Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel, OSF
21 May 1909 – 6 Nov 1946
Who was this woman with a talent to make everyone smile?
Although she only lived for a short time, her life’s work has brought happiness to many families allowing us to reflect upon our own childhood memories and those of our children.
Berta Hummel was born in Germany in 1909 and showed an early talent for drawing and painting. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, where she developed a style that was a fusion of traditional German painting with modern European and American influences. In the 1930s, Hummel began creating illustrations for children’s books, which quickly gained her a following. In 1934, she joined the Convent of Siessen in southern Germany, where she became a nun and continued to paint and draw in her spare time.
It was Hummel’s work for the publishing house Ars Sacra that would make her a household name. In the 1930s, Ars Sacra began publishing a series of postcards featuring Hummel’s illustrations that depicted children engaged in everyday activities. The postcards became hugely popular in Germany and were soon exported across Europe and America. Hummel’s images were delicate and detailed, and her characters had a cherubic quality that captured the innocence and simplicity of childhood. Because of their widespread appeal, Hummel’s illustrations were eventually adapted into figurines, ornaments, and other collectibles, making her one of the most recognizable artists of the 20th century.
The artwork above, as an example, has been transformed into post cards, figurines and much more. With more than 600 sketches and drawings, she was quite prolific with her talent in catching the wonder each child possess. Explore the many links to discover a multitude of beautiful examples of figurines you can affordably own.
This page was updated 21 December 2021.