Indepth Arts News: |
"Elsa Thiemann: Photographer - Bauhaus and Berlin"
2004-02-25 until 2004-06-06
Bauhaus Archiv, Museum für Gestaltung
Elsa Thiemann (1910-1981) is one of the less familiar names among Bauhaus
photographers. She studied at the Dessau Bauhaus during the early 1930s
under Walter Peterhans. A prevalent theme in her work at this time was
portraiture, and one of her frequent subjects was Hans Thiemann, a student
in Kandinsky's painting class whom she later married. Her contem-poraneous
designs for Bauhaus wallpaper patterns, which were based on photograms, are
typical documents of the interdisciplinary approach at the Bauhaus.
After completing her studies in 1931, Elsa Thiemann started to work in
Berlin as a freelance photographer and photojournalist. Due to her inner
opposition to the Nazi regime, she concentrated her work during the
following years on neutral subjects such as daily life in the streets of
Berlin. In the process, she avoided any kind of political statement -
National Socialism is almost completely absent from her pictures. As seen
before this backdrop, Thiemann's striking photographs of Berlin after its
destruction seem like a commentary on the irretrievable loss of a previous
Not until the postwar period did Elsa Thiemann return to portrait
photo-graphy. She created a portrait series of artists who were affiliated
with the Rosen Gallery, and who had mostly worked in private during the
years of National Socialist rule - including her husband, Hans Thiemann. As
Berlin began to flourish again during the 1950s, her images of the city
demon-stra-ted an eye for the anecdotal, particularly with regard to her
direct residential surround-ings in Neukölln. Always critical of her own
work, Thiemann retained very little: the photographic negatives in her
estate fit into a single shoebox.
The Bauhaus Archive exhibition shows approximately 100 photographs from the
years between 1930 and 1960 - the majority of which are vintage prints - as
well as Bauhaus wallpaper designs. This is the first monographic
pre-sen-ta-tion of Else Thiemann's life work, which has been
underrepresented until now.
The catalogue is being published by the Verlag Kupfergraben, with 72 pages
and 71 illustrations. It can be purchased for EUR 6.- at the Museum desk,
mail order Euro 9.- plus postal charges.
Landesmuseum für Moderne Kunst
Photographie und Architektur, Berlin