Elective Affinities

Rendezvous with Women Photographers 1900-1935

Yva , Steffi Brandl, Marianne Breslauer, Suse Byk, Aura Hertwig, Lotte Jacobi, Gertrud Munckel, Frieda Riess, Thea Sternheim

Photographic portraits testify to friendships, spark memories, and convey an atmosphere of intimacy. They show their colours when they are commissioned, tell of intimate encounters, record technical experiments. Often, they are the only remaining evidence of an ephemeral, unexpected, or sophisticated visual dialogue. Photographers have a fine instinct for camera encounters – both professionally and as amateurs.

Photographs by the art collector Thea Sternheim (1883–1971) offer insights into the world of an obsessive amateur photographer whose portraits include such casual images as those of Gottfried Benn and the pacifist Annette Kolb.

Additionally, the exhibition features samples of the oeuvre of Frieda G. Riess (1890–1955?), the society photographer who opened a studio on Berlin’s Kurfürstendamm boulevard and had a show as early as 1925 at the Galerie Alfred Flechtheim. Also on view, among other things: portraits made by the young Marianne Breslauer (1909–2001) – who decided to become a photographer while visiting the Riess exhibition – and others by Lotte Jacobi (1896–1990), who found her own style for each of her subjects.