‘She lived an extraordinary life and made a remarkable contribution
to Nigeria and the world. May her legacy be preserved.’
SUSANNE WENGER: A FULFILLED LIFE
4th of July, 1915 — 12th of January, 2009
Eulogy by Gusti Merzeder-Taylor 2009
How do you describe a person who was so many different things to so many people from all over the world?
To most of us, she is known as a great artist of course, but there was so much more to Susanne Wenger and her life.
Susanne was born in Graz, a town in southern Austria, during the First World War. From a very early age, Susanne was drawn to nature and spent a lot of her time in the woods and mountains around the town.
Her artistic journey began at the College for Arts and Crafts in Graz where she started by experimenting with different techniques such as drawings in pencil, ink and crayon, ceramic works and clay sculptures.
She then moved to Vienna where she spent 4 years at the Academy of Art and lived through the horror of the city during the occupation, the war and finally the liberation. Susanne refused to accept the Nazi regime and helped to hide Jewish friends and other people listed by the Nazis as ‘unwanted’. Her art was considered ‘degenerate’ by the regime and she was forbidden to paint but found refuge in books about eastern religions and far away countries….