Works in progress - Part 1

Beatrice Mariagraete

After encountering the painting by Josef Eberz of dancer Beatrice Mariagraete in the current ‘Magic Realism’ exhibition at Tate Modern, I was inspired to find out more about her.

Initial online searching revealed very little - which definitely piqued my interest! - so I decided to follow up the few pieces of information I could find.

It is still early days, but it seems possible that Beatrice was Austrian not Swedish, and was born in Paris in 1903.

Her early life certainly appears to be complex, involving much travel throughout an increasingly volatile pre-war Europe. The name Mariagraete is also intriguing, as she later went by the surname Reichert.

The Mariagraete / Reichert family was both artistic and musical and Beatrice often performed with or alongside her sister Primavera.

I am waiting to hear back from archives in Sweden, France, Austria and Germany and hope to have an initial biography soon.

Thanks so far to the wonderful Marianne Seid at the archive of the Musikverket in Stockholm (images below) and an amazing selection of sources to follow up from François-Pierre Goy in the Département de la Musique at the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

This project is reminding me of a similar research journey I undertook when I discovered a medieval drawing of a cat on a postcard at Fontevraud Abbey in France, which ended up taking me to the Bodleian Library in Oxford!

With European identity at the forefront of many people’s minds in the U.K. at the moment, I wonder where the story of Beatrice Mariagraete / Reichert will lead me?

The Mariagraete Sisters. An Austrian press cutting from 1921 (Reference: Press cuttings, Dance, The Music and Theatre Library of Sweden).

The Mariagraete Sisters. An Austrian press cutting from 1921 (Reference: Press cuttings, Dance, The Music and Theatre Library of Sweden).

Beatrice (left) and her sister Primavera from a Swedish dance programme in 1919. ( Reference: Press cuttings, Dance, The Music and Theatre Library of Sweden).

Beatrice (left) and her sister Primavera from a Swedish dance programme in 1919. ( Reference: Press cuttings, Dance, The Music and Theatre Library of Sweden).