Elective relationships are fostered by an affinity of mind and soul, an unspoken magnetism between individuals who do not know each other well, and they occur again and again when portraits are taken. The friction sparked when the unfamiliar comes close, when detachment fuses with attraction, profoundly affects the interaction between the photographer and her sitter, and ultimately the expressive power of the portrait.
With an approach to portrait photography much influenced by Expressionist painting, Frieda G. Riess leads a generation of women photographers born around 1900 represented in the exhibition by, among others, Eva Besnyö, Steffi Brandl, Marianne Breslauer, Suse Byk, Florence Henri, Aura Hertwig, Lotte Jacobi, Jeanne Mandello, Lucia Moholy, Thea Sternheim and Yva.
It was a unique opportunity for Riess when, in 1925, a show at Alfred Flechtheim’s gallery in Berlin introduced her portraits of Lil Dagover, Asta Nielsen, Marc Chagall, Klaus Mann, Renée Sintenis and many others to a commanding clientele. Thea Sternheim for one, as an amateur photographer more of an outsider to the trade, called her the best portrait photographer in Berlin, and in return Riess dubbed her an “oracle in matters of photography”. Sternheim’s portraits include such candid shots as the one of the Franco-German pacifist writer Annette Kolb.
“My style is the style of the people I photograph,” was Lotte Jacobi’s motto for her work with portraits, and the diversity of her personalised compositions proves her point. She was aided by new camera technology in the 1920s, her 9 x 12 cm Ermanox with the then fastest lens 1:1,8, which allowed her to meet up with her protagonists wherever they wished – at home, behind the wings, in the open air. Her portraits of well-known figures – among the many Lotte Lenya, Erika and Klaus Mann, Albert Einstein – were appreciated by the press and remain engraved even today in the public visual memory.
Yva, who opened her first studio in 1925, also took portraits for the illustrated press before moving on to specialise in fashion photography. In the 1920s demand rocketed for pictures of celebrities, of the rich and beautiful in their private settings, and this heralded a new era in the significance of the visual. Yva’s most delightful portraits include several of the dancer Tatjana Barbakoff, but also the back of film star Asta Nielsen.
Translation Katherine Vanovitch
Mittwoch, 21. October | 17 - 19 Uhr
The hygiene and distance rules apply, so we ask you to wear the prescribed mouth and nose protection during your stay in the museum rooms. Please understand that only a limited number of a maximum of 10 visitors can enter at the same time.The museum is obliged to provide documentation.
21. October 2020 - 31. January 2021
Friday 15 - 19 Uhr
Saturday, Sunday 12 - 16 Uhr
The Museum is only open during the exhibition period !!
location > address
DAS VERBORGENE MUSEUM
Bus M49, X34, 101
+49 (0) 30 313 36 56
Picture Quotes | Exhibition Wahlverwandtschaften
Flyer | to the Exhibition
Publikationen in der Ausstellung erhältlich.
Frieda Riess, Thea Sternheim, Lotte Jacobi, Eva Besnyö u.a.
Ausstellung im Rahmen
9. Europäischer Monat der Fotografie
EMOP Berlin 2020