Jewish Artist: Elfriede Stegemeyer, the School of Seeing

The series of lenses created by Elfriede Stegemeyer between 1934 and 1938 represents an important development of her work.

She creates shadows and sculptural perspectives on industrially manufactured everyday objects through the play of light, which one finds in the simplest things like her “Orange, 1933”.

The “still life” becomes the depth perception of a main aesthetic even if all the photographer’s interest remains directed towards man and his environment reduced to the simplest forms.

In reference to the Bauhaus, the constructivist creator has never ceased to play on an before-the-letter minimalism with different perspectives or close-up views. In six years of photographic work and in her great fascination for the art of Herbert Bayer, she worked with him at the Bauhaus and then, because of the political situation and the hostility associated with the Bauhaus Dessau by the Nazis, she studied photography at the Staatliche. Kunstschule Berlin then followed Otto Coenen to Cologne where she became closer to the Kölner Progressiven (Cologne Progressiven).

Her meeting with the photographer Raoul Hausmann in Paris was also decisive and allowed her to develop her vision of his formal language. This will then take shape in her prickly pear trees, assembled in surrealist montages.

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