About the Artist


In an increasingly impersonal and hectic world, what we need more than ever is to have a really good laugh.

Every generation has its own particular challenges, and when Katharina Rapp grew up during the post-war years in Germany, her small town was full of fatherless children and red-eyed widows in mourning clothes. Life was harsh and peoples’ spirits were broken. Daily life was a grind.

Enter Aunt Frieda. ‘Tante’ Frieda wore old-fashioned galoshes which hid her enormous bunions. She tucked her hair up in a bun with the help of an entire packet of hair pins, and she had rings under her eyes so pronounced, they could have competed with Hindenburg’s. Yet, when Tante Frieda appeared, word went round the neighbourhood like wildfire: ‘She’s coming!’

All sorts of people dropped in as if by magic. What was it about Tante Frieda that brought everybody out of the woodwork?

She made them laugh.

This woman who used to be a paragon of respectability used to come in, seat herself at the dining table, and nonchalantly light a big cigar. Almost immediately, as if by magic, a glass of schnapps was put in front of her, and then she started to tell stories. Very tall stories.

Those faces that had been creased with sorrow started to smoothen out and shine, and that unfamiliar sound known as a good belly laugh filled the air.

These are childhood memories that stick. Tante Frieda was a shining example of how one woman who had lost almost everything she’d ever cared for, showed others the way forward with humour.

‘If you’ve got to carry on living,’ she said, ‘you might as well have a ball.’

Katharina Rapp knows that it takes greater strength to make light of, rather than to point out what is wrong, with the world. Her style is unquestionably anchored in German Expressionism, however, she manages to use distortion or exaggeration of the human form, combined with her innate use of colour, to create a feeling of warmth and happiness.

It is this quality which has made Ms Rapp’s paintings popular. She is a specialist in painting the better moments in a woman’s life. Her frothy and life-affirming images have been used on wine and champagne labels. They have also been discovered and used by the mental health profession for the healing effect that her images can have, particularly on women with depression.

So you could argue, that to own a Rapp painting is like hanging medicine on your wall.  Oh, and next time you meet somebody who is feeling down, go be a joy germ like Katharina Rapp’s big-hearted Tante Frieda!