Anna Prinner’s father worked as a chief accounting officer. She had three brothers. In 1920, she enrolled in the School of Fine Arts in Budapest where people called her “the strange one.” In 1926, two of her paintings were exhibited by mistake at the Fine Arts Museum and were a success. She left Hungary, where she never returned, and arrived in Paris in 1927. She still went by the name Anna and had long hair. In France, she adopted a masculine identity. She went by the name Anton, dressed as a man and smoked a pipe. She stopped her artistic activity and devoted herself to the study of occult sciences, esoteric doctrines, and mystical philosophies. Prinner earned her living by doing small jobs; she worked as a caricaturist in nightclubs with her friend the painter Arpad Szenes. In the 1930s, she studied engraving in the studio of Stanley William Hayter. She produced bas-reliefs as well as high reliefs and learned the techniques of sculpture.
Her first two solo exhibitions were organized by Jeanne Bucher in 1942 and by Pierre Loeb in 1945. During the Occupation, she created ink drawings. She hid the painter Alexandre Heimovits and his child at her studio. Following the war, she spent time at Le Select with other artists, such as the sculptor Czaky. She also knew the Loeb brothers and Picasso, who called her “little green woodpecker” or “Monsieur Madame.”
In 1946, the painter and photographer Emile Savitry did a report on Anton Prinner at her studio in rue Pernety. From 1947 to 1949, she illustrated the Book of the Dead of the Ancient Egyptians for the publisher J. Godet. She developed a passion for Egyptian civilization and produced a series of bas-reliefs on this theme.
In 1950, she settled at the Tapis Vert in Vallauris against her friends’ advice. She learned ceramics. After being exploited by the studio’s owner and plundered by others, she gave up sculpture for painting. In her biography, she wrote “I want to make things that people do not like so that they will not steal from me.”
Nieszawer & Princ
"Artistes juifs de l’Ecole de Paris 1905-1939"
Editons Somogy 2015