Parisian Jeu De Paume celebrates the photographic signature, drawings and photomontages of Erwin Blumengfeld. The exhibition traces his visual creativity and encompasses the early drawings, the collages and montages, which mostly stem from the early 1920s, the beginnings of his portrait art in Holland, the first black and white fashion photographs of the Paris period, the masterful colour photography created in New York and the urban photos taken toward the end of his life.
The retrospective also showcases his drawings, many of which have never been shown before, as well as his early collages and photomontages, shedding fascinating light on the evolution of his photographic oeuvre and revealing the full extent of his creative genius.
The now classic motifs of his experimental black-and-white photographs can be seen alongside his numerous selfportraits and portraits of famous and little-known people, as well as his fashion and advertising work. In the first years of his career, he worked only in black and white, but as soon as it became technically possible he enthusiastically used color. He transferred his experiences with black-and-white photography to color; applying them to the field of fashion, he developed a particularly original repertoire of forms.
The female body became Erwin Blumenfeld’s principal subject. In his initial portrait work, then the nudes he produced while living in Paris and, later on, his fashion photography, he sought to bring out the unknown, hidden nature of his subjects; the object of his quest was not realism, but the mystery of reality.
Erwin Blumenfeld’s life and work impressively document the socio-political context of artistic development between the two World Wars, while highlighting the individual consequences of emigration. The exhibition devoted to Erwin Blumenfeld’s multi-layered œuvre brings together over 300 works and documents from the late 1910s to the 1960s, and encompasses the various media explored by the artist throughout his career: drawings, photographs, montages and collages.
Ute Eskildsen, former deputy director and head of the photographical collections for the Museum Folkwang, Essen.
Exposition produced by the Jeu de Paume, Paris.
In partnership with A Nous, de l’air, LCI and Stylia, Vogue Paris, Time Out, France Inter and Fip.
We would like to thank the Hôtel Castille, Paris.
From 15 October 2013 until 26 January 2014