Fri 7 February 2020


The Warburg Renaissance fundraising campaign has taken a major step forward after receiving a generous £500,000 donation from the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, which takes the total raised to £2.3 million, almost halfway to the £5 million target.

Marie-Louise von Motesiczky (1906-96) was an artist born in Vienna, who held several critically acclaimed exhibitions demonstrating her prowess in portraiture, still-life, landscape and allegorical painting. She created the Charitable Trust to provide a vehicle after her death for the conservation and promotion of her art, as well as for other charitable objects. The Trust is now engaged in distributing her work to public collections, largely in the UK and Europe, while her archive has been given to Tate Britain where the Archive Gallery has been named in her honour.

In a story not dissimilar to the history of the Warburg Institute, Marie-Louise left Vienna after Austria’s annexation by Nazi Germany, the Anschluss, in March 1938. She and her mother Henriette arrived in England in 1939, where they made their home for the rest of their lives; her brother Karl remained in Vienna, dying of typhus in Auschwitz in June 1943. As the only academic institution saved from Nazi Germany surviving in Britain today, the Institute was and still is, a hub for émigré scholars, curators and artists, one of whom was Marie-Louise. She became a friend of the Institute’s esteemed director, Sir Ernst Gombrich, after an introduction from Karl who knew Dea Gombrich, a violinist with whom he had played his cello at musical evenings in the Gombrichs’ house in Vienna before the War. Through Gombrich, Marie-Louise came to know the Institute and the scholars associated with it, including another Viennese émigré, Ernst Kris, the subject of a painting called The Psychoanalyst by Marie-Louise now in the Freud Museum in London.

On behalf of the Trustees of the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, the Chair Frances Carey, says, “The £500,000 donation has been made in honour of Marie-Louise, her life, friendships and European heritage. The Warburg Institute represents a distillation of the intellectual and cultural life she always admired.” The Institute is honoured to recognise the grant with the planned creation of the ‘Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Teaching Suite’.

Artist impressions of the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Teaching Suite:

The Warburg Renaissance will transform the Warburg Institute by restoring its original vision and making it ready for future generations, enhancing the Institute’s academic resources, teaching facilities and public offerings, and creating new facilities for special collections, exhibitions, and events. At the heart of the redevelopment is a double-height, public hub that will provide a new gallery, a greatly expanded lecture theatre and a digital laboratory. Through creating a more open and accessible building, it will be able to welcome in and educate a wider audience.

The project has just commenced RIBA Stage 4: Technical Design and the Institute will continue to work with the University’s Development Office and the Warburg Charitable Trust to increase development efforts and raise the remaining £2.7 million.

For more information on the Warburg Renaissance Project and the Institute’s upcoming fundraising activities, please contact

Find out more about the Warburg Renaissance