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05.10.2011

 

Fashion photographer Erwin Blumenfeld and his avant-garde view of the world - STERN special in stores now

The new STERN special is dedicated to fashion photographer Erwin Blumenfeld. Due to his Jewish heritage, the photographer fled from Berlin to Paris and became a respected and well-known fashion photographer in the USA.

During his education at the fashion house Moses & Schlochauer, Erwin Blumenfeld, who was born in Berlin in 1897, became acquainted with expressionist artists and dadaists, who would influence his work as an avant-garde fashion photographer to a very high degree.

During this time, he created drawings and commented on the political Zeitgeist with his sharp-witted collages. Following his involuntarily deployment in the First World War, he and his wife Lena Citroen moved to the Netherlands, where he dabbled in art trading but kept working in the fashion business.

His interest in photography kept growing and he became involved in portrait and nude photography at an increasing rate. He moved to Paris, where he created his 'Lisette' work in 1937, a picture which presented a model whose extremities had apparently been amputated.

Because of his Jewish heritage, he was internalized by the Nazis in 1940. He immigrated to the USA in 1941, where he swiftly managed to become the best-paid fashion photographer. The genre played into his hands as he was never about naturalist photography, but photography art.

He was considered the most important fashion photographer in the 1940s and 1950s. Erwin Blumenfeld found his style very early on and had been ahead of his time on more than one occasion. The 'Model and Mannequin' motif from 1945 could have been made in the 1980s, since its artificial style is just as intense as that of the glam ‘80s.

The STERN SPECIAL shows the most important works from his oeuvre: ‘Kaleidoscope for Dayton's Oval Room' stems from 1946 and is a vanguard for the photography that would emerge in the psychedelic era, with all its partiality for kaleidoscopic imagery. In the mid-1940s, Blumenfeld shows a side of him that had apparently been influenced by cubism with the 'Distorted Nude' work.

Lisa Fonssagrives was the first supermodel and she became an icon in the 1930s. Blumenfeld photographed her in 1939 high above the roofs of Paris: ‘Lisa Fonssagrives on the Eiffel Tower’.

Yet, he was not only a master of photography but also a wordsmith. In the mid ‘60s, Blumenfeld finished the manuscript for 'Einbildungsroman', for which he failed to find a publisher in Germany, because it had been deemed too ironic and lacking in respect. He juggled with language and penned debunking creations.

If you happen to be interested in the early works of Blumenfeld, Dada-montages that are alight with spiteful humour such as Hitlergob, which were created between 1916 and 1933, you should take a look at the book by Helen Adkins, published by the Hatje Cantz publishers. Adkins is an expert in all things Dada from Berlin.

In the book, she dedicates her research to these early paper works, which the artist did not create for the public, but as personal gifts or little enclosures for (love)letters he sent to his fiancé, friends or acquaintances.

Erwin Blumenfeld
"In Wahrheit war ich nur Berliner". Dada-Montagen 1916-1933
Preface by Janos Frecot, Text by Helen Adkins
2008. 224 Pages, 227 Pix, 97 in colour
22,00 x 28,70 cm
ISBN 978-3-7757-2126-4

Stern : Erwin Blumenfeld

Stern : Erwin Blumenfeld

Stern : Erwin Blumenfeld

Stern : Erwin Blumenfeld

Stern : Erwin Blumenfeld

Stern : Erwin Blumenfeld

Stern : Erwin Blumenfeld

Stern : Erwin Blumenfeld

Stern : Erwin Blumenfeld

Stern : Erwin Blumenfeld

Stern : Erwin Blumenfeld

Stern : Erwin Blumenfeld

Stern : Erwin Blumenfeld

Stern : Erwin Blumenfeld

Stern : Erwin Blumenfeld

Stern : Erwin Blumenfeld

Stern : Erwin Blumenfeld

Stern : Erwin Blumenfeld