I stress the thinking, though of course these thoughts begin in vision and feeling.” The Nabi show included seven of these large compositions in oil on canvas, which date from the 1960s and '70s, as well as 14 intricate works on paper from the '70s and '80s.


Orpheus and Eurydice, oil on canvas, 72x76, 1964


Untitled (detail), pencil drawing, 14x11, 1970

Abstract in style, mysterious in mood, they nonetheless work to evoke the inner nature of some particular personality, emotion, or relationship. Some are in fact portraits, others bear mythological or poetic titles. Among the drawings are a selection from the Chiromancy series: the artist as palm-reader. These are abstract portraits of friends—including Tennessee Williams, Virgil Thompson, Dwight Macdonald, and Willem de Kooning—that she elaborated from tracings the subjects themselves made from their hands. 


Tennessee Williams, 1980

Dwight Macdonald

Balcomb Greene (detail), 1980

Willem de Kooning, 1983


An artist whose own life resembles a work of art, Ingeborg ten Haeff left her native Germany on the eve of World War Two and sailed to Rio de Janeiro to wed the son of the president of Brazil. Following the war, and the end of that marriage, she moved to New York, where she worked at a gallery and met the noted architect Paul Lester Wiener, who became her second husband. At that time she began for the first time to study seriously the art of painting, having trained previously as an actress and musician.

The Couple, oil on canvas, 84x70, 1964

Since the 1960s she has exhibited at a number of galleries and museums in the New York area and beyond, including the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, and Guild Hall in East Hampton. In the 1990s she participated in several group shows at the Nabi Gallery’s former space in Sag Harbor.


Encounter, oil on canvas, 75x58, 1963

Paul Wiener died in 1967, and she is now married to John Lawrence Githens, a translator and scholar of Slavic languages with whom she shares an art-filled apartment on Washington Square and frequent travels in Asia, Central and South America, and Europe.


Signal, oil on paper, 30x22, 1964

Ten Haeff, the book, includes a biographical essay by the artist's husband, scholar John Githens, an assessment of the work by critic Phyllis Braff, and an afterword by writer and gallery co-owner Val Schaffner, in addition to numerous illustrations.

It is available at the gallery or may be ordered through PayPal by clicking the button below.  Price is $24.95.



To revisit Ingeborg ten Haeff's previous shows at the Nabi Gallery, including one in 1998 also titled Inner Realms, please click here. Or click the following to return to our home page.