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Rosina Wachtmeister
Rosina Wachtmeister is a world renowned artist, famous for her vibrantly colored paintings of stylized, whimsical cats in theatrical Italian backdrops. As a painter, sculptor and illustrator, her works are varied and yet instantly recognizable, having been licensed by Verkerke and Goebel, among others, to produce a broad range of merchandise featuring her distinctive artwork.

Rosina was born in Vienna, Austria on Jan 7, 1939, less than a year after Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany. She was raised on Lake Attersee, near Salzburg, until the age of 14, when her family immigrated to Brazil. Her father was a doctor and her mother was an architect and ceramicist. The war years had been tough on the people of Austria, as they had for much of Europe, and her mother wanted to realize her dreams of building houses. Brazil seemed like a good opportunity for a fresh start.

Rosina is said to have been homesick initially, missing the lake, gardens and fountains of her Austrian childhood, where she learned to play the flute. She had hoped to study in Austria with controversial Austrian artist, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, but that was just not financially feasible. She instead stayed in Brazil and attended the University of Visual Arts in Porto Alegre, where she studied and obtained a degree in sculpture.

While in school, Rosina met her future husband, Paolo Rissone. Paolo was a painter and a member of a group of Italian artists, who founded the Sao Paolo Art Biennial. It is said she first fell in love with his paintings and then with Paolo, who was 14 years her senior.

Paolo and Rosina started a family with the birth of their daughter, Gabila, in 1960.

After completing her degree in Porto Alegre, in 1961, Rosina continued her studies in Salvador, studying fine art, and also learning to paint from her husband, Paolo.

In 1962, she met Roser Denneborg, a puppeteer, and began sculpting puppets and marionettes. For the following 5 years, Rosina traveled across Brazil with the puppeteer troupe, including her friend, Maria Sanches, making puppets and performing puppet plays, including The Threepenny Opera, Don Cristobal and Grimm's Fairy Tales. She also studied stage design during this period. Some of Rosina's ornate hand puppets, created for Rumplestiltskin performances, can be seen today on display within the International Youth Library, located in Blutenburg Castle (Blood Castle), near Munich, Germany.

In 1967, Paolo and Rosina left Brazil and moved to Rome, Italy, where Rosina exhibited her paintings at Piazza Navona. She stayed in Rome until 1974, when she moved to Capena, a medieval village just north of Roma, but still within the Umbria region.

The popularity of Rosina's work was propelled exponentially when Dutch publishers, Verkerke, began reproducing her cat paintings as posters in 1980. Her work was also reproduced on postcards, calendars and other media.

In 1997, Rosina began working with Goebel to turn her work into porcelain figurines, votive holders and other giftware. Goebel includes Rosina as one of the contemporary artists within their Artis Orbis "Artists of the World" range; a range that includes such famous artists as Renoir, Monet & van Gogh.

Today Rosina continues to live in picturesque Capena, in her farmhouse "La Rocca", with her family and extensive collection of animals, especially cats. She has a workshop and store and she is active within her community; she has established a rescue center for stray dogs and contributes art to the town. Her daughter, Gabila, is an artist in her own right and serves as both Art Director for Rosina Wachtmeister Studios and runs the store. Her grandson, Giovanni Battista Rea (Gabila's son), works as a ceramicist with Rosina and continues this family's rich legacy of art.

Rosina's uniquely stylized art is influenced by her many experiences. Her lifelong love of cats and music is obvious in her subject choices. The strong, bright colors are reminiscent of Brazil. The scenery is very Italian. The themes of love, romance, family, sun, moon and stars are all so prominent. She is inspired by non-confirmst artists, Friedensreich Hundertswasser and Antoni Gaudi. The resulting patchwork-like images, using materials like gold and silver-leaf, convey love, happiness, warmth and other emotions in a fresh and exciting format. There is something deeply emotional within what appear to be incredibly simple and playful themes. It is no surprise that her work is so popular throughout the world.

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