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Umbo. Photographer. Works 1926 – 1956


Umbo. The name was a sensation in the avantgarde photography of the 1920s. He stood for everything new: a new type of portrait, a new image for women, a new take on street life, new photo-journalism. With a selection of about 200 works and many documents, this first major retrospective in 24 years is now coming to Berlin. “Umbo. Photographer. Works 1926–1956” is an exhibition by the Sprengel Museum Hannover created in partnership with the Berlinische Galerie and Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau.

Umbo’s photographs are experimental, imaginative and above all just like the photographer himself: unconventional. From the early Bauhaus in Weimar, which laid the foundations for Umbo’s work, he was drawn in the mid-1920s to Berlin. Almost overnight, Umbo shot to fame as one of the most sought-after photographers in the Weimar Republic, and very soon he had founded a new approach to portraits. In particular, it was these portraits depicting the ladies of bohemian Berlin that gave such powerful expression to a type known as the New Woman, not least due to Umbo’s striking visual style.

The exhibition “Umbo. Photographer. Works 1926 – 1956” at the Berlinische Galerie celebrates an extraordinary photographic artist with a moving oeuvre and life story reaching from the 1920s into the mid-1950s. Moreover, this show pays tribute to the acquisition of Umbo’s estate. This was completed in 2016 together with partners Bauhaus Dessau and the Sprengel Museum Hannover, and it was made possible by funding from many benefactors.


Berlinische Galerie

21 February to 25 March, 2020


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