Annot, formal name Anna Ottilie Krigar-Menzel Jacobi, (1894-1981), was a German-American painter, teacher, interior designer and pacifist. She painted portraits, landscapes and, especially, flower art, employing oils and gouache. She was influenced by the French Impressionists, though she always retained a certain German realism. Growing up in academic and artistic circles in Berlin -her godfather was Johannes Brahms -she studied painting at the Verein der Berliner Künstlerinnen and with the teachers Fritz Rhein, Karl Bennewitz von Loefen der Jüngere and Lovis Corinth. Annot was a member of the Berliner Succession, an avant-garde artists association. She exhibited in Berlin, Munich, New York City and Chicago, and her paintings were purchased for the National Gallery in Berlin. With her husband she ran the painting schools Malschule Annot in Berlin and the Annot Art School and Gallery in New York City. She also worked as an interior designer in New York City.

Annot remained a committed activist throughout her life. In 1916, during World War One, in Berlin, she was jailed for distributing pacifist leaflets and then moved to Oslo and continued to advocate for peace. In 1920, returning to Berlin, she was active with the anti-war groups Deutsche Liga für Menschenrechte, Bund Neues Vaterland and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and she was a friend of the pacifists Annette Kolb and Carl von Ossietzky. In 1933 the Nazis closed the Malschule Annot because Annot and her husband refused to dismiss their Jewish students. Her paintings were classified as degenerate and destroyed or stolen. She and her family fled into exile in the United States, and she remained active in the peace movement. In 1956, attracted by the integration movement in Puerto Rico, they began to live part-time there, and she helped form a Puerto Rican Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy.

Annot became a member of Westbury Monthly Meeting and worshiped at Matinecock Preparative Meeting in 1941, both groups part of New York Yearly Meeting. After World War Two, she chaired NYYM’s Food Parcels for Europe Subcommittee, which worked in coordination with the American Friends Service Committee.

I had not heard of Annot before coming across a reference to her online. I was moved by her courageous life and charmed by her lovely paintings.

Gary Sandman

November 2019

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