Eva Hesse
German-born American sculptor



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Eva Hesse
German-born American sculptor
Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

Date of Birth

January 11, 1936

Place of Birth

Hamburg, Germany

Date of Death

May 29, 1970

Place of Death

New York City, New York, U.S.A.

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Eva was a Jewish girl born in the wrong age.

When she was only two years old, her parents fled Germany hoping to flee from the Nazis. They fled to the Netherlands by kindertransport, a series of rescue efforts to get Jewish kids safely to Great Britain. After six months the whole family reunited and they were indeed able to move to London. But only to move to the Big Apple pretty soon after that. Unfortunately, her parents split up and her mom committed suicide soon after that.

By the time she was 18 Eva had become a "real American girl," even appearing in an article in Seventeen Magazine. In this article she already talks about her love for art. Eva got her BA at Yale, returned to NYC soon after that, and became friends with all the other hip young artists like Yayoi Kusama and Sol LeWitt.

About ten years after starring in Seventeen Magazine, Eva married fellow artist Tom Doyle. The couple separated four years later, but it took her a full year to actually take off her wedding ring. She felt if like she was “going backwards” when she met Tom. He had been an artist for many years and she felt like he was trying to influence her way too much. Just when her work was getting more and more recognition, Eva got diagnosed with a brain tumor. She had surgery three times but passed away a year later in 1970. Her career only spanned ten years, but looking at her legacy, you wouldn't know it.

Eva is mostly known for her sculptures made out of latex, fiberglass, and plastics. Some people think these materials might have been what killed her. I’m pretty sure melting fiberglass with the windows shut during cold NYC winters isn’t very healthy, so it's definitely a possibility. She understood fiberglass could be toxic, but she wanted to make art that would stand the age of time. At the time she says she felt guilty towards people who were buying her artworks. She had been making a lot of artworks that would deteriorate over the years. That’s also the reason why conservators aren't huge fans of her work.

During her life she was afraid she had inherited her mom’s instability and used her diary as an outlet for her anxieties. In 2016, 45 years after her death, they finally turned her life and fabulous legacy into a documentary. I suggest you go and watch it.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Eva Hesse

Eva Hesse (January 11, 1936 – May 29, 1970) was a German-born American sculptor known for her pioneering work in materials such as latex, fiberglass, and plastics. She is one of the artists who ushered in the postminimal art movement in the 1960s.


Hesse was born into a family of observant Jews in Hamburg, Germany, on January 11, 1936. When Hesse was two years old in December 1938, her parents, hoping to flee from Nazi Germany, sent Hesse and her older sister, Helen Hesse Charash, to the Netherlands to escape Nazi Germany. They were aboard one of the last Kindertransport trains.

After almost six months of separation, the reunited family moved to England and then, in 1939, emigrated to New York City, where they settled into Manhattan's Washington Heights. In 1944, Hesse's parents separated; her father remarried in 1945 and her mother committed suicide in 1946. In 1962, Hesse met and married sculptor Tom Doyle (1928–2016); they divorced in 1966.

In October 1969, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and she died on May 29, 1970, after three failed operations within a year. Her death at the age of 34 ended a career that would become highly influential, despite spanning only a decade.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Eva Hesse.