b. 1894, Mettingen, Germany
d. 1981, Berlin, Germany






MHportAfter attending commercial school, Margarethe Held worked in an office. She was married for only four years, when her husband passed away in 1925, followed by the death of her father shortly thereafter. Soon Margarethe Held came into contact with her husband and other deceased relatives through the spiritual practice of spelling out a spirit’s message by using a planchette. With her second husband she moved to Berlin. The couple separated after the war.

In 1950, while generating automatic messages with her planchette, Margarete Held was surprised when a spirit manifested, who called himself “Siwa, God of Indians and Mongols” who demanded of her to fetch paper and pencil and to draw. Margarethe Held, who never had any interest nor talent in drawing, obeyed. The first two drawings were full-face portraits of Siwa with large eyes slanted upward. During the following months she finished more than 300 drawings with pencil and pastel crayons, working without thinking with great rapidity, because she was chosen by Siwa to accomplish a task. The vast majority of the drawings were portraits of the helpers of God accompanied by short descriptions: gnomes, fauns, fairies, water gods, water spirits, elves, nature gods, hermaphrodites, and demons. She also drew many portraits of deceased people. What she produced is a veritable portrait gallery of discarnate entities. The vast majority of the portraits were executed in left profile, some in full-face. A few geometric cosmological drawings and some heavenly flowers round off her oeuvre.

In 1954, Margerethe Held abruptly ended her activity as a mediumistic artist. More than twenty years later, commanded by the spirits, she published the book Unkontrollierbares Universum (Uncontrollable Universe) combining automatic writings with her drawings. The naïve views and simple messages that become clear in her text stand in striking contrast to the fascinating creative expressiveness of her drawings.




2019 Alma: Mediums and Visionaries. Es Baluard Museum, Palma de Mallorca, Spain, 2/15/2019 – 6/2/2019
2004 Wenn Geister malen lassen: Botschaften aus dem Zwischenreich. Museum Charlotte Zander, Bönnigheim, Germany, 2/22/2004 – 6/20/2004
1999 Art spirite, médiumnique et visionnaire: Messages d'outre tombe. La Halle Saint-Pierre, 9/13/1999 – 2/27/2000
1999 Galerie Susanne Zander, Cologne, Germany, 9/10/1999 – 10/5/1999
1990 Galerie Susanne Zander, Cologne, Germany, 8/31/1990 – 9/25/1990
1984 Die automatische Botschaft der Margarethe Held aus Mettingen. Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart, Germany, 11/1/1984 – 12/2/1984
1977 Mediumistische Kunst. Galerie Petersen, Berlin, Germany



Bonet Julve, Pilar. Dell'occulto e del meraviglioso: Jane Ruffié, Margarethe Held, Gertrude Honzatko-Mediz. Osservatorio Outsider Art, 19, 2020, pp. 68–83.
Die automatische Botschaft der Margarethe Held aus Mettingen. Stuttgart: Württembergischer Kunstverein, 1984.
Giovetti, Paola: Arte medianica. Pitture e disegni dei sensitivi. Roma: Edizioni Mediterranee, 1982, pp. 163-169.
Held, Margarethe. Unkontrollierbares Universum. Bilder und Worte eines Mediums. Berlin: Rainer, 1977.
Lusardy, Martine et al. (eds.), Art spirite, médiumnique et visionnaire: Messages d'outre tombe. Paris: Hoëbeke, 1999.
Mediumistische Kunst. Berlin: Galerie Petersen, 1977.
Wenn Geister malen lassen: Botschaften aus dem Zwischenreich
. Bönnigheim: Museum Charlotte Zander, 2004.

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