00034531Else Lasker-Schüler was a German-Jewish poet and artist whose life and work were characterized by the bohemian lifestyle which she adopted.

Born in 1869 to a wealthy banking family, Schüler was raised in happy surroundings and exposed to literature and art from an early age.  After marrying Berthold Lasker, a local physician, she moved to Berlin and became immersed in the city's vibrant artistic life.  Soon, the ideas she encountered through those experiences would cause her to reject her comfortable bourgeoisie existence and adopt a more unconventional lifestyle.

She divorced Lasker in 1899 and married an art critic and editor named George Lewin shortly thereafter.  Lewin helped her begin her writing career.  By 1902, she had published her first book of poetry Styx, and was a regular contributor to numerous avante garde art publications in Berlin.  She remained quite prolific. In the following years, she released more poetry and prose.  By 1932, she had received the Kleist Prize, Germany's highest literary award during the Weimar years.

Unfortunately, her personal life was in disarray.  She divorced Lewin in 1912, and depended on the generosity of friends to support her financially.  In 1927, the death of her son threw her into a severe depression.  And so it came as no surprise that after she was physically beaten by Nazi officers in 1933, Schüler decided to leave Germany.  Fleeing to Switzerland, she published a few works through the community of exiles there, but never quite managed to build a sustainable lifestyle. 

Eventually Schüler moved to Jerusalem where she would spend the remainder of her days. In those final years, she lived a rather eccentric lifestyle but managed to produce a musical work entitled Mein Blaues Klavier (“My Blue Piano”) before her death in 1945.